Day 1 Sunset Bay

Our route to the Oregon Coast was delightful, traveling HWY 140 to Medford, north on I-5 to Roseburg (not so leisurely with all the hills and curves), then west on HWY 42 from Roseburg through Coquille and on to Coos Bay.

The destination this time was Sunset Bay State Park, southwest of Coos Bay on the Cape Arago side road, off the busy track of 101. This particular route over the coast range wasn’t nearly as difficult as some can be. It seems there aren’t many ways to get from the Willamette Valley to the Oregon Coast that don’t involve lots of curves and hills, but even in the motorhome, this one wasn’t bad. We saw lots of rv’s returning from the west and were glad we were going the other way on this Sunday night.

At the moment, I am listening to the crackling campfire and the repetitive moan of the Cape Arago Lighthouse fog horn in the distance, muted by the sounds of crashing surf and winds in the higher treetops, and children on bicycles. Great sounds for a late Sunday afternoon settling in.

This lovely quiet stream is Big Creek, winding through the park to the bay. The trails here are wonderful, wandering through deep dark forests, climbing to high bluffs overlooking the ocean, and back down to empty beaches. Sunset Bay is a protected little cove, surrounded by Douglas-fir and spruce forest, and a gentle surf.

Even with the possibility of inclement weather, Oregon Coast camping is a fairly refined version, especially with rv hookups, cozy canvas yurts, even special sites for bikers and hikers doing the Oregon Coast trail, which passes through the park as part of it’s 297 mile journey along wild stretches of beach, cliffs, and headlands. Even the parts of the trail that wind through towns on HWY 101 have lots of signs reminding drivers to share the road, and nice wide bike lanes.

At the moment, though, I am very happy to be in a motorhome, and not trying to pedal a bike and pack up some of those long steep hills to find the next campsite.

The park here is clean and lovely, quiet, refined, fresh, and blessedly cool, with temperatures all week forecasted in the high 60’s and sunny skies. Breezy, I think it said. An understatement, of course. Breezy on the Oregon Coast would be considered windy just about anywhere else, but cool and breezy is much better than rainy and windy, so I am not complaining in the least.

Mo made the reservation for this site just a couple of weeks before the trip, and the park was full most of the time we were there. I think arriving on a Tuesday any other week would have been ok, but reservations are still a good thing. Back-in sites on the outside perimeter are nicest if you can back in, more privacy. The site we were in actually had a sewer hookup, but the park asks that you don’t empty your full tanks here, and instead go up to the adjacent county park and dump there for a fee. We never tried our tv, although some people had their antennas up. Cell service wasn’t available in the park, but was fine back in Coos Bay. Nice for a complete vacation, no phone, no computer, no tv, and I never missed any of it.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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