Exploring the Oregon and California Coast – Part 1 (Coos Bay, Bandon and Redwoods)

On the way to Coos Bay, Oregon

Coos Bay, Bandon, Crescent City, Eureka, Arcata, Mendocino, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Santa Cruz

After two nights in Portland, Wednesday morning, I was off! To the coast! Ready for some SOLO adventuring 🙂

“Solo Adventuring” I get asked quite a bit when I’m off exploring…”So, who are you meeting up with?” No one. “Well, who are you going with?” No one. Which inedibly leads to the question “Well, what are you going to do?”

The answer I mostly say is “I have no idea!” But here’s my basic plan and I will be ready for anything that happens (or not ready…) I’ll be content with being with myself, I’ll pay more attention to the people I meet, I’ll let the world just take me and show me a great time.

It never fails! Hasn’t yet anyways… That when I explore solo, I end up getting into adventures that would have never gotten into, meeting people that I never would’ve met and my mind body and soul are free from stress and compromise. Free.

Don’t get me wrong. Traveling with someone can be very special. Experiencing the world with someone that you care about can be just as wonderful. And this is the way most people do it. It’s just not the only way.

I think that going on adventures, exploring or whatever you want to do, ALONE is extremely good for a person. We lead crazy fast paced lives surrounded by people and the baggage that comes along with them….and we rarely get a chance to get away, take some risks and see how you get along SOLO.

Random Stop. Simply Beautiful Country

Random Stop. Simply Beautiful Country

So I’ve left Portland and I’m headed to Coos bay. I’ve always wanted to go to Coos bay because my great running hero is Steve Prefontaine. Who is from Coos Bay. Only seeing the town depicted in the movies, I was super excited to see this town and perhaps go for a run 🙂

Such a beautiful little town but SLEEPY. I got there around lunch time and was super hungry so I hit a place for a bite to eat first.

Fishermans Wharf for some ridiculous Clam Chowder

After hanging around town for a bit and chatting with some locals, I found out that basically there isn’t anything going on in the town and that I should go a little further south to Bandon, OR. I had never heard of Bandon before but took the advice and took off.

Bandon is about 30 minutes south of Coos. It was about 3 PM at this point and the sun was getting low.

Another Beautiful bridge on the Oregon Coast.

Bandon Bay

As soon as I got to Bandon I headed to the water. It was a little windy and about 45 degrees. The only people around were some local fishermen on the pier trying to catch large enough crab to keep. Not sure exactly what the law is, but they weren’t too happy with the sizes they were catching.

This lady was tough! She had 4 traps out and was hauling them in one after another every few minutes. COLD and WINDY and lifting heavy traps and not catching a damn thing. 😦

As the sun was going down further I decided to go ahead and find a spot to have a brew and check out some of the photos I had taken for the day. So I headed into the little historic town and looked around.

Arcade Tavern. Bandon, OR

And here it is… I went up to the bar, ordered a local IPA ($2.25 please) and I found a nice seat on the side to do some work.

After about 20 minutes a guy walks over to the Jukebox and starts playing some Billy Joel. Naturally I told him “nice selection my friend”. So a dialogue was started 🙂 Within a few more minutes, I had put away my tech and dived into some local social connection.

Dan and Kristen

It’s an INTERNET Jukebox. So they have EVERYTHING 🙂

Well apparently Bandon is home to 5 of the top golf courses in the country. And 1 of those is ranked #1. Ahead of Pebble Beach. So every summer hundreds of caddies  from all over the world come into Bandon. Luckily, this night, the last remaining 15 or so were hanging at the Arcade Tavern. So I was able to hang out and get the local vibe. Some of these guys have been coming here for over 10 years! One guy, who is 36 now, came to Bandon when he was 19. He said he was just going to do it for the summer and ended up never stopping. He said “we’re all golf roadies. We go where the golf is”. The guy has a masters and decided that he’d rather play golf, caddie and live a stress free lifestyle than get a “regular” job.

I hear ya buddy! 🙂

Dan, Kristen and I were having a great time so we ended up leaving the bar and going for some Mexican food. And after went to their house, where I crashed on the couch. I woke up super early, wrote them a note to say thanks and headed for the local cafe for coffee. 🙂

This is the kind of evening that I absolutely love while traveling/exploring SOLO. Who knew the evening would turn out like this but I would doubt that it would have been the same if someone had been with me. By being solo I was able to adapt to the situation and focus on my new friends.

Minute Cafe. Bandon, OR.

It was a rainy day in Bandon on Thursday morning 11/8. So I looked up “cafes” in Bandon. I found a little spot in the historic town called Minute Cafe. I ordered a nice Americano and sat down. I ended up staying there for about 4 hours, thinking, writing, reading and interacting with the people that came in.

At one point, I overheard some of the locals talking about the lottery. (I think the OR lottery is about 13 Mil right now) These locals were in their late 50’s and were all talking about what they would do if they won. It was pretty bizarre to hear this age group fantasizing about this. I would do this…I would do that…they said. I guess it doesn’t hurt to hope.

I left Bandon around 1pm and was super hungry so I stopped about 20 minutes outside of town at a little cafe called Greasy Spoon Cafe. Just a little shack on the side of the road. I walked in the front door and a lady was ready to take my order. I ordered the special which was a burger and tater tots 🙂

It ended up being a aunt and niece running the place. And just so happens the aunt was from Mobile Alabama. So we chatted for a few minutes.

After lunch I was back on the road….

Once I made it about 30 miles south of Bandon I started hitting the beautiful coastal highway that everyone talks about. Amazing giant redwoods and the most beautiful scenic coast line in the country.

To say that the forest is “Enchanting” is an understatement.

I think you get the idea of how beautiful it is 🙂

The windy coastal highway

The gigantic redwoods

Ok. This post is getting much too long. So I’m going to cut it off here and just do the trip in a few more pieces.

Next stop Crescent City!

2 responses to “Exploring the Oregon and California Coast – Part 1 (Coos Bay, Bandon and Redwoods)

  1. I love the enchanting forest. I felt like I was on the road with you. Keep up the good work. pictures are so magnificent with new camera. Laveda

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