Monday, August 4, 2014

The Oregon Coast

The Coast

The coast of Oregon is right up there with the most scenic places we have been in our travels. We followed the coast from the Washington border to the California border, taking lots of photos along the way. It's stunning, whether in the sunlight or in the fog.

The Heceta Lighthouse

Tillamook Area

We spent a few days in Tillamook and did some exploring from there. We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory which was really touristy so we won't do that again. Long lines for free cheese samples, which we passed on, but Brian did buy some really good ice cream.

Tillamook has an air museum that is unlike any that we have seen before. It's not so much what's in the museum, but the massive building itself which can be seen from miles away. Brian can barely be seen in the photo below, standing next to the plane in the foreground. The doors of Hangar B behind him are 120 feet high and 220 feet wide.

Hangar B, which also houses the museum, was built for class K blimps. I took a photo of a picture that shows the 8 blimps housed in the hangar.

The hangar covers over 7 acres (6 football fields). It's 1,072 feet long, 296 feet wide, and over 15 stories tall. It's pretty amazing.

Hangar B is the largest clear-span WOODEN structure in the world . Anyone interested in building construction will be amazed by the structure of this huge building. A closer look...

More info on the air museum at

We drove the Three Capes Loop road, very scenic with dunes and several beaches along the way.

People were out enjoying the sun and sand, but the water looked a bit cold to us.

There were several kite boarders but no surfers. We love watching the kite boarders and if we were a bit younger we might even give it a try - it looks like a lot of fun!

At Cape Meares we hiked out to see the Octopus Tree, estimated to be 200 to 300 years old. The Octopus Tree is a massive Sitka spruce with branches growing like giant tentacles from its 50-foot base. The cause of its shape is a mystery, but one theory is that the tree is one of several "Indian Ceremonial Trees" trained over time, a common practice of the Coast tribes. The branches of the tree were forced downward toward a horizontal position when they were still flexible, finally extending about 16 feet from the base. The branches reached skyward to more than 100 feet, creating the distinctive shape. Very unusual. More at

We took a short but beautiful hike up to Munson Creek Falls which was just down the road from our RV park.

We found an interesting restaurant just north of Tillamook in Bay City called the Pacific Seafood Company. They had probably the biggest and the best oysters we have ever had the pleasure of eating. We also watched them clean, pack and shuck the oysters. The shuckers are paid 2 to 3 cents per oyster, so moving quickly pays off. They were fast and efficient. We learned to shuck many years ago by using an oyster knife to pry the oyster open at the hinge. In this area they pound with the knife to bust the lip of the oyster and then pry from that end - they say they make a cleaner cut that way.

We highly recommend the restaurant, but there may be a bit of a wait - more at


Unfortunately we were only able to get a reservation for one night in Newport which is too bad because there's a lot to do there. The photo above is the of the Yaquina Bay Bridge which is one of the most recognizable of the U.S. Route 101 bridges designed by Conde McCullough. The photo was taken from the Port of Newport RV Park and Marina where we stayed. There were lots of people going out fishing and crabbing from the marina, but there is also a sizeable commercial fleet in Newport. This means great seafood and we made a return visit to a restaurant called Local Ocean.  Fabulous food, we highly recommend it - they just opened a second floor addition. Newport is an interesting place to spend some time, wish we could have stayed longer. More info at

Port Orford

We made a stop in Port Orford again this year, hoping to see them bringing the boats in and out of the water. Port Orford is one of the most unusual harbors in the world. Each boat is lowered into the water to go to work and raised back to the “dock” parking lot on their return. Port Orford was being dredged the day we visited. Most of the boats were on their “dollies” on the dock so we weren't able to see the cranes at work.

The dolly dock is only one of two in the United States, and one of six in the world. The photo below (taken from the internet) shows a boat being lifted by one of the two cranes. Looks pretty exciting but also a bit scary.

Hoisted on/off the dock into/from the ocean

Boats on the dollies.


Our next overnight was in Bandon on the Sea which is a nice little town and also the Cranberry Capital of the World (according to them). We were told we could see whales coming into the Coquille River from the ocean but I guess our timing was off. Pretty spot, though.

We didn't see whales but did see a cool osprey nest in the RV park. This one seems to be looking right at the camera. I think it looks a bit like a cartoon character.

Bandon is also a world class golf resort area. The Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has 5 courses - all true "links" courses of which there aren't a great many in the world. There are several golf resorts in this area. As a caddie back in the '60s Brian was amazed at what caddies are paid these days. Back in the day he got $5 or $6 per bag, per round, with hard working caddies taking home over $100 a week. Today at Bandon Dunes all caddie fees are to be paid by the guest directly to the caddie. Caddies average $80-$100+ per bag, per round. Not a bad gig. If you're a golfer and interested, more info

Gold Beach and the Rogue River

The Rogue River meets the ocean near the town of Gold Beach. As we got close to the bridge over the river we were astounded by the number of salmon sport fishing boats - guess it's a really good spot to catch salmon.

The dots in the pictures above are boats, just a small sample of what we saw in the river.

Maps....we made many stops along the way. 
Forks, WA to Tillamook, OR 253 miles

The Three Cape Loop with Cape Meares, 65 miles. Bay City, the oyster place, is just north of Tillamook.

Tillamook to Newport, 66 miles.

Newport to Bandon, 123 miles.


  1. Beautiful scenery. I can't wait until we have a chance to do this drive. It seems like there is so much to see and do and of course lots of hiking to be had. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and so glad that you enjoyed the coast so much.

    1. You and Kevin would love that whole area - some great hikes and scenery!

  2. I spent lots of time along those Tillamook beaches...way back when visiting the cheese factory was a super cool experience. You could walk among the cheese wheels and taste the few varieties they offered. The trees are remnants of an ancient forest along the coastline that were wiped out during a massive tsunami. There are many trunks buried underwater along there. Aren't they gigantic trees?

    1. Those are the biggest trees we've seen on any beach. They rival the coastal redwoods living today -