A Winter Weekend at the Central Coast
I woke up with the familiar, heavy exhaustion brought on by five days’ worth of the eight-to-five grind. My eyelids felt like they weighed a pound and a half each, but the aroma of coffee stirred me awake.
The trip got off to a rocky start. The sleep fog was still lifting when Jon informed me we were running late. Awesome. I hadn’t even packed yet. This whole coastal adventure was a getaway for me and a Claim 52 Brew work-trip-cation for him. His first stop was pouring beer at an event in Coos Bay.
I frantically stuffed my grandma’s boxy vintage suitcase full of clothes, a colorful basket full of fruit and PB&J fixings, one tote full of dog stuff for Barley, and one full tote dedicated solely to shoes. (Pro tip: There is no such thing as overpacking for the Oregon Coast).
After our late departure, the next bump in the road happened somewhere between Drain and Elkton. Barley got car sick and managed to vomit not only on the backseat of the Jeep, but also on the floor mat and a toy platypus that hadn’t even been squeaked once.
I tried to do damage control from the passenger seat with the one hot pink towel I brought to wipe the dog down post-beach (one towel, rookie move). We pulled over on a side street in Elkton and I cleaned up the rest while Jon held the dog. The puke rag and platypus had to be disposed of. Immediately. With great dramatics I picked them up from the rain-soaked pavement by pinching the toy between a non-contaminated segment of towel, when a kind woman, who must have been watching the whole debacle from her storefront, came bursting out with a trash bag in tow. God bless that woman and Small Town, Oregon.
We were silent for the next long stretch as we took in the views. The Oregon Coastal Range is not for the faint of heart. It is wild and it almost hurts your heart to take in the beauty.
As we drove west, on my left the mountainous crags covered in mossy evergreens jutted straight up from the earth, with the occasional waterfall trickle; the Umpqua River a swampy, sea foam green to my right.
I kissed Jon goodbye at The Mill Casino in Coos Bay, took the driver seat and kicked into high gear towards Sunset Bay State Park.
It was about eight miles from the casino to Sunset Bay, and with every mile I felt my body relax deeper. The ocean is like a magnet that loosens every knot of bodily tension, pulling your worries straight out of your skull and anxieties straight out of your heart, swallowing them whole.
Finally we arrived, and it wasn’t even raining. I had mapped out an 8-mile trail run starting at the trailhead just south of the park.
It was pretty much euphoric. A half a mile up and in, and the views were positively breathtaking! Seriously, bliss.
A mile into the trail takes you back down to sea level, where there are beautiful, smooth rocks that cover the path. I gingerly tried to step onto one of them and slipped. I realized there was no way I would be able to cross the rocks with Barley. I wasn’t even annoyed that I had to cut the trek short.
It was way too pretty to feel any negative emotions.
On the way back, I spotted the Umpqua River Lighthouse in the distance. Barley and I continued to spend more time enjoying the view at Sunset Bay.
Then I picked up Jon, resumed copilot position, and we all headed north towards Yachats.
The drive was pleasant, especially passing on the stunning Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge, which spans Coos Bay.
The sun had just set when we glimpsed Heceta Head Lighthouse in the distance, letting us know we were close.
We stayed at a ’70s Mod bungalow right off Yachats Ocean Drive with two other Claim 52 couples. The bungalow had an insane view of the ocean.
Beer was drank, games were played, laughs were had.
We briefly ventured out to a dive bar to watch the Super Bowl and play pool. But it was hard to beat the coziness of our cabin.
It was pouring sheets of rain most of the day, but I mustered the courage for another run.
Storms make for some spectacular waves — and a wet, happy dog.
You can’t beat waking up to the view of the Oregon Coast.
I wanted to stay forever.
I was pretty bummed to leave, but my spirits were lifted by fish tacos at the International C-Market (ICM Restaurant) in Florence.
Growing up in Portland, I was a Seaside-Cannon Beach-Lincoln City kind-of-gal, but now that I live in Eugene, I am absolutely loving trips to the Central Coast!
These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.