Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cape Arago magic...

Talk about short travel days, this one topped the charts at 50 miles.  We just can't pass up the opportunity to re-visit the splendiferous scenery along the Cape Arago Highway near Coos Bay, Oregon.  Like magnets we are drawn to marina RV parking; Anacortes, Port Townsend, Duluth, and here in Charleston.  There's something about an atmosphere of fishermen, sailors, boats and sea life, buckets of Dungeness crabs being cleaned, pots boiling, that gets our juices flowing.  How about mountains of oyster shells:

The Charleston Marina RV Park has full hookups and provided us safe haven for the busy weekend.  Regular parking lot-style sites are $28.50 with larger deluxe sites a few dollars more.  Ours wasn't the greatest; small and cramped with nary a view except for the backside of the Coast Guard facilities.  But the laundry got done, much sushi was consumed, and we saw Cape Arago in all its glory!  

Our first stop was a sensory overload. Perched on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean along the Cape Arago Highway, Shore Acres began as the private estate of the Louis Simpson family, a Coos County timber baron and shipbuilder.  The estate holdings were sold to the State of Oregon in 1942 for use as a park after a devastating fire and the financial fall-out of the 30s.  

Ever since its beginnings, these five luxurious acres have been a "garden for all seasons", with showy "peaks" of different flowers throughout the year:  spring bulbs, daffodils & tulips, followed by azaleas and rhododendrons.  Rose bushes and dahlias were the highlight of our visit.  From Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, more than 300,000 lights draw the holiday crowds. 

One mile to the north is Sunset Bay State Park, with overnight camping facilities (reservations recommended), day use and picnic facilities.  The bay is surrounded by sandy beaches, steep cliffs and rocky out-croppings and is a popular kayaking and sun-bathing destination.  One mile to the south of Shore Acres lies Cape Arago State Park with its tidepools and barking seals and sea lions.  All 3 parks are connected by a series of bluff trails, some winding down to small coves for fishing and beach-combing, with peaks along the way of the Cape Arago Lighthouse sitting mysteriously offshore on tiny Chief's Island.

We continued north after the weekend with a short en route stop at the Chinook Winds Casino, providing us free parking with a spectacular view, especially from its upper level.  We had a short visit with long-time friends from Half Moon Bay days of old, Don mostly as Joan wasn't feeling well, who were staying nearby in their 5th-wheel.  We did not gamble, partake in buffets, nor join in the Senior Tuesday festivities.  Honestly, this heavily traveled section of Highway 101, through Newport, Florence, and Lincoln City, all the way til we crossed the "Tinker Toy Bridge" also known as the Astoria Megler Bridge, was gridlock....

PS:  And since this whole blog post does not format properly, too many spaces where I don't want them, photos refuse to align, I'm just going to hit the Publish Button and be done with it!

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