Lighthouse Road Trip – Day 11 – May 14 – Cape Blanco

Cape Blanco, named by the Spanish for its 200-ft white cliffs, is Oregon’s most western point and one of the windiest. The lighthouse there was nearly closed to those of us who visited on Saturday because the wind speed nearly topped 50 mph. It was still a challenge opening and shutting doors when I arrived yesterday, Sunday.

The only difference between the layout of this building and the others we have seen is there is no passageway between the keeper’s workroom and the three-flight stairwell. We visitors were allowed to climb the iron stairs to the walkway that surrounds the lens, a different perspective from climbing into the lens as we did at the Umpqua River Lighthouse.

As usual, we got a lovely view of the Oregon Coast.

We’ve been told by all the guides that Fresnel lenses came in six grades. Grade 1 lenses were the biggest, over seven feet tall and over 2000 lbs each. The lens in the Cape Blanco Lighthouse is an unusual Grade 2E manufactured by Henry-Lepaute in Paris in the mid 1860s and first lit in 1870. Our guide didn’t explain what the “E” stood for, just that this lens is larger than a Grade 2 but smaller than a Grade 1.

Displays in the workroom gave us a firsthand look at the oil containers and the hurricane glass toppers. (The display in a previous lighthouse only showed a photo of one.)

Near the lighthouse, visitors are invited to tour the historic Victorian home built by the Hughes Family in the late 1800s. The Irish couple came to California via the East Coast in search of gold. Not making a fortune that way, they turned to farming and raising sheep and cattle. Over time their ranch grew to over 2000 acres.

One son became the keeper at the lighthouse, seen in this photo. (The smocks the keeper and his two assistants are wearing while cleaning the soot from the lenses keep the soot off their uniform and keep the brass buttons on the uniform from scratching the glass prisms.)

Other activities for the day included exploring Port Orford, the first place in Oregon where the East Coast settlers established a town. That did not go down well with the local natives. One of the placards describes the bloody conflict that resulted.

Some of us ate here.

We stayed a second night in the Humbug State Campground.

Bob and Diane from Arizona organized cocktail hour around their campfire.

I took the opportunity to try sautéing some chicken in a pan on their fire, which I ate with a just-right avocado.

Bill did his outdoor grilling in a different manner. He employed a tripod to support the hatch cover of one of his storage closets to make a table. Then he cooked pork chops and pineapple in a cast iron pan on an induction plate. He surrounded the plate with a small metal folding screen to keep the splattering grease off his fancy paint job. Sonny Boy the dachshund watched from behind.

Once the pork chops were cooked, Bill doused them with bourbon. They looked and smelled yummy. BJ added a broccoli salad.

We hit the road again on Monday starting with Pelican Bay and on onto California.

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