9.14.2003

Bandon Trip

September 12

We left Eugene about 10 am on our trip to the Cranberry Festival in Bandon, Oregon. Before we left, I had to stop at Wal-mart to pick up a couple of things, and while Melissa was getting the truck filled with gas ($1.85/gal), she saw a lady driving a Gizmo. Very interesting form of transportation, we thought.

We drove over to Florence and went out to the Oregon Dunes National Park to try to find a geocache. Unfortunately, it was about half a mile down a sandy spur road, and we didn't have the time to go after it. Melissa suggested that we go out to the pier to see if anyone was crabbing today. We parked in the little lot and saw some splashing out in the inlet. There was a group of seals playing and several people were trapping crabs from the pier. We stopped to watch some women haul up their catch, and then went on our way.

We drove on down Hwy 101 to a Dunes overlook and took some pictures. The day was beautiful for a coastal drive. Our next geocache was in Winchester Bay, at a place called Salmon Harbor. We saw several fishing boats and a guy cleaning a big (2-3 lb.) salmon. After leaving the harbor area we drove down and around the Umpqua River lighthouse. It has a red signal that you can see in the picture. After that, we drove on down 101 to Bullards Beach State Park, where we had reserved a campsite for 2 nights. We camped right beside a yurt. You can see it behind Bug in the picture.

After getting the tent set up and everything stowed away, we went for a walk on the beach. It was almost sunset, and we saw the Coquille River lighthouse. There was also a LOT of driftwood on the beach. If Mom had seen it, she would have been loading up logs in the back of the truck. It was very windy on the beach (10-20 mile gusts) and there was a lot of drifting and shifting sand. It felt like what I would imagine being in a sandstorm would be like. The sand would sting when it hit any exposed skin, and by the time we got back to the campsite, I had sand in my shoes and it crunched between my teeth. I brushed for quite a while before I went to bed. We also picked up several beautiful rocks on the beach to bring home and add to our front patio.

September 13

We got up early, about 6:30 am and got ready to head into Bandon for the Cranberry Festival. When we checked in the night before, the ranger had told us to get there about an hour before the parade started because it was very popular and attended by everyone. We knew we had to get ready pretty quick, but wanted to warm our honeybuns for breakfast without having to make a fire or deal with extinguishing one. So I came up with this. It worked pretty well, but I don't think there is a market for it. You just have to be careful not to leave it in one spot for too long. Burned buns are not fun.

About 9 am we got a parking space by the Tru-Value Hardware, and walked down the hill toward Old Town Bandon. Halfway down the hill was the Bandon City Hall, which housed the Public Library and the city's emergency services center, too.

At the bottom of the hill was the gateway to Old Town Bandon. We stopped just to the right of it to claim seats for the parade. Everyone we saw was decked out for the festival in beads or some sort of frippery. The theme for the festival this year was “Mardi Gras”, and everyone was in the Mardi Gras spirit. Right behind where we were going to watch the parade was the visitors information center, so Melissa volunteered to go get some brochures while I staked our claim. She returned with only a few minutes to spare before the start of the parade. She had gathered information about the area, and how to get to Faber Farm, the cranberry farm that was giving tours of their operation.

The parade started with a flyover of some small planes, followed by the usual fire trucks and police cars, then the mayor of Bandon, and the Cranberry Queen. There were several bands, including the marching pirates, and the Humboldt State University Marching Lumberjacks. They were really impressive. The bands were followed by floats, shriners, dancing cranberries, Republicans, and old cars. After them came the football team, more revelers, and an extremely strange float.

After the parade we walked around and looked at all the arts, crafts, food, and crap that was for sale in the marketplace. We even found a place where you could purchase a cranberry bog in a box. Crazy! Bug was excited when we found a Northwest Outfitters shop. Decor for your cabin, or your RV. She found a moose chair that cost $2500, so I suggested she have her picture taken so she could remember it, because she definitely wasn't bringing it home. Yikes!!

It was getting along toward lunchtime, so we decided to check out the Lions' BBQ over in the city park. It was $6 for chicken, beef, or pork, baked beans, cole slaw, garlic bread, and a soda. Yum good! The barbecue was more like just roasted meat, so we took it that BBQ meant an outdoor cookout rather than an honest-to-goodness barbecue with sauce and everything.

After the lunch, we drove out to the coast line because we thought we could get down to the beach. It was only about 3 blocks from the city park and we were greeted with this view. Melissa remarked that it was getting to be about one o'clock, and we headed back toward town, because we wanted to tour the cranberry farm before they stopped giving tours.

We drove out of town east toward Roseburg and finally arrived at Faber Farm. The tours were loosely organized, so we browsed the gift shop and the craft vendors, had a free scoop of cranberry ice cream, and walked around to look at the bogs. Cranberry farming seems pretty simple, and the hardest part would be getting the land ready to grow the cranberries. The bogs have sprinkler systems installed in them to irrigate and flood the plants at harvest time.

We missed the beach, so we went back. This time we went down to the beach and walked along the shoreline looking for more rocks. There weren't any rocks, but lots of driftwood that had been smoothed by the sea. We got out to the end of the point, and saw something moving in the distance. We got closer and realized that there were seals sunning themselves on a rock about 400-500 feet out from the shoreline. We decided to leave and head back up the coast to a seal rookery about 17 miles away.

Simpson Reef is the largest seal rookery along the Pacific Coastline. There were hundreds of seals, sea lions, and sea birds playing sleeping and feeding in the small islands and the waters off the coast. You could hear them barking before you arrived at the overlook. We drove a mile down to Cape Arago to get a better look at the seals from one of their short hikes to an overlook. Then we drove back up to Sunset Bay State Park to look for sea life in the intertidal pools at low tide. Bug was excited to see all the anemones, clam holes, barnacles and seaweed. The sun was getting ready to set when we left, so we knew it was time to hurry back to camp.

When we got back to the site, we had dinner, then started a big fire and made S'mores for dessert. By the time the fire was dying we were warm, full, and ready for bed.

September 14

We got up late the next morning and I went off to the restroom while Bug rounded up some breakfast. When I got back to the tent, we had the following conversation:

“Bug, did you put the s'mores stuff up last night before you came to bed?”
“CRAP! No, why? What is it?”
“Bug, you need to come see this right now?”


Lying on the ground was one large bag of marshmallows, completely empty, and a box of graham crackers, completely empty. The bag of Hershey bars was nowhere to be found. Oops! I can just imagine this raccoon somewhere along the coast being in a sugar coma right now from O.D.ing on S'mores ingredients.

We went to the beach one last time that morning, and picked up some more rocks, then packed up our stuff and headed back to Eugene. We got home around 3pm.

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