Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Visiting the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area [5/18]

We left the previous part with stormy weather on the Oregon coast, but as we kept driving further south the sky cleared, and by the time we entered Florence, Oregon, we even had some sun in the sky. We ate lunch in Florence and walked around in the town, mainly focused on the biggest destination of that day: the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. It's a place where desert meets the ocean, which covered a huge part of the coast, and which also feels like you have dropped off at the end of the world. It was a really great day and we eventually drove to Coos Bay where we spent the night. Follow us in this part and let me show you what we discovered along the way.


An Afternoon in Florence

As soon as I saw the name Florence, my mind went to Italy, but as it's common in the USA, there are a lot of towns with the same name as in Europe. Florence is a small town, but very charming. It's hard sometimes to find really charming towns along the Oregon coastline. There are a lot of great places, but the towns are mostly not newsworthy. Florence is different. It feels like it's a small jewel, with a small park, nice stores and restaurants, and a nice bridge that leads out of town.


The Florence area was originally inhabited by the Siuslaw tribe of Native Americans. Some claim that the city was named after state senator A. B. Florence, who represented Lane County from 1858 to 1860; another claim is that Florence was named after a French vessel that was wrecked at the mouth of the Siuslaw River on February 17, 1875. Today the Siuslaw river flows through town and at it's shores there is a park and small walking area.


A "Private" sign has never kept me out :)





Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Our drive had to continue. After paying 5$ at a self-pay station entering the national park, we parked at the Oregon Dunes parking lot. There are many of them, but we chose the main one, which leads from the Highway 101. Of course this area is best explored in summer, with many camps and RV parking spots. One popular activity is racing on the dunes (which I could never do), but on this day we simply walked and explored the dunes, ready to see the wast desert, bordering the Pacific Ocean.


The Oregon Dunes are a unique area of windswept sand that is the result of millions of years of wind and rain erosion on the Oregon Coast. These are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. Some dunes tower up to 500 feet (150 m) above sea level, providing numerous recreational opportunities including off-road vehicle use, hiking, photography, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, and camping. Interesting to me was that author Frank Herbert was inspired (in part) to write the famous science fiction novel Dune based on his research about the dunes of this area.






When you get on top of a dune, two amazing sights wait for you. One is the never ending desert and woods area. It seems like there are no towns, no roads, no people here. The other sight is the shoreline. The amazing sand dunes lead into the ocean. We just sat on top of the dunes and took in the sights. Once you are in the tall grass you don't want to get up. It's so comforting and relaxing here. Just be careful when you get up there, it can be steep in places, and the sand can swallow your steps.




Arriving in Coos Bay

At the end of the day we arrived in Coos Bay. We rented a relatively big room at the Motel 6 (which charges extra for wifi, such a bummer by the way), and immediatly went out for dinner. Coos Bay is connected with North Bend, Oregon, another city. We actually had dinner there at this (more then we expected) fancy Italian restaurant, called "Little Italy Restaurant". The portions were so huge that we had leftovers for lucnh the other day. But it was very delicious, really amazing food.





At the end of the night we came back to the motel, ready to get a good night sleep. We only had one more whole day left on the coast and then we would start to explore inland Oregon. Great weather would return the next day with many amazing sights and places waiting to be explored.

End of Part Five
To be continued...

23 comments:

  1. I'm enjoying the trip!

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    1. Glad you do :) Always looking forward to what you have to say, after all this is your corner of the world.

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  2. i did not even know Orrgon has dunes, now i do. and they are beautiful as are all your photos today

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    1. Oh yes they have "Dunes" - It's fun to ride the dune buggies there.

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  3. It looks so exhilarating with the sea swirling and the wind

    Mollyx

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  4. I am enjoying your photos from your drive along the Oregon coast. It looks like a great trip.

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    1. It truly was. There is still so much more to come, big cities like Seattle and Portland, and lots of small towns inland as well.

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  5. Nice shots and all that food makes me so hungry ;D

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  6. Great set of photos. Lots of areas in this world that I have never visited and likely will never visit, but via blogs I get to know about them.

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    1. So glad you get to enjoy them, if only through this travel series.

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  7. I especially love all the pictures of the sand dunes! Looks peaceful and wild at the same time. :)

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    1. I agree. That's exactly what they are like.

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  8. You did get some great shots of the dunes. I can imagine the temptation to just sit and enjoy the views.

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    1. We stayed really long there. It was simply relaxing. I am actually still thinking about those beaches. Both in sunny weather and during stormy times.

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  9. Florence is one of our favorite Oregon Beach towns, and we used to live in the CoosBay/North Bend area! I have been loving your photos of my home state!

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    1. So glad you are enjoying them. Have been getting a lot of positive feedback from locals. I really enjoyed the Oregon and Washington State coast line. Inland towns of Portland and Ashland as well!

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  10. I love that region! I went to University in Portland, so that is my old stomping grounds.

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    1. Portland is coming up! What a great city!

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  11. We did an Oregon Coast Road Trip last summer - and the Dunes area was some of my favorite, though I have to admit that it was all pretty spectacular. Fantastic photos!

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    1. I agree Jill, it's hard to pinpoint a favorite.

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  12. Oh Mersad, you have made me so homesick! Florence and CoosBay-NB were our weekend getaway places for the 30 years we lived in Oregon. We’ve stayed in just about every campground and many motels and rentals between Waldport and North Bend. Before we retired and started traveling further afield, we used to try to get to the Coast (from where we lived in Eugene/Springfield) at least once a month. Thanks for the great pictures and the memories. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

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  13. This is a wonderful view of an area we also drove through (and made a few stops) and I love that you always do your research! I learn so much. We also enjoyed this area, but did not stop to enjoy the dunes. Loved your photos!

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