Port Orford Loop Road

 And Missing My Grandkids…

Also known as Madrona Avenue, this Loop, highlighted in pink, intersects Highway 101, and circled in blue shows where we are staying, Port Orford RV Village.

Until today, Jeff and I have always walked south on Madrona to catch 101 and head down toward town, the dock, and Battle Rock. Or we cross 101 and head north on Arizona Street to Paradise Point Road where we turn west to reach the ever-changing ocean, as highlighted in purple.

Today, however, we head north on Madrona Avenue, aka Port Orford Loop Road. It’s an overcast, gray day, but there is a break in the rain clouds as we head to Paradise Point to take in the ocean.

And I encounter the animals in our neighborhood…

There are chickens in the coop below. I just can’t get close enough to make them look like chickens without trespassing.

Ollie, what noise does a chicken make? Ask Uncle Andy to do his impression of one for you!

Llamas or alpacas?…

Jace and Eliska, do they make a sound? I am afraid to get too close for fear they will spit on me. Jeff laughs and says only camels would do that. All I know is that I am not taking any unnecessary chances!

Horses…

All together now… neighhhhhhh!!!

Old fishing boats adorn a front yard…

Toot toot!

Ya gotta love Port Orford!!!

We intersect Highway 101…

…and Jeff directs us north. I question his logic. (But who am I to question Daniel Jeff, nicknamed after the famous explorer and frontiersman?) He pulls out his phone and we immediately turn around and head south for over a half mile till we reach Paradise Point.

The sea is angry today. Doesn’t the picture below look like I filtered out the color?

Oh, Emjay and Jasley, I wish I could show you this in person!!

We head back home and take Arizona Street to Madrona and cross 101 at the southern end of the Loop. And a deer greets us…

Wish you were here! Love, Grammy L  XXXXX(X)OOOOO(O)

What’s with the (X) and (O)?? That’s for Oliver’s little brother or sister we will finally get to meet in early October!!

Seeing Stars

 Fish…

Jeff and I walk to Battle Rock Beach today. Someone has built a fort out of driftwood and I respectfully and delightfully memorialize the efforts.

The tide is out and oh, what a wonderland of ocean life we discover! These rocks tell stories.

And expose all sorts of ocean life clinging onto them or in the surrounding tidal pools!

These rocks look like pieces of wood, but they have only been smoothed by years of ocean waves…

Low tide also washes up…

And these little mole crabs or sand crabs, scurrying above and below the sand…

Walking around Port Orford also means encountering local peeps and their pups. On our way to Battle Rock we meet Fawn, a 12-week-old pup and her peep of no name. Later, on the beach, we recognize Fawn. I endear myself to her peep of no name and we share our love of Port Orford. She, the peep of no name, captures a teeny tiny crab among this rock of shells and crevices.

And I take a picture of this teeny tiny crab crawling up her arm.

What a glorious day of exciting new discoveries!

The Southern Oregon Coast

 Brookings to Port Orford

Today we drive south to Brookings, about 58 miles from Port Orford, to find a Verizon store.

My iPhone is taking forever to charge. I follow all the suggestions listed online. I switch charging cables. I clean the port with a toothpick and compressed-gas duster. I switch electrical outlets. Nothing helps. The charge creeps up so slowly that I feel I have to be tethered to the wall so I can be continuously plugged-in.

(The other option is to travel north to Coos Bay. The distance is about the same, but we are familiar with Bandon, Coos Bay, and North Bend since we stayed in Remote last summer. We’ve only seen the coast from Port Orford to California and back again from the RV and both times we were destination-minded.)

So, we combine business with pleasure… and another opportunity to stop and enjoy spectacular ocean views.

But first I stop at Verizon, only to find out that my battery is being drained by photos running in the background. This doesn’t make sense to me, especially since I haven’t opened any photos. At most I have my iPhone and iPad locked and plugged in so that my iCloud data syncs. The employee assisting me checks settings, battery, and running applications and resets something. There! All better.

I am not feeling all better. She assures me my battery is fine. I insist that she check my charger so she plugs it into the wall. The good news is that she doesn’t try to upgrade me to a new phone. She checks the progress of my charger and in her opinion I am ready to go… problem solved. I ask her what I need to do in the future to prevent this slow charging again. Nothing. She worked her mojo and I don’t need to repeat this process. So, I am still confused as to why photos were running in the background causing all this problem. I leave, but seriously wonder if I just chased a wild goose.

So, goose-chase or not, Jeff and I drive back, turning into every State Park, State Recreation Site, and Scenic View.

I hope you enjoy the Oregon coast as much as we do!


We start at Harris Beach State Recreational Area.

This is the beginning or the end, depending upon which direction you travel, of the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, a scenic 12 mile linear state park, named after the first Oregon Parks superintendent. It is located 3 miles north of Brookings between the Pacific Ocean and Highway 101. The north end abuts the Pistol River Scenic Viewpoint. The Oregon Coast Trail winds through here too for 27 miles. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

Jeff and I plan future hikes…

Five  minutes later we stop at Lone Ranch Beach.

In another 5 minutes we are checking out Cape Ferrelo.

Within yet another 5, we arrive at House Rock Viewpoint where a memorial to Samuel H. Boardman is emblazoned into a rock.

And here are the ocean views:

Here’s a peek of the coastal trail. Jeff and I are surprised by the barren trees.

Three minutes later… Whalehead Viewpoint:

Within 15 minutes we cross Thomas Creek Bridge.

From the car it is nothing spectacular. Built in 1961 and designed by Ivan D. merchant, this Warren deck truss bridge is the highest bridge in Oregon at 345 feet. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

 en.m.wikipedia.org

Another 3 minutes and we turn into Natural Bridges. A short walk onto a viewing bridge makes us gasp.

The different shades of ocean blue are amazing!

Before we get back in the car, I notice another memorial plaque adorned on a rock.

(You know, I like that idea… a rock of remembrance… I don’t mean to sound morbid, but I can’t see myself buried in a cemetery confined to one place. But I can envision my memory continuing subtly in nature… maybe just a word painted on a special rock that someone finds and decides to keep.) While I’m on this subject, I am reminded of my friend, Ann. She and I traveled to Africa together and Ann brought along some ashes from her mother’s urn. She spread some in the waters of Victoria Falls and some over the Serengeti when we rode a hot air balloon. It was her way of sharing special moments with her mother. I like that idea! What a heart-touched way to be remembered and let go of… and return to the earth…

A narrow path leads to the Oregon Coast Trail. But here is what I discover… an orange berry that comes out yellow on my iPad picture.

As I leave, I notice 3 more berries.

Ten minutes later we arrive at the Pistol River. The sand dunes and driftwood make for a beautiful picture in a natural setting.

Then the river melts into the ocean.

Within 5 minutes we are on the outskirts of Gold Beach at Cape Sebastian State Corridor.

Before we leave I spy…

and California poppies…

In 3 miles we are stopping yet again in Cape Sebastian State Park. The picture below is from a vista of 200 feet above sea level.

A mile-and-a-half trail leads to the cape. We notice again how barren and brown the branches on the trees are… so different from the trails around Port Orford.

Six minutes later we enter Gold Beach named for the gold found here in the mid 1800s.

The I.L. Patterson Memorial Bridge crosses the Rogue River. Built in 1931 and designed by Conde B. McCullough, it was the first bridge in the country to be constructed with prestressed concrete.

Soon, we pass Humbug Mountain and return to Port Orford.


Turns out I goosed a wild chase at Verizon after all. I need a new charger! I’m sure we’ll be going to Coos Bay sometime soon…

Old Highway 101 Trail

 Humbug Mountain State Park

This trail, is mostly paved (but not open to traffic) and runs along the north side of the park’s campground before veering northwest and dropping down onto the present Highway 101.

I couldn’t find any information about the re-routing of the original 1926 Oregon Coast Highway in this area. However, I can only surmise, from its name and paved surface, that this 5-mile out and back trail once carried traffic along the 363-mile coast of Oregon.

Jeff and I originally planned on hiking the 3-mile out and back Day-Use Trail, circled below, but the trail was unmarked and we could not find any sign of a trail crossing under or over the highway.

According to the Oregon State Parks brochure we picked up at the Visitors Center, this hike meanders along Brush Creek with views of three 100-foot waterfalls and either starts or ends at the only Oregon myrtle grove accessible from U.S. 101.

So, we head back to the Humbug Mountain Campground and look for the Old Highway 101 trailhead which is not easy to find. The Parking Area for the trail is also not marked. (What a bummer! No, what a frustration! The Humbug Mountain State Park brochure needs to seriously be revised! Or, clear signage needs to be added!) Fortunately, I don’t like to give up. Unfortunately, Jeff doesn’t always appreciate my enthusiasm.

As we drive through the campground I notice the campsite of the park hosts and know I can get help from them. But, whoa, I ask Jeff to stop the car so I can run out and talk to the park ranger who is tagging reserved campsites. And all my questions get answered! Yes!!!!!

I find out that the Day-Use Trail is not well maintained, especially since there are only 4 rangers responsible for several state parks along the coast. Also, it is tick season and not a recommended route in June. Plus, since the trail is not a priority, there are overgrown and fallen obstacles blocking the path. (I decide not to mention the signage issue. I’m just glad to know that Jeff and I have not lost our marbles or our map skills!)

So, where’s the Old Highway 101 Trail? She explains how to get to the unmarked area where we can access the trailhead. We follow her directions and park the car and walk up the hill blocked by a gate. Apparently, according to the park map and the ranger, the Day-Use Trail intersects here too, but without a machete, Jeff and I have no clue where this may be!

At long last, our hike begins in a dark and heavily forested section rising steeply to our right.

Twelve different varieties of ferns thrive on this section of the trail, appropriately labeled and aptly named, Fern Trail.

A waterfall cascades from Dry Run Creek.

A small field of delicate pine needles catches my attention.

Looking behind us, dark clouds overshadow our hike.

But, looking ahead, blue skies lead.

Another waterfall, tiny but too beautiful to ignore…

As we pass beyond the campground, a spectacular view of Humbug Mountain and the ocean appears.

And scenic views of the Pacific Ocean tease us along the way.

Here’s what the paved path looks like.

Yes, from the path above the views are amazing!

And flowers pose for a picture…

Before we reach the end of the trail, descending down to Highway 101, we discover a marker, yes! directing us to take a short detour through a narrow path leading us up to a secluded vista.

Along the way I discover a snail moving slowly across my path.

We arrive.

We take in the views.

We reluctantly leave. The snail is gone now, making tracks somewhere in the grass beyond the path. Instead of finding out where Old Highway 101 meets Highway 101, we head back to our car.

And I discover…

A banana slug…

Another snail…

And, on our way back to Port Orford RV Village on Port Orford Loop Road, a deer…

Humbug Mountain Trail

 Rising Directly from the Ocean

Humbug rises directly from the Pacific Ocean and stands 1,756 feet above sea level, making it one of the tallest headlands in Oregon.

 en.m.wikipedia.org

Originally known to Native Americans as Me-tus, Humbug was later named Sugarloaf Mountain. In 1851 it became known as Tichenor’s Humbug when an exploring party sent by Captain William Tichenor, the founder of Port Orford, got lost and headed north of the port instead of south. Tichenor said the name was chosen “to palliate their gross failure.” (enjoyportorford.com)

…from palliate to humbug…  Okay, then, the misdirection was glossed over, covered up, condoned and their misled behavior became humbug… That’s the best I can do to make sense of the name!

So, are you ready for a 5.5 mile hike up Humbug Mountain? Let’s go!

First, we have to cross a muddy creek at the beginning of the trailhead.

Then we hike steadily up for the next mile on a narrow path. With each switchback the steep edge alternates from right to left.

The ocean peeks through the trees.

Obstacles on the trail challenge us:

Moss on trees cast an eerie silhouette:

Then we cross a Zen-like stream.

And finally we meet the junction.

We take the West Trail and catch glimpses of the Pacific Ocean:

And the old-growth temperate rainforest:

We arrive at the summit.

We are greeted by a bench and a grove of Myrtlewood Trees, but no ocean view.

But we knew this before we started. We’re just happy to hike to the summit.

And now, what goes up, must come down. In our case, what goes west, must go east.

So, we head down…

And for the next 4 days our calves talk back to us!

Home for the Next 6 Weeks, Part 2

 Port Orford

This small town of less than 2,000 people is located on the southern coast of Oregon on Highway 101, between the Pacific Ocean and Siskiyou National Forest. It lies midway between Gold Beach to the south and Bandon to the north. Port Orford, named after the Earl of Orford, is the westernmost city in the contiguous United States. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

The oceanic climate translates into cool, very wet winters and mild, dry summers. Yearly average temperatures fluctuate between a low of 40 degrees and a high of 67 degrees. (en.m.wikipedia.org)


Last September we spent 4 nights here, over Labor Day Weekend, and fell in love with this place… No traffic lights, no fast food or restaurant chains, no clothing boutiques, just nature in the raw in a small hometown setting.

You can revisit my first impression of Port Orford here.

This is my post on the dolly dock.

And my post on Agate Beach…

Here’s where we spotted whales from Port Orford Heads…

And toured the Lifeboat Station…

Six miles north of Port Orford, we explored the Patrick Hughes House and the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.


And now that we are home-based here awhile, I am excited to take you for a tour of Port Orford!

First, we will drive through the city on Highway 101, locally designated as Oregon Street, and come back again. This takes less than 5 minutes round-trip.

Notice the RV Park in the picture above. On June 26th we will move here because summer reservations at Port Orford RV Village require our space. (We knew this when we first arrived. Cindy tried to work her magic but could only squeeze out an extra week, but we needed 19 more days. Lucky for us, Camp Blanco RV Park has space for us!)

This motel is no longer open. There is a restaurant connected to the building as well which is also closed… a bit of an eyesore…

This place looks fun! I can’t wait to go inside!


Later, we head up this hill which overlooks the ocean. From the top you can view the dock and Humbug Mountain.  


We turn and head back…

The building with the green sign is Buddhas Wellness Center, the dispensary. Here’s a sidewalk view:

It wouldn’t be Oregon without spotting a truck hauling logs…

The Food Co-Op hosts a market on Saturdays from 9 till noon.

I quickly snap a view of some of the side streets to the east…

Jeff and I will explore these later…

The elementary school…

The High School is 6 miles north in Langlois. (On one of our hikes we met a graduate who told us the school has a total of 70 students. His senior class had only 15.)

So far we’ve discovered 4 churches: The Catholic Church above, a Mormon Church, a Lutheran Church, and a Community Church.

The library…

This restaurant is re-opening as the Wild Oaks Grill in a few days.

Ray’s Place is the only grocery store. Prices are high and the produce is iffy at best.

This is the cleanest, neatest, and brightest DG I have ever been in! Ever! We can pick up staples and household products very reasonably here. Beverages too…

And now we turn right on Madrona and drive toward Port Orford RV Village.

But before we return we take a detour off Madrona so I can share some sights of a few side streets. Sketched into the wooden shingle circled below, are the words, School Bus Stop.

Crab traps…

An apiary or bee-yard…

Many paved side streets turn into pot-holed gravel roadways leading to private properties.


Finally, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take a moment to notice some foliage and flowers. So, we stop and I hop out of the car to capture these photos:

Home For The Next 6 Weeks, Part 1

 Port Orford RV Village

This is a beautiful RV park, 1/2 mile off Highway 101 and 2 miles from the ocean.

The owners, Tim and Cindy, live on site and keep the grounds manicured and decorated.

Tim is also the mayor of Port Orford.

Everything here is neat, clean, and labeled. Cardboard and returnable beverage containers are placed in bins by the dumpster. Each site also has its own recycle bin.

Yep, that’s our RV peeking out!

Complimentary coffee is brewed each morning and available from 6:30 to 8:00 in the coffee room. A lending library of books and movies is housed here too. A jigsaw puzzle is always in need of finding matching pieces. Outside is an inviting patio.

The laundry room is spotless and cutely decorated inside and out.

Behind the laundry room is the club house / recreational room equipped with a kitchen for the monthly potlucks. Residents gather here afternoons at 4 to visit or play Mexican Train.

An alley between the laundry and rec rooms is the designated fish cleaning area. It includes a place for smoking fish and boiling  crab. I circled this area in the picture below.

Did I mention that cable and wi-fi is free?

There are 49 RV sites on the premises and I’m betting at least 2/3rds of them are occupied by full-time residents. Everyone is super friendly and full of smiles… rain, clouds, or shine!

And now we have settled in as happy campers too!

There isn’t much space between sites, however there is still a picnic table where I can add treasures to my ever growing trove: