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Coast trip turns up Bigfoot, Langlois

It was another cool, bright morning on the Southern Oregon coast — perfect for tunes and a leisurely drive. One nice thing about south coast traffic is there’s far less of it than with the mass of tourist assemblage to the north. The luxury of time I enjoyed meant embracing U-turns for whatever caught my eye. Passing lanes at regular intervals allowed those not hunting for a chain-sawed, wooden Bigfoot sculpture to ease on down the road.

A couple of towns on Oregon’s south coast catch my attention each night on the evening weather map. In all my traversing 101, I can’t recall even passing through Langlois or Sixes, yet there are representative dots on the map, siren communities calling for exploration. I determined to hunt them down, find out how to pronounce Langlois, and learn why they deserve a forecast.

When I did see a giant chain-sawed Bigfoot contemplating his fate and keeping company with a dragon, 10-foot praying mantis and a freaky pumpkin-headed scarecrow, I turned around to chance an interview.

The name of the business at the south end of Bandon is Something Awesome. It's an exotic hardwood mill and gift shop, owned and run by Ben and Jennifer Davis and David and Debbie Leister. Twenty to 30 woodcrafters combine to carve sensible objects such as tables, benches, dog houses, etc.

And there are world-renowned artists creating the outrageous, for example Brian Vorwaller, Artist Extreme — check him out on Facebook. Jennifer said it wasn’t until they added the mammoth, carved creatures that folks realized they were there. Worked for me.

Side note: This is where I first laid eyes on the amazing zebra beetle, a stunningly large and beautiful insect with stark black and white markings and striped antennae as long as its body. He may have found his Hometown Buffet.

I kept my eyes open for Langlois, doubting there was a sign. Then I saw, framed with greenery that seemed to glow, “Welcome to World Famous Langlois.” I need to get out more.

A tangle of cars clustered haphazardly around the Langlois Market. I knew that would be the target for information. Lunchtime was busy, but a prime opportunity to witness the entire community of 177 Langloisians in one place. Some stood in line for the world famous hot dogs, but they all appeared friendly.

After having a look around, I suspected their claim to fame had more to do with a monumental number of beer brands. Then I asked a busy-looking cute guy where a person could lay hold of a good root beer. When Jacob Pestana actually took time to discuss the quality of a Henry’s over another brand, I knew I had the right contact. Turns out he’d bought the market from his dad.

I admitted I was writing a column on the area, and the floodgates opened. He shared about the illustrious history of the area since 1881, which included cranberries, of course, plus wool, and hot dogs with his grandma’s sweet-hot mustard, which I determined would be lunch.

I also met Z for Zachary, website curator for WF Langlois who happened to stroll by with an empty growler and gave valuable insight on the name pronunciation. As it turns out, everyone agrees on the Lang part. As far as the second syllable, you can pretty much say it any way you want as long as it’s not French-sounding and you don’t make a big deal out of it. Locals simply say Langless.

I’ll have more on the area next week — Floras Lake, the community of Sixes, a runaway steer and other southern stops.

I’m enjoying my home away in the super-clean Lighthouse Cove Inn in Bandon. Thank you, Kelly and Audrey! My microwaved scrambled eggs are unparalleled. I people-watch from the balcony and enjoy a view of Old Town, boats on the harbor, and a telephone booth — a relic from the '70s at the gas station across the street. I’m waiting for someone to make a call. I may hop down with confetti and a prize when it happens.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer living in Eagle Point (when she's not hanging out at the coast). Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.