Friday, June 16, 2006

The PCH - Chapter 10

Monday, July 12, 2004. Bandon, Oregon. It is foggy and chilly. We are a long way from the 110 degree temperatures of Phoenix, Arizona. I am initially disappointed because I was hoping to get some good photos of the Coquille River lighthouse. I get over it quickly and enjoy the soft quiet blanket of fog as it cuddles this sleepy little town.

We have been on the road for 3 days and most of that has been in motion. During those three days, we survived diesel fuel and road rash. We aren't very far from Portland; we know we can make it there some time today. We have the luxury of time today and my intention is to roll around in it like a dog in its own feces.

Bandon has a great breakfast stop. Breakfast on the road is still my favorite meal of the day precisely because of places like the one we eat at today. It is some little diner with a railroad theme - it may even have been called the Train Station, but I can't recall. I'm not certain the town even has railroad tracks, but this place is full of railroad items and railroad pictures. The place is great. I order the standard fare while watching the steam rise from my coffee cup. I find warmth and comfort in that steam - comfort from the cold, damp Oregon air.

As an unusual twist of fate, two of Smitty's friends are in Bandon today staying at a bed and breakfast. Paul and his wife are staying right up the road from the Bandon Boatworks, the restaurant where we had dinner the night before. By the time we finish breakfast and load up, it is pushing 10:00a.m. We are due at their bed and breakfast at 10:00. The drive is short as this is a small town. When we arrive at this quaint little home turned into B&B, the fog is still thick but you can start to see the glow of the sun deep in its belly.

Smitty's friends welcome us into the house and we sit in the living room area and chat for about an hour discussing our ride and our various adventures. Paul rides too and he is eating it all up. I secretly enjoy how jealous he is. I know this trip is something special.

The plan is hatched. Smitty and I are going to head over to tour the Coquille River lighthouse while they Paul and his wife get ready for the day. They will meet us in an hour on Highway 1 headed north out of town. We are headed to a local state park with them.

As we leave the bed & breakfast, the fog starts to lift and I grab this shot from the deck on the side of the house:

The scanner doesn't do this picture the appropriate justice. The view from that B&B was amazing.

The lighthouse appeared to be just a stone's throw away. The route to get to it was deceptively long due to the fact that access to the other side of the Coquille River was limited to a single bridge. After crossing the bridge and entering Bullards Beach State Park, it is still necessary to wind your way around through the park back to the sea. The park is bizarre. It is strewn with trees that have been shattered by the wind and the ocean forces. The trees still standing are squatty and completely devoid of trees on the side facing the Pacific. In spite of the severe treatment from the sea, they survive with all the scars to show for their trouble.

The picture I shared in the prior post was in color - this one is in black and white from nearly the same point. The Coquille River Lighthouse was built low and solid like a linebacker. I imagine that it had to be like this to combat the forces that twisted and made partially barren those trees.

Inside, there isn't a whole lot of room. It is a small, compact building with an old wooden floor and masonry walls. This little space has been converted into a little gift shop and for a small "donation" they will let you climb the tower up to the top of the lighthouse. I can't pass that up.

The stairs to the top consist of a tight spiral of steel with virtually no room. This was not designed for someone 6'2". I make the best of it and finally reach the top. The view from the top is worth the climb and the jeopardy faced by my skull. You can see the field full of tortured trees we passed through on the way in and you can see up the mouth of the Coquille to where the river meets the sea. The rocky jetty this thing sits on stretches out to the west and I note that the end of the jetty looks odd. When I return to the lower level of the lighthouse, I learn that the end of the jetty looks different because it is comprised substantially from a shipwreck that happened many, many years ago. It couldn't be moved, so they made it part of the landscape.

Our work here is done and we need to meet Smitty's friends.

We are headed for Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago State Park. The fog lifts further and the views are amazing. The light film of fog make the seascape like a dream. We watch over sea lions basking on the rocks. I'm not sure what they were basking in as there wasn't much sun, but bask they did nonetheless. I have more pictures, but they don't even begin to show how beautiful these parks were/are.

After spending some time driving around the parks and viewing this amazing coastline, we say goodbye to our friends and hit the road. We aren't in a hurry, but I need to satisfy Jane's obsession with petrol. I am very low on fuel and nervous about making it to the nearest pump which is likely in Coos Bay or North Bend.

We have time today so I insist on stopping a lot. There are roses to smell. One of the early stops is Sea Lion Caves. Smitty says that he has no interest, but I pay his $7.50 fee, tell him to shut the hell up and we go in. We wind our way through the building and out to a pathway that lead over to an "outbuilding." The outbuilding covered what appeared to be two elevator doors. We are the first one's in line waiting for those doors to open. While waiting, an older couple sneaks up along side, past everyone else. When the doors open, they slide in first in spite of the fact they were last to arrive. My sense of justice will not tolerate this, so I take action. They end up in the back corner of the elevator where I lean firmly up against them during the entire 200 foot drop down to sea level. When the doors open, I don't move until EVERYONE else on the elevator is off. Only then do I release these rude bastards from their trap. I smile smugly as I step into a cave smelling of sea lion shit.

There are hundreds if not thousands of sea lions hanging out in this natural cave. Thank god someone installed an elevator so that we could all traipse our lazy asses down there to disturb them. It was cool. Smitty was glad we went.

Then we hit the road. We pretty much hit every lighthouse between Sea Lion Caves and Lincoln City Oregon. I was in tourist heaven; I think Smitty was in Flamingo Hell. He took it in stride and did his thing while I snapped photos and toured these relics. I feel the history of these places in an instinctive, visceral way that I can't explain.

I am a corn-fed boy from Iowa but the sea is somehow in my DNA. That's all I have to say about this. The pictures say the rest.


Blogger BadGod provided this enlightening comment...

AS requested:
Omaha update for 06/17--College World series has arrived. Lots of out of towners driving around. Traffic backed up. Me go insane. Weather is kinda hot. And I saw a cow.

Stay tuned for more Omaha updates....

12:10 AM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger garrett provided this enlightening comment...

So many pictures of lighthouses. Some kind of phallus envy thing going there, me reckons.

2:19 PM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 provided this enlightening comment...

Badgod - Thanks for the Omaha fix.

Garrett - that is exactly why I hang out with complete me.

5:08 PM, June 17, 2006  
Blogger The Phoenix provided this enlightening comment...

Incredible. The lighthouses are amazing.

6:04 AM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 provided this enlightening comment...

Thanks, Phoenix. I am glad that someone appreciates them for something other than a low-brow opportunity to make a penis joke.

2:50 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger garrett provided this enlightening comment...

That is the most ironic comment posted on a blog in the history of the blogosphere.

6:26 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 provided this enlightening comment...

Are you saying that I am the "penis and fart joke" guy and you are not? Is that the irony to which you refer? Well, I think our readers can judge for themselves.

7:16 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger Dongley Shlongford provided this enlightening comment...

You said 'penis'.

8:06 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 provided this enlightening comment...

Dongley, do you do a google blog search for the word penis? You were drawn to this penis reference like a moth to a flame. Uncanny.

9:24 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger garrett provided this enlightening comment...

All I am saying is that I am Chung.

And you are Wang.

3:40 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Erin O'Brien provided this enlightening comment...

I'm sorry, but I promised Jesus that I would pimp this tough choice concerning the president of the United States. Your vote is needed.

4:57 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 provided this enlightening comment...

Well then, perhaps I should WANG Chung tonight. I might even have fun tonight.

9:10 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

Damn it! I've gotta get to these soon.

7:18 PM, June 21, 2006  
Blogger crallspace provided this enlightening comment...

Lighthouses are nice. If it weren't such a granny look, I'd wear sweatshirts with lighthouses on them.

11:50 AM, June 22, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

Pinky to be honest, I haven't gotten to this yet. I am drinking wine and can only focus on the picutres. Please forgive me. I still love you so much. I want to read this stuff, I am just going through a rough time, rough always implies self absobtion or an egotistical time right? yes. I thing therefore I am... everything...

12:55 AM, July 02, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...


12:57 AM, July 02, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...


12:57 AM, July 02, 2006  
Blogger sans provided this enlightening comment...

beautiful pics!

4:07 PM, September 02, 2006  

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