Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Oregon Trail (Post #5)

Yes I'm still recapping our trek up the northern California and Oregon Coasts. Catch up by following the links here-Post 1 (San Francisco To Mendocino), Post 2 (Mendocino continued), Post 3 (Mendocino to Eureka), and Post 4 (Eureka CA to Brookings OR)

Day 4-Brookings Oregon to Newport Oregon (233 miles)

Hubs suggested today I not take ten times longer to write about the trip than we actually spent on the trip, but finding time to blog these days is a real challenge. Life is so busy, but I'm determined to take you all the way to Washington with me. Figuratively speaking I mean.

When last we spoke we were crossing the California State Line into Oregon, aka The Beaver Sate. For the record we did not see any beavers, but we did see plenty of seals and sea lions which more than made up for it.

Also, this day may end up being two posts. We shall see.

Before we leave Brookings let me back up and mention our hotel there. We stayed in the Best Western Beachfront Inn and enjoyed the view from our room and the fact that we could walk across the street for a seafood dinner while watching the sunset.

We're all about seafood, sunsets, and great views no matter where we roam.

We had breakfast at the hotel, but took our coffee out to the beach so we could watch the waves crash and rage. The Pacific Ocean packs a punch and the rocky shoreline helps.

While hubs was checking out I managed to set off the car alarm in the rental vehicle which I'm sure was a treat for all those non-early risers. Sorry! Good morning sleepyheads!

Let me preface these next few miles by saying this stretch of highway has to be one of the prettiest stretches in all of America. It's called the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor and is twelve miles of lush green forests and rugged coastline. There are many well marked view points here and it was hard not to stop at them all.

The skies were foggy early on and we worried we might miss some of the natural beauty we'd read about, but eventually the fog lifted and we didn't miss a thing. I thought the early fog made everything feel ethereal.

Natural Bridges-

Reminded us so much of one of our favorite spots on the English coastline, Durdle Door. Sigh.

Arch Rock-

Pretty much just walk out to the overlook and let your jaw drop. Stunning!

When you reach the end of the scenic twelve mile stretch there is still plenty of scenic highway in front of you, it's just not part of the official Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor.

Sometimes you feel like you're going to drive right into the Pacific.

We spent quite a bit of time at a place called Pistol Rock feeling like the only people on earth.

The size is positively staggering...makes you want to stay all day.

We didn't.
But we definitely could have.

It was real rain (our first in five days) by the time we arrived in the town of Port Orford, so we opted to have lunch at Redfish. Now let us pause for a moment and give this clam chowder it's due-

Hubs and I agree this was the best clam chowder we have ever eaten ever ever ever. They drizzle it with a little chili oil (I think), and it's garnished with whole fresh clams in the shell that were so good. Definitely one of my favorite bites of the 1057 miles we traversed.

We took a short six mile route off the main coastal road in order to visit the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

A guide takes you inside and up, and shares a lot of information about both the lighthouse and the life of a keeper.

Can you tell it was windy?

Did you know there are sand dunes in Oregon? Miles and miles of dunes that go on for what feels like forever, but in reality is only about 40 miles. Of course 40 miles of sand dunes is nothing to sneeze at, but since the weather was rainy and really windy we opted not to get out and explore. Hubs especially would have loved more time here, but we tended to linger a little long in some of the earlier places, and we didn't want to miss the Sea Lion Caves.

Our road trip philosophy is this-don't be in such a hurry to tick things off a list that you miss taking in all that is right where you are. We said from the start that if we were somewhere and loving it we would stay as long as we wanted to stay and that's what we did. Mostly what we were seeing was nature showing off which has no operating hours to work around, but there were a few things that required arriving before closing time, and the caves were one such spot.

The Sea Lion Caves sit at a literal bend in the road, with a parking area across the street. Not much traffic so you just run across to the entrance.

Now y'all know that no trip of mine is complete until I've been forced to endure some sort of small confined space that makes me breathe a little too fast, be it a gondola hanging over the tea plantations of Taiwan or an elevator inside a mountain taking you down into the dark where sea lions nest.

So that's what we did. We rode the elevator down down down through the mountain and stepped out into this amazing sea lion cave, a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary. This is the largest (known) sea cave in America, and home to the stellar sea lion, although they aren't always present. This isn't a zoo and the animals are free to come and go at will. If the sea lions aren't in residence you're given a discounted entry price and a rain ticket for a return trip within the year at no charge.

It was hard to get good photos from under the mountain! plus they have a guard fence around the rocky ledge so nobody accidentally goes for a swim! but we enjoyed our visit.

 sea lion fossil 

You really need to see this spot in the spring or summer when there might be hundreds here, but the cave itself is cool. Definitely worth the slow ride down on an elevator that gives you zero frame of reference as to how many 'floors' you've traveled and how many you have left before the doors open and you can breathe again.

Also, you get a fantastic view of the Heceta Head Lighthouse from the depths of this cave.

And bonus, the fog was back so we caught the light as it made it's way around and around, warning boaters of the dangerously rocky coast.

We're almost to Newport so I'm going to stop here for now. We had a really interesting dinner in Newport and I want to say more than a line or two about that. This was our longest day of driving, but we agreed we wouldn't change the itinerary. The stopping points worked well for us given what we wanted to see along the way. Some of the little towns you pass through lack accommodations so we were happy with our mileage plan.

Tomorrow-Newport Oregon and close encounters of the Apollo kind.


  1. I haven't been out that way for years, but this post is certainly enticing me! That Arch Rock, as soon as I saw it, made me also think of Durdle Door, which I've not seen in person but have seen many photos. That drive looks amazing!!! And I'll have to drizzle chili oil on my Christmas clam chowder and see if we like it even better.

  2. I'm enjoying going along the coast with you. So much beauty to behold!

  3. Wow. I can't think of a better word to describe the beauty you are sharing with us, Joyce. Thank you for taking the time to take us along on this fantastic journey.

  4. Thank you Joyce, you are doing a great job taking us along.

  5. I love taking photos of the crashing waves! Joyce the photos are stunning. I'm so glad you took the time to travel the coast.