One of our favorite places to chase 70-degree temperatures is the Oregon coast. We love the rough, raging and natural coastlines. Oregon is the only state which requires public access to all of its coast and beaches. The entire coast is lined with state parks, county parks and public access points. The varied weather patterns, rocky cliffs, wind-blown trees and sandy beaches provide one of our favorite backdrops. We spent a week exploring the central coast based out of Lincoln City, Oregon. Our motto this trip is; “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”. We are pacing ourselves and limiting our days to partial days of touring and leisurely time in the RV. So far, it is working out great.
The highest thing on our to-do list in this area was to return to Depoe Bay, the Whale Watching Capital of the World! We have been here before and have our favorite watching spot, sitting on the stone sea wall looking out into the bay drinking a cup of coffee and waiting to see if we can see the whales out swimming, feeding and frolicking. The day’s weather was very supportive. A little foggy and overcast to start, then cleared up. After a short time, we spotted the telltale sign of a whale; a whale blow, the puff of air mixed with moisture that a whale releases when it comes to the surface. We spent the day watching a couple of them moving back and forth across the bay feeding and swimming.
For those who don’t know, I am somewhat of a train buff. Jennifer always manages to find scenic railroad to visit and ride. This trip is no exception. We took a ride on the Oregon Coastal Scenic Railroad out of Garibaldi. It is a short 30-minute ride to Rockaway Beach along the Tillamook Bay and the coastline. It was a beautiful crisp sunny day, so we sat in the open-air car and just enjoyed the ride. Jennifer was bummed as it turned out they only use their steam engine on the weekends and as we are trying to avoid crowds when we can; we had to content ourselves with a rare Model F7 diesel engine. After the short return ride we managed to grab a good lunch of fish & chips at Fisherman’s Korner in Garibaldi.
Being this close to Tillamook, we had to make a stop at the Tillamook Cheese factory. Unfortunately, the tours were temporarily suspended, fortunately the ice cream window was open. Nothing like a rich Marionberry Pie ice cream cone to put a seal on a great day. Driving home, we passed by the Tillamook Air Museum, housed in a WW II Navy Blimp Hanger. We weren’t able to go in, but we did admire the enormity of the hanger which is over three football fields long.
Just south of Lincoln City is a short hike to Drift Creek Falls. There is a 10-mile paved forest service road off the highway to the trailhead. Then about a 1.5 mile hike out to the falls. We got an early morning start to beat the crowds and it paid off. Only one other group on the trail. At the falls is a 240 ft span suspension bridge 100 ft over the river canyon. The falls were magnificent, the drop is over 490 feet. We found a nice spot near the bottom and paused to sit and enjoy the beauty and have a snack.
Pacific City which is just north of Lincoln City and the start of the Three Capes Scenic Loop, a 30-mile coastal drive up to Tillamook. Cape Kiwanda is the first of the three, near Pacific City. It hosts its own Haystack Rock which is larger than the famous one at Cannon Beach. Pacific City is also the home of Pelican Brewing Company, our lunch stop. Cape #2, Cape Lookout’s view is a mile-long beach with rough natural Oregon coastline. At the north end of the drive is the town of Oceanside and Cape Meares. There, Cape Meares lighthouse shines at the end of the cape and peninsula. Built in 1890, it is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon. We were able to walk down to the lighthouse and take in the spectacular views from the final cape.
The RV Park where we stayed, Premier RV Resort, in Lincoln City was just across the street from the beach and on the south side of the city, away from the congested areas. It was a great place to base out of. We were able to walk the beach and Craig even flew one of his kites.
Without a doubt the highlight of this part of our trip was the whale watching. We could sit there for hours. The scenery is breathtaking, the whales are amazing and it is just such a peaceful place. We are looking forward to exploring the Astoria/Cannon Beach area and southern tip of the Washington coast next as these will be new areas for us to check out.