Highway 101: The Oregon Coast

Mileage today: 180 miles Total: 1,775 miles

This morning we left Astoria behind and started on our 5 day trip down the Oregon Coast, all the way to the California border. But first a word about the Astoria Crest Motel – a great place and I would highly recommend it if you ever come here. Such nice people, a stupendous view, peace and quiet and lovey big rooms. As we drove out of Astoria on 101, just as we came to the Maritime Museum we noticed a large steamboat moored alongside. One of the river cruises was in port. We stopped and took a photo. I’d love to go on one of these but they are hugely expensive.

We stopped at Walmart and picked up some fresh meat for the next few nights. Got another one of the marinaded pork tenderloins. We had a garlic and herb one a few nights ago and it was outstanding: so tender and juicy. This time we picked a garlic and mustard marinade. They are good value. We got a dinner for 2 and a lunch for 2 out of the last one for about a fiver.

So…. Route 101 hugs the coast for 363 miles from Astoria to the California border. Mostly it is a two lane highway all the way. It has some small inland detours through forests and lovely small valleys with old farms…. We drove as far as Yachats today, taking our time. Stopping and looking. We took one particular detour to drive the 3 Capes Scenic Byway which was well worth the few extra miles.

It was a wonderful drive and the beaches that run endlessly alongside the road are amazing. White to golden sand. Dunes. Pine trees at back in many places. Fabulous beach homes hidden in the trees and hillsides. The Pacific Ocean rolling into the shore. Lots and lots of sea stacks and tiny islets all along the way. Seals basking on a lot of them. Much more tamed beaches than in Washington. I don’t mean they are more developed than Washington. Some of them were of course but many were just great empty stretches of sand and sea. But the sea seemed less wild. The sand more pristine, more inviting. No dead trees piled up. As a drive, it has similarities to the drive on Highway 1 in California, but not quite a as scenic I think.

We made a good stop at Cannon Beach, which was quite busy – well, I suppose it is Sunday. Parked up a couple of minutes walk from the sand and went down and walked across the beach to the famous Haystack Rock, the third biggest sea stack in the world apparently. It was certainly an iconic and lovely sight. It reminded me more than somewhat of Perranporth in Cornwall and maybe some of the other Newquay beaches. No one was in the water!!! I put my ankles in and it was a bit errr …. fresh….. but not icy cold. I shall have to brave it one day before we turn inland.

There were pullout viewpoints at lots of places along the route and we stopped at quite a few to look down on the sea and often the offshore rocks which dotted the coastline.

Stopped for lunch at a coastal creek on the 3 Capes Byway. Some fishermen were out in little boats laying out a great long floating fishing net. Catching things on the incoming tide I think.

We stopped again in Depoe Bay to enquire at the Whale Research EcoExcursions about our trip with them tomorrow. We are on a 9am whale spotting trip so we have to be there for 830. Its about a 45 minute drive from our place. So excited for that.

Got to our accommodation for the next 3 nights at around 415. Deane’s Oceanfront Lodge https://www.deaneslodge.com/index.php First impressions are that it’s another good choice. Perched on a bit of a rise over a massive stretch of beach, it”s an old fashioned lodge/motel. The rooms have been renovated into a white wash/blue seaside theme and feel roomy and airy. They all have a small enclosed garden terrace at the rear which has a dining set on it and a tabletop gas bbq. Inside there’s a king bed, a kitchenette with large fridge/freezer, oven and hob, microwave, coffee maker. Nice bathroom with a glass tile shower. There’s a firepit in the lawns running down to the beach, adirondack chairs….. a family atmosphere. Free continental breakfast in the morning. I think its fruit and pastries so I’ll probably stick to my self catered but Bob will enjoy it.

We unpacked all our stuff and tonight we ate on our terrace. I bbq’d some bratwurst sausages – big juicy ones they were – and we had them in kaiser buns with sweet dill pickles and ketchup and had sweetcorn on the side. It was really nice and the little table top bbq with its dinky gas bottle worked pretty well.

Tonight, the sky was pretty clear with interesting cloud patterns so we walked across the lawns to the bluffs and took a bench to watch the sunset. There were a few people on the beach watching and a large family were already around the hotel firepit toasting marshmallows and the like. The sunset was spectacular. For some reason I didn’t take my main Sony camera down there, I just had my old Huawei phone camera. But it did a good job with nature’s magnificence. One of the best I’ve seen outside Goa….