Sand dunes, sea lions and camping in the Redwoods

Day 5 of our West Coast Road Trip – Florence to Crescent City

Before heading out to explore the Southern Oregon Coast we went for our breakfast which was included in our room rate at The River House Inn. We were stumped by the waffle iron. We found the iron, batter and sauces that we needed, however who knew you had to turn it straight away? After making a bit of a mess of the first attempt some kind person took pity on us and showed us what to do. To be fair the second attempt didn’t look great either but was close enough that we were happy with it – definitely some practice required!

Florence

We had some down time this morning so spent it wandering around Florence. It’s a pretty cool small town I liked seeing all the seal models they have around they reminded me of the lambananas in Liverpool. It has a great waterfront for relaxing by, there were more cormorants here drying themselves.

We made a quick stop at the River Roasters on the way back to the hotel, this is a great cafe and definitely worth a look inside. Florence is settled on the banks of the Siuslaw River, and there’s an impressive bridge here as well – the Siuslaw River Bridge.

Oregon Sand Dunes

We drove over the bridge on our way out of town but we didn’t have a long drive. We were exploring the Oregon Sand Dunes this morning with Sandland Adventures – do not miss this! It was a highlight of the trip for us having never done anything like this before. We did the 30 minute Sandrail Tour which can hold around 10 people and reach 60mph. You can’t see all of the dunes, they stretch for over 40 miles, but taking one of these trips does give you a good overview. I will say that the drivers working for Sandland Adventures are brilliant. There’s no way you would cover the same area or go that fast if you were to hire a dune buggy to take out on your own.

Bandon

After our tour we continued on highway 101 south. We stopped at Bandon for lunch. This town would be worth an overnight. It’s a cute little seaside town with lots of great shops for browsing and places to eat. It was another great day weather-wise so we had lunch at the Bandon Bait Shop and sat at their outside picnic tables. I’m not a big fan of fish so had a hotdog, Richard had the fish tacos which he enjoyed more than those he had at Mo’s the day before.

Southern Oregon Coast – Highway 101

The views get better and better the further down the Southern Oregon Coast you drive. Our next stop was Gold Beach for a break but most places were closed. It was a Sunday so something to beware of if you plan on visiting here. We ended up stopping at one of the many pullouts further down highway 101 where we had one of our Voodoo doughnuts looking out over the Pacific.

After Gold Beach we didn’t stop again until Brookings. We stopped to fill the tank here. Well had someone fill it for us as you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon. Including this fuel we had only spent $70 on fuel since leaving Seattle.

Tip:

Fuel is cheaper in Oregon than California so it’s best to fill your tank before you cross the border.

Crossing into California

At 17:15 we past the Welcome to California sign. Just after that there is a check point which is an agricultural checkpoint, a surprise to us. We were welcomed into California and asked if we had any fresh fruit or vegetables in our vehicle. We didn’t but something to be aware of if you’re crossing into California.

Another campsite was waiting for us as we crossed back into California. We stayed at the KOA campground at Crescent City for the night. We had pitch 104 which was surrounded by massive redwood trees.

Crescent City is actually a short drive away from the campground, there are plenty of restaurants there and a harbour. We chose the Chart Room for dinner, it’s a very busy place and there was a wait for tables. This gave us the opportunity to watch the California Sea Lions that were in the harbour, our first time seeing any! On returning we were offered two seats at the bar which we accepted. We were sat next to a couple who had sold their property, bought an RV and were travelling round the US in their retirement which sounded amazing. I’d prefer not to have to wait until we retire though, I don’t think I have the patience to wait that long!

One thing about this trip, with travelling from north to south there were large changes in temperature. Just in this one day the temperature varied from the low 70s to mid 90s, clothes we could layer up or down were coming in handy.

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