The weekend of July 25-26 I had a seminar to attend in Portland, Oregon, so I took a couple of extra days at the end of it to drive to the coast and see the ocean. Claire Bear volunteered to come with me for a getaway too.
All this was in the middle of a heat wave; when stepping out of that air-conditioned Portland hotel, it felt like we were in Vegas.
After a long, hot drive to the coast, our first stop: the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I'd been here before, twice, both times in February, and remembered the wonderful ice cream. By the time we arrived I was seriously craving ice cream; however, this time it was NOT February and the line-up for ice cream looked to be about 200-300 people deep. We decided we didn't need ice cream THAT badly and moved on. Later we stopped in a small mom-and-pop grocery store to ask for directions, and lo and behold...the SAME ice cream, no line-up!
It was considerably cooler on the coast (nice!), but we soon ran into difficulty finding a vacant campsite; as one ranger said, "Everyone is coming to the coast to flee the heat in Portland." We ended up fairly further south than originally intended, in search of a campground, but that's OK; that meant we got to spend some time at Cape Kiwanda, which is a REALLY great place.
Here we got out and found our first stretch of wide open beach; I *LOVE* it!!!
You can see the big sand dune at Cape Kiwanda in the distance and we made our way towards it:
I can't get used to seeing cars on the beach; one flew by me and scared the bejeezuz out of me (I guess the driver is sick of tourons like us
); however, it's only allowed in certain areas, for parking I guess. I still think the beach would be nicer without cars.
A few signs to read before venturing onto the beach, outlining the many ways you can meet your maker. I particularly liked the little stick figure running away from the tsunami:
The thing to do here is hike up to the top of this dune and run/slide/roll back down it. The sand was scorching hot and I was yelling "Ow!! Ow!!! Ow!!!" all the way up.
Once at the top, you can explore the cliffs, though there are numerous warnings about their instability.
Now it's time to enjoy a Hefeweizen with a wedge of lemon, overlooking a fabulous view:
A few people looked on enviously or jokingly asked us if we had extra; however, something about this clean-cut group of people in suspenders told me they
weren't after our beer:
Running back down the sand. Wheeeee!!! So soft and easy on the knees!
Some shots from around our campsite and the "Three Capes Scenic Route":
Largest Sitka Spruce in Oregon (although I think we have larger in the Carmanah). This is my tree-hugging hippie moment:
We then found ourselves at Cannon Beach. The only available campsite was a vastly overpriced patch of grass 10 miles away on a farmer's field right next to the highway, so we decided that since we had to head for home in the morning anyway, we'd forego sleep, enjoy Cannon Beach till just past sunset and then load up on coffee and start driving. All we could muster for dinner was the leftover scraps from our cooler, all following the 100-mile diet principle: the last Heffeveisen, a bit of local raspberry wine, sumptuous local cherries, and two kinds of Tillamook fudge (chocolate and chocolate cheesecake swirl). We really suffered, as the following pictures will tell:
The all-night drive proved to be THE way to beat I-5 traffic and scorching heat in my non-air-conditioned car. I caught this sunrise (something I don't often see) at a highway rest stop just 10 minutes from the Peace Arch border: