Brookings, Oregon

Friday I drove up “The 101” and entered the state of Oregon.  I’ll be traveling up the entire 343 mile length of the Oregon coast over the next two weeks.  The first big city I came to, shortly after crossing the state line, was Brookings.

I ate lunch at a restaurant down near the harbor, then drove back up to a long bridge which took me over the Chetco River so I could continue my trek north.

I saw this old Coast Guard ship down by the harbor:


And I saw these two puppies at the restaurant where I had lunch:


When I got back up to the roadway this was the view looking inland from the bridge:


And this was the view looking towards the ocean, down at the harbor below:


These are some flowers I saw at the Botanical Garden where I parked my car while I took the pictures from the bridge.  This is a “Harlequin” Marigold:


When I was in Death Valley National Park I posted a photo of a Desert Holly.  Since I’m near the ocean it is appropriate that I post a photo of a Sea Holly:


There was no sign but I believe this is another Bottlebrush plant, like the ones I saw down in California:


And this is where “Hot Tamales,” the delicious red-hot candy comes from:


Actually it’s a Nine-pin Heath, which comes from South Africa.

Submarine Aircraft Carrier

History was not my strong suit in high school (nor were English or French, as those teachers would attest to…) but I learned an interesting history lesson shortly after arriving in Brookings, Oregon on Friday. I realize the title of this post seems to be a contradiction in terms but here’s the story…

On September 9, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-25 surfaced off the coast of the western United States. Crew members quickly assembled a specially designed modular aircraft which would carry two 170-pound incendiary bombs. The plane flew inland to a position near Wheeler Ridge, east of Brookings, and dropped it’s cargo. Their intent was to start a fire, causing panic and pandemonium (ask anyone living on the West coast how they feel about fire…). Fortunately, thanks to a wetter than normal summer and alert Forest Service spotters, crews were able to detect and extinguish the resulting fire before it got out of hand (and later found bomb fragments to verify what happened). The sub tried again 20 days later but farmers and military personnel spotted the plane and no fires resulted and no bombs were ever found. The September 9 attack remains the only time enemy aircraft successfully bombed the US mainland during wartime.

Here are photos of the sign I saw in Brookings:



The story has a happy ending. In 1962 the pilot of the plane which dropped the bombs attended Brooking’s annual Azalea festival and surrendered his 400 year-old samurai sword as a gesture of goodwill to the United States and the people of Oregon. Here is a picture of the sword I found online:


(Photo credit:


He also returned in 1992 and planted a redwood tree at the site of the bombing.

Southwest Oregon Coast – Post 1 of 2

Friday I crossed into Oregon from California and drove up the first 30 miles of the coast.  The Oregon coast is 343 miles long and, by law, is all open free to the public.  If what I saw in the first 30 miles is any indication, I think I’m really going to like it here!

All the photos in this post were taken from the dozen or so overlooks along the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor – a 12-mile portion of Hwy 101 which began soon after I entered the state.  One overlook was closed (from the tallest bridge in Oregon, which was having some work done and was reduced to one lane, with the pedestrian portion closed) and two or three others required steep walks to get to the viewing areas, but I stopped at all the rest.

About 3 o’clock Friday afternoon the sun finally burned through the marine layer and the blue sky started reflecting nicely off the water.






This is Whale Rock:





This is Arch Rock, at the final overlook along the Scenic Corridor.  At 511pm when I took these the afternoon sun created a glare off the ocean.  I will definitely be back Saturday and possibly Sunday to get photos from the same vantage point.




Southwest Oregon Coast – Post 2 of 2

Friday I drove up the first 30 miles of the southern Oregon coast after crossing over from California.  Here are some of the incredible views I had throughout the afternoon (and because it was afternoon some were taken looking into the late day sun.  I hope to get pictures from the same vantage points Saturday with the sun behind me).












From high up on a hill, looking down below a cloud (which you can see in the 3rd photo above):


Shortly after taking these photos I arrived in the little town of Gold Beach where I’ll be staying for two nights.  I will backtrack to these same areas on Saturday and hopefully have the sun behind me, although the marine layer often doesn’t burn off until early to mid-afternoon so the sun will then be above me.  Depending on how Saturday goes I may hang around here Monday as well, as I will be staying 3 nights at my next stop further up the road so I’ll have more time to see things up that way.


Wind Surfing on the Pistol River

The brochures for this area in Oregon promise “world class wind surfing” and I got a small taste of it when I arrived at Pistol River State Park around 530pm Friday.  The water in the foreground is where the Pistol River empties into the Pacific Ocean (which, as you may have guessed, is in the background).


The first place I parked I saw these two wind surfers, a man and a woman, zipping back and forth across the river.



The sky was clear and it was extremely windy so they both took advantage of that to practice some literal wind surfing – getting airborne:






In this next photo she is easily 6 to 8 feet off the water:



I’ll be in the area two more days, and there are supposed to be some great wind surfing spots further north, so I imagine I’ll be seeing more of this.



Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Thank you to an alert viewer who noticed that I incorrectly named this Park Jedediah Scott in the original post, not Jedediah Smith.  I stand corrected!

Thursday morning I revisited this Park, which I had driven through the day before.  I posted one of these in another post but want to show them again.  When I first entered the Park on the rough, dusty dirt road the accumulation of gray dust kicked by by other vehicles on the ferns near the road made for an interesting sight:



Further in the Park I decided to stop and get out of the car in a few places to take some pictures:




The guy’s wife was standing behind the tree trunk on the right taking his picture and as I was going back to get my car out of their way I discovered that their two daughters were actually up in the tree trunk on the left, which had a huge hollow area in it (like a gigantic wooden straw).

As is often the case, the pictures don’t do it justice.  There were times I felt like, but for the road, I was in a Lord of the Rings movie and Frodo and Sam would come marching out of the woods at any moment.





Once I got back out to the paved road I went over a bridge.  I had stopped both yesterday and today to get a picture of the river (which didn’t meet my expectations either day) but today I noticed some folks down enjoying a day by the water.


The ladies are on the right, catching some rays while the guys are on the left, “runnin’ the dogs.”


Point St. George Lighthouse

Thursday afternoon, after driving through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park again, I thought I’d check out this lighthouse which is just north of Crescent City:


Trust me, it’s out there folks.  This lighthouse was built 6 miles out in the ocean (and right now I doubt if I can see a half mile).

Here is the view looking south:


And looking north:


And it was the craziest thing…. as I stood there looking out at the rock formation I could barely see ahead of me (first photo) I thought I could hear music!  I listened for a while and thought maybe someone was out there in a boat with a boombox cranked up, but after a few minutes I think I figured it out.

It was “seal music”.

Now I’m not talking about Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel, born February 19, 1963.  I’m talking about what had to have been a huge group of seals barking.  I asked a young lady who was parking in a car nearby and she confirmed it.  And when I got home I was telling my Airbnb hostess and she said that if the conditions are right they can sometimes hear them when they are out in their yard (they live about a mile inland), and they can also hear the waves crashing if the surf if really powerful.

I drove further out to the point itself and walked a little ways north to watch and listen to just the ocean for a while:





Crescent Beach Overlook

Thursday evening I went out in search of dinner and to run my car through a car wash (after two trips through the dusty road in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park it REALLY needed a bath) I drove south of town to this overlook.  The coastal fog had moved out into the ocean a bit so visibility right by the beach was better than it had been all day:

This was looking south, towards Enderts Beach, which I thought I could drive to but found out I had to walk.  It is a little ways further south and not visible in the photo.  There was something specific there I was hoping to see but it will have to wait for another time.  I’m told I may find it somewhere else in the next few days.



And this is the beach looking north:


And way off in the distance, shrouded by fog from this vantage point, is Crescent City (left half of photo).



Seals and Pelicans

Thursday night on the way home from Crescent Beach I stopped by the Harbor to check out a restaurant that several people had told me about. They said there was also a spot next to the restaurant to see seals up close. I went to the spot they told me about and out on the old dock (a platform there specifically to keep the seals away from people – apparently they can be pretty nasty) there were not the tens or hundreds I was expecting, but exactly two.




Well, three. There was one in the water that would stick his head up for a few seconds then disappear underwater only to pop up somewhere else about a minute later (and I think it may actually be a sea lion).


Since that one was unpredictable I went back to the two on the dock, who were VERY predictable. The gray one did move his head around a bit but the other seemed to be sound asleep.



I believe I need a drink.


I heard that…


I’d hate for you to drink alone…


Then I changed my attention to a brown pelican which was flying around and in the course of a few minutes plunged into the water several times to catch fish. This was just after the first successful catch I witnessed:


Then he took off to try again:



I missed the next landing but shortly after it he took off yet again:





And it wasn’t long after that when he struck again:


Before I left the harbor I snagged two more pictures of the Battery Point Light, across the harbor from where I was. I had taken a picture from this vantage point Tuesday afternoon when I arrived in town and it was just a tad clearer Thursday evening when I took these.



Redwood National Park

I drove through this Park on my way north to Crescent City on Tuesday afternoon but wanted to study the Park map and figure out my strategy before tackling it. Wednesday I drove south and started exploring the Parks (and I say Parks plural because there are also many State Parks centered around Redwood trees in this area and, in total, they cover a much larger area than the National Park).

First up was the Newton P. Drury Scenic Parkway which runs parallel to “The 101”. It is actually within Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. There were many places to pull off the road and marvel at the tall trees around you.


Here is a two-shot panorama, top to bottom, of a very tall Redwood tree:



Like Sequoias, these can live to be thousands of years old but many can grow to be as much as 380 feet tall, almost 70 feet higher than the tallest Sequoia. And while Sequoia cones are only about the size of a large chicken egg, Redwood cones are even smaller – about the size of a large olive.

I drove further down the Parkway and stopped at the parking area for the “Corkscrew Tree”. I short walk took me past an area of ferns on the way to the tree itself:


Let me sidetrack for a moment while I’m thinking about it – later in the day, while in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park these were the ferns I saw:


As they used to say about TV’s, don’t adjust your set. And no, I didn’t switch to taking black & white photos. The road through this State Park was dirt and gravel and since it has been so long since they have had measurable rain these ferns were covered in gray dust, kicked up by the vehicles driving back and forth on the road.

There is also an area near the coast called Fern Canyon which I’ve been told by several people that I need to see. Well, snakes love to hang out near ferns and I DON’T like to hang out near snakes so I’m unsure whether or not I will attempt it.

Back to the “Corkscrew Tree”: As I approached it I saw two people sitting next to the path at the base of the tree (wearing blue & white).


I thanked them for “volunteering” to be my size reference points. The woman commented that she’d have her agent call me. (I’m pretty sure she said “agent” and not “attorney”…). They were actually a very nice couple from Carson City, Nevada who were here doing some mild hiking and were taking a snack break. Ironically they had also been in Redding on Monday (and had to detour around Hwy. 299 which was closed as a result of the wildfire that started near there Monday afternoon) and they are also staying in Crescent City!

Here is a shot looking up at the tree from where the first photo was taken:


And here are shots from two more angles, looking up, showing the twisted trunks:

Angle One:



Angle Two: