Heavy fog was above the Pacific Ocean this morning and the visibility on the road was only 200 feet. The Coastal Scenic Byway skirted the edges of the mountains. Mist and fog were floating in the air, surrounding the forest, blanketing the ocean. It was another kind of beauty- a fairyland. When the road took us to a small town that was just 100 feet away from the coast, it was sunny and bright on the road, but it was foggy on the ocean.
We didn’t stop at most of the viewpoints due to the fog. But we did stop at the Heceta Head State Park to see the lighthouse. Walking from the parking lot towards the lighthouse, a magnificent bridge stood high above the ground. It has smaller arches stacking above bigger arches on both ends, and a single arch spans the mid section. Stephen said it looks like the Roman aqueducts. Exactly right! From the interpretive sign, we learned that the Cape Creek Bridge is another masterpiece of the famous bridge designer Conde B. McCullough. He was the one who designed the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport. It is a steel-reinforced bridge. To our dismay, we could hardly see the lighthouse from the beach because of the heavy fog. But we were content by the sight of this historical bridge. The bridge carried us across the deep gorge and into a tunnel.
Red hot crocosmia is a popular flower along the coast. Its vivid color brightens up the roadsides. We stopped at Mo’s Seafood and Chowder in Florence for lunch. It was soon filled up after we sat down. The restaurant is on the Siuslaw River. I ordered their famous clam chowder. It is a New England style clam chowder with bacon and potatoes. Stephen ordered the fried halibut, and the clam chips. It was sunny and warm here because it is a little away from the ocean. There were anglers catching crabs on the deck by the restaurant. A guy threw a net into the river and pulled it out after a while. It was filled with crabs! He took out a tool to measure the size of the crabs. Only the bigger ones are keepers. A seal’s head poke out from the water looking around and dove down. What a surprise! Cormorants were diving up and down the river. Seagulls flew towards the window and landed on the roof of the restaurant. It was so nice to watch all of these and let the day went by.
We talked to the crab catcher after lunch. He used some chicken drumsticks and fish heads as the bail. He lives in Eugene and came here to catch crabs for the party tonight. He said he didn’t catch any for the first two hours. But then crabs started to show up. It needs patience and luck to catch crabs. People can catch a lot of crabs on a boat.
A 1930s style bridge spans across the river nearby. We took a stroll around the old downtown. It was filled with restaurants, shops, and galleries. It also has a small park where you can sit down and watch the bridge and the boats. What a lovely place to live! And there are condos and a mobile home park right in downtown. It turned out that the Siuslaw River Bridge was designed by famed designer McCullough again. I learned that it is a drawbridge that can open up its leaves to allow boats to go through. McCullough designed 11 bridges along the Route 101.
Leaving Florence, a road sign indicated that we were entering Oregon dunes. A billboard at Dune City exclaimed “Just dune it!” The Oregon Dune National Recreation Area stretches along the coast for about 40 miles and ends in North Bend. There were lots of log sitting by the bank at North Bend. A mill factory sat by the river, and a train with cars filled with woods was nearby. We finally reached our KOA campground near Port Orford at about 3:30. A campground that is in the woods which resembles the forest service campground. Nice!