Hello from Northern Oregon! One of our goals on this trip was to travel to Cannon Beach, Oregon. It is a seaside town about 28 miles south of the Columbia River, which divides the state of Oregon from Washington. I (Cheryl) had been here on previous travels with my family, had raved about it and Dennis had put it on his “Bucket List”. Cannon Beach was named that because of a cannon that had washed up on shore here in 1846 but it is best known for the extremely large rock just off shore. Haystack Rock is home to puffins from April until mid August and it is surrounded by smaller rocks aptly named “The Needles” (get it…needle in a haystack?!?).
After leaving Brookings, Oregon we drove 150 miles north to the town of Florence, Oregon. We arrived early afternoon and were able to do a bit of sightseeing in the historic Old Town district along the Siuslaw River where some of the buildings date back to the early 1800’s. Later we drove out to the southern end of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and enjoyed the beauty of the dunes along the Siuslaw River Jetty. We spent the evening in Florence Elks Lodge RV parking and headed out the next morning.
Driving along the Oregon coast is always spectacular albeit a bit slow because Highway 101 is mostly 2 lane and hilly. We made numerous stops to check out the view; The Seal Lion Caves, Heceta Head Lighthouse and the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
After setting up camp at our site at The RV Resort at Cannon Beach (also chosen because this is where I had stayed in the past with my parents, Kelli and Stuart) we drove into town to catch the tail end of the local farmer’s market and do a bit of grocery shopping. Later that day we walked the ½ mile into town to the beach for Dennis’ first view of Haystack Rock. We were able to get a good view of the puffin nesting area on the windward side of the rock and later found out that if we had arrived a week later they would have been gone for the season. Haystack Rock is totally off-limits due it’s designation as a protected nesting area for puffins and other sea birds so we were unable to get a real photo of them. Bandit and Tiki, as evidenced by the photo, LOVE this place…yea! Real grass to relax and relieve themselves!!
On our first full day we took an 8-mile walk along the beach then we headed to a small town north of Cannon Beach, Seaside. Seaside was one of the first coastal resort communities in Oregon and it has an east coast feel to it. It has lots of antique shops, arcades/indoor amusement parks and places to eat. There was an upcoming national volleyball tournament so there were a lot of people wandering the streets. We acted like kids and rode the bumper cars, perused the antique stores and walked the boardwalk. On our way home we saw and smelled some fabulous BBQ so we stopped and that was dinner for the night! After enjoying a BBQ sandwich by the campfire we checked out the American Legion Post in town and met some extremely nice locals.
Another day we drove to the town of Astoria, approximately 25 north of Cannon Beach, which is Oregon Mile Marker 0 on Highway 101. It is located where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean; apparently the force of the river meeting the ocean causes some of the most treacherous conditions for the maritime industry hence the name “The Graveyard of the Pacific”. There have been over 2,000 recorded shipwrecks since the early 1800’s, many of which where highlighted during our visit to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Another fabulous attraction there is the Astoria Column; the column is situated on a hilltop 600 feet above sea level overlooking Astoria. Once you climb the 164 steps to the top of the 125-foot column you have a 360-degree view of to include Young’s Bay, the Columbia River, the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. It is customary and you are encouraged to launch a balsa wood mini airplane from the outside walkway at the top of the column and see how far the wind currents take it. The column was patterned after Trajan's Column in Rome, Italy and it depicts pivotal events in the history of Astoria from 1792 until 1880. As is our custom, we tried to find an unusual place to have a meal and we hit a home run! As we were looking for somewhere to park at the Maritime Museum, eagle eyed Dennis spotted a “food boat”. Notice the wording, not a food truck but a 1950’s fishing boat that had been converted to serve only fish and chips. After consuming our meal at a record pace Dennis was heard to proclaim them “the best fish and chips I have EVER eaten!!”
Our last day was spent with chores; laundry, shopping, etc and wandering the shops of Cannon Beach. Now it is time to move onto new adventures and another new state for Dennis...