The Oregon Coast
Oct 1, Astoria
After leaving a rainy Mount Saint Helens, we headed toward the Oregon coast — a destination that had been recommended by several people we’ve met en-route and our first Ocean destination on this trip where we were looking for some beach fun in the sun. Alas, Oregon had other plans for us and instead we were treated to four days of on-and-off rain and, when it was on, it was ON. Man can it rain in Oregon.
Tonight we slept in hotel in Astoria since it was rainy and cool and late and not very camp-compatible.
Oct 2, Astoria, Seaside & onward
Today we visited the 90 year old Astoria Column where we bought a few balsa wood airplanes to toss off the tower. Best $1 I ever spent! I was going to rescue them for future towers but, by the time I got to the bottom of the 600ft of steps, someone had rescued Chris’s for her. I retrieved mine but some (random) guy said it would be “good karma” if I left it on the steps for someone else to throw off. Dammit, I couldn’t pass up on good karma. But now I’m balsa-plane-less. +karma -toy.
There is a colony of Sea Lions that take over some of the docks in Astoria for part of the year. They were there when we visited so we spent some time watching them do their thing.
At Fort Stevens State Park we didn’t go to the fort ($) but we did head to the beach to see what remains (not much) of the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale. If you have a second, click the link to see the ship in its heyday. It is deteriorating fast now and will likely be completely claimed by the sea within the next ten years.
In the seaside community of Seaside we stopped briefly at the official end of the Lewis and Clark trail. Seaside is where the explorers Lewis and Clark ended their river trip from St. Louis, Missouri to the Oregon coast and back as commissioned by Thomas Jefferson who wanted to open up a trade route to Louisiana Territory.
We visited the beautiful Canon Beach for sunset and then went to look for a camp site.
It was late and dark but, thankfully not raining, when we arrived at Nehalem Bay State Park to find a campsite for the night.
We visited the Nahalem Bay Winery for some wine tasting and some travel tips (bought a really nice peach wine). We continued on to the second cheese factory (not the first as we were told it was too touristy). As it turns out the second one was pleasant but also quite touristy but interesting at least.
Visited the Cape Meres lighthouse where, once again, I was confused by the guide’s explanation of how fresnel lenses work. One day I’m going to have to look it up! They were revolutionary, after all. Unfortunately, some local kids (they were caught) had shot up the lens recently so it was riddled with holes and missing pieces.
Again late & cold we arrived in Yachats where we got the last room at the Ya’tel Motel. It also happened to be the nicest room with a table and a huge picture window and a nice bathroom with a shower. That night the rain was driving — and I do mean driving. It was basically horizontal and knocking at the door to come in. Now, while we were camping, there were a good number of folk still cycling the coast and a few had taken shelter for the night at the Ya’tel Motel. We decided to extend our stay one more night and — we’re not entirely sure about this — but we think a cyclist went to ask to extend his stay after we had but all the rooms had been booked. We saw him later cycling on in the rain… We felt just a teeny bit bad (for just a teeny bit of time).
Oct 5th – Drive to Crater Lake
On our drive through Washington and Oregon we saw that Mary Jane had many roadside placards advertising her services. It would appear that both Washington and Oregon (and by the time you read this California) have legalized marijuana for recreational use. It seemed weird… Here’s one for “Cougar Cannibas”.
En route we came across this 12-foot diameter redwood stave flowline, which was part of the Toketee Project — a hydroelectric project built circa 1945. Water from a nearby dam runs through this (leaky) wooden conduit for 1,500 feet before it transitions into a concrete pipeline supplying enough electricity for 22,500 households via 3 generator turbines!
We decided to stop at a cheesy attraction for “carnivorous plants”. Turns out it was not cheesy at all — we expected a few normal pitcher plants scattered about but, instead, were treated to a boardwalk through an interesting swamp full of really cool meat eaters.
We continued on to Fort Klamath where we had booked a few nights at the Aspen Inn while we visited Crater Lake. It was cold out but we used the BBQ to make our yummy dinner.