Caspar Institute logoitinerary   < 27 August to Brookings, OR   29 August to Silverton >

Moolack Beach 28 August 2019

1969 : 0

Wouldn't you know it: ODOT (Oregon's highway guys) were working right where I have always wanted to stop and take a picture of What Caspar Might Have Been if Oscar had his way and developed our Headlands to the max. 

Our question for the day: what went wrong with Oregon's coast? I remember it as a gorgeous long expanse of forest meeting ocean, whose proud citizens bragged about how the whole coastline was owned by the state for the benefit of the people.

And in fairness, there are a lot of wonderful state parks. Using the analogy we often apply to the parks along our Mendocino Coast – a string of pearls – that's true, too, of the whole Oregon coast. 

1970 : 0

1971 : 0

EXCEPT for the in betweens! A string of turds doesn't quite fit, because the obscene slurbs are strung together by the glorious green bits ... but the ugly developments begin at Gold Beach, and worsen the closer to Portland you get.

1972 : 0

Tonys Crab Shack


We stopped for lunch in Bandon at Tony's Crab Shack and had a crab salad out on the pier as a sort of anticipatory stopgap, because we knew that the real point of the day was another dinner at Local Ocean Seafood in Newport.

1973 : 0

The urban ugliness really sets in north of Bandon. Towns that look like franchise catalogs; even the local joints look like franchises! Lots and lots of realtors. I'm guessing that's the root of the problem ...but they wouldn't be there if folks weren't buying.

At one point, the nasty little beach cottages were so close together the ocean was completely blotted out – for at least a mile. Shoddy construction, neither charm nor grace to the buildings. A little further on, tiny slices and nicer cottages, but still completely blocking everyone else's ocean.

Thank you, Californians, for Prop 20, the Coastal Zone Act!

1974 : 0
<p>Wind sculpting near Cape Perpetua</p>

Wind sculpting near Cape Perpetua

1975 : 0

Stopped for our day's walk at Cape Perpetua, a tongue of lava that juts out into the wild Pacific. The wind roars here, perpetually, one assumes. Lots of folks out walking here, breathing in the solitude and wildness.

The sun we enjoyed in Bandon had by this time been swallowed by the marine layer – we see that it got up into the nineties inland, so it's chilly and windy here on the coast.


Not far down the road, the main event: dinner at Local Ocean Seafood.

1991 : 0

Rochelle declined to leave the smooth walkway, but I couldn't resist clambering to the edge of what the PR people in the Forest Service call 'Devil's Cauldron' – a mere inlet in the lava floe into which the ocean crashes. Far above, US 101 bridges the chasm in one of the classic CCC-built bridges.


1976 : 0

1977 : 0

From left: Roasted garlic and crab soup (with a nice dry hard apple cider); Calamari salad (top) with fennel, tiny olives; mandarin oranges and straw mushrooms in a spicy dressing; Panko-coated fried oysters and fries; and Halibut grilled over grilled peaches on sautéed pepper in a nicely spicy siracha sauce. Omigod. Tasty. And, believe it or not, just enough, not too much. Attentive, friendly service, but the real joy, sitting at the chef's counter, is watching how much fun they're having in the kitchen. They know they're putting out some of the best food being served anywhere on the planet, and it gives them joy. 

1978 : 0

That's Enrique Gonzales, Chef Extraordinaire, there on the left. He's been at that station, far as we know, since 2015, and a more inventive and consistent executive chef I can't remember. The brigade were relaxed and enough on top of things to be able to play to their audience – us.

I consider this to be one of my top two seafood restaurants in the world; we ate at Local Ocean in 2015, 2017, and 2018. (The other one is in Ancona, Italy.)

1979 : 0

Four miles north of the nastiness that is Newport, the trees restore sanity, and we are holed up here on Moolack Beach in a 1950s era motel in serious need of love ...but, location, location, location! This is the view north out our bedroom window.

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