Day 20: Port Orford to Smith River, CA

6 October 2011

I awoke to a brilliant morning, perhaps the most direct sun I had seen in almost a week.

Battle Rock in better weather

There was only a light fog along the coast.

Heading out from Port Orford

Shortly after heading out, I found a dinosaur theme park, which I didn't stop at.


I don't know if seeing the sun again had just gotten me overexcited, but every beach vista seemed more expansive and spectacular than the last.

At Old Coast Highway there is a scenic detour away from 101.

View from Old Coast Highway

The detour returns to 101 right at Gold Beach, where I stopped to eat lunch. Gold Beach is at the mouth of the Rogue River.

Gold Beach

The afternoon's ride was simply spectacular.

The descent to Pistol River State Park is breathtaking, right when you get over the last hill and start coasting down towards a huge array of sea stacks. Backlit, they look almost alien…

Pistol River State Park

Just past Pistol River State Park, one enters the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Area, which is a state park along the coast that is about half a mile wide and nearly ten miles long. Funny that Nature chooses to put a whole bunch of Oregon's most spectacular beaches in a single afternoon's ride.

At Arch Rock there is a short walk through a forested area to the namesake rock.

Arch Rock

Thunder Rock Cove requires a longer walk (10-15 minutes each way) to get down to the vista point, which is fairly secluded. It is well worth it. In my mind this is a must see.

Thunder Rock Cove

Thunder Rock Cove

I took a side trip down a very steep road to Whalehead beach.

Whalehead Beach

Harris Beach State Park had come recommended to me, but, wanting to make it to California in good time, I didn't go down to the beach.

Near Harris Beach State Park

I rode through Brookings, the last major city on the Oregon side, then turned off on Oceanview Dr. Here there started to be a bit of flat land between the beach and the mountains. (Going a bit further south, there would be a fat strip of farmland below the mountains.)

Oceanview Dr

Just a few miles past Brookings, I crossed the California border. The attendant at the agricultural inspection station waved me through without so much as asking me what fruits and vegetables I was carrying.

California border

I had targeted ending the day at Smith River, but it turns out there was actually no lodging there. I backtracked a bit to a very non-obvious hotel, the Ship Ashore (also a huge RV park, which obscured the hotel).

The hotel is of reasonable quality but looks like it has not been redecorated since I was born.

Dinner at the hotel restaurant was mediocre but surprisingly filling.

Up | Next: Smith River to Orick