Tuesday, June 15, 2021

On the Water in Winchester Bay

 May 24 - June 7, 2021
Winchester Bay, Oregon

Bypassing several of our usual stops, we drive 130 miles north to Winchester Bay on a rainy Monday. It seemed like a good idea to make a longer drive and a longer stay at a couple places back in September, but I admit I'm second-guessing myself as we drive through favorites like Bandon! Turns out it was just fine - of course :-)

There is no lack of beautiful places to explore no matter where you choose to stay along the Pacific Coast. Winchester Bay for two weeks also gives us a chance to see good friends from high school who live nearby - and to make a connection with our buddies from Tombstone too!

Winchester Bay RV Resort is a beautiful park on Salmon Harbor surrounded by water on three sides including the Umqua River to the north. 50/30 amp FHU water-front paved site with lots of groomed grass for Tessa. Open skies for satellite and views all around. The $60 rate for water sites is very reasonable with this year's prices higher at all locations. This is probably the cleanest park we've stayed in where camp hosts arrive within minutes of a site vacating, with disinfecting of picnic tables, lamps and utility posts. The only downside is not being able to receive mail and packages at the park. Everything does go to the post office less than a mile away so a very small downside.

We have an iffy set up as the 50 amp keeps turning off. 30 amp is fine for the night, and Bill is able to diagnose and repair what turns out to a problem with our power cord. Whew!

Our lovely front yard.

In 6 minutes the site is pristine and ready for new neighbors.

Sunshine and fog pass the weather baton back and forth during our stay, with plenty of wind here for both. Luckily it's usually from the north and our yard is protected enough to enjoy being outside at our site most of the time.

A couple day trips to Florence to the north and Coos Bay and Bandon to the south give us more opportunities to visit new and familiar places. The combination of small lakes, forest, beaches, dunes and cute towns keeps us busy and happy.

Art Deco Siuslaw River Bridge in Florence.

Old Town Florence is beautifully restored and a favorite of mine for finding unique goodies.

Like the horses and bison in Wyoming and Montana, artistic seals are found in many Oregon Coast towns.

I always enjoy the annual art display on Bandon's Pier.

The colors really pop on a muted day.
Where the Coquille River reaches the ocean.

Coquille River Lighthouse. Closed and in need of a little TLC.

Bullards Beach. Always windy, always gray, always feels like you're the only one here. I love this beach.

Helping look for shells.

"It's all miiiiiine!"

At 19 months old, Reese very much needed this little pink turtle from Florence!

Turk is our Tombstone pal Donnie's older brother. Rhonda was in my class in high school. They became a couple two years ago :-))) and live in Coos Bay.

Turk has an amazing tiered garden.

He's cleared a path through all the trees, flowers and berries.

Natural beauty found along 5 Mile Road

Tankenitch Lake

Railroad bridge over the lake.
Love our view even on rainy afternoons.

We even get a rare sunset!

The Cape Arago area of Coos Bay is especially beautiful with waves crashing on the rocks, sea lions, botanical gardens, and peaceful coves. The 15 mile secluded drive and several hiking trails offer spectacular views.

We're too late to spend any time in the gardens so it's on the top of my list for next time.

Shell Island, sea lion vacation spot.

Zero social distancing.

Sunset Bay

We enjoy the rivers as much as the beach and forests. After several low-flow rivers to the south, finding the Umqua and Smith Rivers with shore-to-shore water in most places is a real treat. We see a couple elk herds at the Dean Creek meadows, check out a small campground on Mill Creek, and soak up the cool, fresh air.

Some days it's bright and sunny.

Others it's a completely different world.

This is A barn.

I love watching the river flow upstream at high tide.
Life does feel more normal as some restrictions are lifted, business hours are increasing, and anyone and everyone can get a vaccine. Masks are still required everywhere with social distancing and reduced seating being the norm. A few places say if you're fully vaccinated you don't need to mask, but very few so far. I guess I'm not the only one who doesn't trust folks much these days.

And everywhere is hiring, some with sign-on bonuses.

One of three liquor stores in Reedsport. They are NOT kidding around!

We get together with Pat (Donnie's younger brother) and wife Jen a couple times. They come to the harbor for fish, and then we drive to their beautiful home in Elkton one afternoon. 

In addition to lovely flowers, Jen also has an impressive vegetable garden. Envy.

Love this peaceful spot.

For our last day we're excited to get the three brothers and their partners (Donnie and Anna have come from Tombstone to visit family) to our place for a visit. We even have a fire! Lots of laughs and stories new and old. There were times when I wondered if gatherings like this could happen again. It was the perfect ending to a great stay in Winchester Bay.

Donnie, Anna, Pat, Jen, Turk, Rhonda, Bill, Jodee

So fun!

It was a great spot for a gathering.

And yes. Cribbage was played :-)

One must use the whole couch for naps after socializing!


  1. I so love the Oregon coast and Umpqua River. Shame about the lighthouse. Last time to Bandon almost ten years with Berta so am long overdue. In Utah it's like COVID never happened at all. Glad you're getting some visiting in.

    1. You must come back and see it again. I'm hoping the lighthouse is just showing signs of COVID neglect and will be taken care of soon!

  2. My favorite part of Oregon. We too have good friends that live in Coos Bay--we've been discussing a summer road trip--especially is it stays HOT in Montana!

    1. This is the place to be in the heat of summer for sure. I'm thinking in 2023 we'll do the route from the north and start in late August. We'll see!

  3. Great memories of the Oregon Coast, you've shown some great adventures and remind me we need to go back!

    1. I can't believe I waited until retirement to explore this beautiful area. At least we're able to take our time now and really appreciate it.

  4. What a beautiful area, especially with the various sunny and foggy days. Glad you were able to see so many friends during your time there.

    1. It's easy to tell why it's so green with the alternating rain, fog and sunshine! It was very fun seeing them all together.

  5. Meet ups are happening again, YES!

  6. So green and watery, so peaceful. This is the route we were planning on taking before the house stepped right in front of us! Your pictures make me look forward to next year's trip to the Oregon coast. Sweatshirts! I can't even remember when I last wore a sweatshirt, it's been so very hot here, even in Utah. We're trying to leave it behind but it keeps following us! All the more reason to enjoy your beautiful and foggy pictures. Thanks!

    1. We know we'll catch up with the heat eventually but right now we're loving the sweatshirt weather. Bummer the heat is following you :-( It's miserable in Tombstone so I'm especially glad we were able to get back on the road.

  7. So beautiful and lush and cool! You are in the perfect place for summer, as you know.

    We've camped many times at Sunset Beach SP and love that hike along the coast to Cape Arago and the sea lion colony. I can't remember if you've been to Shore Acres on a previous trip, but you will love the gardens. And have you been to Chuck's Seafood in Coos Bay? He has the best smoked tuna! Do I sound homesick, LOL?

    1. LOL, yes ma'am, I do believe you need some Oregon Coast time soon!!! Missed Shore Acres in the past so I'm making sure when we come back I get there - it looked beautiful from the parking lot but sadly it was too late to take my time.

  8. I'm not surprised to see you so busy and with so many friends around you. Looks like great times. Love that final picture of Tessa.The Coquille River picture looks like a painting, do artistic. Not sure what camera you're using but boy are your photographs gorgeous, sharp and rich with color. Wish I were on the Oregon coast and even caravanning with you
    Looks so beautiful. Reese is such a cutie pie.

    1. I'm using the Canon G5 X and love it. Although I rarely take it off auto :-) Wish you were here too and hope you can get over here in the future.

  9. We've only been to Florence once but loved it. It sure sounds like you three are having a wonderful time. You've had some beautiful coastal weather. Love the furry girl having the beach for her zoomies and the whole sofa for her naptime. You've sparked our interest, and we are thinking of a road trip along the CA coast to escape the BC heat maybe in later July.

  10. Tessa has a great life - just like us :)) There are beautiful places like Morro Bay to the south, but for us Fortuna north is the very best for cooler temps and extreme natural beauty. I'll hate to turn inland next month, but also looking forward to new routes!