Beachcombing in Oregon…and other delights

Hello everyone! It’s your favorite Blogger checking in!  We are still chugging along albeit with limited phone and Internet service during our time on the Oregon coastline.  But who cares when we were seeing some of the most beautiful beaches in the world!!!???  Well, that’s what National Geographic says–to be specific, one of the beaches we stayed at–Cannon Beach–was placed on the top 100 most beautiful places on Earth.  And NG knows their beautiful places all right–just look at the amazing photography of impossibly beautiful, fascinating places they give us in their magazines, web site, etc.  (Apologies if I am really into NG–I just went to a photography seminar presented by some very well known female NG photographers and was blown away by their work!  Thanks again, Bonnie, for that opportunity!  Bon was not able to go to the class she signed up for and gave me the opportunity to go in her place.  The photographs were astounding!)

I haven’t forgotten my Blogger duties–but sometimes I get so caught up in doing stuff (we are in Washington State now) I just can’t get it out to you as timely as I would like.  But never fear–I always try to catch up as I settle in somewhere for some quiet time. Bob got back to Sequim yesterday and we traveled today, after sitting in a repair shop for half the day in Mount Vernon, WA.  We have an occasional wobble in the front end at low speeds so they went over the coach and checked it out thoroughly.  Seems they think the cause could be the fancy Tryon things we have on the front tires to prevent out-of-control blowouts.  One more thing on the list to get checked out when we get down to Florida!  We feel better now that we know nothing MAJOR is going on.

So instead of my usual nap I was trying to finish this up on the road since I have even more fodder ready for the blog once this one is out!  But that didn’t work out so here I am trying to finish before the clock strikes midnight… Since Bob and Ashley left for Indianapolis for a family gathering on the 27th, I have been trying to get at least the Oregon travelogue up for you.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for me) my exploring bug was biting and I was all over the place during the day.  Island hopping, hiking mountain peaks to a glacier, checking out a rain forest–you will hear about all this eventually–but right now I have lots to tell you about Oregon.  So here goes…

On the Road to Oregon….After leaving Lake Tahoe we cut across California in a Northwesterly direction headed for the Oregon coastline.  Our destination was Coos Bay, where we planned to stay several nights.  We spent our last night in California sleeping in a grove of huge Coastal redwoods along the Avenue of the Giants.  Yes, that is the real name, and every stop on this road (101) has a claim to fame–all very interesting and entertaining.  I am such a sucker for all that stuff and would have stopped at every crossroad but we had a schedule that included picking up Ashley at the Portland Airport in a couple days, so we tootled on down the road with my making a mental list of all the places I would like to come back and visit.  However, I did get a little taste of HWY 101 kitsch at our campground.  First of all, let me tell you it was more than a little eerie.  Huge, very old trees (like thousands of years!) surrounding you, like wizards of the wilderness, with even the street we came in on –the Avenue–seemingly closing off with the shadows deepening as  the sun began to set.   Although dark and deeply shadowed by the GIANT trees during the day, it was downright scary as nighttime crept in.  And then these weird anomalies out of nowhere–shall we think Twilight Zone here?–a truck made from one single Redwood tree that appeared in the parking lot the next morning; and the “Immortal” tree sitting in the parking lot that reportedly refused to succumb to fire, lumberjacks, lightening and a long list of other life-threatening events too long to list.  And oh yeah, let’s not forget the house “in” a tree!  Yes, that was just behind the café where we had breakfast the next morning; the house was big enough that you could walk in the door, eat, sleep, and whatever in the house if you don’t mind a certain amount of dark gloominess–no electricity–and I don’t think you would want to build a fire!

The Avenue of the Giants could also have been named “The Avenue of the Most Unusual, Most Hysterical, and Most Imaginative.” This was a house in a tree.
Fancy a ride in a LOG truck, anyone? No, I didn’t say LOGGING truck! It is a LOG truck–made out of a single log!
Nothing like an aqua colored truck to say, “Follow me to the closest antiques store!” — and I did! Fortunately (or not) it was closed.
This would have been VERY interesting….despite the  Open sign the door wouldn’t budge.  (I tried!)  Twilight Zone–again???!!!
Heading for the Oregon border.  From my vantage point sitting up high in our RV these huge trees on the Avenue of the Giants still easily loomed over us, swallowing us in a canopy of greenery that wrapped its arms up and over the roadway.
The huge trees were packed in so close and densely to the roadway that we had to be very careful to ensure we didn’t unintentionally take one home with us.

Coos Bay, OR…We finally reached our first campsite in Oregon at Coos Bay.  And what a campsite!  It was on the beach within earshot of the pounding surf—and a two minute walk to some of that astounding scenery I had been admiring all day.  By the time we had set up camp, it was time to go to bed since I was trekking to Portland the next morning to pick up Ashley.  She was coming in for a week to join us on our trip up the coast of Oregon and none of us had anticipated what an amazing week it would be! The next day I left early for Portland to pick up Ashley by following the Coast (HWY 101) for a while.  I left early enough to give me enough time to dawdle a bit.  Then Ash called and said her plane was delayed so I dawdled even more.  As it turned out, I dawdled so much that I drove up just as she was walking out with her luggage.  Good timing, I must say.  Ashley agreed when I explained to her all the things I had done on the way up–and even got the car washed for her.  She was most appreciative since Baby (the RV)  tends to spew yuck all over the Jeep while on the road.  (I think she gets a little peeved about having to pull the Jeep every time we head out!) My first self-appointed task once we reach our destination is to get the car washed.  I HATE driving a dirty car!

While driving up the coast and then back down after picking up Ashley, I took more pictures.  So many views and so little time—-I was getting a little freaked out by the beautiful scenery.  How could just one state have all this????  Good thing I took all the pictures, since Ashley was such a sleepyhead almost all the way back to Coos Bay, she remembered nothing of the 5-hour trip.  Maybe lunch–I know she was awake then–but shortly afterwards I was back to Sirius XM and the sound of surf on the shore (not the Beach Boys) while cruising 101.

Oregon coast in all its splendiferous beauty.
Each time the tide comes in and out the coastline changes, with water-sculptured driftwood randomly accenting beaches intersected by rivulets looping across the beach.  Result?  Interesting pools to explore and dip your toes into–if you don’t mind a little icy cold water.
Fascinating rock formations continue to astound as we rock to the 50s heading down 101.
It seems a favorite hobby of Oregon-ites is rock climbing along the beaches. Imagine that!  We met so many very nice people on the rocks–and of course their dogs.  One Irish setter particularly loved the icy cold water at Bob’s Creek so much she would sit submerged in the water until she was shivering violently.


It’s kind of hard to drive on this road with this kind of scenery tempting you along the way. How could anyone get tired of HWY 101??? Love it!!
Oregon Dunes National Monument–designed to amaze!  I think this is where the Hamners went out on dune buggies and said they laughed so hard they could barely breathe.  Maybe we can do that next time–we were focused on getting to our next stop on this leg of the trip.  Hey, a schedule is a schedule—-maybe next time a much more relaxed one!
More dunes–up to 400 feet high and cushioning the Oregon Coast for miles and miles of wonder at how this all came about.

Driving up and down the Oregon coast was MAGNIFICO!  On my way to Portland, however, I had to finally cut across the country side and make my way northwards.  What a wonderful surprise when I found this elk grazing area.  I took a break (who am I fooling?–I’ve taken a lot of those!) to see if I could spot any elk in the pastures.  Thank goodness for my trusty telephoto lens!

With beautiful pastures like these to graze in it must be pretty cushy to be an elk!


Tasty stuff for breakfast–yummm!
Watching over his little family, this male elk still manages to eat his fill as well.

I can’t leave this side excursion to Portland Airport until I tell you about one memorable thing that happened in Portland that sticks in my mind.  I was just getting into Portland and was negotiating their spaghetti junction–a concrete jungle of highways coming together in one spot–when lo and behold Mount Rainier floated into my vision and then totally vanished from view.  I know–Mount Rainier is in Washington—so how could this be?  I had a similar experience in Seattle a number of years ago when I was there working.  It was a remarkably clear day and I stepped outside for a walk one evening and there it was–Mount Rainier floating in front of me. A couple days later I decided I would go and find it after the day was finished–but alas–it had fogged in that afternoon and the only thing I found was my hand in front of my face.  It makes me think I am hallucinating.  The problem is that it only appears momentarily so you start wondering–am I imagining this????  So I call this the case of the Disappearing Volcano.  Today, I decided to investigate this phenomenon and in my next installment I will tell you what I found out.  So hold on—this mystery is something that’s been bothering me for years so I have to get this one laid to rest! Exploring Coos Bay…I cannot begin to tell you how astonished Ash and I were when we ventured out on the beach the next day.  It was the most amazing beach–an understatement of course.  And the more we explored the more we found to be amazed at.  Our first night we enjoyed the campfire and pounding surf with fog horns sounding on ships rounding the bay.  Can’t get much more relaxing than this!  We couldn’t wait for the tide to go out so that we could explore the next morning.

After our long trip that day, Ash and I sat by the campfire and had S’mores while trying to stay warm. Bob was being a little stingy with the wood since the fire ring was close to the awning and we didn’t want sparks to nick the fabric. But the blankets helped!
A secret pathway to the beach–just steps to our campsite…
I was so happy to have my baby here for a visit. Gosh, I have missed her so much — and the rest of my family and friends!  The sacrifices we make to be an adventurer, a rolling stone, a wanderer, a gypsy–call us what you will but just call us!
A melting dragon??? The rock formations make your imagination go wild!
Hundreds, thousands of these tidal pools are left on the beaches as the tides recede each day–all teeming with creatures of every variety. As if some aquarium fanatic went a little crazy. The picture cannot possibly do it justice–you have to get on your knees and really watch all of the plants and animals left to live or die before the next tide (possibly) retrieves them.
More amazing tidal pools…
And more…
Ashley getting her feet wet and her mind set in vacation mode…
We have a visitor….or maybe that is what he is thinking about us…
The waves were crashing into the small inlet beside us. Later you could not even see these rocks when the tide came in.
Waves–1, rocks–0
Mysterious tidal pool.
What strange aliens are these?
I love that stubborn little tree!
Boiling water?
Ashley demonstrating her rock climbing skills.
Rocks–1, Waves–0
More melting dragons?  Or perhaps molting…
Another fascinating tidal pool. And is that the mermaid of the rocks in the distance? Ash is trying to avoid walking on living things–thousands of mussels are clinging to these rocks.
Peaceful–for now.
Aaaaahhhh….the perfect lighthouse.
Back to the campsite. Spirit Horse is doing his job protecting us by flying his wings to ward off ill spirits. Bob has been working on getting all my doo dads out–I somehow keep adding to the traveling family. Spirit Horse was a little bit of home (VA Horse Country) acquired at an Indian reservation, thus the name–Spirit Horse.  My Baby Bear–“Cubby”–was added to commemorate the Yosemite time with the kids and our run in with a bear cub.  I think Bob is standing in front of him–you will see him later.  The Kokopellis are also Indian reservation memories.  Gosh, I wish I could have brought that wonderful pool along with me too!  One more very good memory!

We spent several wonderful, relaxing days here and then the road called and back on the road we went—Road Wanderers!  By that time I thought I would have Ashley in vacation mode but that child went to sleep every night hanging over her work computer.  I would sneak up to her and gently pry her fingers off her computer and work papers and she would wake up and say “No Mom–I’m not finished!”  and then back to sleep she would go.  I would just have to watch her and catch everything before it slid to the floor.  She is so committed to her job–but she needs her rest too.  I resolved to get her mind and spirit into vacation mode.  Beach therapy, anyone?

Sea Perch RV Resort, Yachats, OR……..As soon as we drove into this place all three of us knew we were going to love it.  The wind was blowing so briskly that Spirit Horse  had to stay in his stable (Bob put him out for a little while but he threatened to blow down the beach so back in the stable he went).

What a view–beach and meadows–and what a sunset each night!
The sunset bench.

This beach is an explorer’s dream–beautiful driftwood, rocks, rivulets, eddies, sand, and all kinds of living and once living things in the most unusual places and arranged as if by a master botanist.

Another beautiful day fades away.

DSCN0212 DSCN0213 DSCN0214 The driftwood serves as natural benches to sit on while we just relax and soak up the sounds of nature–and perhaps take a little nap. DSCN0217 DSCN0218 DSCN0219 DSCN0225 DSCN0226 DSCN0239 A favorite hike–Bob’s Creek–which empties in meandering streams into the ocean.  This is where we met the Irish Setter who loves to sit and swim in frigid water.

DSCN0253 DSCN0258 DSCN0264 We accidentally found this little treasure of a state park within the little village of Yachats.  Priceless.  As the sun began to set, the warmth settled on everything, blessing the world with a peaceful glow.  I think Ash began to really relax at that point! DSCN0268 DSCN0287 DSCN0292 DSCN0293 DSCN0294 DSCN0304

Edit as of 7/2/14:  I have to edit this post!  Mikaela sent me an email reminding me that I forgot to talk about the WHALES!!  How could I????  My only excuse was it was late, I was tired, and I am a tad feeble-minded.  So here goes…

While we were in Yachats, we were told that this village by the sea was a prime viewing area for migrating whales.  We were very excited by this news–if only we could see a whale!  We spent lots of time those few days gazing out to sea watching for water spouts, when we weren’t mesmerized by a sunset, or taking a nap, or whatever.  We had learned that the primary migration had already occurred with 18,000 whales going by before the end of May.  But we thought we may be in luck because about 800 mama whales and their babies were still playing around the coast waiting for the babies to get stronger and improve their swimming skills before tackling those rough waters heading into Alaska for their summer feeding grounds.  We were also told that on the northward migration the whales swim close to the shoreline just at the breaking waves.  Our last night in Yachats, we were having dinner at the Adobe Hotel and Restaurant which juts out into the sea with an astounding view from every table of the ocean and waves pounding the rocky shore.  We were halfway through dinner when Ashley spotted a spout and a flash of whale.  I think she almost forgot to eat she was so excited.  She saw glimpses a few more times but the people outside must have been watching too (we found out later that the restaurant passes out binoculars to diners) since the rocks were crowded with people gazing out to sea.  We finished and left but we were happy that Ashley had at least seen a glimpse of a whale.

The next morning we were headed for our next beach destination and packed up early since it would be a big hop that day.  At the last minute we decided to pull into the big parking lot at the Adobe and park the RV there while we went in for breakfast.  We were in luck–they put us at a table with a prime view of the beach.  Within minutes Ashley spotted water spouting and glimpses of whales frolicking and rolling in the waves.  Eventually everyone in the restaurant tuned in, they began passing out binoculars, and someone would occasionally yell “Water spout!” (usually us).  I suspect the display was mommies working with their babies to work on their swimming and diving skills, but to us they were playful and having fun in the surf.  This went on for the rest of our meal and Bob started urging us toward the door so we could continue our trip.  It was so hard to leave!  I wanted to catch a picture of them but you would have to be clairvoyant to know where they would pop up next and when.  So, alas, no pictures!  But we could see they were orcas playing in their natural environment–not Ocean World!  And it also felt as if they did this JUST FOR US!  What a special, special breakfast!  I can’t even remember what I ate….  But on to Cannon Beach!

Cannon Beach, OR…This is the beach National Geographic named as one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world.  The village itself, the adjoining state park, and the one of a kind beach is like a dream sequence.  It just keeps on coming…

The flowers–the bluest hydrangeas ever and flowers we could not name set against charming gray-shingled cottages and shops. OH MY!
We loved the library! I think Tracie would appreciate the Shakespeare included in the wall sculpture.
Love, love, love this library. Wish I had had the time to go inside — if the outside was this charming I can’t imagine what the inside had in store for us.

DSCN0498 DSCN0499 DSCN0512 What can I say about Cannon Beach that hasn’t already been said?  Alien in its ultra charm and beauty, otherworldly, with mystical views that constantly change depending on the weather (a very misty day when we were there), and definitely a people magnet.  A wide, wide beach where tiny ripply waves come shooting across the sand chasing us until the water just gives up and dribbles away.

Having lunch with “the view” captured in the Twilight movies.  The garlicky clams were exquisite!
Cannon Beach–this view is iconic. Probably been photographed 50 million times–especially since the Twilight crew took a shot at it. So my photo is 50 million and one.
It’s hilarious to run from these little skittery waves as they chase us up the beach. Maybe an inch of water at that point (it’s a WIDE beach!). But it’s cold and misty and breezy–but who cares?
Forget Florida-bronzed lifeguards.  This is the Oregon-style lifesaving setup.  Hopefully she is wearing her thermals.
The nearby state park offers a special benefit for Cannon Beach residents–if Cannon Beach gets too full of tourists just retreat to this hidden cove with more discoveries at every turn–rain forest environment of moss-covered trees, AMAZING BEACHES (I mean it!), picnic tables dangling on the edge of cliffs overlooking these cove-bound beaches, and fresh gusts of ocean air filling your lungs with pure oxygen.
A dangling picnic table, anyone? I could live here!
Poor Terrible Tilly! This lonely little lighthouse was given this moniker because of the horrific storms that battered this outpost as she tried to fulfill her duties. Due to the cost of maintaining it and repairing the frequent damage, Tilly was sold to an investor—who (get this) uses the lighthouse as a mausoleum. Yes–that was a shocker!  This poor little lighthouse just can’t get a break!
Views from cove side of state park.
Here is a canine VOLUNTEER PARK RANGER. He took his job seriously sniffing and anointing every bush in sight.
As we were preparing to leave the beach part of the state park, we noticed elk hanging around patiently in the upper meadow waiting for the human visitors to depart. Occasionally they would lift their heads and gaze balefully toward us as if to say “Are you still here????”  Apparently the beach view meadow contains their evening dinner buffet and they wish not to be disturbed while dining.  For Ash and I–mystery solved! We were wondering about the source of all the poop throughout the meadow but had dismissed elk as the culprit only because it looked nothing like the elk poop in the Rockies. But in retrospect the Rocky elk were foraging for food in a drought-stricken environment, while the Oregon elk have a gourmet buffet of delicacies, resulting in a more, shall we say “lush,” reminder of their presence. No, I am not unduly focused on these topics although I know Sammy is VERY interested, but every Park Ranger session I’ve listened to focuses on these “items” to explain animals’ habits, diet, behavior, etc.  They also have charts and “samples” to help us in identifying animals. By the way the Oregonian elk are referred to as Roosevelt elk.  No relation to the President although he did have a SIGNIFICANT impact on procuring and conserving parkland for future generations–and us old folks too!

DSCN0639 DSCN0643 DSCN0649 DSCN0660 DSCN0271 DSCN0264 Sequim, WA….After (regretfully) leaving Oregon behind, we headed to Sequim, WA to check out the Peninsula’s sunshine town.  Known for having more sunny days than anywhere in Washington, Sequim shows off its sun-filled spaces with a sprinkling of lavender farms throughout the region.

All things lavender….
Sequim is known for their lavender farms and long sunshiny days. At the Purple Haze, everything was lavender, from lotions, sprays and blossoms to ice cream! The ice cream tasted just a little odd….like you are 2 years old and drinking your mother’s cologne.
Can you see the long line for lavender ice cream????? Hmmm….
Ashley is enjoying the view.  And busy texting her friend Becky about the uniqueness of the oil–delicate and sweet but not overpowering.
Well this is what I’ve always wanted—-a goat on my roof! The flowers are a nice touch
This corner just says “Sit down and stay awhile…”
One of the prettiest little marinas I have ever seen is in Sequim. John Wayne left money in his estate to build this marina for the town of Sequim–it is called John Wayne Marina (of course!).
Sunset at John Wayne Marina.  Sweet.
is it a photo or a watercolor?
What a totally pleasant way to end the day. And the Marina grill cooks a mean clam sauce and linguine!  Yum!
This rose was shaped into a tree with showers of roses exploding everywhere. The scent mixed with the lavender was heavenly.
Another aaahhh moment…
A keystone rock–perfectly carved by Mother Nature!
A beautiful sunset. Can you hear the wolves howling?

So I have finally reached the end of the week with Ashley keeping us company.  We had such wonderful days together and quiet evenings relaxing.  And then she and Bob left for their trip and instead of relaxing and catching up on my reading–OK, you all know me so well!  I was out from morning till night sightseeing, hiking, and just messing around the little harbor towns getting the feel of each area and soaking up the ambiance.  But that is all for my next blog–so good night dear friends and family!  Happy trails!

2 thoughts on “Beachcombing in Oregon…and other delights”

  1. I love the pictures…that is on my bucket list…never have been to Oregon….maybe when I retire we can go there…..looking forward to October…love you guys…

  2. I will go with you! I love that place! Bucket list here we come!!!!! We are finally settled down in a little very nice rv park north of Spokane. Facing a golf course which of course Bob is enjoying! I forgot to talk about the whales we saw in Oregon so Mikaela sent me an email reminding me. I told her I was missing my assistant!!! Take care dear sis!

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