We were finally going to do it! Daughter Dearest and I were finally going to fulfill part of a long-time dream: to explore our Oregon coast from top to bottom. We’d been on a coastal weekend before, but we made the mistake of doing the whole thing in two days. Easy to do, if you’re not wanting to stop and look at much. We wanted to EXPLORE. See the sights. Go where our hearts took us. So we vowed that, next time, we’d take the trip a third of the coast at a time. This was a couple of years ago, and last weekend we were able to do a part of it.
In the late afternoon on Friday, we packed our weekend stuff (takes five minutes), kissed the cat good-bye (hubby/dad wasn’t home), and headed north-by-northwest. We felt sorry for the poor schlubs who were bumper-to-bumper going south on Interstate 5, and were really grateful that we were not a part of that mess.
Then we got on to Highway 217–and stopped dead. Parking Lot City as far as the eye could see. Blargh. DD mentioned that it was a good thing that she wasn’t driving. I had to agree–I did not want to hear ranting at any time during this weekend. (Not that I get any at home, but still…)
Finally got through the traffic on 217, and headed west on 26, praying that the traffic gods had had enough fun with us and the other poor schlubs heading north.
And it was a good ride from there. Then the weather gods set in as we got to the coastal range. Rain, very heavy at times, misty at others, but never far away, beset us all through the hills and passages to the coast. Luckily for me, I have traveled this road many times, so I at least knew what curves went where.
There is nothing like the views and vistas in the Oregon coastal mountains, even with fog and mist riding on every surface. Maybe they’re even nicer that way. I never tire of them. But the best sight on our way to Warrenton was two elk at the side of the road. I’d forgotten how huge they are! They make deer look tiny in comparison.
No trouble finding our hotel; not much along that stretch of road between Seaside and Astoria. There’s Gearhart, Ft. Rilea, then Warrenton. Fairly easy to find.
There was a 1936 Ford Hunkagorgeouscar in the drive-through area of the hotel, and I had to goggle. I absolutely love classic cars. Little did I know that I would get a snootful this weekend!
When the gal behind the hotel counter gave us our keys, DD and I could only stare in disbelief. These keys were REAL METAL KEYS! And they fit IN LOCKS ON THE DOORKNOBS!! I hadn’t seen anything like that in 20 years.
Kind of like the interior of the room…Oh well, we were only there to sleep, not spend any real time. I found it funny that there was a phone jack in the wall in the bathroom. I guess so you could plug in your state-of-the-art phone and have a nice chat in the throne room.
Beds were comfy enough, although DD had a hard time sleeping. She’s used to sleeping in the gap on her futon, so this was a bit difficult.
Next day dawned clear and bright–well, I don’t know about the dawn per se, I am guessing here. I didn’t bestir myself until after 8am, and DD was much later. We drank our bottled Starbucks coffee (which had nearly frozen in the room’s fridge), got dressed, and took off to find REAL coffee. And adventure. In that order.
(By the way, I am never short on words. This may go on awhile.)
There must be at least 200 to 300 coffee kiosks along Highway 101’s coastal route. It is a lot of fun to see the different titles (Divine Grounds, Human Bean, etc.) and styles of kiosks, ranging from what looks like a huge tree trunk to the fairly-recognizable windmills of Dutch Bros. Coffee, and all kinds in-between.
We passed up Seaside on our way south, figuring that we were going to be there on Sunday to pick up something that Himself had requested–a bottle of Moxie, an old-time soda that he really loves. I’ve tried it. Won’t compete with him for it.
Highway 101 along the Oregon coast should be a drive that everyone has on their bucket list. Hawaii has some beautiful scenery, as does Alaska and the Eastern Seaboard–but Oregon’s is the best, in my opinion. The weather was fantastic, the traffic light, and the company wonderful.
We were almost to Cannon Beach when I swerved into a cutaway along the highway. DD thought I’d gone nuts or lost control, but, dammit, I wasn’t going to pass it up again! Every time we go by this spot, which has a historical marker erected just on the edge, I never get a chance to read the sign. This time I decided that today was going to be the day.
Didn’t know it was so hard to stop the car at that speed. No harm, no problem–but boy, the van wasn’t wanting to cooperate!
Got out, read the sign, took the pictures.
Got into Cannon Beach, was fortunate to find a parking place without too much trouble (the downtown is swarmed any good-weather day of the week), and we got into art-gallery mode. The looky-loo area of the town is really only a short couple of blocks long, so it didn’t take us much time to go into a lot of the places we’d come to see.
Public art sculpture – chickens – on a side street.
My favorite old house, now an art shop. Love the architecture and the weather-beaten wood!
Even the downspouts on the restaurant were artsy-fartsy!
It’s really a rude surprise when the need to have some private time comes upon one suddenly, and the public restroom is being cleaned. DD had such a need, and since the stalls were being cleaned–by a guy–we hit the first restaurant we found.
I stood at the door while she took care of business, then we decided having lunch there was a good way to repay the establishment for its generosity.
I ordered a spinach Caesar salad, dressing on the side, with chicken. DD got a burger and fries.
The salad was more like a parade ground. It was HUGE! I was so glad that it was all green leafies and no junk. At least I could say I’d behaved myself for lunch.
We spent a little more time with the art colony shops. I think we did the place justice, but we were running into afternoon without getting as far as we’d wanted.
Back to the car, a short trip, and we found ourselves in Manzanita, a little town that can’t decide if it wants the tourists or not. Not a lot to it, but there were some interesting shops on the short road to the beach. We walked to the end of the street, looked at the kites in the air and the surf against the sand, said, “Oh, very nice”, and walked back. Neither one of us wanted to spend time on the beach. This was not a beach weekend. It was a shoreline trip. Big difference.
South we went, past state parks, woods both coniferous and deciduous, and little towns like Wheeler and Nehalem. Drove on through Garibaldi, stopping long enough to take a picture of the tower I’d always wanted to know more about.
This monster is huge–you can’t help but ask yourself what it was all about. I just looked it up tonight; it was built as part of a sawmill–a smokestack to throw the soot and junk out of the town so people wouldn’t suffocate. It’s all that’s left of the sawmill. A couple of tall people could stand on each other’s shoulders and still not reach the top of that hole at the bottom.
We drove non-stop to Tillamook, and went in to the cheese factory. There is nothing there we haven’t already seen, since it’s one of the places we always take out-of-state visitors. But our minds were set on one thing–ice cream. Tillamook ice cream is so good straight from the source! We sat in the car and gobbled it down, sighed with the wonderfulness of it all, and turned the car north again.
That evening, we went to church in Arch Cape, not too far from Seaside. Turns out the priest there knows our pastor here in town! Guess they’re pretty good friends, because he told us, “You should move to the beach. Fr. M. is a troublemaker.” Then he chuckled and moved off to the next group of churchgoers. I can’t wait to tell Fr. M. what he said!
Dinner at McMenamin’s in Gearhart. Difficult to find a veggies-only menu item. I’m not a vegetarian, but I wanted to keep the calorie intake low due to the lack of exercise. I ordered a plate of hummus and veggies–but ate just the pita bread, some cheese, and the cucumbers. Had a couple of beers though–Terminator Stout is the best beer on the planet. so I can never pass up the opportunity to bestow it upon myself. Aaand you see where I pick up the calories…
The next day was all Seaside. Which translates to “an hour or so”. DD got up late, and she had a meeting to go to at our church that afternoon. So we didn’t get much time there.
But I’ve been to Seaside many times. Every year in August, at the end of the Portland-to-Coast/Hood-to-Coast relay race, as a matter of fact. So, no real draw for me, and DD was pretty neutral about the whole thing.
There had been some good-looking classic cars and hotrods up and down 101 as we drove around, and now we found out why. Seaside was hosting a classic car show! I was in car heaven, while DD’s eyes were rolling faster than any of those wheels.
Cars from the earliest 20th-century to the 70s were everywhere. Downtown was closed to traffic, and the public parking areas were nose-to trunk with muscle cars and roadsters and hotrods, oh my!
I even saw my dream car, a 1964 red Ford Mustang convertible!!
We got the Moxie, found a place that did a decent mocha freeze, and headed home. Not a lot of time for gawking, dern it.
‘Twas a great weekend, all told.
And now it’s been told.
Next time, Tillamook to Waldport, and maybe further.