Monday, January 10, 2011

Our Oregon Adventure Comes to a Close

The final two days of our Oregon Adventure and the beginning of the New Year. Since the day the kayak fell off the camper roof, it has been either on Roy’s truck’s kayak rack or sitting on the ground. However, now that we were heading home it would be time to stow back up there. Or would it?

Hmmm…maybe we can stuff thirteen feet of molded plastic inside the camper. Oh yes, that it the answer! It will be much easier to remove for one night than to hoist up twelve plus feet and strap it down. I wish I would have taken a picture of this feat, but I forgot.

We discussed our routing options – the freeway or Highway 101 and quickly decided on the coast route again. Rather than get into a mindset of freeway autopilot mode and dealing with Portland, it was a no-brainer choice. Our rest stop would be somewhere up near Astoria. We got the camper ready for transit and off we went.

 Effect of the Ocean Winds on Trees

The weather was almost perfect – no rain, light winds and sunshine! The first stop was at an overlook for Heceta Head Lighthouse. What a gorgeous lighthouse. The beam on this working lighthouse is the brightest on the Oregon coast and can be seen twenty-one miles from land. You can visit Heceta Head Lighthouse State Park, but bring your wallet since this is a fee-based park.

 Heceta Head Lighthouse

Continuing north, we passed South Beach State Park and the city of Newport, then Depoe Bay and back into Lincoln City, one of longest cities distance-wise along the road. The dogs needed another break and we found our way back to a nice little park called Devils Lake State Recreation Area, also part of the Oregon State Parks system.

Remember on the way south, we took the Three Capes route coming out of Tillamook. On this day, we stayed on 101 instead of turning towards Pacific City and drove through a nice valley with many dairy farms. This section of the highway stays inland away from the coast.

In Wheeler, we stopped for a late lunch at the Tsunami Bar & Grill. We ordered up fish and chips again (I need to get away from the salty air). We watched a little football on television while we munched on our lunch. The food was okay, but nowhere near as good as the Crazy Norwegian’s.

Leaving Wheeler, we passed the turn off to Nehalem Bay State Park and decided to turn around and go back there for the night’s stay. Am I glad we did! Yet another gem of a state park.

We got camp established (like taking the kayak out of the camper) and then headed over to the beach to watch the setting sun. Although slightly breezy, we stayed awhile and let the dogs romp on the beach before pausing to enjoy the beauty of the evening sky.

Path to the Beach at Nehalem Bay State Park
 Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain 

 Karl at Sunset

Spray off the Waves at Sunset

We came back to our campsite and Karl worked on getting the campfire going. The wood was difficult to get burning plus it was getting cold…upper 30’s, with a stiff wind blowing through our open campsite. We lasted less than an hour before calling it a night. We offered our slightly burnt wood to campers across the road from us and then played a few hands of gin rummy before crawling into bed.

Our last day dawned bright and cold. We enjoyed nice hot showers and then loaded the kayak back into the camper. Time to roll on!

We fueled up in Astoria and found a park near the Astoria-Megler bridge that offered up a nice perspective of the massive steel structure. We turned left upon reaching the Washington shore so we could continue on Highway 101. 

 Astoria - Megler Bridge

I saw sign for Cape Disappointment State Park and we followed it into the park. We came to a turnoff to a lighthouse and saw a sign that said “No RV’s”. Bummer! I really wanted to see it. We continued on the loop and came to a four-way stop. To the right was the campground, straight went to the Coast Guard training station and another lighthouse, and left was continuance of the loop. Ooooh, another lighthouse! Arrrgghh, another “No RV’s” sign! Talk about the park living up to its name. Two lighthouses, two not visited because they can’t accommodate an RV in their parking area. I left feeling VERY disappointed and won’t go back, even to camp.

Highway 101 snakes along the eastern shore of Willapa Bay upon leaving the Longview area. At times, it winds inland and then rejoins it. It was a fairly scenic section of the highway.

The “city” of Raymond was very interesting. They have several metal sculptures within a five or six mile stretch of 101. I liked Raymond a lot and would like to go back to see more of the highway art. 

 Metal Sculpture Art in Raymond

Then we drove through an area where we noticed a tremendous amount of logging activity. A sign explained that 120+ miles per hour winds had blown through a few years earlier knocking down acres and acres of trees.

We left Highway 101 before reaching Aberdeen and made our way to Montesano and Highway 12. If you ever need a place to eat on your way to or from the Washington beaches, I recommend the Crow’s Nest in Montesano. Great burgers, fries and milkshakes!

Before long we were back on Interstate 5 and then pulling into our driveway. Our vacation was over but we saw so many wonderful places that will last in our memories for a long time.  We had time to reflect on the events of 2010 and think about what 2011 might bring.

I hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did.


Gaelyn said...

Those sunset shots are Fantastic! This has been a Marvelous trip. Sure glad I got to go along.

don said...

Another fine series to conclude your trip. I throughly enjoyed reading your narrative of each stop and getting to see these familiar sites shown so well with your excellent pictures. A top-flight series.

debi said...

Loved your travelogue, and those sunset photos...WOW!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Dang -- I wish you'd taken some pictures of stuffing that camper back in! (It really just seems like I've been there -- we have had similar adventures). ... Lovely pictures of the Oregon coast -- the wind one kept me from being too homesick.