Friday, June 5, 2015

Oregon Coast. Yep, it's foggy but not always.

We headed to the Oregon Coast by way of the Smith River Canyon. To do so we first drove further north in Oregon (to Grant's Pass) and then south back into California. It's a nice drive and it is pretty much the only way to get to the southern Oregon coast.  We stopped along the way for hikes, views, and carnivoras flowers, specifically  "darlingtonias", large native pitcher plants.  

Darlingtonia (pitcher plant that is about 1 foot tall)
We stopped in Brookings for lunch at the Black Trumpet and to check out the Azelea Garden.  We decided to try the draft beers. Pat learned that she quite like Black Butte Porter and Bill likes Alaskan Amber. After lunch we drove to the Azelea Gardens (we had just missed the annual Azelea festival, but lots were still in bloom, although the Rhododendrons were more in their prime. Nearby there is a lovely chapel (Capella by the Sea).
The Rhododendron at the Azelea Garden were in full bloom.
The azeleas were a little past their prime.

The Chapel by the Sea is lovely.

Then we drove up the coast to Bandon, stopping at most of the scenic turnoff along the ways.  We've heard that the weather along the NW coast isn't always foggy and rainy but we definitely got our share of fog. (Inland it was hot and beautiful...but that does tend to bring the fog to the coast.)  

Pat fondly remembers being so amused by an Oregon Beach we visited in 1984 that was covered with huge driftwood tree trunks (some probably 20-30 feet long). She was hoping to find it again. We found some interesting "driftwood", but not that beach.  

Pat on a piece of driftwood.
After a quick stop at a shop selling preserves (where we bought some blackberry and some huckleberry jam) we arrived at our hotel on the beach in Bandon.

View from our room  - it would be prettier with sun...
And we would have explored more if it were warmer
and there were less wind. Sigh...
Thursday AM we were off early despite the continued grayness...luckily we got a little sun now and then, even at our first stop, the gardens at Shore Acres. 
Barberry...such bright blooms and berries
The most lush Monkey Puzzle Tree...ever!  Apparently it likes the foggy coast.

We went slightly inland to Lakeside for lunch at a small tavern (Up the River). We both enjoyed our BLT's accompanied by fries (Bill) and tater tots (Pat) and Black Butte Porter and Alaskan Amber (this time from bottles).  

At a brief stop for gas we noticed a huge pile of wood shavings with lots of truck activity. The service station attendant (yep, they exist in Oregon...where you are not legally allowed to fill your own tank) informed us the shavings were bound for Japan.

Wood shavings bound for Japan
Next stop: Sea Lion Cave, home to Stellar Sea Lions and cormorants. We walked to an overlook and saw many sea lions with babies. Then we took the elevator down to the large cave used by primarily in the winter.
The cave minus the sea lions who prefer being outside in the summer
Sea lion family
We were joined for dinner at "April's at Nye Bech" by Paul & Jane Germani (friends from San Miguel who summer in Eugene OR). Bill enjoyed his Chinook Salmon and Pat her Scallops. We all enjoyed the Trium Viognier from the Rogue Valley, the chocolate dessert and the conversation (as well as the dinner) and basically closed the place down.

Chinook Salmon

Chocolate Dessert...if you
share it, there are NO calories!

We spent the next day exploring Newport OR...starting at the Oregon Coast Aquarium with it's impressive exhibits of birds and sea life.

Young pelican hoping for another fish before leaving his perch 
Sea Otter...they are so darn cute! 
Sea Anemones 
Tufted Puffins
Later we shopped around the Old Port and Nye Beach enjoying our lunch at Saffron Salmon (cod sandwich for Bill and caesar salad with Salmon for Pat). Before returning to our room we visited Yaquina Head Lighthouse. We had a light evening snack in the room (Focaccia from the Panini Bakery followed by a biscotti and some Pinot Noir dessert wine).

Saturday. It was time to leave the coast for Portland on Saturday. Finally some sunshine!! 

Dare we stop at Cape Foulweather??? We did and the weather was far better than the day when Captain Cook arrived and named the Cape according to the weather he experienced. But first we checked out Otter Rock with a short walk to the Devil’s Punch Bowl. Along the way we encountered a young squirrel getting a little attention from his Mom (or some such combination.)  We also found a rather dated ice cream truck.  

Devil's Punch Bowl

Cape Foulweather
Next stop: Depoe Bay, a spot for whale watching (none for us) and a visit to the whale watching center with various artifacts and statistics re whale migration, birthing, sizes, etc... Further along we enjoyed a walk in the Taft area of Lincoln Beach where we encountered the giant drift wood Pat had been seeking. 

Pat on more driftwood
Two kids who are a bit more creative than Pat re posing on driftwood

Then we crossed the 45th Parallel (halfway between the Equator and the North Pole)...significant because in August we will be celebrating our 50th HS Reunion nearby the 45th Parallel in Maine.

In Tillamook we tasted cheese!!  

We had lunch at Mo’s in Cannon Beach before turning inland toward Portland.

Mo's Grilled Oysters with Fries...Pat's choice
Photo of the iconic Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

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