Most of us weren’t feeling all that gung-ho when we woke up in our yurt in Bullards Beach. Jill was ready to hit the road but the rest of us decided to make Day 17 an easy day and see a bit more of Bandon. The good news is that we could do both. Jill could hike down early, explore the beach west of town, then meet us midday. So, she left early and the rest of us lollygagged around a bit before heading out.
Bullards to Bandon
It was a short walk out of the park before we had to cross the Coquille River. The only way to do it is to walk down the 101 and over Bullards Bridge. I learned that the bridge is one of only two vertical-lift bridges on the Oregon Coast, although I believe it hasn’t been operated in a long time.
Once you get on the bridge, the road is a bit narrow. Thankfully, there’s a nifty system to try to keep bikers and pedestrians safe. Hit the button on either side and a set of lights starts flashing to warn motorists to slow down. Funny enough, our taxi driver from the night before told us that hardly anyone pushes the button but we made a point to see it in action.
Once over the bridge, we turned onto Riverside Drive, which is a nice bypass to get us to Old Town Bandon.
On Riverside, the traffic was sparse enough that we felt pretty safe, even with a non-existent shoulder. Safe enough for me to run across the road and take a quick “action shot.”
Proving once again that off-the-beaten paths are often the best, we stumbled across a set of driftwood dinosaurs along the way. Friends remarked later that we should have recreated our dinosaur video from Central America with them but without Joy and Jill Kyle, it wouldn’t have been the same.
Further down the road is the Bandon Marsh Refuge where we stopped to take a few photos.
Here, I tried to grab a nice panoramic shot but the final result didn’t come out as good as it looked in my mind.
Once we got to Bandon, we headed straight for the Face Rock Creamery for another round of cheese sampling. We figured they wouldn’t recognize us as we had our packs on this time! We probably should have had a round of beers as well but it was early.
In my mind, you have to hand it to a place that stocks great craft beer next to the RXBARs (see below). At 7 Devils Brewery back in Coos Bay, they seem to make a point to showcase Face Rock cheese in their food so it only makes sense that Face Rock would return the favor.
We ate lunch at Brewed Awakenings, which sounds like a coffee shop but had a nice fish and chips.
McKay’s Market was our next stop where we stocked up on supplies before calling our buddy Jim again. He took us south, picking up Jill along the way before taking us to the game park.
West Coast Game Park
The West Coast Game Park calls itself a “wild animal petting park” with lions, tigers, bobcats, leopards, and several other species for visitors to see and even interact with. Really cool place. Our trail angel Karen told Miranda about it the day before and she really, really wanted to go.
I decided to skip the fun to catch up on my blog but all the girls went inside. There were plenty of photos of their adventures, so I felt like I was there.
Go here to check out Jill’s blog, which has a lot more pictures.
After the game park, we called Jim once again and he took us down to Cape Blanco. Originally, we were going to stay at Boice Cope State Park but we’d heard great things about Cape Blanco. We wanted to get a jump on the mileage for the next day too, so we made a switch.
Cape Blanco was interesting because it extends further west than any point of land in the lower 48 states, except for Cape Alava in Washington. What this means in practical terms is that it gets WINDY!
Thankfully, we were reasonably sheltered in the campground, although we had a constant breeze.
When we’d look straight up into the trees, it was clear that we didn’t want to be outside the forest. I captured the video below to remember what we were listening to all night as we laid in our tents.
That night was also probably the coldest we’d been at camp over the entire trip.
Fortunately, our fire-building skills had improved since Tahkenitch Campground. Or should I say that our fire-building got dramatically better after I was relieved of duty and Christy put in charge?
Day 17 mileage for the group was 3.6 and 12.5 for Jill with 83 feet of elevation. Total distance to this point — 264.5 miles.