Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cape Blanco

We started our day pretty much as usual.  I sat sipping coffee too long to get everything done before the morning campground coffee hour, so Gene went down for that while I got my shower and fixed our picnic lunch.

We headed south today along US 101 stopping at almost every pullout.  We didn’t rush, but rather savored the fresh air, sunshine, and great ocean views.  We’re not much for crowded, white sand beaches with seemingly miles of burnt flesh, but these mostly deserted short stretches of sand and the contrasting rugged rocks are delightful.  We drove as far as Gold Beach before turning around.

Just north of Port Orford is Cape Blanco State Park.  We drove out there to tour the lighthouse.  The folks in these parts say the Cape is the westernmost tip of the 48 contiguous United States.  Residents of Cape Alava, Washington dispute that claim.  Seems to me in this day of high technology someone could say for sure.  For sure, Cape Blanco is the westernmost point in Oregon.  It’s lighthouse is the oldest (built in 1870) and the highest (256 feet above sea level) along the Oregon coast.  Surprisingly, it’s 6 foot tall Fresnel lens is still warning sea captains of the dangers of offshore rocks in this area.  Being a working light, it’s maintenance is the responsibility of the Coast Guard, but it is open for tours through the administration of the state park.  We also had the added treat of high winds today.  The volunteer in the gift shop confirmed our guess of 30-35 mph winds.  He also included the 40 mph gusts.  We could hardly stand up as we walked up to the lighthouse.

After the tour of the light, we stopped at the nearby historic Hughes House, also operated by the state park and open for tours.   This Victorian style home was built in 1898 and was the home of Patrick Hughes, a rancher in the area.

Our tour guide at the Hughes House was quite informative, not only about this historic structure, but also in regards to the weather here.  We have been enjoying sunny days with temps in the mid to upper 60s and cool nights in the 50s.  We have been surprised at the wind, however.  Since we thought the wind was just a passing weather pattern we have been expecting each day to see it’s demise.  Our guide made a few statements about the weather along the Oregon coast.  The first, I thought was the most enlightening--we have 9 months of rain and 3 months of wind.

Although we had packed a picnic lunch, we were very close to home when our stomachs began to need attention so we spread our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on our own dining table.

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