Category Archives: 2014 Roadtrip

Seaside to Astoria

We woke up Thursday to pouring rain and wind.  We stayed put at the condo all morning and by noon the worst of the rain had stopped.  We went to lunch in Seaside and afterwards we went south to Ecola State Park.  At the Tillamook Head Overlook we got a look at both Cannon Beach,


and the Tillamook Head Lighthouse, also known as Terrible Tilly.


At Indian Beach we saw a crazy kayaker playing in the surf.


From the park we drove into Cannon Beach and took a look at the famous ‘Haystack’ upclose.  The tide was out so you could walk right up to the rock.


Bill thought he might try rock climbing.


I was perfectly happy to stay on the beach.


Later, we found a kind person walking along the beach to take our picture.


After we finished at Cannon Beach, we headed back to Seaside where we had a very good Italian dinner before going home to watch the Thursday night football game on TV.

Friday we woke up to sunny skies  🙂 .  We went into Seaside and walked along the promenade just like the wealthy folks back in the early 1900’s.


After our little walk, we took off for our next destination, Astoria, Oregon, the last stop on the Oregon coast.

On the way we stopped at Fort Stevens where we saw the remnants of the 1906 shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, a sailing ship that was headed for Portland when a storm forced it to ground.


Further into the park we got our first glimpse of the mighty Columbia River.  There happened to be a tug boat pulling two barges going by at the time.


We also went to the South Jetty of the Columbia River where there is an observation deck for checking out the bar.


The next stop was Fort Clatsop, where Lewis and Clark spent the winter after finishing their journey to the Pacific Ocean.  There  was a replica of the fort at the site which was really small and very basic.


After checking out the Fort, we decided to go across the Astoria Bridge into Washington to check out the Columbia River bar from the other side.  The bridge was really long!


We went to Cape Disappointment State Park where there is an overlook as well as the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse that watches over the mouth of the Columbia River.


While we were there, some deer came by on the cliff between the viewing deck and the ocean.


Since we happened to be there around sunset, I took a couple of pictures.

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On our way back to the car we saw this bunny.


Since it was getting dark, we decided to go check in to our hotel and get some dinner.  Now we’re relaxing and watching a basketball game.  It’s been a long day.

Tomorrow we’ll check out Astoria and the Columbia River.


We got up to clouds and rain on Tuesday.  We must be getting close to home with this kind of weather.  This was the view from our condo.  You can see the ocean, although there are a few wires in the way.  That reminds us of home too.


We got started by going south to Depoe Bay.  Their claim to fame is that they have the smallest  harbor in the world.  It was small, but not that bad.

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The entrance to the harbor was narrow and curvy.

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I heard that the Coast Guard boats will sit out beyond the surf until just the right wave comes up and then they gun the engines and shoot through the entrance and into the harbor.  Sounds like a wild ride.

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There were a few seals lounging on the rocks in the harbor entrance. They seemed to be fat and happy and not too concerned about anything.

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I keep noticing these strange plants growing on the rocks where the waves are breaking.  They must be really tough to survive the pounding.

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After leaving Depoe Bay, we headed back toward Lincoln City and stopped at a beach where there were some people fishing.  There was a colony of seals on the other side of the river.  They looked more like rocks than seals.

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At this point the rain started in earnest so we went to the outlet mall and spent some money.

We had a good dinner at a pleasant place on the bay.  Too bad it was pitch dark and we couldn’t see a thing.  After dinner we went home, made a fire in the fire place and watched the basketball game.

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A great end to the day.

Wednesday dawned a little clearer but still pretty cloudy.  Our next destination was Seaside, Oregon.  On the way we stopped at Cape Kiwanda where there was the requisite haystack rock,

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and there were people surfing!

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As always there were lots of waves and it was a scenic site.

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Next stop was Cape Meares where there was a little lighthouse.  It’s only 38 feet tall, the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast.

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It’s on a really tall cliff so it all works out.

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On our way down the coast, we stopped at the North Jetty  in Pacific City where the Coast Guard was going back and forth across the bar to the ocean.  I guess they have to practice.

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Next stop was the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon. It was great fun.  We got to see them processing the cheese and it was pretty cool.


They had some interesting factoids on the walls.


On our way out, we had our picture taken in the ‘baby loaf’.


After the cheese factory, we stopped in Oceanside where we saw some rocks called the Three Graces.

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Then it was on to Seaside and our next condo.  It seems to be really nice.  We went to dinner at a little Italian restaurant in town and had a great dinner.  Now, we’re relaxing, watching TV and going through the pictures we took today.

Tomorrow we’ll do some exploring in the Seaside area, weather permitting.

Florence to Lincoln City

We got up Sunday morning to a drizzly, cloudy Oregon day.  We didn’t let the weather stop our exploration of the coast, after all we’re Alaskans.  We started off checking out the dunes at the Oregon Dunes State Park.  There are over 40 miles of sand dunes between Coos Bay and Florence.  It was more sand that you could ever imagine.

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We went for a short hike through the dunes to the beach.  There were all sorts of landscapes from sand dunes,

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to forests,

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to grass lands,

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to the sand beach.

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Here’s the view back up the trail from  the beach showing all the different terrains.

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On our way back up the trail from the beach, I saw this wooly bear caterpillar, just like the ones we saw in Ohio.  This one appears to be predicting much worse winter weather.

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We also saw this cute little bird in the forest area.

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After the dunes, we headed north to Heceta Head Lighthouse.

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It was a really picturesque lighthouse in a really wild place.

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Next stop was Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.  The wind was really whipping up there and  the ocean was wild as ever.

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Back in the 1930’s the CCC built this stone building on the top of the cape.  It was used as a coastal watch station during World War II.   It was a great observation point.

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When we got back to Florence, we had a really good dinner in the old town by the harbor, and called it a night.


On Monday, Bill’s birthday, we headed to our next destination – Lincoln City.   Our first stop along the way was the Devil’s Churn.  It was formed by a cleft in the rocks that causes lots of turbulent water when the waves converge.

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It was amazing to watch, I could have stayed there all day.

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Next stop was the Newport Aquarium.


We saw lots of seabirds, sea otters, sea lions, seals and bunches of fish.  It was a fun place.  Here are a couple of puffins in their non-breeding colors.


Next was the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.  It’s the only wooden lighthouse with the living quarters attached in Oregon.

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The next lighthouse along the way was the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  Unfortunately, it was being renovated so all we saw was this.  It’s the tallest working lighthouse in Oregon.

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The surrounding area was – wait for it – amazing.

untitled (330 of 334) Before we got to Lincoln City, we took the Otter Crest Scenic Loop so that we could take a look at the Devil’s Punchbowl.  Since the tide was low, there wasn’t much to look at.  Some kids there told us that earlier in the day there was lots of water in the ‘punchbowl’ and lots of wave action.  We might have to make a return trip at high tide.

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We’ll be spending tomorrow in the Lincoln City area.  Rain is in the forecast but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for better weather.  Our condo has a fireplace and a view of the ocean, so if it’s really bad we can light a fire and watch the ocean from our couch.

Southern Oregon Coast

We left Klamath, California on Friday morning and headed north toward Oregon.  Our first stop was the Klamath Overlook where the Klamath River meets the Pacific Ocean.


We crossed the border into Oregon and stopped at the Gold Beach Visitor’s Center.  We met a very friendly and helpful lady there who gave us loads of good information about the Oregon coast.  We got our first look at the coast at Gold Beach.  It was chilly but beautiful.


Our next stop was Port Orford Heads.  The ocean was totally wild and we were totally mesmerized.


Cape Blanco was next.  The lighthouse was closed but the surrounding coast was amazing.


We then made a mad dash to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort where Bill’s niece Rosemary works as a cook at the Pacific Grill restaurant. We had reservations for dinner and it was scrumptious!  Rosemary surprised us with desserts, a lavender cake with a yogurt topping and blueberries as well as a warm chocolate chip cookie with ice cream and caramel sauce.  They looked great and they tasted fantastic.

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Here’s Rosemary in her kitchen at the restaurant.


After dinner we had what seemed like a long 25 mile drive to Coos Bay in the pitch dark with fog.  We made it unscathed and had a restful night.

We woke up to a foggy Saturday morning in Coos Bay.  We were meeting Rosemary in Bandon at around noon for lunch so we had some extra time in the morning.  We decided to go to the Face Rock Creamery and check out the handmade cheeses since the fog wouldn’t matter indoors.

After the Creamery, the fog had cleared and we went into old town Bandon.  We were looking around their waterfront and saw what appeared to be the entrance to the harbor and went to take a closer look.  There were ten foot waves at the harbor entrance!  I’m not sure how anyone would ever get in or out with their lives.  This picture was taken standing on the jetty on the south side of the harbor entrance.


We met up with Rosemary for lunch and then went looking around the cute little shops in Bandon.


Our next stop was Coquille Point on the Bandon Beach Loop.  We  seem to have replaced our tree pictures with ocean and wave pictures.  We just can’t help ourselves, the coast is stunning!


Cape Arago was the next stop.  Again the ocean was wild with rocks everywhere.  What an amazing sight.


A final stop at Shores Acres State Park showed even more of the wild coast.


We then headed into Florence where we will be spending the next two nights.  We had to go over this bridge to get into Florence.


We checked into our lodgings and went out to dinner at Homegrown, a restaurant Rosemary had recommended.  We had another great meal along with some good musical entertainment.

After we got home, I went through the information we got at the visitor’s center and came up with a bunch of stuff to do in the Florence area tomorrow.  We should have plenty of time to see the sights and have some time to relax as well.



Coastal Redwoods

We left Manteca on Wednesday morning and drove to Ukiah, California without incident.  We stopped for lunch in Santa Rosa at a Chick-fil-A and took this picture.

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That’s about all that happened on our way to Ukiah.  We stayed in a really nice, new hotel and the room was great.

We left Ukiah on Thursday morning under cloudy skies!  It’s been ages since we’ve seen clouds.  We drove on the ‘Avenue of the Giants’ and saw lots of big coastal redwoods.  They practically grew right on the road.

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When we got to the Redwoods National Park we also arrived at the Pacific Ocean once again.

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We walked on the beach a bit, it was a little cooler than we’ve been used to lately.

As we continued on our way, traffic was stopped for some elk on the road.  There were a bunch of them including a couple of really big ones.  I would have never guessed we would see something like this in California.

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We went for a little hike in the Lady Bird Johnson grove of coastal redwoods.  Again, the trees were amazing.   You’d think we’d get tired of looking at them but they continue to amaze.

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The tree bark is really interesting.

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The terrain is really different here, so green and lush compared to the desert like conditions of the sequoias.  It’s really beautiful and reminds us of home.

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This evening, we checked in to a new hotel in Klamath, California.  It’s about the only thing in Klamath, California.  We had a great meal in an odd place recommended by the lady at the front desk.  It was a 7-11 type market with some tables in the back where we had yummy homemade chicken and dumplings.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Coos Bay, Oregon by way of Gold Beach.  It’s supposed to be rainy so we’ll have to wait and see how much sightseeing we do.  Like I said, it’s beginning to remind us of home.


Monday morning we left Exeter for the Fresno airport where we said goodbye to my mom.  She went home to Anchorage with its freezing temperatures and snow.  I’m glad we didn’t have to go home quite yet.

Bill and I were headed to Yosemite but we didn’t have a place to stay and needed to get that figured out before we left.  We decided to go to a restaurant where they had wifi, get some lunch and make some plans.  We had a great lunch but they didn’t have wifi so we didn’t find a place to stay.  We also needed some sort of a cooler to keep our grapes cool so we went shopping and found a cheap cooler and some ice.  When we went to put it in the back of the car, we found that the top had come off a container of oatmeal and spilled.  Next stop, a car wash with vacuums.  After we got the mess cleaned up, we decided to go to the library for wifi.  While at the library, we found a condo in Yosemite West that was available for the night and were finally able to get started on our journey around 2pm.

Our first stop in the park was the Mariposa Grove of giant redwood trees.  Again, they were magnificent.  We only took a couple pictures since we’ve got lots of tree pictures already.  Here we are in a tunnel tree that was used for horse and buggy travel.

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And here is Bill by the roots of a fallen tree.

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After checking out the trees, it was getting late and we had no idea where we were going to find dinner.  We knew there wasn’t any food available close to the condo and yet we didn’t bring much with us, go figure.  We checked in and I asked the manager about places to eat.  She indicated, in her broken English, that we would have to go into the Village, something I was hoping to put off until the next day.

We drove into Yosemite Village where it was pitch dark and we had no idea where we were going.  They don’t waste a lot of money on lighting in Yosemite.  We finally found the Lodge and then had a 40 minute wait for dinner.  Bill wasn’t pleased.  😦  When we did get dinner, it was very good and the drive back home was much easier than expected.  Upon arriving home, I found a flyer on top of the microwave oven advertising pizza delivery to the condos.  Really???  That would have been perfect.  Oh well, If we ever come back we’ll know.  We were so tired at this point,  we just fell into bed.

Tuesday morning, we got up and got going to see the rest of the park.  We started off by driving to Glacier Point, where there was a great view of Half Dome, one of the iconic rock features of Yosemite.

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We had our picture taken with Half Dome in the background.

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There were lots of other rock features, I believe this one is called the Three Arches.

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After Glacier Point, we drove into Yosemite Valley.  After driving through a tunnel,

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the other side held an amazing view of the valley with the other iconic Yosemite rock feature, El Capitan, with Half Dome in the background.

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Here is El Capitan on it’s own.

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And here it is from the other side.  It was a gorgeous day with gorgeous views from every direction.

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We continued our drive through the Valley and stopped at the Merced River where Bill couldn’t get over the awesome views in all directions.2014-10-27 Yosemite (68 of 119)This is a rock formation that I really liked.

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There was something amazing to look at every way you turned!

After making a loop through the Valley, it was time to move on.  We left the area on a different road than when we entered the park which gave us even more varied vistas.  After leaving Yosemite Valley, we saw some interesting country that had recently been ravaged by fire.

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What an amazing place!

We had to drive for a while to get cell service and when we did, we called a bunch of hotels in the Stockton area only to find them all full for the night.  We finally found a place that had two rooms left but they were right under the air handling unit for the building so could be noisy.  We took a room, in Manteca, California, and since Bill is already sound asleep, I don’t think the noise is going to be a problem.

Now that I’m finally caught up on my posting, I need to figure out where we’re going to go and stay for the next couple of days.  My detailed pre-planning for this trip stopped at Yosemite and I never got around to going any further, oops.

Our next destination is Redwoods National Park on the North coast of California where the tallest redwood trees are located.  I think it will take a couple of days to get there but it should be well worth the trip and will put us on the coast for going into Oregon.

Big Trees and Wine

We left Ventura on Thursday afternoon after my mom and I had lunch with a bunch of her friends from high school and grammar school.   Here we are with Uncle Andy and his friend Chris.

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It was another lovely day and another pleasant drive.  We arrived in Exeter at our cousin Jim’s house just in time for dinner.  We seem to have a knack for that.

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We met his daughter Judy and her family at a local – you guessed it – Mexican restaurant and had a very nice dinner and chat.

Jim, who is 80 and soon to be 81, had to work on Friday.  He’s an entomologist and does pest control work for some of the local farmers.  So, Bill, my mom and I went to Sequoia National Park for the day and were WOWED by the big trees.

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It’s impossible to put into words how amazing these trees were.  It was difficult to take pictures because they didn’t fit in one shot.

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Bill got a few with the panoramic setting on his phone that turned out well.

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We went for a walk through a grove of sequoia’s at the visitor center.  Here we are by the roots of a fallen tree.

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Here I am inside a different fallen tree.

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After the walk through the big trees, we climbed the 350 steps to the top of Moro Rock.  We had seen the rock from the road on our way up to the park.

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Here we are climbing up to the top.

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When we made it to the top, the views were spectacular.  The mountain ranges in the background,

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and the valley in the foreground.

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We were even able to smile a little after the climb.

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After we descended back to terra firma, we saw the General Sherman tree, the largest tree by volume in the world, as well as the General Grant tree, America’s Christmas Tree.  We also drove through the tunnel log.

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It was a great day.

On Saturday, we went wine tasting in Paso Robles.  There are over 140 wineries in the area and there were grapes everywhere!  Here are Bill and Jim doing some tasting.

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While my mom and I waited.  It wasn’t bad since most of the wineries had gift shops attached.

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Saturday evening, Jim’s daughter Judy and her husband John had us over for dinner.  John grilled some amazing beef and we had a wonderful dinner with the family.

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Sunday, we went to breakfast with some friends of Jim’s at a great little restaurant, The Whistle Stop.  After breakfast we walked around Exeter looking at the murals that have been painted on many of the downtown buildings depicting Exeter’s history.  They were very well done and most of them had some hidden objects in them that we tried to find.

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Later in the afternoon, Jim took us to one of his growers’ farms and we picked some grapes and tangerines.  It was really fun and they tasted amazing.

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Sunday night we went to In and Out Burger, one of Jim’s favorites and had an early night since we had to get my mom to the airport in the morning.  Another amazing day!