Category Archives: 2009 Road Trip – Washington/Oregon Coast

2009 Sep 13-16 – Days 19-22 – John Day, OR – Home

Now that we are on the way homeward our days were much more driving days than sight-seeing days.  It is a short drive from John Day, to Pendleton, and according to my photographs I only took – or at least I only kept – three photos, and two of them are almost the same.

When we arrived in Pendelton we bought tickets for the Underground Tour.  The tour takes you to the seedy side of Pendleton as it was in the 1890’s.  There are tunnels under the city streets that connect various buildings and within that warren were gambling dens, brothels, and an active Chinese community providing the various vices.  There were no photos allowed on the tour so I can’t show you stuff, but it was very interesting.  Buy a ticket if you are ever in Pendleton, Oregon.

The next day, before we left town, we toured the Pendelton Woolen Mill.  Pendleton Woolen specializes in blankets and clothing. Their Native American patterned blankets are well known across the west.  The mill was opened in 1909 by Thomas Kay and his daughter and son-in-law.  Pendelton, located in eastern Oregon sheep country allowed the mill to be located near the resource, thus creating significant savings in shipping costs.  Pendelton is also a major railhead so easy access to markets was readily available.  We had a very amiable guide on our tour and he answered any questions people had.  The looms are automated and the patterns produced are all computer generated.  I loved all the bright colours. From Pendelton we cut across the SE corner of Washington state and spent our next night at Clarkston, WA.  Lewiston, ID is across the river.  The two communities, obviously, are named for the famous exploration duo of Lewis and Clark who mapped much of the western waterways. From Clarkston we crosssed the river into Idaho and headed north, pausing in Couer d’Alene for a walk around their lovely waterfront, before carrying on to Sandpoint for the night. From Sandpoint it was a day’s drive home again and our first long road trip came to an end.

2009 Sep 11-12 – Days 17-18 – Crater Lake and Painted Hills

We left Roseburg and headed east.  About an hour later we pulled into the parking lot by the trailhead to Susan Creek Falls.  It is only a 3/4 mile easy hike and the falls are not spectacular – they  only drop 35′.  Still, it was a lovely area with all the wet moss on the criss-crossed logs.

I search the maps as we drive along and suggest stops to make each day as we travel.  I love National Parks and I noticed Crater Lake NP was located in our general direction inland, so we decided to go have a look-see.  I have since learned that Crater Lake is considered one of the seven natural wonders of Oregon and is considered a true jewel within the American National Parks system.  And I wholeheartedly agree!  It was a magical place.We drove up the narrow switchback road to the summit and got out at the first viewpoint.  Holy cow!  You find yourself standing at the edge of a massive volcanic caldera that is filled with sapphire blue water.  The crater was formed 7,700 years ago when the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed.  The caldera is over 2000′ deep making the lake the deepest in the United States at 1949′.  It is estimated that it took about 720 for the lake to fill to its current level.  The lake is 5 by 6 miles wide and there is a rim road that will take you all the way around.

There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake so it is kept full only by snow and rain, making it some of the purest water on earth.  The caldera rim averages from about 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level so the park is only open for a few months in the summer and early fall.
           Later lava eruptions created Wizard Island.The view outward from the rim road was pretty nice as well.The sides of the crater down to the lake are almost vertical and drop hundreds of feet before reaching the water.There is a access to the lake via a steep, narrow road on the far side.  The lake is also stocked with fish for the enjoyment of anglers. On the far side you can see the smaller island called Phantom Ship. This shot was taken holding my camera out over the rim edge, pointed straight down.  Those boats are a long distance away. I made a stitched photo of Crater Lake.  It is pretty narrow, but you get the idea about its incredible beauty.We descended down the back side of Crater Lake National Park, turned north when we reached Highway 197 and drove up to Bend where we spent the night.

In the morning we continued north to Redmond then turned east on Highway 126.  One and a half hours later we turned off at the entrance to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (Painted Hills Unit).  A little further up the road is the Sheep Rock Unit, but we spent so much time in the Painted Hills that day that we had no time to see what there was at Sheep Rock.  We will save it for another trip.

Just as I loved Crater Lake, I also loved the Painted Hills. I had never seen anything like them before (there are similiar striping in the cliffs and hills near Drumheller, AB but we hadn’t seen them at this point).  Both John Day and Drumheller are areas rich in prehistoric fossils.

I probably took about 200 photos.  Everywhere you looked there were different colours and patterns.  Truly, truly my kind of place.  I will definitely go there again, and this time I will be sure to have time to stop at the Sheep Rock Unit as well.  Lots of photos to follow – The hills are composed of a clumpy granuale and each colour is a different material.  You will have to look up all the scientific information if you want the details.  Just google Painted Hills.   We eventually left the wondrous painted hills and made our way to the community of John Day where we spent the night. Those two days were a photographers dream.  I had so much fun!

2009 Sep 8-10 – Days 14-16 – Oregon Coast

Before leaving Tillmook we toured the cheese factory and the Air Museum.   Tillamook Cheese is well know all along the northwestern US.  The moving assembly line of huge cheese blocks was pretty interesting to watch.

The museum is housed in a former WWII airship hanger.  In 1942 the U.S. Navy built 17 of these massive structures along the western coast to house K-Class airships that would provide anti-sub patrols and convoy escorts.  Two were built at Tillmook.  Hanger “B” was the first one completed in August 1943.  Hanger “A” was built in only 27 days!  It was destroyed in a fire in 1992.  The airships were 252′ feet long and 80′ in diameter.  They carried 425,000 cu. ft. of helium and could stay aloft for three days with a range of 2,000 miles.  Hanger “B” houses the Tillamook Air Museum. John had a great time checking out all the planes.And the Tillamook Volunteer Fire Department had spent many, many hours restoring this beautiful 1943 Seagrave Fire Engine.

Oceanside Beach was a lovely long stretch of white sand.Not too far from Tillamook is Cape Meares where you can find the Octopus Tree, which is actually a Sitka Spruce that grew lots of low branch “arms.”

     As is always the case, any seaside cliff will become nesting grounds for birds.Three Arch Rocks can be seen just a little bit south of Cape Meares. Sand Lake Recreation area is a popular spot for beach driving.We had entered the Oregon Coast Dunes area.  From north of  Lincoln City to Florence and North Bend there are miles and miles and miles of golden sand dunes.  There are only a few places you can see them from the road, but plenty of recreation area accesses if you look for them.  We had taken a dune buggy ride on the sand when we drove down to Disneyland and San Diego Sea World with our friends in 1999 so we knew where to turn off to check them out. We spent the night at Lincoln City after driving an incredible 45 miles in the day.  No one ever said we rush on road trips….

Every time we have driven the Oregon Coast road one of our favourite lookout spots is the Rocky Creek Scenic Viewpoint.  On a nice day, which we had, it is a gorgeous place to get out and stretch your legs.  Beware the wind though, it can knock you over if you are not prepared. This visit we were able to watch a group of local artists do live scene watercolour painting.  You would be hard pressed for a more beautiful and inspiring spot.I like the arches of the Rock Creek Bridge; they remind me of the railway arches in the Harry Potter films – but much shorter and not nearly as high.  We rode over those bridges in 2013 when we toured Scotland and rode the Jacobite Steam Train from Ft. William to Mallaig.

We pulled into Otter Crest Scenic Viewpoint and the Lookout at Cape Foulweather 500′ above the coast.  The view on a clear day, such as were were blessed with, was spectular. A few miles south of Cape Foulweather is the Devil’s Punchbowl.  The tide wasn’t coming in so there was no wave action going on. On this trip we climbed hundreds of winding steps to the top of lighthouses.  If it was open to climb, we climbed.  Below is Yaquina Head lighthouse.

The Yaquina Bridge spans an inlet just north of Newport, Oregon.

At Ona Beach we had a good wander around.  Several folks had made sand castles and a lady was exercising her dogs.  I think she had about 7-8 Keeshunds. This nice wooden bridge is in Brian Booth State Park at Ona Beach.

Cape Perpetua was our next stop. We took a walk up to the end of the trail and the little folly.

This resting group of Sea Lions were on the rocks not far from Sea Lion Caves.  We toured the caves on our 1999 trip and all-to-well remembered the smell so did not feel the need to do it again. The night of Sept. 9 was spent in Florence.  With all the inlets along this coast we crossed over a lot of bridges.  This is the bridge at Florence.

The next day we headed further down the coast as far Bandon before turning inland to begin our trip northward.

Florence is about mid-way along the Oregon Sand dunes and is in the heart of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.  We took quite a few photos of the hardy bunch grass growing in the sand. One of my favourite lighthouse is Umpqua Light.  It was built in 1855 and lit in 1857.  The original lighthouse was located on the sandy shore on the north side of the Umpqua River mouth.  Two violent storms in 1861 and 1863 severely undermined the foundation and the lighthouse began to tilt.  Plans were put in motion to build a new lighthouse, this time 100′ atop the cliff so the light would be easily seen by passing ships who would be able to use it for navigation rather than just an aid to approaching the river mouth as was function of the first lighthouse.  The new light became operational Dec. 31, 1894 and has a Fresnel lens, originally powered by mineral oil.  The light makes a complete revolution every two minutes and in that time produces a signature of two white flashes followed by one red flash.At Coos Bay there is a beautiful Veteran’s Memorial.   We did the Cape Aragos Loop and spent some time at Shore Acres.  You could see the Cape Aragos Light from the beach. At Bandon we headed inland, stopping at Sandy Creek Covered Bridge near Remote, Oregon.

From Remote, it is only about 40 miles to Roseburg where we spent the night.

2009 Sep 6 & 7 – Days 12-13 – Astoria, OR

We spent the night in Astoria and after breakfast we set out to do a bit of sightseeing.  Our first stop was the Flavel House Museum.  We were actually allowed to take photos (without flash) in this house, which is quite unusual for historic buildings.   Very few facts are known about George Flavel before he came to Astoria, there is even dispute over where and when he was born.  And few details are known about the man’s personsonality and businesses either.  In Astoria he was known as a fearless seaman and ran a very successful river boat pilot service.  He had other businesses and also invested in real estate.  At the time of his death in 1893 it is said that his estate was worth $1.25 million (about $50 million in today’s value).  In 1854, when he was 30, he married his wife Mary Christina who was 14.   They had three children.  After his death his widow lived in the house with her two daughters Nellie and Katie, until her death in 1922.  Nellie and Katie also lived in the house the rest of their lives (Katie died in 1910 and Nellie in 1933).  George Flavel’s funeral procession was one of the longest ever held in Astoria.

The Queen Anne style house was built in 1883 and covers an entire city block.  It is 11,600 sq. ft and cost a reputed $36,000 to build.  The wood work in the place was absolutely beautiful.  It was gifted to Clatsop County by Flavel’s  great grand-daughter who had inherited it from her Great Aunt Nellie and soon after turned it over to the county for public use and enjoyment. After we left the Flavel house we drove out to the Astoria Column, erected in 1925 as the last of 12 historic markers placed between St. Paul-Minneapolis and Astoria.  The markers were the pet project of Ralph Budd, President of the Great Northern Railroad.

The column is 600′ above sea level and sits atop Coxcomb Hill.  It was modeled after the Trajan Column in Rome which we saw in 2012 when we took the Grand Mediterranean Cruise.

The hand-painted spiral frieze on the Astoria Column would stretch 500′ if unwound.  It is a graffito painting technique by artist Attilio Pusterla and took almost a year to complete.  The paintings commemorate historic events that transpired at the mouth of the Columbia River – beginning with its discovery and ending with the arrival of the railroad.

  The view from the top was spectaular.  You can see Young’s Bay, the Coast mountain range, the Columbia River and a significant distance of inland forest.

As we were looking for our hotel the night before we had seen an advertisement for a Civil War Re-Enactment at Fort Stevens that is held annually on Labour Day Weekend.  Fort Stevens is a five minute drive across the inlet from Astoria.  It was Sunday, the last day of the event but we decided to go have a look-see.  I had always wanted to see a Civil War Re-Enactment.

We spent much of the afternoon at Ft. Stevens.  It was great.  The event is big enough to have a Cavalry division attached to the Union forces.  The two camps were arranged just as had been done during the war: Union forces did not allow family members and support businesses to camp with the troops and the Confederacy had family tents within the troop compound.The Union Camp was quite structured (above photos)

And the Confederacy was a little bit more mishmash.  Apparently this was typical.

All the supporting entities required for a transient army had tents on site; blacksmith, baker, farrier, leatherworks, even a Christian center.  From the moment a person sets up their tent on the grounds they are ‘in character’ until the end of the weekend.  Even children play with simple toys and are dressed in period clothing.  All the cooking is simple outdoor camp fare.  Many  different Union and Confederate Militia and Infantry were represented.  People choose which group and troop they wish to represent and puchase the gear and uniforms required.

There was a schedule of battles posted for the weekend.  We were in time to see the final one.  Sometimes they re-enact an actual battle that took place during the American Civil War, sometimes, like the one we saw, the organizers create a scenario.   The ‘battle’ we saw was a rescue attempt by the Confederates to free some of their soldiers that had been taken prisoner by the Union army.

The battlefield was soon littered with ‘the dead.’  At the conclusion of the battle (the Union army won) all soldiers doffed their hats in a moment of silence for their ‘fallen’ comrades while the bugler played “The Last Post.” To finish of the performance the two armies formed a line and took turns firing their muskets and rifles.  All of the soldiers joined in a march from the battlefield to the campsite and gave a cheer for a job well-done. It was really neat to see.  I am glad we chanced upon the advertising sign.  If you are ever going down the Oregon coast near Labour Day I recommend you make some time to go to Fort Stevens.

We had a reservation in Tillamook for the night and the War Re-Enactment was coming to an end so we headed southward.  We stopped at Cannon Beach and got some good photos of Haystack Rock.  This is a popular kite-flying beach and there were many people out enjoying the activitiy that day.  We stopped again not far out of Tillamook and took some photos of the tall dried thistle-like plant growing beside the road. It turned out to be a very full, very interesting day.

2009 Sep 3-5 – Days 9-11 – Washington Coast

We left Victoria the morning of September 3 and took the ferry across Juan de Fuca Strait to Port Angeles, WA.  The Strait separates the southern end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia from the Washington Olympic Penninsula, much of which is protected in Olympic National Park.The 18-mile drive from Port Angeles up Hurricane Ridge takes you ever-deeper into dense forests of Douglas fir, hemlock, western red cedar and alders.

About half-way up is Lookout Rock where there are views – on a clear day – of the strait and Mount Baker.At Crescent Lake there are a few cabins and a couple of resorts.  The area is very popular for hiking holidays in the summer.  There is a road that encircles the park but most of the natural beauty spots have to be reached on foot.
Marymere Falls are at the end of a three-quarter mile trail.  The falls drop 90 feet down the rock face in a pretty cascade. Unless you are camping (and I don’t camp), there are not many places to stay along the coast of the penninusula so we drove back to Port Angeles for the night.

The next day we began to follow the coast road south.  There are many nice beaches and coves along the route and we would often pull over and take a walk along the shore. Our drive took us through one of the many WWII defensive bunkers that were built along the western coast of the United States in case of further attacks by the Japanese.

We really liked Ruby Beach and we spent quite a bit of time wandering over the rocky beach.  The shore is littered with driftwood and completely covered with round rocks, smoothed by the ocean tides. That night we stayed in the community of Aberdeen which sits at the end of Grays Harbour, an almost-completely enclosed natural harbour.

A short drive down a spit at the end of Grays Harbour takes you to Westport Light; which, naturally, has to be climbed.

At Westport there is an excellent Maritime Museum. Westport also has a very active fishing fleet and there were many boats tied up at the marina. The Westport area is home to huge cranberry bogs.  Cranberries are big business here and there is a nearby processing plant. We crossed the bridge to Astoria, Oregon and had a lovely dinner at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the water and the bridge.  After dinner it was time to check-in to our hotel for the night.

2009 Aug 31-Sep 2 – Days 6-8 – Sooke and Duncan, BC

During our one-week stay in Victoria we took a drive west to the town of Sooke.  This community is where my grandparents lived when I was young and I remember with fondness the one time we visited them.  My grandpa teased my younger sister and me and constantly referred to us as “The Terrible Two.”  Grandma and Grandpa took us out for dinner at White Spot in Victoria.  This was a great treat!  We almost never ate in restaurants.  While we visited I read the book “One Hundred and One Dalmations” by Dodie Smith and years later when John and I took our infant son down to meet my grandparents in Victoria, where they were now living, Grandma remembered how much I loved the book and gave it to me.  I still have it.  It is a wonderful story.  I highly recommend it as a ‘chapter-a-night’ bedtime story for kids. Quite different from the Disney movie version.

On the way to Sooke we stopped at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic site and toured the old bunkers from WWII.  (All the photos at Fort Rodd Hill are John’s.  Mine were no good and I deleted them.) Fisgard Lighthouse is situated nearby along the southern end of Vancouver Island.  It was a lovely day and the light looked very picturesque on its rocky point. This young deer was very curious about the two strange two-legged animals it saw.  It stood watching us for quite awhile before moving off.

We went to Sooke to go ziplining at AdrenaLINE Zip Lines, which takes you from treetop to treetop.  We had gone ziplining when we were in Princeville on the northern tip of Kua’i a couple of years before and it was a blast so we thought we would do it again.  I video taped John coming in on one of the lines and all you see is a forest of trees and hear a fast whirring sound.  Then suddenly John bursts out of the trees and speeds past me.  Unfortunately the blog site is not set up for video. You will have to settled for these photos that John took of me. As you can tell by my happy expression we had a great day!

The next day we drove north to Duncan, about an hour away.  The Pacific Northwest Raptor Center is located there and we spent a pleasant few hours checking out the birds and watching the handlers give a demonstration of the raptor’s skills.  I have a short video clip of a hawk flying through the spread legs of about 12 guests.  It flies so fast you can’t even see it until it is lifting up and away. Really awesome stuff!  And so much fun to see.  Cooper’s Hawk                                              Bond, a Ferruginous Hawk.   Lucy is a Harris Hawk and (below) is Chinook, a Redtailed Hawk

 This is a Saker Falcon                               Anakin, the Harris Hawk                                                A Barn Owl.                         Even the Black  Vulture is part of the show.   This little Gryfalcon was quite the star.  These are an Australian Kookaburra and a Spectacled Owl.

September 2, back in Victoria, we took a tour of the BC Parliament Buildings.  We toured this building when we were on our honeymoon many moons ago and it was nice to see it all again. These four murals, depicting the resources of British Columbia are painted around the central dome.The room where all the silliness takes place. And, occasionally some work that benefits or hinders the province and/or it’s citizens. The coat of arms of British Columbia.  I love stained glass windows!View of the front lawn from one of the windows.  The Inner Harbour is straight ahead and the Empress Hotel is on the right. A short walk down the side of the Inner Harbour from the Parliament Buildings takes you to the world-famous Empress Hotel, where you can partake of High Tea every afternoon.  The Empress has an absolutely stunning rose garden and I had a great time photographing many of them. This was our final day in Victoria and in the morning we drove to the ferry terminal and crossed Juan de Fuca Strait to Port Angeles, Washington, where began our coast drive.


2009 Aug 26-30 – Days 1-5 – Home to Victoria, BC

The first ‘long’ road trip we took after we retired was a trip down the Washington – Oregon coast.  We had known for years it was a lovely drive and a must-see.  We began our trip with a one week time-share stay in one of our very favourite cities; Victoria, BC.  John and I used to say, many years ago, that if we ever had to leave our home in south central British Columbia we would move to Victoria.  The climate is mild, the scenery is beautiful, and the city still has the old-English charm from back in the day.  We have been to Victoria many times but always love to go back.

We drove down to the Vancouver area and spent the night before taking the 1 1/2 hour ferry ride from Tsawwassen (pronounced Twasen – you combine the T and W as in twirl) to Schwartz Bay, which is about a half-hour drive from Victoria.
 During the ferry crossing we saw a couple of Killer Whales in one of the coastal inlets.  They didn’t seem bothered by the other ferry. Most of our days in Victoria were leisurely and we took quite a few walks along the beautiful Inner Harbour with the Empress Hotel. This “Copper Cowgirl” live statue was excellent.  She held each of her poses for many minutes and was very engaging to watch.

We were staying in Rose Cottage, a few blocks behind the BC Parliament Buildings and an easy walk to Beacon Hill Park.  We had been here years ago when we visited my grandparents in Victoria but had never spent much time wandering around.  I was happy to see all the cute animals in the kid’s petting zoo. The flower gardens were gorgeous. We walked most places during our stay and passed the Parliament Buildings on several occasions.  It is a great place to people watch. Since this trip was taken almost 8 years ago I don’t promise to be able to remember the names of all the lighthouses or coves along the coast, but I will do my best to relate the trip as accurately as I can.  We were gone three weeks so even if I lump a few days together as I did with this blog there will be a few for you to read.  Hope you enjoy the trip.  We had great weather and a great time.  But, then, John and I always have a great time when we travel.