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Published: October 11th 2016
I Woke up with the sun and started breakfast. After the events of the previous night, I made no effort to minimize my noise while cooking.
Fueled up with bacon and eggs, I took some extra time to organize my gear as it was put in the car. I didn't expect to need it that night. I left the park to work on my first task of the day. I had made it my mission to photograph the lighthouses along the coast and I knew that Cape Arago was home to one. Unlike the last couple, this one was not open to the public. It wasn't even easily viewable. The only way to get a glimpse of it was to try to find a vantage point along the Cape Arago Highway. I drove along slowly, helped by the lack of traffic. I found a small clearing that gave a partial view but I wasn't satisfied. I parked the car at a nearby trail head and followed the narrow trail, hoping to find a break in the thick vegetation. After half a mile I decided it wasn't a good idea to continue without any gear or cell coverage, and I turned
back. I had several other chores for the day so instead of grabbing my pack I put away the camera and headed back to town.
I started with familiar territory. I reached the 101 and followed it to the Coos Bay Visitor Center. It was closed but the parking lot was open. I grabbed my laptop and walked to a coffee shop about a block away. I ordered a coffee and a pastry, and pulled up AirBnB. I booked a room in a place that looked nice, and was situated back towards the Cape Arago Highway. Relieved that I wouldn't be spending half the day looking for lodging like I had the day before, I took my time drinking a second cup of coffee and sorting through pictures. Sufficiently caffeinated, I headed back to the car to swap my laptop bag for my camera bag. There was a set of docks nearby and I had noticed the distinctive wooden masts and complicated rigging of a classic sailing ship. I headed down the public dock and found two wooden schooners tied up at the outermost section of dock. Several modern fiberglass boats were tied up, demonstrating how much sailing had
evolved. I marveled at the wooden hulls, numerous sails, and tons of rope hanging from every upright structure. I overheard the crew saying that they were getting ready to set sail. Once again, through dumb luck, I was in the right place at the right time to see something unique. I took several pictures, listened to the crew talk about their work, and then walked down the other side of the docks. A sea plane was tied up, with a sign indicating it was available for tours of the area. I made a mental note to look up the website when I was at my computer again. With several hours left before I could check into my room, I headed back to dry land and took my time exploring the surrounding area. There was an exhibit on tug boats that had been working the harbor for decades. I peeked through the windows of the uniquely decorated Egyptian Theater, wishing I could see the full interior. Eventually all the walking around made me hungry. I stopped into a brewery that I wasn't familiar with but had a really nicely done mural painted on the front. I sipped a pint and ate
some pasta, enjoying not having rush to the next town.
I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the local beaches, including one that required a steep climb down to access. Due to its proximity to much easily accessible beaches, I expected it to be deserted. Imagine my surprise when I reached the bottom and spotted a couple and their two small children.
Once I had finished exploring, I headed to my AirBnB. My ancient GPS led me to the wrong place but eventually I worked my way to the house. When I finally arrived, It felt like an oasis in the desert. The house sat right on the water and had a great view of the harbor. My bedroom had a big bed, a couch, and its own bathroom. To top it off, the owners were super nice. When I mentioned that I wanted to see the redwoods of Northern California, they supplied me with a half dozen different maps and gave me lots of tips based on their own travels in the area.
I took a much needed shower, got my various electronics charging, and headed back to the visitor's center. I wanted to have dinner at a German restaurant I had spotted earlier in the day. I sat at the bar and ate weinersnitzel, sauerkraut, and spetzel. When I returned home, I spent some time chatting with my hosts while watching fishing boats return for the night. Finally, I collapsed into my big comfortable bed and quickly fell asleep.
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