boardwalk coos bay
Delightful Coos Bay, Oregon, and Blankets of Fog
People are often surprised to hear that I was a Newport Beach resident and sold real estate in Orange County for about 15 years during the ’70s and ’80s. Even though along the beach we endured a lot of fog and rain during the winter months, none of it ever bothered me because it wasn’t always apparent when the season had turned to winter. The weather is always mild in Newport Beach, and Bougainvillea seems ubiquitous regardless. Well, in Coos Bay, Oregon, it’s not always evident that it is summer when temperatures fall into the 50s, but it’s so beautiful that it’s easy to embrace the fog and the chill that accompanies it.
Coos Bay fog behaves in unexpected ways. Rolling, creeping, prancing, bouncing, and then it slaps you in the face for not paying attention. We viewed the fog crawling over the bridge when we drove down 101 from Yachats and wondered if it would later burn off, which it did not. We were on our way to visit a client for whom I had just sold her last home in the Sacramento area. She had inherited a million dollars around 2008 and bought a bunch of real estate for her family. The second real estate crash, as you know, happened in 2008, so she lost some of her inheritance, which just goes to show that we can’t always predict what will happen.
This client had picked me to be her Sacramento Realtor based on my experience in the business and she said I have “kind eyes.” She found me online, like a lot of my clients. We instantly clicked and have been friends ever since. I didn’t sell her the homes she owned; I was not her buyer’s agent, so I suppose that helped our relationship. But I could help her to maximize her profit potential upon resale as her listing agent.
This person’s home in Coos Bay is a work in progress, located in one of the best spots, right on the water. Old pilings are in her front yard. When she bought the home, her real estate agent said that the water never comes up to her house because there is vegetation growing there. Ha, ha, yes, the water does approach the foundation. When it floods, it just kills off the vegetation and then the stuff eventually grows back. Still, she enjoys a 180-degree view of the water, out to the ocean.
She lives near Charleston, Oregon, which is where we went for lunch, Miller’s at the Cove Sports Bar and Grill, a casual neighborhood joint with really good food. The spicy chili presents a pleasant kick, and I hear the burrito is killer. After lunch, we drove to Sunset Bay State Park in Charleston, down a newly black-topped winding road, framed by an arbor of hardwood trees, including evergreens and cedars, drooping to form a canopy in the mist. The scenery was magical. Although, once we arrived at Sunset Bay State Park, it was really too foggy to see any sea lions, much less past the line of the beach. Not to mention, I had left my jacket in our vehicle, and it was too cold for this wimp to stand outside.
We then decided to head back to Yachats so I could work on an offer I was about to receive for another client, when we realized we had not seen any of the downtown area. We stopped along the Coos Bay Boardwalk to view the boats in the harbor, read about the history of the area, and took a quick stroll past shops and restaurants. It was warm enough downtown Coos Bay that I did not need a jacket. I glanced down at my nails, which were in dire need of a manicure. Hmm . . . here was a nail salon, right in front of me. I dashed in and gave the manicurist $20 to remove my polish. That sparkle stuff is hard to get off.
I asked the manicurist how residents feel about so many Californians moving to Coos Bay for retirement. There are some places that really welcome new residents, like Alaska, and others that aren’t as eager to receive non-natives, such as Hawaii. She said the people who love Oregon and all it has to offer are very welcome. The people who are not welcome, those transplants, are the jerks who try to change it. The sentiment seems to be: if you don’t like it here, go home. Quit complaining and yipping because we like it this way.
But that holds true for just about anywhere in the country. Nobody likes a whiner.
We tried to visit the Coos Art Museum, but the staff of three sitting behind the counter lamented they were between installations. There was nothing in the museum to see. Well, why were they sitting there? Instead, I shot photos of the flowers growing in front. They seemed to be dahlias, but I’m not sure. What do you think? See the top of this page for the photo.
On the way back, we stopped to see two things: the Umpqua Lighthouse at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park and the Strawberry Hill wayside, which provides excellent views of the rugged beauty along the coast and the occasional groups of sleeping sea lions.
Down the road from the lighthouse was a place to rent dune buggies to ride along the beach. My husband offered to stop because he knew that was an activity I wanted to try. It’s funny when I think back to the house I built in San Felipe, Baja California, on the beach. I hated dune buggies with a passion then. Loud, noisy, obnoxious and with it loud, noisy and obnoxious people. Never had a desire to ride in much less drive a dune buggy. But now that I’m in my 60s, it seems like it would be a blast.
We stopped, unexpectedly, at the dune buggy rental. My husband announced, “Here’s your dune buggy place.” It was too cold and foggy. Everything I had read said you should not try to drive a dune buggy in the fog in an unknown location because you could go over a dune and off into the ocean, goodbye. Well, that turned out to be the last time we had a chance to ride dune buggies, and I declined. Maybe that’s why we are still alive today, though. You never know.