I got to watch the sun set over the ocean from my room. It would make a nice vacation place, but I'm not really vacationing in a motel.

Gold Beach has Paul Bunyan Burgers. I didn't stop, so I don't know how big they really are.

On the north side of Gold Beach is a gorgeous bridge across the mouth of the Rogue River. The design of this bridge (and most of the bridges I crossed during my journey up the coast) was very Art Deco. They all had ornamental towers at the end. Here, and most places, these towers were ten feet tall or under, and the bridges were made of concrete. The larger bridges were metal and had appropriately larger towers. Some of them were drawbridges.

(These pictures are of later bridges.)

There are two companies in Gold Beach offering jet boat rides up the Rogue.

A little bear on signs kept reminding me that the Honey Bear Campground was just north of Gold Beach.

A dozen miles or so before Port Orford (the Westernmost Incorporated Town in the Contiguous United States) a tyrannosaurus rex pulled me off the highway to Petrified Forest, a walk-through dinosaur park in the Oregon rainforest.

Following the dinosaur footprints, I took a winding course through the ferns and moss, under a canopy of trees, past a couple of dozen large concrete beasts.

It was overcast and drizzling when I started, but the sun soon came out. It was hard to tell, though, given the tree cover, and it was very hard to photograph the beasts.

It was still early. I saw a group go in ahead of me, but I didn't see them in the park. I didn't see anyone. It was just me and the chirping birds and the dinosaurs.

There was a poem by the stegosaurus:

Never scorn the stegosaurus
Munching herbage long before us
Never knowing what his name was
Well remembered all the same was
Long have vanished bone and brain
But his fossils still remain
Fame enduring eons still
A damn sight longer than you will

One section described, with a series of signs, the evolution of plant life.

They have postcards for every dinosaur, and I bought two of each, so I actually spent more money on postcards than I did on admission.

The gift shop was packed with items from Archie McPhee's wholesale division. I really should try to stop by there on Friday.

Traffic got compressed by road construction next to Humbug Mountain.

There are several lighthouses along the Oregon coast. I wasn't really in the mood for lighthouse gazing, so I passed a few. I saw one a few from the road.

I drove through Sixes, near a mountain that was apparently bombed by the Japanese. I have no idea why they did this, or how they know who did it. I found this fact in Roadside America.

Denmark had only one little business, but it had red shutters with white ornaments stuck on the windows.

In some little town just up from Denmark I saw a restaurant actually named The Greasy Spoon Café.

At first I thought the West Coast Game Park would be inappropriate in a convertible, but the huge sign said that it was a "Walk Through Safari" and "America's Largest Petting Adventure", so I had to stop.

From the parking lot I could hear the cries of the peacocks (now that I know what these sound like).

I've been to a lot of petting zoos around the country. Most of them are free, or at least much cheaper than this one. It is very large. A dirt path winds among cages and fenced areas holding tigers and leopards and chimps and elk and bearcats and llamas, but these aren't the main attraction.

Dozens of deer and goats and sheep and burros and peacocks wander around the paths freely. In the gift shop they sell little ice cream cones filled with animal food for a quarter, and these wandering beasts know this. They greet every visitor with a greedy look in their eyes.

I learned early to keep my cone up and out of reach. I stood too close to the emus and one crunched my cone.

I acquired a young stag as a shadow. He followed me around throughout the park. He liked to have his fuzzy antlers rubbed, but he liked to be fed little pieces of animal food even more.

Surprisingly, I spent over an hour walking around feeding the animals. The peahens were shy, but one peacock would also eat out of my hand.

Just north of West Coast Game Park I saw a roadside jam stand that offered preserves made from huckleberries and marionberries. I pulled over immediately.

I asked the woman in the stand if the marionberry was a joke. She said it was a real berry but that the jam was drug free.

While the redwood area had been filled with wood shops featuring objects carved from redwood burl, this part of the Oregon coast was filled with shops offering objects and furniture carved from myrtlewood, whatever that is.

I stopped to photograph an old collapsing gas station, just south of Bandon complete with pumps. The awning over had fallen on one side. It was very attractive to me, combining whatever it is I like about old barns with my interest in road culture archaeology. The price on the pumps was 34 cents a gallon.

In Bandon I detoured through the touristy, historic part of town right on the ocean. I had lunch at a small fish market shop right on the beach. While I didn't face the ocean, I did sit outside on an old weathered picnic table while seagulls watched. I had local snapper fish and chips, which were incredible.

The highway just south of the town was sponsored by the Bandon Brewing Company. I tried to find the brewery but had to give up. The highway was down to one lane from the middle of town on, and I didn't feel like trying to turn and get back on.

In North Bend I saw the Itty Bitty Inn Motel.

I crossed another drawbridge. I never had to stop for an open one, but I did see a rotated railroad bridge off to the sign.

The roadside was covered with some bush filled with yellow flowers.

I passed an Oregon Grinder restaurant.

I next stopped at an attraction called Sea Lion Caves. I stopped and looked over the edge from outside the attraction. I didn't see anything, but I did see a lot of people going in and out, so I paid my money and went inside.

First I walked down a path to the left to the "Sea Lion Observation Area". Just as I got there I heard the sea lions. From the observation area I looked down and saw them way down at the ocean completely covering a rock. There were dozens of them lying in the sun, crawling around, and swimming. There could not be seen from anywhere else.

I took some telephoto pictures, which should turn out pretty good. It's amazing how loud they were, considering how far above them we were.

Next I walked back up to the office, then down the right side to the elevator. This elevator took me over 200 feet down into an observation area adjacent to the "World's Largest Sea Cave". Through the fences window I saw the cave. Sunlight was filtering in two openings. Two sea lions stood on a rock in the middle of the cave, yelling and poking at each other until one fell or jumped into the water.

I wish I had brought my tripod.

They had tilt pens at the gift shop, but they didn't have any with sea lions. They had the generic National Caves Association pen I'd picked up at Shoshone Ice Caves and some featuring a killer whale, an octopus, and a shark.

I complained to Tami, the girl behind the counter, and we looked through all of them. I asked her about snow domes, but told her I didn't want the cheap kind with a flat picture on a piece of plastic in the middle. She went to look at them, but they were all the cheap kind.

They did have a pressed penny machine.

Newport has a radar detector with a large display showing entering motorists how fast they are driving. No one was going faster than 40.

The killer whale featured in the Free Willy movies lives at the aquarium in Newport. That was reason enough not to visit.

U.S. 20 ends at 101 in Newport. I turned east on 20 and headed inland, saying goodbye to the Pacific and the Oregon coast.

The drive was very pretty. 20 was a small winding mountain road here, but these were the kind of mountain one finds in the east, not the towering snow-capped kind.

The Hewlett-Packard facility in Corvallis is right on 20.

I got on I-5 and headed north. I stopped at Enchanted Forest, but it was 6:45 and they closed at six.

In Salem, the capital of Oregon, I checked into a motel for the night, then had dinner (grilled salmon, of course) at what appeared to be a seafood brass-and-fern bar. I had a couple of local beers, a Widmier Pale Ale and something else that I didn't write down.

Tomorrow it's off to Hart's Reptile World.

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