Thursday, June 24, 2021

Our Happy Place and a Sad Loss

 June 8 - 20,2021
Garibaldi, Oregon

Ever since our first single-night stop in Tillamook, Oregon, on our first route in our first year, this area has been in our top three favorites. Especially when the temps are high elsewhere, and I'm still in pants and long sleeves! We've managed to come back every two years, and we'll continue to do so.

Tillamook Bay

Harborview RV and Motel in Garibaldi (7 miles north of Tillamook) is at the port with several water-front sites. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get one this time. Although I made the reservation in November, I needed two weeks and they didn't have it. The site we got is not the one I thought it was so our views are limited. Not sure why they have a large bush blocking the front of the site where there would be water views, but we won't choose 31 again!

Our first week is a real mix of delight and sorrow, of peace and hassles. Revisiting a few places and exploring new back roads, we're delighted to be in a place that always makes us happy. Unfortunately it is also the place we learn of Bill's mom's passing. At 96, with declining health, it is not an unexpected phone call. But it's still Mom and the loss is a big one for Bill. Along with the sadness comes the arrangements that his family will make back in California, and the plans we make to get there for her memorial. Fortunately we'll have reasonable access to an airport in a couple weeks, at a time that works best for everyone else.

At the same time I'm notified that someone is using my ATM card in Texas. Sigh...... Wells Fargo opens an investigation which of course cancels my card. Which of course means updating numerous records and waiting for a new card. Good thing Jeff is at the house and is able to successfully forward it to me before we leave.

For me this is always the better option, and no waiting lines.

We get a chuckle in the parking lot.

We've had less rain this year, but there's still plenty of green to enjoy.

Ditch the shoes and hit the water!
Rockaway Beach

Nehalem Falls

Pelicans at Nehalem Estuary

Nehalem Bay
A few weeks ago a friend on Facebook mentioned the Neskowin Ghost Forest which is a cool spot along the coast where numerous tree stumps are visible at low tide. Looks unique so we plan a day to check it out. It's a bust as Neskowin is all private roads and private access and even the state park is just a couple narrow paths to the beach but with no parking to access them. 

To salvage the 40 mile drive we treat ourselves to a fabulous ($100) lunch at Kyllos at the Beach. Not only is the food to-die-for, the restaurant is beautiful with ocean views from every seat. It's also next to D River, which at one time held the record as the shortest river in the world, apparently beginning a decades long dispute with the Roe River in Montana. Guiness gave the nod to the Roe in 1989, but in 2006 pulled the designation. There is no longer a record to be claimed. So much fun stuff to learn every day!

It looks pretty short to me, but I haven't seen the Roe :-)

You can't stay here and not make the Three Capes Scenic Loop (Meares, Look Out and Kiwanda) - it's in the rules. We save the Cape Meares Beach for another day as a land slide closed the road many years ago that made it a loop, cutting off the pretty area closest to Tillamook from the drive. 

The lighthouse is still closed, but the parking lot is full.

At the Whiskey Creek Hatchery

Tradition is a final stop at Cape Kiwanda,

with a stop for lunch. I never noticed the similarity between their sign and the cheese factory until this trip!

We often drive through state campgrounds to check out the sites for future visits. At Cape Lookout SP I spy a familiar rig! It's Watson's Wander. I make a quick stop to say hi to Amanda and suggest we try to get together while we're both in the same area. She and Tim have been ahead of us along the coast, and I was sure we wouldn't catch up with them. So this is a fun surprise! Amanda reaches out a few days later and we meet up at Buttercup Creamery.

Can't believe we both forgot to get a pic of our visit, but I'm glad we had the chance to get caught up!

Did manage a shot of Buttercup's unique flavors - you can never go wrong with Burnt Chocolate and Honey Lemon!

During our two weeks we had a couple days of rain with bright sunny days in between. Some foggy mornings, and wind nearly every afternoon. Long days with dark coming well after 9 PM. One evening we're treated to the most spectacular skies - definitely gives Arizona some competition!

We round out our two weeks with a couple back country drives through forest and along creeks and rivers. The Tillamook Forest Center remains closed due to COVID, but plans to open in the near future. It's a must-do when in the area. 

We "attempt" Coast Range Road but end up on logging roads going who-knows-where. Lots of "Y"'s with zero signs, no GPS access, and our Benchmark Map doesn't show anything, so instead of getting lost in the woods on very steep and narrow tracks we find our way back the way we came! Sometimes the road less traveled isn't a great option.

If only there were signs!

Where the Salmon River meets the Pacific.

Fields of pink grass.

Salmon River

The first Foxglove we've seen this year.

Wilson River

This very steep boat launch on the Trask River has been upgraded since our last visit, but I still can't imagine launching anything but a lightweight kayak. Deep gouges in the wood indicate something heavier has at least made it up here once.

Getting the boat back out of the water?

Sparkling riffles.

Water rushes behind the trees,

and slows through peaceful pools.

We get back to the beach at Cape Meares on our last day. While the small parking area is full, it feels like Tessa and I have it to ourselves.

West side of Tillamook Bay.

One of the best parts of this life on the road is the opportunity to see wildlife - in the wild - doing wild things. With the tide out, and no humans digging for clams and shrimp, a couple bald eagles feast on a large salmon. Well one is able to feast peacefully, while the other is harassed relentlessly by a seagull. The gull never bothers the other eagle once, but the gull dive-bombs his buddy over and over - and over! 

Even after he moves off the fish, the gull comes after him. 

There are not a lot of decent eateries in Tillamook or Garibaldi so we're excited to find a new restaurant by the RV park. Garibaldi Portside Bistro is a comfortable place with a full bar, lovely dining room, and outdoor seating. Our service is great - we go three times :-), and the food is excellent. 

Port of Garibaldi

Fresh and tasty salads!

Making their "point" in the best way :-)))

Hard to believe we're already moving on after looking forward to this stop for months (and month, and months), but we have more wonderful new and familiar places to enjoy down the road.


  1. I've been having so much fun following your journey on FB. I love seeing all the green and water. I, too, thought you were at the Blue Heron again when I saw the Pub's logo at first glance. Glad Tessa got the opportunity to zoomie the beach! So very sorry to learn of Bill's mom's passing. What a wonderful long 96 years.

    1. Always good to have you along, can't wait until you get to this route yourselves! Yes, Mom had a full and long life with good health for most of it.

  2. I too am soaking up all these water adventures with so much lush green, some places I know and others added to the list. Sorry about the loss of Bill's Mom.

    1. After so much desert time I have been on green and blue overload!! And loving every minute.

  3. Fran and I lost our mother's within a few weeks of each other. Please accept our sincere condolences, we know this can be a hard time.
    You are in a great spot to look over the forests and ocean to reflect on those fond memories.
    We always enjoy the Tillamook area, can't believe the loop road is still closed .. wonder if the locals don't want it reopened!

    1. Thanks Jeff. Can't imagine losing two so close together. All four of our parents are gone now, hard to believe even at our age.
      There is no sign of any plans to reopen the loop. Gates on both ends are overgrown and the small section of open road on the north side is in very poor condition. I think the locals like the reduced traffic.

  4. It’s interesting how they found out the exact time the earthquake occurred that killed those trees in the ghost forest. They evidently narrowed it down to a range of dates and zeroed in by a recorded tsunami in Japan. So amazing, Jodee!

    1. Right?! Such a cool history. Wish we could have seen it but have seen some other similar areas. Neskowin is crowded with rentals and big beach homes that have monopolized the whole coast there.

  5. We're really enjoying the ride along our favorite coast. Bet you didn't know you had so many people
    with you! Makes for a crowded bus, even though we're all friends.

    Bill, we're sorry for the loss of your mother. I know she left you with many wonderful memories, but somehow that doesn't help right now.

    1. It's always more fun with friends along for the ride!!! No matter how prepared you think you are for the loss of a loved one, it's still a rough time.

  6. We're so sorry to hear that Bill's mom passed away. I'll miss seeing her in your blog. I'm so glad that you're in one of your favorite places to immerse yourselves in the healing comfort of nature.

    You really are in one of the most beautiful places in this country. Love knowing that you revisited Buttercup, and Pelican Brewery, and The Three Capes Drive...those are some of our favorites, too. :-) Your lavender sunsets are exquisite. Sending big hugs to both of you.

    1. Thanks Laurel, it helped a lot to be somewhere so wonderful. Of course we think of you two at all those favorite places!!

      Not so lovely this weekend in Gig Harbor with temps near 110! Cooling off Monday thank goodness.

  7. Lovely photos! It's hard to lose those loved ones even when they are 96 years old as was Nat when he died. Thanks for taking us along on your travels. I just saw your reply to Laurel--110 in Gig Harbor???

    1. We're blessed to have them as long as we do.

      Sadly yes we're sweltering here in the PNW for a couple days. If it weren't for a very important meet up I'd head us back to the coast!!

  8. So sorry for your loss.

    Like others, I sure am enjoying all the beauty from the Oregon coast.

    1. Thank you Gay. So glad you can share it with us.

  9. Absolutely gorgeous! Where’s the fishing poles? Food looks yummy! Enjoy!

    1. Nobody is catching anything in the rivers :-(

  10. Sorry about Bill's mom. That is a tough loss, no matter what their age.

    Love your photos of the coast. We'd like to get back up that way next summer but hope it's cooler than this year!

    1. Except for two days the weather has been gorgeous and cool!

  11. So sorry about Bill's mom, it's never easy losing a parent no matter the age.

    We were at Pelican brewery years ago while on one of our extended vacations.

    1. Still hard to believe she's gone. Pelican is usually a good choice when in that area!