Oregon Coast – Where the Buggy Got Stuck!

Roads Less Traveled

First glimpses of the Oregon coast.

Rugged cliffs and crashing surf.

Going along the Oregon coast you hang out over the edge.

Driving the Oregon Coast

Hiking through the ferns.  We could hear the ocean below

us but couldn't see it.

Huge boulders line the Oregon coast. Note the tiny people

down on the beach!!! This is the Beach Loop outside Bandon,

Oregon.

Another view of the Oregon Coast at the little southern town

of Bandon.

Florence Harbor, Oregon.

A cyclist of another type.

Heceta Head Lighthouse on the central coast of Oregon.

Heceta Head Lighthouse on the central coast of Oregon.

After we turned around...

Taking the road to the lighthouse, we took a wrong turn and

ended up on a tiny road that got ever narrower.

One amazing coastal vista after another.

Yaquina Lighthouse, Central coast of Oregon.

Yaquina Lighthouse, Central coast of Oregon.

Harbor seals basking in the sun (in front of a crowd of

onlookers) in oldtown Newport, Oregon.

Soaring free over the central

Oregon coast.

Stunning views up and down the Oregon coast.

Rugged, forbidding and exhilerating.

We sat in a similar cattle traffic jam in northern Ireland back

in 2002. Here we are in Tillamook, Oregon, home of

Tillamook cheese. These are cows that contribute to the

cheese!!

Oregon Coast

July 1-7, 2007 - Leaving the California Coast, we drove up the

Oregon coast, enchanted by the rugged, craggy cliffs, crashing surf

and noisy seabirds.  The coastal road hugs the edge of the cliffs

and the stunning views unfold outside the window.

We stopped to take a hike at one of the lookouts along the road.

The hike went deep into the woods on a steep hillside that

dropped hundreds of feet to the raging surf below.  We could hear

the waves bashing the rocks below us, but all we could see in

these thick woods were tall pines soaring up from a bed of Boston

Fern.  The ferns were so thick Mark dubbed the area the Boston Garden.

We stopped for a few days in the little coastal town of Bandon.  We

struggled throughout our Oregon coast visit to find decent places to

stay.  We arrived during the July 4th week and all the state parks

were booked solid.  There were four state parks we wanted to visit,

and each one had a "Campground Full" sign when we arrived.

Unfortunately, Oregon and Washington allow all the campsites in

their state parks to be reserved in advance, so there is no way an

impromptu traveler can enjoy those parks during peak season.  So

we stayed at Bandon RV Park right in the middle of town.  Later we

found other RV parks that were more spread out on grass rather

than being like a parking lot on pavement, that were on the outskirts

of town.

We did several bike rides around Bandon, including the Beach

Loop which took us to some beautiful overlook where the huge

boulders thrust upwards through the sand.  We spent a lovely

evening strolling through the town.  There is a wooden pier where

we watched the seagulls tease the harbor seals, and we

wandered through the gift shops and found a great place for fish

and chips.

Further up the coast we stopped at another charming coastal

town: Florence.

We wandered through the town on foot rather than by bike, but

we did see one froggy cyclist in front of a shop selling pinwheels.

On up the coast we rounded a bend and saw the most classic

image:  Haceta Head Lighthouse.  We stopped and took photos.

There were tons of seabirds circling in the air and squawking on

the rocks just below the road.  The surf was so fierce that the

spray filled the air.

We drove a little further and saw a sign "Lighthouse" with an

arrow pointing to the right.  The lighthouse was to the left of the

road, but we assumed the lighthouse road must bear right and

then cross under the coastal road to the left.  We turned off and

were instantly confrtonted with a fork in the road and no sign.

The road to the left looked more promising, so we took that fork.

We drove for about a mile but the road didn't turn left as we

expected.  Instead it followed a stream and seemed to head

back into the woods.  Suddenly the road turned to dirt and the

trees closed in on us.  The buggy was enveloped in tree

branches!!  We couldn't believe our eyes.  There was no way to

turn around, and the road seemed to get narrower ahead of us.

Trees had fallen across the road and they had been sawed in

place just enough to allow a passenger car to slip through.  The truck and trailer almost shaved their sides as they passed these

sawed tree trunks.  We got out the walkie-talkies and tried to back up, but after ten minutes we'd backed up only 10 feet.  We

looked at each other in shock.  How had this glorious day of discovering a beautiful lighthouse suddenly turned so frightening?  We

nervously joked that we might have to set up camp right in that road -- forever.  We got the bikes out of the truck and rode ahead

down the road.  Miraculously, there was a sweeping left turn in the road just 1/4 mile ahead, and it was just barely wide enough for

use to do a 3-point (10-point) turn and get turned around.  As we snuck back through the sawed tree trunks and out onto the paved

open road, we sighed huge sighs of relief.  The fridge vent had been shorn off the roof and there were scrapes and scratches on

the side of the trailer -- but we were free again.  When we came to a visitors center a few miles up the road we mentioned the poor

signage for the lighthouse.  "Oh, yes, we've been asking for years to have that sign replaced, but no one ever does anything about

it."  Yikes.

We continued driving north along the coast, savoring the salt

spray and inspiring views.  Yaquina Lighthouse watched over the

coast as if in a scene from a lighthouse calendar.

Our spirits soared as we looked up at the gulls in the air, and we

laughed at the antics of the harbor seals in the small city of

Newport.

The views continued to

amaze us with every passing

mile.

We took a brief detour slightly

inland to visit the Tillamook Dairy.

They make the most delicious

colby cheese and yummy ice

cream.  We picked up two half-

gallons of ice cream that can only

be found at the factory:  Wild

Blackberry, a sumptuous purple

ice cream filled with blackberries,

and Peanut Butter Chocolate, which has thick lumps of peanut butter

and chocolate in its depths.

We feasted on these for a week after our visit.  The Tillamook

area has many farms whose cows contribute to the dairy.  Still

struggling to find places to stay, we followed a sign for a

campground that did not list the mileage... it turned out to be over

10 miles on a tiny back road to the campground!  As we searched

for the campground we sat and waited for a herd of cattle to cross

the road.  We ended up opting for the local Tillamook RV Park

instead.  Along with hookups, laundry and free phone, it came

complete with the strongest cow pie smells you can imagine, and

they placed our rig directly under a spotlight.  As the months went

by we learned that when it comes to campgrounds, the more you

pay the less you get.

Once we got to Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, we

turned inland and followed the river upstream along the northern

portion of Oregon, going backwards along the historical route

traversed by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804-1805.