DM and MM's USA and Canada 2004 Trip Diary

Day 10 - Crescent City to Coos Bay

Monday, 5 April, 2004

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We woke up late-ish today because the window blind was so good that the daylight didn't wake us. We had the complimentary continental breakfast at the motel, which was basically some sugary croissants and muffins - we really got sugared up!

We loaded the car and drove over to a Rite-Aid pharmacy to see if they could transfer the digital photos to CD, but they could only write Kodak format picture CDs. So we gave up and started our drive north for the day.

Just past Smith River we crossed into Oregon, a change unmarked by anything but a "Welcome to Oregon" sign. We continued through Brookings and onward, stopping only briefly for some scenic lookouts and to check out a beach covered with mounds of driftwood - including some large logs with branches still attached. The weather today was overcast and very cold, with a steady cold wind from the north blowing at any exposed position.

Further along the road we turned off to Cape Sebastian State Park and took a walk along the coast trail there to a couple of scenic viewpoints. The walk turned out to be longer than expected and started leading down a hill rather than to a clifftop lookout, so we turned around after about 15 minutes of walking.

Driving on to the town of Gold Beach, we stopped for lunch at a Ray's Foods market where I got a pastrami sandwich and Michelle got some cheddar cheese for her crispbreads.

Triceratops, Prehistoric Gardens

Between Gold Beach and Port Orford we were lured into the Prehistoric Gardens Dinosaur Park, which had 23 life-sized models of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts set in a "naturalistic" setting of ferns and other primitive plants. It was pretty cool, although the paint jobs were fairly colourful and fanciful, and the informative signs were badly outdated, but apart from that it was half decent for such a blatant tourist trap.

Struthiomimus, Prehistoric Gardens

Driving into Port Orford, we stopped at the Historic Port Orford Coast Guard Station, where we walked around a loop trail to a couple of viewpoints on the cliff, one of which overlooked the cove below in which the Coast Guard operated a boathouse in very rough looking seas until the 1970s. We also saw the spot where a watchtower once stood, keeping watch over the coast north and south for ships in trouble. Then we checked the museum in the old Coast Guard quarters building, which was still being put together to show a lot of the history of Port Orford as well as the Coast Guard post there, but was mostly done and quite interesting.

Continuing north we stopped next at Bandon, where we looked in on the Bandon Cheese factory. (This factory would later close down, and doesn't exist any more.) Unfortunately, like at the Jelly Belly factory they weren't making cheese so although we could see the cheese vats and mixing things through a big window we couldn't watch anyone actually making cheese. They had free samples though, so we tried several styles of cheese. I tried from "sharp" cheddar and noticed it was actually fairly mild, so I tried some "extra sharp" and was disappointed again at how mild it was - not even as flavoursome as the bog-standard Bodalla cheddar we get at home, let alone any of the matured cheddars. We didn't buy any cheese as we didn't have any way of keeping it cool for the few days it would have taken us to eat it, but they had ice cream and chocolates too, so I got a wild blackberry scoop on a waffle and Michelle got a couple of fruity chocolates.

Then we walked in the chilly air across to a gift shop and bought some myrtlewood souvenirs. The shop was called The Station and seemed railway-themed. Walking back to the car we briefly looked in at a Christmas store full of ornaments and so on.

Lumber yard, Coos Bay

We drove on to Coos Bay and checked in to the Motel 6 we'd reserved from Gilroy, with no problems. After unpacking the car we went for a walk into town, rugging up against the cold. We walked along the Coos Bay Boardwalk, which ran along the bay shore and had some historical displays of tugboats and timber logging and some big planks of about 20 different types of wood all set as vertical posts with explanatory plaques

We found a Mexican restaurant called El Sombrero, and entered for dinner. The inside was very nicely decorated in a Mexican cantina style and we ordered a vegetarian burrito for Michelle and a chicken mole poblano enchilada for me. The food was good, and cheap - only $13 for the whole bill.

96/365 El Sombrero
Dinner at El Sombrero

Then we walked back to the motel, taking some side streets that looked promising to try to find an Internet cafe or somewhere else we could check e-mail, but didn't find anything. We passed a closed drug store that sold plants and garden supplies, and were amazed that they had heaps of trays of seedlings, more mature potted plants, and huge bags of soil and so on all sitting unattended on the footpath. Anyone could have walked up and simply taken as many plants and bags of potting mix as they liked!

Back at the motel we checked the TV and found opening day baseball on ESPN2, Texas v Oakland. I went and asked at reception if there were any Internet places in town and was told the only possibility was the library, with the one in Coos Bay already closed and the one in adjacent North Coos Bay closing at 8pm - 10 minutes to go. So we abandoned that idea and settled in for an evening of baseball.

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