Friday, June 6, 2014

Exploring the Oregon Coast

Walking on the beach

We left behind the sandy beaches of the Oregon Dunes area, and continued our trek north on US-101.  Once again, we had a beautiful drive, although this stretch of highway was considerably narrower and twistier than the previous one.

Narrow, twisty roads

We crossed multiple historic bridges,














through thick woods, and along the rocky coast,

It was a fun drive!

and even through a narrow tunnel.

Going through a tunnel

Bryce was driving the car, so I was free to take pictures as much as I wanted . . . while we were waiting to go through the tunnel, I even got this classic shot of a lighthouse on the coast.

Haceta Head Lighthouse

One thing we’ve been surprised to see in Oregon is the high number of impatient and rude drivers.  This guy was in such a hurry to get around Tom & Nick, that he made several unsafe attempts to pass when he shouldn’t, before he finally got around.

Can't get away from idiot drivers!










We arrived in Lincoln City,

Lincoln City

and easily located the Devils Lake RV Park, where we settled in for 3 nights (I forget to get a picture of our site, but it was a nice RV Park).

We were right across from the Laundry, and their prices were really cheap ($1.00 for a wash, and 15 minutes for $0.25 in the dryers), so I got all of our clothes done the first day, and then did everybody’s sheets and the rugs and car towels the next day.  9 loads of laundry for $15 . . . pretty good!

The boys are almost done with school, and after next week will only have their English classes to finish up (those finals are on June 23rd) . . . I can’t believe that Nicolas is graduating, and Bryce will be a junior next year!

On Wednesday, Nicolas had a Navy DEP meeting to attend in the afternoon in the nearby coastal town of Newport. so we all headed down there and did some exploring along the way.

Our first stop was in the little fishing town of Depoe Bay.  This was supposed to be a good spot for whale-watching, but the water was pretty rough for spotting the big animals.  The waves crashing on the rocks was mesmerizing!



While we were looking for whales, we noticed a helicopter hovering over a large boat out in the ocean.  Looking through the binoculars, we could see that they were both Coast Guard, and Tom saw them drop a basket into the water from the helicopter.  It appeared to be a training exercise, and soon the helicopter flew off and the boat returned to the little port in Depoe Bay.  We walked through the town, where there were easily a half dozen caramel corn/candy/fudge shops,          DSC_0279

your typical touristy T-shirt shops,

Nice hat!!


and the kite/whirligig shops that you see all over the coast.

Whirly Gigs

Of course, it wouldn’t be a seaside fishing town without several chowder houses!

Chowder Bowl in Depoe Bay


It was a fun little town, and pretty busy for a Wednesday afternoon!










From Depoe Bay, we continued along the scenic drive (Old US-101), right on the coast, crossing this historic bridge

Rocky Creek Bridge

and passing by this house on a cliff that I just had to get a picture of . . . I thought it was so cool how the trees are permanently windblown!

House on a cliff

At Cape Foulweather, we made a quick stop and got a couple more classic Oregon photos.

Oregon Coastline

Cape Foulweather










Our next stop was at the Yaquina Head Natural Area, which was U.S. Forest Land, so we were able to use our National Parks pass for the entry fee.

Yaquina Head is a narrow coastal headland extending one mile into the Pacific Ocean, formed by ancient lava flows.

Models of Yaquina Head Lighthouse

We stopped in the Interpretive Center first, to explore some of the exhibits.

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest on the Oregon Coast, and has been in operation since 1873.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

They told us in the Interpretive Center that the overlooks by the lighthouse were a good spot to see whales, since they have to swim around it, and they are easy to spot.  As we parked out at the lighthouse there were a large group of people and some rangers watching some whales swimming around the point.  Nicolas and I both spotted a large black fin come out of the water, and we learned form the rangers that these were Orcas (killer whales), not the more common grey whales that we had seen back in Klamath.

We all quickly walked to the other side of the lighthouse so we could see them come around . . . but these guys were really moving . . . we caught another glimpse, but weren’t able to get any pictures!

It was almost time for Nicolas’ meeting, so we couldn’t wait around to see if any more showed up, although I would have liked to.  Oh well, maybe we’ll see some up in Washington when we get back on the coast again!

We dropped Nick off, and then Tom, Bryce and I went out to explore Newport.  We drove down to the Bay area to look around for someplace where Tom could get seafood and Bryce and I could get something NOT seafood.

We passed under the Yaquina Bay Bridge,

Yaquina Bay Bridge

and parked the car so we could walk along the street.  There were several large seafood packing companies on the docks, a huge harbor with tons of boats – bit and small,

Big Ships

Boats in the Harbor











lots of restaurants, and cute shops.

Old Buoys

There are also several companies offering whale-watching tours, charter fishing trips, and there’s a huge Aquarium.  There were three tour busses in town while we were there.

Crab Traps

We walked through many of the shops, and wandered down to the pier to be entertained by the sea lions for awhile.  They were so noisy, and funny!

These guys made a huge ruckus when the new guy tried to climb up on their dock!

This guy was not welcome!

These two guys were sleeping peacefully, but all of a sudden decided to have a turf war!  I love how the smaller one is just hanging back, watching.

Turf War

We called this guy “the floater”.  All he did was hang out in the water, floating.  Once in a while he would blow a bunch of air out of his nose, but otherwise he just floated . . . a lot of the time with his head under water!


We had fun watching the sea lions, but we were getting pretty hungry, so we moved on.  Tom hadn’t seen anywhere he wanted to eat, except for one place that Bryce and I rejected because they had nothing but seafood! 

I took a few more pictures from the pier,

Newport Harbor

Yaquina Bay

and then we went back to the car and headed over to Nye Beach where there were a few more restaurant choices.


Looking toward the beach

Nye Beach is a cute little historic neighborhood with a few upscale shops and some local restaurants, and the main road ends right at the beach!

Flower Boxes


We ended up at the Sandbar and Grill, where Tom got his clam chowder and fried clams, and Bryce and I got chicken strips . . . all served in buckets (except Tom’s soup . . . that was in a bowl!)

Bryce dinner

He’s excited to finally have some clams!

Tom dinner

We had a little more time to kill after dinner, so we stopped in at Nye Beach Sweets for dessert.  By “liking” them on Facebook, we each got a truffle . . . and we bought some fudge and chocolates to take home so Nicolas could have a treat, too!

It was a nice afternoon exploring some more of Oregon’s coast!  Next, we move inland . . . we’re headed to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge!


  1. WOW you sure got some beautiful weather for the Oregon Coast!! We were there for 5 days and finally moved inland over the mountains to find some sunshine;o))

    Has Nicholas signed a Navy DEP contract or is he just exploring the idea? Hard to believe he will graduate and Bryce will be a Junior next year!!! They are such nice young men:o))

    1. Lots of sunshine -- it's been great! Yes, Nicolas has a Navy DEP contract for the Nuke program . . . so he'll be in your neck of the woods for school! We have him with us until November, and we're savoring every moment!

  2. With all the travelling that you have been doing as a family Nicholas and Bryce have probably been to more places and seen more sights than most people in their lifetimes. Soon they'll be able to sing Johnny Cash's song "I've been everywhere".
    Glad to read that you once again lucked out with the weather and enjoyed another beautiful day.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. We've had such excellent weather! We were worried we were going to have all rain; hopefully it holds out for our time in Washington, too!

  3. Brings back so many memories for me. We spent over 2 mos on the Oregon coast 3 years ago.. Went to all these places and loved it. Have fun~

    1. We're loving it, Leno! Tom and I will probably come back some year and spend a whole summer here . . . it's really beautiful!

  4. Great pictures! I can't wait to take the same route.

  5. My son went into the Navy as a nuke. He was in for 6 and then used his GI bill to get a Nuclear Engineering degree. He was much more ready to go to school at that point. He is now a NE at a Nuclear plant in Arkansas making the big bucks. I could not be more proud of him. Good luck to Nicholas. It is not the easiest path, but an excellent one.


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