Lincoln City and Devil’s Punchbowl

On a cloudy Saturday morning in early April, we left Portland for the coastal town of Lincoln City. We explored the beaches there that night and the next morning.

02

04What makes Lincoln City so unique to us were the countless tree trunks and stumps that had washed ashore over the Winter.  On this beach families were gathering and cooking out using the the drift wood as fuel.  Some people had even built small, driftwood huts or a “Lincoln City sand castle”.

d

e

On Sunday, the clouds yielded to what turned into perfect weather.  We went further down the coast to look for whales and visit Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area.  We didn’t see any whales but there was no shortage of breathtaking views and quaint seaside towns along the way.

a

05.jpg

I was surprised at the size of the punchbowl.  The formations were like a maritime version of the arches of southern Utah.

g.jpg

h.jpg

We found a path down to the beach and spent at least an hour exploring the rocks, anemones, mussels, seaweed, and starfish.

07.jpg

i

It’s amazing just how many scenic areas there are a long the coast and to think we’ve not even seen half.

Agates & Cheese on the Oregon Coast

Last Sunday we decided to take a trip to the coast to see Cape Meares and to visit the Tillamook Cheese factory along the way.

01

Tillamook Cheese prides itself on being a local company that is farmer owned.

02.jpg

We watched orange blocks of heavenly delight get sliced, inspected, and sealed into bags as they rolled down tracks.  Then, of course, we brought home blocks of cheese from the gift store.

09

On the way to Cape Meares we passed through the town of Oceanside and pulled over to explore the beach.

0405

The experience is nothing like the beaches in Florida and it’s quite breathtaking.

While we were there we saw a crowd picking through the rocks as the tides came in and out. They were hunting for agates!  We stopped for a bit to see if we could find some for ourselves and soon had our own little collection.

10

Cape Meares features a beautiful state park with rocky ocean views and Sitka Spruce forest with short hikes.  One particular tree, named the Octopus tree, was quite impressive.

03

11.jpg

Huge-mongeous trees!

13

And I grew hair!

12

Ok… I’m just being silly.  Well, that’s all for this time!

Day 7: PCH & San Francisco

Our hotel in Morro Bay was only a few blocks from the water and fishing docks but it was too dark to know this when we checked in.  However, we could hear something odd while walking Maggie before bed the previous night… seals?! We got up early this morning to walk down and investigate. A group of sea otters were awaiting our arrival in front of boats and a calm ocean.

03

But this wouldn’t be our only wildlife surprise today.  Shortly after we started our way up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), we happened upon a muddy overlook with a small crowd of people looking over the railing.  We stopped to see and were thrilled by what we saw. A small colony of elephant seals were relaxing and playing at the shore.

01.jpg

02

 

As we made our way north up the coast we were not too pleased with the weather that was greeting us.  We had mostly avoided rain and clouds on this trip but today would prove to be quite nasty at times.  I was worried that we might not even be able to see much of the coast at all due to the fog.  But I was surprised by the vistas that awaited us.

a01

a02.jpg

Mile after mile of jagged coast unveiled itself to us as we crested every curve and peak.  The teal waters, white foam, and steamy grey air met with dark earth, golden grass, and green moss. We stopped frequently to take photos. Sometimes powerful gust of wind would blow open or shut the car door or send rain sideways onto my coat and face. Mud was underfoot at every pull off and I tried my hardest to keep my phone and camera dry.

a03

a04.jpg

With white knuckles I finally relinquished the wheel to Amy for the final stretch of the drive into San Francisco.  The weather was not improving and we barely made it into town before it was completely dark.  We were just barely able to catch a few glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge in the mist.

a05

After stopping for dinner at a pier, we learned a very hard lesson about leaving the city over the Bay Bridge: don’t try go anywhere during or anytime soon after rush hour.  It took us an hour just to get on the bridge in the most stressful traffic I have ever endured.  We made it out and drove for a few more hours on to Redding.  California proved itself to be simultaneously the most beautiful and stressful part of our driving adventure.