Pacific Northwest Road Trip 2011 ~ Oregon Coast
Part 2 of our trip took us on an ocean front journey along the Oregon Coast. We’d both heard that the stretch of the 101 heading up the coast was some of the most beautiful road-tripping highway around and turns out that it’s true! Personally I figured it wasn’t much different than the California coast through Big Sur, but yeah, it is… it’s just better somehow. Maybe it’s the cheaper high octane they-pump-it-for-you gas, or perhaps it’s the crazy road biking groupies peddling the 370 mile trip on two skinny wheels with saddle bags on each side, and perhaps the dozens of awesome bridges stretching over beautiful blue streams & rivers had something to do with it as well. Whatever it was it made the drive perfect and we’re already talking about when we can do it again!
We took two days (could have taken twice as many) to drive the complete coast and our stop-over included something that was a key reason why we planned the trip in the first place. We were going to camp… in a YURT! What? You’ve never heard of such a thing? Well, when we were researching places to stay in both Oregon & Washington we knew that we wanted to camp and it turns out that state parks up north realize that the constant wet weather makes it a little more difficult for us visiting tent camping folks! So, they’ve come up with a great solution: yurts and cabins at their state park campgrounds. A yurt is a round canvas sided tent built up on a wood platform. Ours had a great little bunk bed, table & chairs and even electricity! Pretty much the only thing you’ve got to hike to is the bathroom and of course all cooking takes place outside. We could have stayed for a week, it was perfection!
In addition to the miles of natural scenery there are lighthouses along the entire Oregon coastline. We had time to stop off at two, and lucky for us we chose two which allowed tours of the lighthouse tower itself. We enjoyed a slightly tiring climb up hundreds of old metal steps to the top where we had a fantastic view of the surroundings and a close up look at the lantern itself.
Oregon, in particular the city of Astoria was quite good to us in the food and beer department. We enjoyed a great flight of beers from Fort George Brewery (including stocking up the cooler with a few to-go), had a fantastic breakfast (complete with housemade jam) at Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro, loaded up on freshly roasted beans from Astoria Coffee Co. (best of the trip), and stopped off for lunch at a quirky cafe with a great pink flamingo display in the front window!
Before heading out to Washington state we spent the morning exploring Lewis and Clark National Historic Park. The park encompasses a number of beaches, wildlife viewing areas, recreations of historic forts, the Lewis & Clark trail, a great visitor center and a fantastic shipwreck! It’s also the park where we started our official National Park passport books. Also know as: we became total NP geeks!
Next stop… Washington State!