So we we left Umpqua Lighthouse State Park and moved on to Devils Lake State Recreation Area in Lincoln City, Oregon. For the next week we just kinda ambled up and down the coast. Going south, one of the highlights, was the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. (thank you Keith and Brenda). It was outstanding! The area includes a lighthouse,
|At 93 feet, this is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon|
beautiful coast with lots of lava (it's not hot anymore),
and colorful tide pools.
|Orange sea stars|
We also enjoyed a joyful morning at a great little harbor town, Depoe Bay. It markets itself as the "Whale Watching Capitol of the Oregon Coast" and as having "The Smallest Natural Navigable Harbor in the World". Pretty good for a town that only has about 1,400 people. We didn't see any whales there, but as advertised, the harbor was very small.
What we really enjoyed here was our purchase of a fresh baked Croinut (Croisant-Donut), 3 bags of locally produced caramel corn, and the MOST BEAUTIFUL dinner plate sized apple fritter. We know how to party!
On another day we did again enjoy a whale, this time at Cape Foulweather.
Quite the view as well!
This last bit will likely only make sense to those people who actually know our dogs. Bailey, our big headed, bighearted, scared of everything girl pulled quite a stunt. One evening we were walking the whole family and our route took us across a nature trail boardwalk, elevated about 3 feet off the ground. No railing. People approached. From Bailey's point of view, ALL unknown people are a threat. So she did what comes natural to her, she simply backed up in a hurry.....right into thin air and off the boardwalk. She wasn't hurt. I jumped off the boardwalk, cradled her until the people past then lifted her back onto the boardwalk. Parenting is so demanding!
That's a wrap on our week at Devils Lake. We then moved on to Cape Lookout State Park which is just south of Tillamook, Oregon, home of Tillamook Cheese. So we took a self-guided tour of the factory and saw some of the cheese making process.
July 19 we visited sights north of Cape Lookout State Park to include a stop at the Cape Meares Scenic Viewpoint and Lighthouse. There we found we'd been duped. More likely we misunderstood. Back at Umpqua we thought we'd seen the only lighthouse with a red and white lens. Not true. The lighthouse at Cape Meares has a similar red and white lens. Earlier we showed you the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. Cape Meares is the shortest. It only stands 38 feet high.
One day we hiked about 5 miles (rt) to the point of Cape Lookout. The hike included some dramatic drop offs
and mighty poor footing,
|That's the trail????|
Another beautiful day.
Also while at Cape Lookout we'd make the 100 yard hike to the beach each evening to catch the sunset.
Commentary: We are genuinely considering a modest summer home along the Oregon coast. It may not happen but it might in a few years. So we are steadily assessing weather, real estate, weather, local activities/natural attractions, weather, traffic and yes, weather. Since leaving Umpqua Lighthouse State Park and moving up the coast we have come to recognize that they are FAR more people in these central to northern areas we're visiting. Additionally, these areas seem far more touristy coupled with way too much traffic. I'm guessing much of this congestion has to do with the proximity to Portland. (I'm now an Oregon expert......not) So my point. Even though we're greatly enjoying these areas we are largely ruling them out for home buying considerations.
July 21 we moved on to Fort Stevens State Park for a week's stay. The place is huge. There are over 500 sites when you combine RV, tents, yurts and cabins. There's hiking trails, bike trails, a sizable lake, lots of military stuff and even a beach with a shipwreck (what's left of it anyway). The "fort" includes two separate fortified locations dating from the Civil War through WII. Fort Stevens was actually shelled by a Japanese sub during WWII. There are plenty of people but it doesn't seem crowded. There's plenty of room for everyone. Speaking of room, hopefully the picture of our site reveals our own private space.
Fort Stevens is located adjacent to Warrenton, OR. Population is only about 5000. They have a Costco (lets have a Hoorah Tom), Home Depot and a Fred Meyer about the size of Disney World. Go figure! I also got a good haircut there (oh yes and new windshield wiper blades). I know, this is interesting stuff. I'm not very particular about haircuts but I think the last lady that cut my hair graduated from cosmetology school about 20 minutes before I arrived.
Saturday morning, July 23, we drove to Cannon Beach. It's like we've never traveled. Cannon Beach is a beautiful, high dollar location but I believe nearly every person from Portland was driving into town. WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE and I'm convinced nowhere to park. You think maybe we should have anticipated the weekend crowd? I do! We didn't get out of the truck. We simply drove back to Warrenton and went to Fort Clatsop, which was the 1805 winter home for Lewis and Clark. There's a nice visitor center, an OK replica of their fort (I believe it's the history that's important)
and some nice walking trails along the Lewis and Clark River.
Sunday we eventually moseyed into nearby Astoria, OR. This is a lovely waterfront town with a dynamic history related to the fishing, timber and shipping industries. We got there in late afternoon knowing we'd return for another visit. We walked a little then got on a $1 trolley for a 4 mile (rt) narrated ride along the waterfront. So very nice and peaked our interest greatly about Astoria.
Monday we give the Cannon Beach area another try. Much better. It's the most vacation housing packed area we've been in along the coast but that's not surprising. It is a beautiful setting!
|235 foot Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach|
South of Cannon is a robust little setting at Hug Point State Recreation Site. Intriguing coastline with deep sea caves, tidepools and drama. Yeah!
North of Cannon we stop at Ecola State Park. A tricky little drive in but this place is way up on a dramatic bluff with more of those dog gone spectacular views.
Our final stop that day, was at Seaside, another cute beach town known for its 1.5 mile "Promenade" by the sea,
and for being the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail.
Tuesday we ventured across the massive Columbia River, and it is OMG massive, to Fort Disappointment State Park in Washington. They have a Lewis and Clark interpretive center. So here's the deal. If you entered the interpretive center knowing little about Lewis and Clark, you could depart with an impressively full understanding of their truly death defying expedition!!! I don't know when I've enjoyed a more comprehensive presentation. I won't attempt to walk you thru it (aren't you glad?) but if you have an opportunity and an interest put it on your list of things to see in the PNW.
July 27 we returned to Astoria specifically to do the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Now I have to one up the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. This museum was the MOST enjoyable museum I've ever visited. We were there for hours and we shall return. First, it's enormous! It addresses, I believe, everything related to the Columbia River including fishing, canneries, the Coast Guard,
|No we didn't hold the camera crooked.|
and one of the Oregon coast's obsessions, tsunamis. There were endless static displays but what really brought the whole presentation to life were the many many large monitors with live footage of the respective subject. We even watched (for an additional $5 each) a 3D movie about penguins.
|Duane sporting those 3D glasses|
Really a fulfilling experience. We concluded the day with some "world famous" fish and chips made with tuna. Way Yummy!
OK, I'm done for now. Yes, I realize that was a little more than we ate cheese and cruised the coast.