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"|
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.|
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.
|Driftwood and wildflowers line the beach.|
|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.|
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.|
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.|