South Coast/“Skunk” Railroad
July 22-25, 1994
Leaving Eugene with 100-degree temperatures, 23 Obsidian bus travelers were glad to arrive in Reedsport on Monday, July 22 where temperatures were in the 60s and skies were overcast. While we waited for our tour of the Antarctic research vessel “Hero”, we had coffee and Bette Bars furnished by the leader. Most everyone made the tour and came through OK except Alice Osborne (Clarence Scherer’s sister from Tucson) who missed the last step on the ramp to the dock and took a tumble; she came out OK except for some bruises. The “Hero’s” tour leader presented her with several gifts including a penguin pin, which helped her feelings too. Leaving Reedsport, we arrived at Shore Acres about 12:30 where we ate lunch, listened to Festive Brass (part of Coos Bay’s Festival of Music), and admired the beautiful flowers and ocean views of this area. We drove to Bandon and the bus driver found a parking place close to the candy store, but we did check out some of the other stores too! Our motel, the Sunset Lodge, along Beach Loop Drive, had ocean views for everyone but alas the ocean was obscured by heavy fog. We were lodged in three different areas color coded yellow, blue and green, which became hilarious as everyone tried to unscramble their color. We were finally settled in though, and some had dinner at Lord Bennett’s and others chose to go downtown to Andrea’s — both equally delicious.
On Saturday we drove down the South Coast with gorgeous views all along the way, stopping at Arch Cape for our morning break and pictures, with cookies furnished by Liz Reanier. We had lunch at Crescent City and our afternoon break was at Humboldt Redwood State Park visitor center near Weott. We took the cutoff to Fort Bragg with its many curves but our excellent bus driver took it all in stride and maneuvered the bus around countless curves going over the mountains until we came to the ocean and arrived at Fort Bragg about 6:00. We lucked out on the date to be there as there was an antique car conference going on and gorgeous cars from all over the U.S. They were parked all over the motel parking lot, so we had first-hand views and were able to visit with the owners.
Sunday was our big day to ride the “Skunk” train and we climbed aboard and left the station about 9:20. We arrived at Northspur Station, the halfway point, about 1½ hours later where refreshments are sold in a beautiful Redwood forested area. Apple juice is the specialty called Pratt’s Pure Juice. One can also buy candies and prize winning conserves. At this point we changed trains for the two-hour ride into Willets. We all found seats in the outdoor cars and took pictures as we rounded many curves. When we arrived in Willets, we ate lunch at Burger King and then headed north to Ferndale. We toured the restored houses and main streets of Ferndale and then drove to Eureka where our motel was The Thunderbird. They rolled out the red carpet for us and greeted our group from their signboard.
On Monday we left for home, stopping at Redwood Park Wayside for our morning break and what was left of the cookies. We stopped for lunch at Humbug Mountain State Park close to Port Orford and then drove down Cape Blanco Road to the Hughes House (circa 1898), which is located in the Cape Blanco State Park and was built by Patrick Hughes, an Irishman, who amassed 2,000 acres in the area. The Friends of Cape Blanco have restored the house and we had a delightful tour led by Dan & Marylou Hill. We arrived home at 6:30.
Our very good bus driver who helped immensely to make this a successful trip and got us home safely was Lou Turner. Bus riders were Rita Baxter, Harriet & Paul Civin, Clair Cooley, Elma Doris Havemann, Evelyn Hile, Virginia Kapsa, Dodie Leppmann, Frances Newsom, Maude Nilsen, Alice Osborne, Elizabeth Reanier, Clarence & Dorothy Scherer, Lois Schreiner, June Smith, John Thomson, Louise Thurber, Hawke & Ruth Williams, Gertrude Halvorsen and Bette Hack (trip leader).