Nov 15, 2014

Tilamook, Cape Meares, Lookout State Park and More :)

View from Cape Meares
I am not sure why I can not resist the urge to take a perfectly free day and fill it. But ever since I can remember I fill free days with day trips.....hikes....historical sites....Pez factories....beach....big cities....caves...whatever is within 3 hours driving distance qualifies.

So the minute I found out my girls and I had Tuesday, November 11th off I started googling and planning. The first thing I did was pull out the map and study the Oregon coastline. I wanted to show my girls Tillamook, Oregon. On the East coast it is Cabot cheese but on the west coast it is Tillamook cheese. They have a huge factory that you can tour....ice cream, cheese, and even fudge are all readily available. I feel like the girls and I have done a lot of exploring the southern half of Highway 101 which goes the length of Oregon's coastline....with about 40 miles in California and 20 miles in Washington. But we have not done much exploring on the Northern half of Highway 101. So I started researching beaches, hikes, and sites and finally narrowed it down to the Aquarium in Newport, Oregon. Cape Meares which claimed to have the best views on the Oregon Coast, Tillamook...for the cheese, and the longest truss bridge in the United States in Astoria. This was not going to be an easy task to fit this all in but I was going to do my best without making it a stressful trip, I decided I should get a hotel room on the coast so I could at least be in the right place when the day started. If we could get to a hotel in Lincoln City, Oregon I could cut 2 hours off of our driving for Tuesday.

So Monday at 4, after school and work were through, we were in the car driving North up I-5. Which is delightfully straight through this middle part of Oregon. There are several options of roads when it comes to heading West towards the coast and I was not sure which one to take and decided to just go with my gut feeling as the exit came. My gut chose a road that went through Corvalis, Oregon and ended up on the coast in the town of Newport.

We arrived at our hotel at about 7 on Monday night. We ate at an unfortunately yucky restaurant, took advantage of the wifi in the hotel, and played in the amazing heated pool and hot tub. We caught up on episodes of Studio C and slept in.....until 8 :) I was anxious to get going since we had so much to do. The minute the sun was up I knew the day was going to be gorgeous and I was dying to glimpse the ocean since it had been dark when we finally got to the coast the night before. The girls were not thrilled with me but cest la vie :)

It was cold out and pretty windy but it really was the most beautiful day ever. The ocean was a beautiful deep blue color that compelled you to exclaim at least a gazillion times how beautiful it was. I just think I may love winter ocean the best :) The wind would grab the tops of the waves as they broke and cause this amazing spray.

We headed north on Highway 101 which weaves in and out of  Oregon coastal cities, mountains, and staggering ocean views. We stopped when ever we wanted to and ran on the beach and climbed rocks and took pictures....well except for Natalie who I never should have watched tsunami documentaries with a few months ago :) She is so afraid of tsunamis now that no amount of reasoning will convince her to set feet on the shore. So we irresponsibly leave her on the shore and check on her while we race around looking for treasures and exploring.

We decided Tillamook should be our first destination and we got there about 10 am in the morning. There were not many people there so we raced through the cheese making process....and cheese tasting...and photo opps ....and the ice cream which is pretty famous. It was fascinating to watch the assembly line of cheese packaging and cutting. And tasting was fun but I wanted to be able to taste all the flavors they sold but that was sadly not possible. It was interesting to compare it to our cheese tasting trips to Cabot in Vermont.

Astoria-Megler Bridge
After Tillamook we decided to head to the truss bridge. A few weeks ago I happened to hear some ladies in the break room at work chatting about a bridge in Astoria. I LOVE bridges. They are a small obsession of mine. As I listened to the ladies conversation about the bridge I knew I needed to check it out. So I googled and read about it. It is called the Astoria- Megler Bridge. This bridge goes across the glorious Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. The bridge is 4 miles long and it the longest continuous truss bridge in the United States.It is so epic. It starts up high on the Oregon side and then it dips down to skim across the water of the Columbia until it reaches Washington's shore. The Columbia River is very mighty, and wide, and awesome. The bridge is only 14 miles from where the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean meet. Because of the winds the water was impressive and you could feel the wind buffeting the car as we drove across. The ladies at work had been talking about how scary this bridge was to cross because of the strong wind so I was excited. We took lots of pictures but they were taken from car windows so I posted a picture from the internet. This bridge made me happy :) Once we got to Washington we turned right around and headed back across the bridge to Oregon.  The town of Astoria has fascinated me ever since I read a book about John Jacob Astor and his funding of expeditions to explore the west. The book was called Astoria and I really liked it...but I love history stuff...it may bore you :)

After the bridge crossing we thought we would try to make it all the way back to Newport before five so we could go to the aquarium. But as we meandered along we realized this was not going to happen so we headed to Cape Meares instead. I had read about the light house there, and the views, and really wanted to see it. It met all my expectations and that is hard to do :) I want you to feel like you were there but I have no idea how to describe the beauty. We were way up high on the mountain at a lookout that went further out from the mainland so we could see the coastline extending back to our right and our left. We could see a group of sea stacks in the distance. From up high we could see the succession of the waves all lines up to break....it looked so cool.

Beach at Lookout State Park...magical :)
While I was trying to find Cape Meares we happened upon Cape Lookout State Park which was so incredible. There was this empty beach with cliffs that came right up to the beach. Trees right up to the shore line. We found a waterfall that came off the cliff and ended right on the beach...very magical. There were tons of trails on the surrounding mountains and everything was so clean and manicured. I fell in love immediately. I wanted to explore but this is hard with my Natalie and her very intense tsunami fear. So I will be going back to this beach soon and trying some of the hiking trails. There were also some Yurts and very nice cabins not far from the beach and immediately my mind jumped ahead to Christmas break :) You know me :)

Sunset on the Pacific.
As the day was ending Tatiana and I realized that my girls had never seen the sun set on the Pacific Ocean. We had seen it come up on the Atlantic Ocean but obviously had not seen it go down. She decided we needed to do this and I figured why not? So we quickly made our way to the Three Capes Scenic Drive and raced the sun to the beach. As we raced along we came upon a tree that had fallen on a telephone wire. After I made sure someone had called 911 as we drove away I looked in my rear view mirror just in time to see the tree and telephone wire explode three times in pretty awesome, very colorful explosions. My girls felt like this was the highlight of the day .....bless their hearts :) We made it to beach to see the picture at the left there. It was so windy I could barely open my car door. The sand was whipping all over so we did not view the sunset long :)

Once the sun went down the day was over.  It's a little bit of a bummer that Winter days are so short. We cranked our Taylor Swift cd and headed for home already planning our next trip to the Oregon Shore. They laughed at me at work when I said I was going to the shore....they said we do not say shore on the West coast :) Hmmm we will see about that :)

1 comment:

mommykay said...

My brother-in-law worked for Tillamook Cheese before his retirement. Tillamook ice cream and cheese are sort of a family thing.