Vacation Slides (Final Set)

| June 22, 2008 @ 10:16 pm | 11 Replies

When I planned our summer vacation to Oregon and Washington, I knew that the coast would feature spectacular scenery. But my expectations were exceeded wildly by what I found. I think there are no more beautiful beaches than ours here in Alabama and Northwest Florida, but for physical diversity, the Oregon coast is spectacular.

On Wednesday morning, we started out from Astoria, heading south along US-101. Our first stop was the tourist town of Seaside. It is famous because Lewis and Clark wintered there in 1805-06. It reminded me a lot of Gatlinburg, but with a beach. Just south of there, we found Echola State Park. This is one of the splendid State Parks provided for Oregon’s citizens. Lewis and Clark also spent time here, along with Sacagawea. They heard from the local Indians that a whale had beached itself and they hiked to the coast to barter with the natives there for some of the blubber. Beautiful trails and a gorgeous beach highlight the offerings here. We purchased sandwiches for a picnic above the beach.

Our next stop was in the quaint town of Cannon Beach. So named because a cannon washed ashore from a wrecked U.S. warship in the 1800s. It is now a haven for artists with lots of shops, restaurants and watering holes.

After Cannon Beach, our next stop was at Arcadia Beach, another of the beautiful beach accesses along the coast.

I had heard that the trail and beach at West Oswald State Park was one of the most beautiful, and it was true. There is about a one half mile paved trail from the highway down to the beach through old growth forest, along a bubbling brook. The 200 foot tall trees shadow the trail from the sun. You suddenly catch a glimpse of dramatic coastline just before descending a steep walkway to a secluded cove. Dozens of young people were enjoying a day or surfing and playing along the shore.

Leaving Oswald, the highway rises sharply to about 1,700 feet. The views along this stretch of coast above towns like Garibaldi are truly spectacular. We descended into Garibaldi and Tillamook where we had to buy gas. It was a real surprise to find that there is no self service gas pumping in Oregon.

We drove around the scenic Three Capes Loop, heading toward the tiny town of Oceanside. I had heard of a neat little seaside restaurant called Roseanna’s. The view was truly incredible and the paella and snapper were superb.

We left right at sunset, with still an additional hour and a half to drive through real forested and mountainous terrain, peaking at nearly 1,000 feet above sea level and seeing all kinds of deer.

We finally arrived at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda around 11 p.m. With a beautiful balcony, I sat outside, accompanied by a precious little bird that was perched on the balcony for the night.

Awakening Thursday morning, we were amazed to see a huge 300 foot rock looming just offshore. Pacific City is the home of the last dory fishing fleet on the coast. The dories are launched and land directly on the beach each day.

We had a great breakfast at a little bakery called The Grateful Bread and hit the road again. Traveling through Lincoln City, we were reminded of Panama City, sans the white sand.

The coast around Boiler Bay and Depoe Bay is renowned for whale watching, and we peeled our eyes for the huge mammals. We enjoyed what is reportedly the best clam chowder on the coast at Mo’s, right at one of the state parks.

Our next destination was Yaquina Head, site of one of the most beautiful lighthouses, as well as the tallest lighthouse, along the Pacific Coast. There was a perfect halo around the sun that framed the lighthouse beautifully for a photo-op, produced by high cirrus from a northwest flow aloft.

We drove on to the Oregon Coast Aquarium at Newport, one of the finest aquariums I have encountered.

It was then on to Portland. We stayed downtown at the Embassy Suites and enjoyed a day of sightseeing on Friday in beautiful Portland. We visited the Portland Chinese Garden, ate dim sum and went on to see Washington Park and the famed Portland Zoo. After a great dinner and good night sleep, we made the long trip home Saturday.

Here is a link to the photos with captions…

Here is the flikr feed…

Here are links to the first two sets…
Set 1
Set 2

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Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site's official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site's severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian

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