We’ve carved out 3 1/2 days to see the coast of Oregon from top to bottom. Nowhere near enough time to explore all there is to see along the way and get to know the place. But, fortunately, what there is plenty of is staring out the passenger side window at the views of the ocean – changing all the time. Every two miles I want to stop and soak up the scene, but Bridget, the hard-nosed driver, says no can do if we’re going to make it to Brookings by our appointed time. We stop to eat and sleep and poke our noses into a couple of lighthouses along the way. In the end, the pictures tell the story.
Sunday, September 30
After a full day of hiking Saddle Mountain up in the northwest corner of Oregon, we get on the road to the coast and meet up with Highway 101 just south of Seaside. Not much daylight left.
Monday, October 1
A morning drive along Tillamook Bay – a good day for fishing.
Over to Cape Meares Lighhouse for a walkabout and, of course, the ocean views.
Lunch was at the beach-side Pelican Pub and Brewery in Pacific City. This is definitely the life.
Time was not on our side, so no exploring the towns we passed through on our afternoon drive along 101 – waving to Lincoln City, Newport, Waldport and Yachats as we passed by before stopping just south of Yachats to take in Devil’s Churn – a spectacular example of the ocean’s power. What began as a fissure in the volcanic rock has slowly morphed into a chasm that is continuously pummeled and grown larger by the ocean waves. It’s moments like these that I realize how particularly irrelevant man is in the face of nature. No matter how many stop signs we put up, Gaia takes no notice.
The morning sun gave way to clouds by late afternoon, with the wind picking up down by the water. We stopped in Bandon for the night, hoping that in the off season, a stay at an oceanside hotel and a night of crashing waves outside our window would could be had at a reduced price. Wrong guess, so it was back into town, where we had our choice of affordable rooms at La Kris Inn on the main drag. Very charming hosts.
Tuesday, October 2
The days continue colder – shorts and T-shirt season is but a memory, but today dawns with sunshine and a coffee kiosk across the road from the inn. It’s all we need, and we’re ready to hit the road. Today’s journey covers the bottom third of the Oregon Coast. Is it my imagination or has the coastline become even more ragged, with rock groupings of huge magnitude scattered along the shoreline. Gawking at this natural beauty is a humbling moment, but it’s also got its ecstasy – knowing that this moment in time belongs to me – where time stands still.
The Cape Blanco lighthouse is our first stop of the day – the southernmost of nine lighthouses that dot the ragged Oregon coast. The wind whips at the water and up the cliffs, as we button our coats and turn our backs to it.
Wednesday, October 3
Brookings is the last town before the California border and with its claim as the sunniest of Oregon coastal towns, selling real estate is big business around here. Multimillion-dollar homes with multimillion-dollar views butt up against the working class untony; a working wharf in the harbor contrasts with big box alley along 101; and it all amounts to a town in transition.
It’s also got Loeb State Park to its credit, and an afternoon there among the towering myrtle trees reminds me that it’s not all about the ocean in these parts. But the minute I get down to the beach, trees are the furthest thing from my mind. Here, then, are a smattering of shots taken over two evenings at Harris Beach, just north of town.