101 and Beach Rocks

Another factor of my recent excursion was going throughout the Southern Oregon Coast via US Route 101. This route is set up on the Pacific Coast of this country, and a lot of its course almost touches the ocean, but some of it is a bit inland. As there is nothing like this road on the East Coast, this magical route is still a novelty for me, and I love exploring it in new sections  each time I am near the ocean.

We drove up Route 101 from Arcata, California, to the Oregon border, where we stopped in the small town of Brookings. An elderly gas station attendant recommended us to follow the signs to a coast guard station in order to access the beach.

We backtracked on 101 over a bridge, and drove down the hill to a small parking lot loaded with RVs and trucks. Some people were enjoying barbecues under awnings, and others were comparing stories about their traveling dogs. With all of these large vehicles, I thought it looked very American.

Of course the salty breeze, cold waters, rigid rock formations and sandy surface were extremely refreshing after a long car ride, but the most interesting part of this beach was this weird overlook area on top of a cliff. There was a lighthouse, two American flags, and a statue that seemed to replicate the over-arching Jesus I have seen in photos from some famous park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was a fan of this unusual combination.

After the big cat zoo, we also stopped by the coastal part of Bandon, Oregon. The arching geological formations looked very sharp, the air was cold and strong, and some of the rocks were engulfed by shellfish on their surfaces. It was definitely not much of a tourist spot, and seemed to be frequented by locals and their canine companions who came out dressed in outer wear, trained to protect themselves from the elements.

We also stopped in some area around Coos Bay, Oregon, which I’ve seen as a designated dot on state maps many times before. It took a while to get to an actual beach spot, with a lot of winding through commercial strips with stores all closed for Sunday, followed by sharp turns that led us to roads lined with different RV parks.

We finally got to some small beach enclosure. There were a few women actually going into the shallow cold water, who appeared to be shivering in their bikinis and huddling into themselves for warmth.

We went off to a rock formation area, and I was happy I decided to wear my hiking boots, as its hard surface was all caked with holes of surprise mud. Though very aesthetically stimulating, it smelled somewhat like rotted seaweed and the oil from canned anchovies. Nevertheless, we were able to ignore the stench, climb up a rock and enjoy lunch with a view.

Small Big Cats

I recently returned from a small road trip that I took for a few days, through northern California and around Oregon. Part of the trip was through the Southern Coast of Oregon, and I and stopped in Bandon for the West Coast Game Park. Though there are nice beaches nearby, the town of Bandon itself is not much to see, but for some reason, all of the hotels, motels and campgrounds are booked and overflowing with guests, who I suppose are all going to this little zoo.

At this game farm, there is an open section full of different deer, goats, sheep and donkeys. When you walk into the initial gates with the purchased animal feed, many of the horned goats go up and stalk you until you are encircled, and one of the girls who works there yells at you to move away from the entrance while shooing the animals away.

I had a cute time of going around and figuring out which goat likes the dried corn out of the bunch, and which sheep likes the dried-out beets. Sometimes one of the animals starts nibbling at the edge of the ice cream cone that the feed is presented in, and then tries to grab it all away at once, spilling all the edible specimens all over the ground.

The highlight of this place is getting to pet the big cats. I waited in line for about half an hour, while families and couples gathered in an enclosed area to play with two baby tigers. These tigers were very frisky, and kept attacking some large, dilapidated stuffed animals and jumping on the people’s laps or behind their shoulders. There was a baby leopard in a separate cage next to them, and I thought it was particularly cute when this elegant, spotted animal would start chasing its tail.

The tigers had to go away by the time I got to go in, but I got the pleasure of petting these two, four-week old, black spotted leopards. They were about the size of small cats, but acted like kittens. Their fur and paws were very soft, from not ever being used before.

They were too young to get up and move from the blanket. We weren’t supposed to touch their faces or mouths, so I kept having to move my hand away when they would grab it and try to take my fingers to their mouths to gnaw on.

I also got to pet a baby caracal, which is a big cat similar to a lynx, found in the Middle East and Africa. A lady had this feline confined on a leash, and would put wood chunks by its face to play with. People would go up and pet this caracal, but every few minutes, she would break out and hiss at them and try to bat at them with her claws. That just reminded me of typical house cat temperament!