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. (

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. (

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…


What am I?

I am 4 letters long. I can be seen in the sky. I am the ocean and the sea. ?????





It’s a sunny, cloudless, 65 degree morning after 2 days of sputtering rain and whipping winds. We venture across the Santa Ana Mountains via the Ortega Highway through San Juan Capistrano, driving as far west as possible until we reach Doheny State Beach in Dana Point and…


arrive at the Pacific Ocean.

It’s quiet at the beach. The bamboo mat is rolled out like a red carpet beckoning us to make our grand entrance.


We reach the sandy pebble-packed “walk of fame”, emblazoned with the footprints large and small, of those who visited before us.




Surfers wait patiently to catch some waves to ride.




And I wait excitedly to capture the waves exploding on the rocks feeling their aftermath bathing my feet and pulling the sand beneath me…






…rendering me and the shore birds off balance as they retreat into the sea again.


The sea shore always looks, sounds, and smells different while still tasting salty and feeling the same between the toes. The sand here, however, is not soft on this rocky beach


and the only shells that wash up are the bits and pieces leftover from the shore birds’ crustacean dinners. Today lobster shells are left behind.





It’s a smelly beach today too with deposits of red and green seaweed and kelp washed ashore by the waves and wind.







Within an hour the waves die down and the tide goes out, revealing the rocky surface that was under the water when we first arrived.


The ocean inspires me to be present and fully alive in each moment. I walk quietly and wait for the waves to embrace me and then let me go. The waves erase my footprints reminding me that I can always start over and admonishing me to not take myself too seriously.

Dressed in sunlight, the water sparkles and the washed up pebbles shine like jewels. I am mesmerized by the brilliance around me and grateful for this gift from the sea.

But the ocean has a dark and angry side as well, which I fear and respect. It’s yin and yang personality tells us a story about nature, life, and earth… lessons we can take to heart.

And finally…