Thursday, September 3, 2015
Central Oregon Coast and Inland, Newport to Reedsport to
We woke to a cold morning, 50 degrees, raining but sunny. Soon
enough the rain cleared out, and it warmed up into a beautiful day.
In Newport, we checked out the Yaquina Head Lighthouse from Agate
Beach, then drove over to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, next to the
Yaquina Bay Bridge. Next we drove through Newport's Historic
Bayfront, a working waterfront area, and ended up following
the north side of Yaquina Bay to the town of Toledo,
mistakenly as it turns out, as there wasn't an alternate bridge, and
we had to backtrack all the way to Newport.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Yaquina Bay Bridge
Anyway, back in Newport, this time we crossed OVER the Yaquina Bay
Bridge and continued south on the 101. A few miles later we stopped
at Seal Rock State Recreation Site. There were no seals, but the
scenery was nice, and it was fun walking around on the rocky
Tom at Seal Rock
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, in the Siuslaw National Forest, might be
the most spectacular place on the north and central Oregon coast!
Besides all the magnificent viewpoints of the ocean, beaches,
offshore rocks, and forests, there are numerous rocky headlands
where you can witness the dramatic surf. We were lucky to be there
as the tide was coming in, which made it especially exciting.
We hiked the 1/2-mile Trail of the Restless Waters at the Devil's
Churn Viewpoint, overlooking a narrow channel in the basalt where
incoming waves crash and boom with great force as the surf collides
with the rock. The power of the ocean is amazing. Imagine it during
Next we drove up to the Cape Perpetua Overlook and walked the short
but beautiful 1/3-mile Whispering Spruce Trail. At 803 feet, this
is the highest point on the Oregon coast, providing panoramic views
of miles of coastline.
Cape Perpetua Overlook
Still in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area, we stopped once more at
Cook's Chasm, where surging waves force water to shoot up like a
geyser through a hole in the rock. This is known as Spouting Horn.
A few dozen yards to the northwest of Spouting Horn is Thor's Well,
a larger hole in the rock where water surges and drains, giving
the appearance of a 360-degree waterfall. I didn't get too close to
Thor's Well, as the tide was coming in and it was getting kind of
scary, but another group of morons walked right up to it for a
selfie, with their backs turned to the ocean. Lucky for them, they
survived. This time.
Further down the 101, just south of Heceta Head State Park, we pulled over for an
outstanding view of the attractive Heceta Head Lighthouse in its
stunning setting, the best lighthouse of the trip! (And there were
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse
Famished again this afternoon, we stopped for lunch at a
run-down-looking taco shack called Los Compadres in Florence,
Oregon. As one might expect from such a sorry-looking Mexican
restaurant, it was excelente! We had a pork carnitas
burrito and beef enchiladas. The service was quick and the salsa
was muy picante.
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Florence is the gateway to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation
Area. We entered at the Siuslaw River South Jetty and drove out to
a parking area at the end of a peninsula between the Siuslaw River
and the Pacific Ocean, where we walked over a dune to a beach on
the ocean side.
Oregon Dunes and the Suislaw River
Oregon Dunes and the Pacific
We again stopped to admire the dunes at the Oregon Dunes Overlook,
an area with both scenic vistas and hiking trails. We'd had enough
of hiking through sand, though, so we just walked along the stairs
and boardwalks to the various viewpoints.
Oregon Dunes Overlook
At Reedsport we left Highway 101 and the coast, turning east onto
the very scenic Route 38, part of which runs along the
appealing Umpqua River. Three miles east of Reedsport is the
Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, a year-round home for
a herd of about 100 elk.
Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area
We took Highways 38 and 138 from Reedsport to I-5, a very enjoyable 60
miles. Just before entering I-5, we saw a sign pointing down a side
road to the Rochester Covered Bridge, a bridge that is still in use
today. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to drive across it, in
spite of its minuscule 5-ton weight limit. Why? Because it's there.
The boards were creaking and flopping so much as we went across, I
felt like an ice road trucker making an iffy lake crossing. I was
happy to find an alternate route back to 138 that didn't involve
re-crossing the bridge.
Rochester Covered Bridge - Cross at your own risk!
We took I-5 south for about 25 miles and reached the Motel 6 in
north Roseburg at 6:45, an early stop for us. It looked nicer than
the typical Motel 6 from the outside, but the beds were so terrible
that for maybe the first time in my life, I went back to the front
desk and asked to change rooms. They were like summer camp beds or
something. It was crazy. The receptionist gave us keys to look at
four more rooms, and we selected the one that was least
About dark, 8:00ish p.m., we drove to the city center to check out
the town and grab a beer and a little grub. Downtown was bleak.
There was absolutely nothing going on there. So we drove all around
town and were about to give up on the beer and just go
to the 24-hour Denny's-looking place by our hotel, when finally we
found a “mall” area at the north edge of town. The mall was nearly
defunct, like many malls nowadays, but nearby we finally came across a cool
place for dinner, Loggers Tap House
Family Dining & Sports Bar. We found it just in time, too,
as it was after 8:30 by now, and the place closes at 9:00. We'd
soon learn almost every place in Oregon outside of Portland closes
freakishly early, but we didn't know that yet. The host kind of
discouraged us from coming in at that late hour, until we told him
we were happy to eat in the lounge.
The place was great. We had one of the best pizzas of our lives and
a couple of good Backside How Now Brown beers. We ordered quickly,
since they were evidently trying to close, but there were still a
couple of tables of customers in the lounge when we left.
Sign our guestbook