Coastal Oregon, jaw-dropping beauty
Updated: 6 days ago
Driving Highway 1 on the Coast of Oregon has always been on our bucket list. But we were seriously not prepared for just how STUNNING the area is. The Pacific Ocean crashing against jagged cliffs, dramatic pine trees and thick forest, mind blowing rock formations off the coast. Wow!
California to Oregon
We drove north from San Diego along the Highway 1 (aka Pacific Coast Highway or Route 1). The ride through Los Angeles was heartbreaking, there were so many makeshift homeless tent camps under freeway overpasses and along the side of the roadways. This is not the LA we used to know. It's just plain sad!
We continued along Highway 101 until we got to Ventura County then we figured we'd route over to Highway 1 so we could take the coast at that point. So, without checking ahead to see if the road was too narrow for RVs and trailers, we turned off onto on California State Route 23 South which connects Venture County to Malibu through the Santa Monica Mountains. We saw a sign that suggested (they should have had a harsher warning!) that trailers not use the road. But at that point it was too late. We were already committed and there was nowhere to turn around our 30ft Airstream. Chris did a Herculean job (seriously!) carefully navigating up steep, narrow roads, blind curves, and very tight sharp passages along the mountain side. A white knuckle ride for sure. It felt like being on a rollercoaster for 30 minutes straight. By the time we reached Highway 1, I was ready to kiss the ground! Once we got passed that, we continued along with stops in Pismo Beach (super fun little town), Sausalito to see family, and the giant and gorgeous Redwoods in Humboldt County.
We stayed a night in Garberville, CA and strolled through the old (but nicely renovated) Benbow Historic Inn, which was a step back in time. It was called Hotel Benbow -- built by the Benbow family of nine brothers and sisters -- when it opened in 1926 at the same time the new Redwood Highway was completed. Hollywood movie stars and famous folks used to frequent the hotel when it featured a lake with boating and swimming along with riding stables, hiking trails and fishing. Today, the lake is gone and instead there's a shallow river in its place. The family sold the hotel in 1962, and it's had only a handful of new owners since then. If you're interested in history -- the hotel has ghost stories in book form that visitors can peruse -- this is a cool place to stop by.
We finally made it into southern Oregon and the coastline views were spectacular. Our photos didn't do it justice. The cool temperatures and sunny days made exploring even better.
The drive along the Oregon Coast Highway was one of the best we've ever taken. Lots of pull over areas to view the vast Pacific and its waves crashing into the rocks and cliffs.
We stopped for lunch at the small charming fishing village of Bandon and caught their Farmer's Market with tons of locally made items including jellies and jam, lavender lotions, crystals and driftwood art. We stayed at Bay Point Landing at Coos Bay, which has amazing views of the calm and serene water. The sunsets were stunning and, this time of the year, it was still light out well into the evening.
From there we headed inland to Central Oregon. Our first stop was Detroit Lakes State Park -- on the shore of a forest-ringed canyon reservoir in the Cascade Mountains -- with views of snow-capped Mt. Jefferson off in the distance. The tiny town of Detroit, Oregon is still reeling from the historic and devastating September 2020 wildfire that burned more than 400,000 acres, claimed the lives of several people and destroyed more than 200 homes. Its resilient residents and business owners (#DetroitStrong) are working diligently to rebuild much of what was lost.
Then we traveled a short distance away to LaPine State Park Campground along the Deschutes River, just outside of Bend .... another beautiful and unique Oregon state park. LaPine is centrally located to several iconic landmarks of Central Oregon, including Newberry Crater, Lava River Cave and Deschutes National Forest. Until next time. # # #