Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tootling down the Oregon Coast...

I'm way late in posting this, but we had such a delightful and unusual trip down the coast, I just had to share it!  Last year, traveling south to California, as we always do at this time of year, we visited the eastern side of Oregon, in hopes of finding a "dryer, warmer Oregon" to perhaps, consider moving there.  If you've followed me, you know that it wasn't what we thought it was going to be - quite the opposite, actually. 

This year, we threw away any idea of "searching for a new home site" and decided to just tootle down the coast, hugging Hwy 101, and enjoying the views.  We had, of course, been down this route before, but not in the RV and not for many years.

We also thought it would be warmer and less rainy, ha!  That was a fantasy!  Don't get me wrong, we had sunny days, and we didn't really get much rain (only at night, so that doesn't count, right?)  BUT, what we didn't count on was the SNOW & ICE!  I can truly confess, it never occurred to either one of us that we would face that kind of weather!  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Just say cheese!  All the other trips through Tillamook, we never stopped, just sailed on through and said to ourselves "someday we will have to stop and check out the Tillamook Cheese Factory".   I was determined that this was "the someday"!  So, stop and enjoy, we did!  It's a "self-tour", really just windows that you can watch the workers, along with signs that tell their story and what you are seeing.  It was kind of interesting, but definitely fun!  Of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to purchase plenty of goodies, both food & T shirt wise.

We learned that there was more to see in Tillamook than the cheese, so we decided to stay over for another day.  We weren't disappointed.  Because Jack loves anything to do with WWII history, it was a "no brainer" to make a trip to their Air Museum.  The first thing you notice is the building - it's a 1940's, wooden blimp hanger.  It's supposed to be the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world.  It is huge, 6 acres huge!  I've never seen anything so big before!  Inside and out, they had quite a collection of more than 30 aircraft from a mini-guppy to a P51 Mustang.  They also had a small museum area with memorabilia, pictures, stories and posters depicting men and women who flew during the war.  That's where I learned that WASPs were never inducted into the armed services and did not receive veterans benefits until more than 30 years after WWII!  So much for "equal rights"!

Another stop along our route was at the Cape Meares Lighthouse.  What a cute little thing!  A couple of quick pictures (it was closed for the season) then a walk over to see the Octopus Tree.  What a unique tree!  The Octopus Tree is a Sitka Spruce shaped like an upside down Octopus.  The tree measures more than 46 feed in circumference and has no central trunk. Instead, limbs extend horizontally from the base as much as 16 feet before turning upward. It is 105 feet tall and is estimated to be 250 to 300 years old.  Something worth stopping to see. 

One more stop at a coastal lighthouse, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse in Newport.  This one included a wonderful guided tour by a costumed docent who gave great insight on what it was like to operate that lighthouse back in the 1870's.  Not a life I would choose, that's for sure!  Beautiful lighthouse though. 

Snow decided to join us on our trip, as early as Tillamook.  Mostly it came at night, and melted during the day.  One early exception was the snow left on the Sand Dunes in Coos Bay!  Now that's an unusual least for us anyway!  It didn't spoil the continuous beauty of the coastline - blue oceans and blue skies, with various sized sea stacks to add to the pictures.  Always lovely.  

The cold weather continued to follow on down the coast, well into California. The last night, coming down the coast, we spent at the Golden Rule RV Park in Willits - it's where the horse Seabiscuit was born and died.   That morning we woke up to frozen ice and snow all around us!  Brrrr   Driving through Humboldt, both sides of the road was covered in snow...pretty, but it just made us want to move faster south - to safer driving and warmth!  

A fun trip, but another cold one through Oregon!  Even though everyone we talked with shared how this was "so unusual" for just reaffirmed to us that as pretty as Oregon is, it's best left for "summer fun"! 
Marie in the Tillamook Baby Loaf truck!
The floor of the Tillamook Cheese Factory
Tillamook Air Museum
Jack in front of the TBM Catalina
Cape Meares Lighthouse
The Octopus Tree, Cape Meares OR
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
"1870's Lighthouse Keeper's Wife, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
That's SNOW on those sand dunes!
Sea stacks along the Oregon coastline
Snow filled trees along Hwy 101 through Humboldt CA

 ...kicking back in Northern California,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:   

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