The summer we met, Kevin took a road trip down the coast to San Francisco. Since then, I’ve been wanting to see all the sights along 101. We also have friends to visit in San Francisco and Sacramento. So, today we started our own Washington, Oregon and California road trip.
We were pleased at ourselves for leaving before 10:00, but then realized that we hadn’t turned on the fan for the fishtank (and Seattle’s supposed to break 90 this weekend). Oops. So, one circle back, and we left for real around 10:30. Our route was 405 to 5 down to Olympia, then a meander through amazing countryside (and lots of logging) to Grays Harbor. We stopped for lunch at a deli & ice cream shop in Hoquiam – yummy food and they were playing great oldies. Grays Harbor was interesting – clearly older buildings, with some gorgeous and detailed exteriors, but somewhat falling apart now. I’m curious where it got its money (ports? lumber?) and when it was at its peak, and what happened. I’ll have to find a book once we’re back. We picked up 101 in Aberdeen and drove south through lumber country to the bottom of Washington. Occasional amazing views of the Olympics and Rainier through breaks in the pines. We were amused, as always, as we got closer to the coast and started seeing Lewis and Clark names about – they didn’t have much positive to say about the southeastern tip of Washington. By the time we saw the sign for (beautiful, picturesque) Dismal Nitch, we both burst out laughing. Our view from Dismal Nitch across the Columbia River was sensational. Deep fog on the opposite shore, then layers of hills above it, and Rainier off to the side. And, in the current day and age, the bridge to Astoria is impressive. Can you see the two huge tankers shrouded in the mist?
(As always, click on the picture to get a link to bigger versions.)
In Oregon, we continued down 101 to Ecola State Park. We wound through huge, lush pine forests, and emerged into a huge park up on a hill with amazing views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Looking south towards Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock:
And towards Tillamook Lighthouse, offshore (you should really read this history of it – add offshore lighthouse builder and keeper to the list of jobs that I’m glad I don’t have!):
We spread out a blanket for a picnic feast of cherries, enjoyed the view and watched a wedding in the park. Amazing spot!
We stopped again just down the road in Cannon Beach to go for about an hour walk down the shoreline. Even at five, there were still many people out enjoying the day. Lots of families, lots of very happy dogs, just about perfect.
The tide was still pretty high, so we didn’t get to see the tide pools. Oh well. One of these trips it will work out. The sand was perfect, and it was fun to look at the big houses up on the hills along the beach – it would be a fun place to come back to.
We stopped for dinner an hour down the road at the Tillamook cheese headquarters. Crowded, but we enjoyed the free sample cheese curds, had a yummy burger and sandwich, respectively, and then got ice cream cones for the way out. Yum. Back on the road, the views continued to be amazing. The road kept ascending the cliffs along the shore, and you’d wend along with decreasing ocean views for twenty minutes and then get a series of views like this one through breaks in the trees before descending into the towns below. Gorgeous.
Our hotel was in Lincoln City – one of the first places I found south of Seaside that didn’t have 2-night minimum stays. I was a little bit apprehensive about it (it was right on the ocean but cost $89/night, and most places I’d found up the coast were in the $150 and way up category), but it turned out to be a gem. Comfy bed, clean bath, and this view from our room’s huge window when we arrived:
This was one of our longest driving days (9+ hours and 375 miles). It was good to fall asleep. What a treat of travel though – I love seeing the new places.