Oregon Coast

Before we left Eureka, we had to get some business done on the road using a traveling notary. Nearly everything can be completed on the road with marginal connectivity in remote areas, even things that require the older way of doing things, like physically signing papers.

The notary was a petite lady who met us at one of Eureka’s mall parking lots with her husband. Being RV owners themselves, they also liked the roamer. As we took care of the paperwork, they told us about a recent trip they had to the Midwest where a tornado touched down next to their RV park, 30 minutes after the severe storm warning was lifted for the area. Their RV was picked up off the ground, with them in it, and several of the others RVs around them were damaged. Luckily no one was hurt. Wow, not the kind of off-road adventure we want to ever do.

Our first stop in Oregon was at Crater Lake NP. It’s hard to grasp the beauty and size of the now-submerged volcano caldera. The lake is six miles across and it’s the deepest lake in the US at just under 2,000 feet deep. That’s a lot of fresh water.

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We got there as a huge thunderhead cloud formed over the area, which shed only a few drops of rain, but the lightning it produced sparked 6 small fires in the local area. We saw fire crews the following day around the park fighting the smoldering spots in the forest. We watched a huey with its bambi-bucket fly over our campsite carrying water to the remote fires.

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The lake has many great places around its perimeter to enjoy the view and do hikes. We did a couple of hikes to the local waterfalls. These are spring fed streams from water pushed through the rock from the lake that appear miles away from the lake itself.

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The meadows there were pretty and full in bloom. The mosquitoes seem to be getting bigger as we move north. Maybe they will be bird-sized when we get to Alaska.

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We also did a hike to “the pinnacles”, which are the remains of heat vents that hardened in the pumice ash and have now eroded in the river valley.

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As with all of the larger national parks, the Crater Lake lodge was very interesting. Maybe after we no longer have the roamer we’ll do a national park lodge tour in the winter months when they are blanketed in snow and the parks mostly empty.

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We then headed north out of the park and west towards the coast down the beautiful Clearwater and North Umpqua River gorges.

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Before we reached the coast we passed a logging truck procession in Myrtle Point. Logging is big business in the area and these trucks roll by constantly on the area roads, or at least the ones we were traveling.

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We stayed at Bullards Beach State Park once we hit the coast. It was a ¾ mile hike to the beach through the grass that grows along the sandy coast.

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The beach was foggy, cool and mixed with a little rain. Coming from the Arizona heat, the weather felt chilly and perfect. In fact, talking with the Oregon folks at the campsite the heat was nearly triple digits 1/2 an hour inland, so they too flock to the coast to cool down.

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The Oregon coast is beautiful. It varies from rocky slopes to huge sand beaches with hundreds of state parks running nearly the entire length of the coast. This picture was at Cape Arago State Park.

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We spent a morning in Coos Bay doing laundry. We now are the proud owners of a Green Lantern laundry card.

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While we have a great stockpile of food in the roamer and have been eating great on the trip, it dawned on both of us that we were now on the coast where good seafood was to be had. During our adventures we stopped at Fisherman’s Grotto in Coos Bay, a small restaurant near the docks surrounded by beat up cars – must be good. I had some great fish and chips and Pam had the seafood sampler with some incredible chowder on the side – yum. She even found an Oregon beer that rivals Four Peaks’ Kiltlifter. It’s brewed further up the coast so we added it to our list of places to see.

We found a botanical garden at Shore Acres State Park that was very interesting. The nice thing about the Oregon parks is that if you are staying at one you get into all of them free. Also, like the botanical garden, many of the parks are lands that were given to the state by early Oregon families to maintain the beauty of the coast.

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The garden also has a rose garden with many different varieties that are the winners of a yearly competition. This one was about the size of my fist and had as many petals as a head of cabbage.

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We then made our way up the coast to our next campground at South Beach State Park, just south of Newport, Oregon. Along the way we stopped to visit the lighthouses that dot the coast. There is a Lighthouse Stamp book similar to the National Park book I have, but in a very weak moment I decided not to get it and therefore pass by some future lighthouses unstamped.

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We passed the great sand dunes of Oregon and stopped to take a picture. The last time I passed through there I was with my two sons and a friend of my eldest son. We rented a couple of sand rails for the afternoon and ripped through the dunes. We passed on the rails this time.

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We also passed through Yachats (YA-hots), Oregon and stopped in the Drift Inn for another great seafood lunch of salmon chowder and seafood lasagna. The seafood lunch stop can be very addictive.

South Beach was a shorter walk from our campsite, but foggy when we arrived.

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The weather on the drive up the coast alternates from beautiful sunshine to fog. One person I talked with said the exception is Brookings, Oregon near the California border. Unfortunately our route took us around Brookings, but the place apparently has unexplainable great weather all the time, even when the neighboring areas do not. May be a place to visit and find out.

We did a hike at Cape Lookout, which was lush forest until it broke out into an amazing view high above the local surf. The fog wrapped around the cape and we could see areas of the coast that were sunny and others socked in with fog. I wonder if the fog pattern is nearly the same so you can pick your pleasure along the coast, fog or sun? Maybe it is the same and could explain Brookings’ weather.

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We then traveled north along the coast’s back roads to Pacific City and the Pelican Brewery. Apparently more folks than just Pam like their Scottish ale because it was the only one they did not have on draft – noooooo. They had great food and we sampled the many beers they did have, all award winners and very good.

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The place is right on the beach and in this area of Oregon driving on the beach seemed to be the norm.

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Pacific City has a real shot at being our retirement residence.

We then headed to the Tillamook cheese factory in Tillamook, Oregon. They make 167,000 pounds of cheese a day there. That’s a lot of curds.

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They had awesome homemade ice cream and we tried the Oregon black cherry – very good. We stocked up with cheese products and even found some maple walnut fudge. Pam and I jumped in the Tillamook VW minibus and attempted to make a getaway, but decided to keep the roamer instead.

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We did a walking adventure day to Newport, Oregon, which was only 2 miles from our campsite. We visited the aquarium first. Otters, sea lions and even birds were at the aquarium.

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We then walked home past the Rogue brewery – had to stop. We tasted a few of their beers, ciders and mead. Pam could not find a four peaks Kiltlifter equivalent there, but I did stumble upon a good “aged” beer that was similar to Stone’s Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, called Aged Dead Guy. They had a cooper onsite and made their own barrels for the aging process.

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Heading north tomorrow to spend the holiday weekend with friends.

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