Here we are again, checking in after six days at Beverly Beach State Park on the Central Oregon coast, and five days at Humbug Mountain State Park on the Southern Oregon Coast. First, here is our video check-in. Then, our post offers many more details of our experiences at these two coastal RV parks.
Our Time at Beverly Beach, Central Oregon Coast
We drove down from Fort Stevens to Beverly Beach, a distance of 124 miles. This got us from Northern Oregon to Central Oregon. Here is a map of that journey.
Of course, it took us longer than three hours – more like four, as we are slower than your average vehicle, especially on the rugged route 101. When we arrived, we were delighted to find that we had a pull-through site, so we did not have to deal with backing in – although we had practiced, just in case!
We spent six days at Beverly Beach and enjoyed this well-run park. The only major drawback was that it had no Wi-Fi, as is usual with state parks in Oregon. Luckily, I was able to access the Internet with AT&T on my phone.
Because we were there in November, it was not at all crowded – except on the weekend. Whether empty or relatively full, it was consistently lovely to be there. All of the campers were friendly, quiet, and polite. Like us, they were there to enjoy nature, and visit the local attractions. It was also lovely that we had direct access to the beach, under a scenic bridge.
At night, it was quiet and very dark. This was despite being close to highway 101. We enjoyed six sunny days there, which was lovely. It was warmer than Fort Stevens, and of course, warmer than Vancouver! We keep heading south, in search of warmth.
Fun Things we Did and Saw Near Beverly Beach State Park
The major attractions near Beverly Beach are breathtaking beautiful beaches. I took endless videos and photos, but could not include them all in our video and post.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
We visited the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which is an absolutely stunning area. It is officially called an Outstanding Natural Area.
First, we admired the views and watched grey whales off the coast.
Then we visited the excellent Yaquina Head Interpretative Center. There we watched a video about the incredibly regimented lives of lighthouse keepers in the 19th century, and enjoyed the exhibits as well. The lighthouse has been lit every day since 1872. In the old days it was fueled with lard oil, but now of course it is electric and automated.
South Beach at Newport
Another lovely beach, accessed by driving over a very impressive bridge that crosses the Port of Newport. There, the waves were suitable for surfing, and a number of brave souls were surfing the icy waters. We also checked out the South Beach State Park, which was not nearly as nice as Beverly Beach – resembling more of a parking lot than a wilderness area. We were glad we had not booked to stay there.
The City of Newport, 6 Miles North of Beverly Beach
Newport is the nearest town, and we liked it very much. It has various very distinct areas, each with its own character. Nye Beach is a lovely historical and artsy area, which features a beautiful beach (where we had a great hike) and good restaurants. We went to Nana’s to celebrate getting to Beverly Beach, and had a good time there.
The Historic Bay Area has typical seaside attractions, including Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, a wax museum, and an Undersea Gardens. It also has restaurants, shopping, and a dock full of barking sea lions. The sea lions were our favorite!
Devil’s Punch Bowl
Devil’s Punch Bowl is the name of another outstanding natural area, where a ring of rocks apparently emits jets of water at high tide. We got up early to go there at high tide, but apparently the tide was not high enough. Even without the jets, the scenery was well worth getting up early for.
Our Stay at Humbug Mountain State Park
We left Beverly Beach and drove 161 miles further south, to Humbug Mountain State Park. This was a challenging drive. Route 101 on the Oregon coast is relentlessly up and down and winding, so towing takes 100% concentration at all times.
Finally, we got to Humbug, after a particularly windy drive through the foothills of the mountain. This put us a total of 947 km (588 miles) from home – that’s a lot of towing for us newbies! We drove in and found a tiny park (it is actually bigger than it seemed, but much of it was closed in anticipation of a storm). We battled to park in the small site we had reserved, so I appealed to the park hosts for help. Two very friendly and helpful women, Elzie and Anita, helped us pick out a better site, and assisted with parking as well. Maggie did a stellar job of backing into the new parking, and we were both thrilled with how she achieved that.
In the park, there were about 7 rigs in all, parked in a scattered circle around a big central grassy area. We were very close to the highway, but were not bothered by noise. It seems the trees absorb a lot of it. We hiked through the closed loop and found that the beach was a mile’s walk from our site. It was a dramatically beautiful and rugged beach. And we found we could get a cell signal while on the beach, no doubt because there were no trees.
A Terrifying Storm
One morning we awoke to a terrifying wind and rain storm. Winds whipped around us in 70 miles per hour gusts, and I wondered if we would be blown over. I would have Googled it, but neither of us had any kind of a signal on our phones. We were not keen to walk to the beach in that weather!
So, we huddled indoors to wait out the storm, hoping none of the huge trees around us was about to land on our roof. When the storm finally blew over, we heard a knock on the door. I thought it might be someone come to tell us that something had blown off our rig, so I opened the door in some trepidation. Knocks on the door are rare in camp sites, especially when there are only about 6 other rigs in the park!
At the door was a man with a printed card, inviting us to a wine tasting that afternoon, at the Fifth Wheel parked about 50 feet away from us. The day suddenly improved dramatically! In any event, we ended up going to that rig for a couple of glasses of wine around the camp fire for the next three evenings. We made friends with Bill Voss, the wine-maker, and his wife Dede, as well as a couple called Linda and Larry. All were friendly and helpful Oregonians, and we got a ton of useful tips from them about our journey and our Fifth Wheel. It was really fun and relaxing to huddle around the fire on those chilly afternoons.
We also thought it was a great idea to break the ice at an RV park with an invitation of some sort. We have often heard about how many people one meets at these parks, but this was the first time we spent enough time to really make a connection.
Fun Things we Did and Saw Near Humbug Mountain State Park
Again, the major attractions near this park are breathtaking beautiful beaches, with dramatic views at every turn of the winding coastal highway.
The nearest town is Port Orford, six miles to the north on the 101. It is a very small town with small town oddities. Such as, you go into a coffee shop, and no one is there. Not even staff. So, you think you will just sit and enjoy the free Wi-Fi, only, it doesn’t actually work. It seems like it would be illegal to just help yourself to a pastry from the counter, so you don’t. Eventually, you just leave.
Strangely for such a little town, it boasts at least three excellent restaurants. We went to Griff’s, which is in the oddest little building right down on the dock.
The dock is the economic hub of the town, and has been since the town was established – but there is no bay. The only way boats enter or leave the port is by being hoisted down or up by one of the two giant hoists. We were thrilled to see this happening when we were down there, and of course, I took a video (footage included in the video above). Like the Terminator, I never run – but on this occasion I made an exception and ran with my camera, so as not to miss the event. They hoist the boats up amazingly quickly, so it is easy to miss it.
We also went to Redfish for a very nice brunch. Of the two restaurants, Redfish is definitely more up market and has better food. However, both have great locations and are well worth a visit. Both also have very reasonable prices, given their locations. Redfish looks out over the stormy, wind-swept ocean.
There is also a fish and chips restaurant called The Crazy Norwegian that gets rave reviews, but we gave that a pass because of my gluten sensitivity.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse
Six miles north of Port Orford is a turn off for Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Another five miles away on a narrow, bumpy, winding rural road that revels in the name “Cape Blanco Highway” is the historic Hughes House, and the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Both were closed for the winter, but we were able to hike half a mile to the lighthouse, enjoying stunning views of the ocean on both sides all the way.
This lighthouse is on the western-most point of the entire Oregon coast. While not very tall, it must have saved many lives since it was established in 1870. Cape Blanco lighthouse holds at least four impressive Oregon records:
- it is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in Oregon,
- it is the most westerly lighthouse in Oregon,
- it has the highest focal plane above the sea (256 feet) in Oregon, and
- Oregon’s first woman lighthouse keeper, Mabel E. Bretherton, was appointed in 1903.
We read about how three families had lived in that remote spot, sharing a small house, tending the lighthouse, and raising animals and growing vegetables to sustain themselves. Impossible to imagine successfully growing vegetables in gale force winds! And strange to think of living in such isolation, without electricity or any means of communication with the rest of the world. What a different sort of life to lead.
Off to California Next!
We plan to leave Humbug Mountain State Park three days early, because we really do NOT want to experience another terrifying wind storm (and there is another storm in the forecast). Our next stop will be at the Mystic River RV Park in the towering redwood forests of Klamath in Northern California. Fortunately, the rain storms have improved the air quality and helped to put out most of the fires in California.
We will keep you posted!
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