You are looking at Cape Blanco Lighthouse, at the tip of Cape Blanco, the westernmost tip of the contiguous states. We are in the Far West, and the myth about the West lives here still.
Around us are ranches, forests, cranberry bogs, pastures, and tiny towns, of which Port Orford and Langlois are the closest. The land is rugged. Only one highway, US 101 parallels the coast and connects California on the south, to Washington, on the north.
We were the last frontier here in Oregon. The Oregon Trail moved people from the East to the West through many territories. We all have ancestors who came this way and settled here. My husband's family started out in the Carolinas, and made its way west, landing in Utah first before settling in in Willocreek, Montana, and in Oregon and Washington.
My great Uncle Giuseppe arrived in San Francisco as a youth, to make his fortune in California during the gold rush. He settled in Fresno and Los Angeles, where I landed as a seventeen year old from Italy.
We were all drawn to the open land, the sense of adventure and opportunities that the West promised.
Right here and right now, our young people are moving away from their family ranches to seek their fortunes in big cities, East, North, South, to Europe, Asia. They'll join a fishing expedition in Alaska, go raise cattle in Utah, dig for oil in Louisiana. The West offered much, but it is still a wild place, full of natural beauty, but lacking in jobs and opportunities.
Retirees are moving to these small places. They are enchanted by the wild rivers, the spectacular ocean views, and the thundering sound of crushing waves. They are also amazed at how little this place has changed since it was first occupied as Fort Orford, a military outpost to protect ships and lumber workers as they loaded up and moved lumber down the Pacific to Eureka, and San Francisco.
We are still on the frontier, in a sense. We must be prepared to live without electricity for days after a major storm as the highway may be impassable, and no truck or car full of provisions can make deliveries or bring repairmen.