Back in September my wife and I spent three weeks touring Oregon, most of that time on the coast. Maybe some of our experiences might be of interest to others. I'll include brief comments on the non-coast stuff here just to keep the whole package together. Ready? Here goes...
09/05 Landed in Portland just before noon. Great late lunch/early dinner (eastern stomach time for us) at Word of Mouth Bistro in Salem, discovered on TA; I had the creme brulee French toast, which was raved about on TA. Raves were totally justified! Motel stay in Roseburg that night.
09/06 Drove Umpqua Gorge at the suggestion of you folks on this forum; got good advice and brochures from ladies at Roseburg visitors center. Stopped at Deadline Falls, Susan Creek Falls, Toketee Falls, and Watson Falls. Wonderful drive, thanks for the tip! Short pit stop at Diamond Lake; pretty place, I can see where it might be quite popular. Arrived Crater Lake a little later than planned, went straight to Mazama Village Cabins without sightseeing; OK dinner at Annie Creek.
09/07 Good breakfast at Annie Creek. Drove the Crater Lake Rim Loop, stopping at many of the overlooks. Dropped my wife at the lodge with a book and some crackers and water while I doubled back to hike to Watchman Peak. Views were great all along the loop drive, and especially nice atop Watchman! Drove on to Oregon Caves; very surprised to find it 98 degrees in Grants Pass as we went through! Stayed at the Chateau at Oregon Caves; beautiful old lodge, inside and out! Great dinner that evening!
09/08 Wonderful breakfast at the amazing 50's diner. Not being into caves, we skipped that part. I did a short hike, then rewarded myself with the required milkshake - something else I gleaned from TA. Stopped at a thrift shop in Cave Junction and found two short-sleeved knit shirts. That 98 degrees had me worried I had packed too much for cooler weather! Drove on to Brookings for seven nights in a rented condo.
09/09 Took a lazy day, hanging out at the condo, recovering from a day of flying and three days on the road.
09/10 Drove down to Crescent City, CA; checked out the Battery Point lighthouse. Drove on down to Prairie Creek Redwood St Park; short hike to Big Tree; drove Drury scenic byway on the way back. Awesome big trees!
9/11 Checked out nearby Harris Beach St Park; drove thru Boardman Scenic Corridor, stopping at House Rock, Whaleshead Beach, maybe another couple of places. Great lunch at Rollin' In Dough in Gold Beach, another TA find. Stopped at Cape Sebastian and Boardman's Arch Rock overlook on the way back.
9/12 Drove up to Port Orford, stopping at some overlooks; two one-lane construction spots slowed our progress. OK lunch at Port and Starboard. Drove up the hill to Port Orford Heads; did a little hiking to overlooks. Museum was closed that day. Fog started rolling in on the way back.
9/13 Foggy morning, stayed at condo; picked nearby blackberries which my wife made into a great cobbler. After noon we went back down to Jed Smith Redwood St Park, drove Howland Hill Rd, still another TA recommendation. Very, very worthwhile! Road wasn't bad, just dusty; we couldn't believe how many people we passed were driving with windows rolled down! Once again, amazing big trees!
9/14 Still some morning fog; drove thru Boardman again, stopping at Indian Sands, Natural Bridges, Thunder Rock Cove, maybe some others. Liked Rollin' In Dough so much, we made a return visit; another very enjoyable lunch! Stopped at Boardman's Arch Rock again on way back.
9/15 Drove to Coos Bay/North Bend for one motel night. Side trip on Bandon Beach Loop; saw Face Rock, took pictures of Coquille River Lighthouse from across the river. Tried to find Bandon Fish Market; finally found it, but it was packed (Saturday afternoon...), so we passed on it. Went across the river to Bullard's Beach St Park for a closer look at Coquille River Lighthouse; picnic lunch in the park. On to Coos Bay; festival had downtown all tied up and crowded, so we didn't stop despite wanting to. Good late dinner at Captain's Choice Fish House in North Bend.
9/16 Doubled back to Cape Arago; lots of barking seals at Simpson Point; great picture site, but very, very windy! Skipped Shore Acres due to a car show there. Stopped at Umpqua Lighthouse. Good lunch at Fishpatrick's Crabby Cafe in Winchester Bay, another TA find; great Marionberry cobbler ala mode! Grocery shopped in Florence, then it began to be foggy and overcast as we drove on up to Yachats for four nights in a rented house.
9/17 Very overcast all day. Cape Perpetua area exploration; Devils' Churn - hiked down to it, then around loop; drove up the mountain, took what pictures we could in the grayish gloom. On to Heceta Head; hiked out to lighthouse - it was covered up for renovations, but I had an interesting chat with volunteers and looked at some nice pictures of the place from back in the old days. Drove on back down to Florence; stopped at an antique shop; on the lady's suggestion we tried to get into Waterfront Depot for an early dinner. She had warned us that it was popular, but at 5:15 without a reservation we were first told 8PM was the earliest they could give us; but just then two seats opened up at the very end of the bar. So we gratefully jumped at the opportunity, and had a great dinner! What luck! We had even found a parking spot right out front!
9/18 Cloudy, foggy; drove back to Florence; hit a couple more antique shops; late lunch at Sweet Magnolia Bakery, the providers of the scrumptious desserts that we drooled over as they sat just out of our reach behind the bar at Waterfront Depot the night before. A little more shopping, then back to home base.
9/19 Cloudy again; drove the short ways to Smelt Sands St Park for pictures of crashing surf. Drove on up to Waldport - hit a couple shops; went on as far as Seal Rock. Great dinner at tiny Luna Sea restaurant in Yachats!
9/21 Cloudy again; fifth day in a row without seeing the sun, getting more than a little depressed by now! So some more thrift and antique shopping in Manzanita, Wheeler, and Rockaway Beach. Clouds began to break up, providing a magnificent sunset that evening.
9/22 The sun was out! Drove back down through Tillamook to Munson Creek Falls. Then down to Pacific City; great lunch at Grateful Bread - got treats to go also (large marionberry scone)! Stopped at a little shop call Tattered & Treasured and had a most enjoyable conversation with the lady there about Guenevere. If that piques your curiosity, check it out yourself! Drove up Three Capes Scenic Byway; skipped Kiwanda where a surfing contest was going on, stopped briefly at Cape Lookout, but not much there to do without hiking more than we had time for. Took some pictures as we came into Oceanside Beach. Stopped at Cape Meares for pictures.
9/23 Drove up to Cannon Beach, taking pictures along the way, including Haystack Rock. Good lunch at Driftwood Inn. Cannon Beach was nice but too crowded for us on a Sunday afternoon. Spent the rest of the day packing for the big return flight.
9/24 Spent $15.45 at the post office in Cannon Beach to mail back about $5 worth of trinkets I had acquired while antique and thrift store shopping. OK, I have my little quirks! Drove back through Portland and on out Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls; picnic lunch at Wahkeena Falls - (thought it was Multnomah for a long while until we finally read the sign!). But we did get to Multnomah for some pictures, then back to our hotel just outside the airport. Light dinner at Shari's - marvelous marionberry pie for me!
9/25 Flew home
In summary, the trip was pretty much what I was hoping for. Even with all that time on the coast, there were still a couple things I'd like to have done that we didn't get to. The southern coast was the best of it in my opinion. Harris Beach, Boardman Corridor, Cape Sebastian, and Port Orford Heads were all exactly what I was looking for - rugged coastline, elevated viewpoints, and evergreen trees surrounding us. Boardman Corridor was especially wonderful, one great view after another. Farther north, Cape Arago, Heceta Head, Cape Perpetua (especially; wish we had had just one pretty day there!), and Cape Meares were the high points for me.
We didn't go any farther north than Cannon Beach because the bigger, more commercialized towns weren't what we were looking for. As I said above, on our Saturday afternoon visit to Cannon Beach I was reminded of our Gatlinburg on a Saturday - nice, but not really my cup of tea. Florence was nice, especially the Old Town area where we ate twice.
We quite often ate dinner at our home bases, but we did have some memorable meals. For me it's all about the ambiance, and Rollin' in Dough in Gold Beach, Fishpatrick's in Winchester Bay, Waterfront Depot in Florence, Luna Sea in Yachats, and Grateful Bread in Pacific City were the ones that will give me fond memories. Oh yeah, I'm forever in love with marionberry anything!
Here's a bunch of pictures: