The beauty of not planning every step of a trip and not having campsite reservations is discovering a place like Tillicum Beach National Forest Campground. It is the only National Forest Campground on the Oregon Coast…and I mean right on the beach!
There are many reasons why we LOVE national forest campgrounds. They are located in the most beautiful places, are usually primitive and have good privacy between campsites. And not the least of which we can use our National Senior Pass for a 50% discount! So our beachfront site costs us a whopping $12 a night. I think I might just stay here forever! But alas, there is a 14 day limit. Once in a while you’ll find a site with electric, but not often. Since we are self-contained with Ralph’s energy plant on board, we don’t need any hook-ups to live comfortably.
Yachats (pronounced Ya hots) is a very small upscale town with many beautiful ocean-front homes, a few restaurants and shops. The library (which I always find first thing so I can use their free-Wi-Fi to post blogs and attend to online class stuff) is a few steps from the ocean. Sweet…
We arrived early on Friday after a very short 25 mile drive north on Hwy 101 and found our campsite, got get up and were sitting on our ocean front terrace by about noon. We spent the entire afternoon relaxing by the ocean, soaking up some sun, and feeling gratitude for our circumstances. After working so hard for so many years it’s hard for my mind to wrap itself around the notion that I don’t have to do that anymore; that I’m not on vacation – this is my life now. I sure hope it lasts awhile. Anyway…
The next day we drove south to see a few of the sites that we passed on the way up to Yachats. And we were really glad we did.
We visited Cape Perpetua and the Devil’s Churn. Cape Perpetua boasts the best view of the Oregon coast from an 800 foot vantage point. On clear days, views extend 37 miles out to sea, and along 70 miles of coastline. Early explorer Captain James Cook first observed the headland in 1778 and named it after Saint Perpetua. In 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt formed the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Cape Perpetua became a base camp for young men to learn skills. There is a lovely stone shelter built by the CCC in the 1930s and it served as a lookout for enemy ships and planes during WWII. It was a stunningly beautiful view. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
Devil’s Churn is a spot on the shore where the basalt is split (a big crack in the coastline) and the surf pounds the rock and it looks like the water is churning. During high tide it provides large white water splashes that reach great heights.
We had dinner at a restaurant seven miles east of Waldport called Jamie’s on the River. Turns out Ralph had eaten there with the “boys” on a previous motorcycle trip. Jamie is from Grass Valley (just up the road a piece from Sacramento). She has owned the restaurant for about two years. It’s on a floating dock on the river. The food is very upscale; the location next to a, well let’s say, downscale RV/trailer park. My pork loin was delicious; Ralph’s prime rib not so much…it was tough. Jamie took Ralph’s dinner off our bill, which was greatly appreciated. Stop by Jamie’s when you are in the Waldport area.
Next we visited the Yaquina Head Light House. It is located three miles north of Newport and stands 162 feet above sea level. Its 93-foot high tower is the tallest on the Oregon coast. It was first illuminated in 1873. Only two more light houses to visit after this one. Our next move will put us in the Northern coast of Oregon. (It’s divided into South coast, Central coast and North coast.)
We visited the old harbor section of Newport. It is one of the busiest fishing harbors in Oregon. We ate a late lunch at the Local Ocean Seafood restaurant. It doesn’t get any fresher than this! The boats are right out in front of the place.
We also went to the Oregon State University Marine Research Center and learned a lot about ocean habitat, tsunamis, and wave energy. Companies are trying to harness the wave action for energy purposes. Waves are more powerful than wind and solar. Not an easy task for sure, but what a great renewable energy source in some regions of the country.
We filled in the touring gaps with walks on the beach and watching sunsets from our terrace overlooking the beach. We decided to stay an extra day here. We have the perfect campsite and the weather has been wonderful.
Next stop Lincoln City.