Monday, June 19, 2017

Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery

June 12-13, 2017
Garibaldi, Oregon

Watching the temps soar in other parts of the country, we're especially happy to be settled on the Oregon coast for a few weeks. Our highs of 65 are nearly 20 degrees lower than the lows in Arizona!

Two years ago we made a one night Harvest Host stop in Tillamook, Oregon. It was love at first sight. 

The lush valley surrounded by forest-covered hills, criss-crossed by rivers and streams, over looking a large blue bay with the raucous surf of the Pacific Ocean in the near distance - it grabbed us and held on. Unfortunately we spent much of our one day getting our broken slide fixed - but even that went smoothly! I knew we had to come back and spend more time here. 

One thing we did have time to do was check out a little RV park on the bay at the Port of Garibaldi - this is where I wanted to stay. 

Sunday we pull into Harborview Motel and RV Park in Garibaldi, just north of Tillamook. With the water lapping the rocks just out our front window, and the little village in the trees around the corner, I'm so happy we'll be here awhile!

Beautiful "front yard"
Garibaldi Village
We've been leap-frogging north with Dina and Audie since we all left Laughlin, Nevada, in April. They passed us when we were in Depoe Bay, but their stop in Rockaway Beach put them very close to us here. 

As soon as we get set up they meet us at the park, and then we head to the wonderful little Parkside Cafe for lunch. It's so fun to share the joys of this fulltime life with folks we also share hometown memories with! It would be even better if I could ever remember to get a photo of them :-)

Monday we get to know our immediate area a bit, and top off the day with dinner at the Pirate's Cove just up the road. A bit spendy, but the food is as good as the view. Later we learn that this is one of the top ten viewpoints in Tillamook County. Sweet!

The back of our front yard - sort of.
Although it's cloudy, Tuesday we take our "copy Laurel and Eric" day trip on the Three Capes Scenic Route. We're so glad they have been just ahead of us, finding beautiful places to explore that we can "copy" :-)

This route was a loop until a mud slide took out a section in January 2013. Repairing the road has been cost-prohibitive, and since it has reduced access to parts of the Cape Meares National Wildlife Refuge, the county doesn't seem in much of a hurry to rebuild the route. I like that.

We drive to the end of the first section (no turn-around for large vehicles), and spend time at the nearly empty Cape Meares. The solid sand makes for wonderful walking, and we have to remind ourselves that we have lots more to see today. We can always come back while we're here.

Post-zoomies dawdling.

Driftwood and wildflowers line the beach.
We backtrack a couple miles to pick up the scenic drive, skirting Netarts Bay, through the little town of Oceanside, to the Cape Meares Lighthouse. 

Sunning seals along the bay pay no attention to the few fishing boats and clammers nearby..

We get a glimpse of sun at Symons Viewpoint, where we get our first look at Three Arch Rocks.

With the beaches protected from development along the Oregon coast, Oceanside built up rather than out.
Cape Meares Lighthouse is short in stature at just 38 feet tall (the shortest in Oregon), but has tall views in a stunning setting. Commissioned in January, 1890, she is named for John Meares, a British naval officer, trader and explorer.

In addition to the lighthouse, the park includes hiking trails, the Octopus Tree, several viewpoints, and a lovely interpretive kiosk. We aren't the only ones out exploring on a cloudy Tuesday, and the parking lot is almost full. Still, there's enough to see so that we're not all in the same place at the same time. 

Watching the huge lens get larger at the end of the 1/4 mile path is a delightful surprise. Much less so coming back up.

Looking pretty good for over 125 years old.
The "tour" is given by video in this small room and then eight people can go up to the lens. There are already half a dozen people up there so I pass. It's a very tight space :-(

The Sallie Jacobson Interpretive Kiosk

Each panel provides information focused on conservation.
A short, well maintained, trail leads to a most interesting tree.

The Octopus Tree is a Sitka Spruce approximately 300 years old and 105 feet tall. With no central trunk, the arms measure over 45 feet around.
Beautiful views open up just past the tree.
I can only find two of the arches on Three Arch Rock.
Gulls, muirs and cormorants reside here, but nobody's home this afternoon.

In keeping with our plan to "copy" their route, we stop at the Whiskey Creek fish hatchery that Laurel recommended. It's a very pretty spot run entirely by volunteers. Over 100,000 Chinook Salmon Smolts are raised here annually for release into Tillamook Bay tributaries. A small pond holds ginormous trout. Used to being fed by visitors from the nearby dispensary, they follow us around the fence line. 

The grounds are lovely with colorful flowers and a unique surprise.

Fushias - my mother's favorite.

 We've never seen anything like this.

Huge leaves.

Spiked branches.

And this...
Cape Lookout State Park has a nice campground which we drive through to check out the sites. Several water and electric, mostly shaded, some will accommodate larger rigs, plus yurts and two bath houses. It looks like good beach access over small dunes, but we promised the nice ranger that we wouldn't stop if she didn't charge us the day use fee, so we don't see it.

The third cape is Cape Kiwanda Natural Area, and we stop for a late lunch at Pelican Pub and Brewery, because, you know, they did! Lunch is delicious and the views (as promised) are stunning. After eating we check out the beach. Vehicles and lots more people than we've seen anywhere on the coast. Surfers, SUPs, kayaks, dogs, kids - it's busy despite the cloudy skies (it's not very warm either).

Grilled fish tacos and quinoa - divine!

This sea stack, Chief Kiawanda Rock, is the focal point of the cape. 

Hundreds of foot prints show the popularity of climbing this large dune. Not my thing.

Our day is as wonderful as expected, and I encourage you to copy all of it when you're in the area. Give yourself lots of time - there's so much to see!

Next we check out a fishing spot along the river and visit more beautiful places on the coast, in between a few days of rain and wind.

Our twilight view.


  1. We may have to copy your route too next year. The NW has such great places to just "be".

    1. It's a great route - we're loving having slow time here.

  2. Our temperatures are rising also making me dream of the cool/wet Oregon coast!

    1. As much as we loved our time in Montana last summer, this climate is perfect for us :-)

  3. I am so looking forward to temps in the 60's when we arrive on the coast July 15th!

    1. It's definitely heavenly! We'll be in Olympia and hoping the temps aren't much higher :-)

  4. That does look like a great area to spend a few weeks in. Did you have one of the beach front sites? We've got a heat wave going over here with temps above 105 for the past few days and it continues for more days as well. Hard to believe there was snow and chain controls over Highway 80 a week ago! My mom loves fushias too. We had several in pots hanging in our backyard lathe house growing up :-) I think the reason you see so many foot paths going up is because people go down the dunes on kayaks and the like. We've had customers tell us it's quite popular. Nice twilight view as well!

    1. Yes, our site is right on the bayfront with the water out our door. That heat wave looks brutal over most of CA :-( I was thinking it would be fun to slide down that dune but didn't see any slide marks - all those foot prints were crazy!

    2. Guess they just wanted to see what was on the other side... LOL :-)

  5. I also may have to copy this day, among others, if I get to take a fall PNW road trip this year. Otherwise, it's all on the list. Love those shots of the top of the lighthouse as you approach, and the flowers, seals, ocean..... I'll bet Bill was drooling to catch one of those big trout.

    1. Seeing the light up close is the real treat at this lighthouse

      Oh yes, Bill was dreaming about pulling in one of those giants!

  6. Wonderful!!!! We have visited lots of lighthouses on the east coast. Hope to one day check a few off the list on the west coast as well. Love all the flowers, the moist green leaves, the ocean, the rocks ..all just amazing!

    1. It truly is amazing here. We have a couple more lighthouses to see before we move inland next month!

  7. Wow what a great time you are having! Sign me up for the waterfront site and the gorgeous beaches and cute lighthouse and the great tree. Your pictures are terrific! Not sure my restaurant budget can handle all the great places you are eating though.

    1. Our budget can't either :-(

      We love all the Pacific Coast has to offer - especially the weather !!

  8. Oh, I'm so glad you three enjoyed the Three Capes tour! Looks like you did it all, and you did such a great job of blogging about it. Love the details you included. We thought about Bill when we saw those big trout at the fishery. :-)) What a gorgeous view you have from your site in Garibaldi!

    1. Thanks again for your post - we had such a good time! The hatchery was a gem of a find for sure.

      I'm getting really spoiled living on the water :-))

  9. You are having so much fun along the coast. I love the sea stacks. Great arches in the rocks!! Love seeing seals anywhere. I do believe I just learned what you big leaf plants is today. It is Devil's Club. Laurel taught me this today. Ours didn't have leaves quite as big as yours yet, but they were beginning to blossom. Boy, do they have spikey stems. Glad we didn't have to hike through them.

  10. Great campsite you have there! With the 90s we're experiencing in the Denver area we wish we had gone up the Pacific coast again this summer. The Three Capes drive is lovely!

    1. We were in Denver last year at this time thinking the same thing :-))))