Cool and Kooky Stuff to See on Central Oregon Coast in One Day
(Yachats, Oregon) – It's a fuzzy, strangely cloudy day in late July on the central Oregon coast. The beaches appear to have been fighting a giant cloud mass for the last few days, and losing. A thick layer of gray hovers over the sands, and anything within a few blocks of the tide line, but it all ends sometimes less than a half mile from the edge of the last wave. Beyond that, the sun starts poking out, and by the time you’re a mile away from the sea, things are bright and shiny.
It’s like a curse. Or at the very least, it’s weird. So it’s no surprise a day’s exploration between Depoe Bay and just south of Yachats would yield some attention-grabbing sights.
If you’re in Depoe Bay these days, well, first it’s packed as hell. There’s barely room to park. Beyond the seawall, some massive boat is wandering up and down the shore. It has U.S Coast Guard lettering on it, and locals say it’s moving one of the buoys back into place.
Newport has a similar vessel or two wandering in and out of its harbor, but they are much bigger. More on those later.
Heading south towards Yachats, you first have to drive through the sleepy burghs of Seal Rock and then Waldport.
In Seal Rock, there is heaps of eye-catching signage, but you’ve more or less got to know what to look for. Aside from the rather depressing unoccupied storefronts that have “for rent” pasted to the doorways, there is a relatively new diner in the tiny village. One sign boasts “gluten free lemon bars,” which is awfully nice – but a bit of a strange choice for the gluten free-needy. Another bit of wording as you whiz through town advertises “evil brownies.” Now that is intriguing.
Waldport veers inland just enough that the sun breaks out, and gives you fake hope for a sunnier disposition further south.
One or more billboards along the coast tout an upcoming performance by the reunited 90’s group Boyz II Men, which, considering their actual age now and the fact they’re playing the bottom of the show biz barrel – a casino - should actually be called “Men to Old Dudez.”
Yachats continues to bear the scars of a nasty economy. The old Landmark Lounge and Restaurant sits vacant and sad. Although there is once again a market in Yachats, so perhaps the sun will begin to shine here as well.
A few miles down the road, Cape Perpetua looms a bit groggily, draped in fog and barely able to look down on its perpetual companion, the Devil’s Churn. This awe-inspiring chasm in the basalt funnels the waves’ energies into compact, gnarly little monsters, which then explode periodically along various points. Today, although it’s summer, the sea and wind are acting a bit more spring-like, creating sizable waves that make substantial splashes along the stretch of this jagged crack. People are ooing and ahh-ing like crazy, and some are a bit too close and get drenched. Some of them are quite a ways away from the surf and still managed to get a little drenched by watery detonations.
Periodically, one of these major splashes does some elegant loops and twists in mid-air, like enormous blobs of sea water doing some strange kind of aquatic ballet.
One middle-aged gentleman falls over on his back and wobbles there briefly. It almost looks as if he could’ve fallen into the raging waters below. It certainly looked like he hit the back of his head. Nope, he later explains: he just fell. No biggie.
Later in the evening, during a sunset you can’t see from behind the pervasive clouds, some gargantuan ship leaves the bay at Newport, looking a bit like a small city of lights in the increasingly dark blue haze. You can see it quite well, even from a distance at Nye Beach. It crosses in front of the burning glow of a fishing boat a ways further out. This whole dusk scene becomes that much more engaging with the lights from the veteran’s memorial on a nearby bluff, and directly below those sits the orange dot of a bonfire. The streetlamps of Nye Beach cast another orange on the beach grasses on the bluff from where all this is being witnessed.
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