We found another National Forest campground very near the beach and when we arrived we were escorted to “the best site in the park” by the campground host. This campground is surrounded by sand and is actually an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) park, but was very quiet until Friday. We don’t normally camp where ATVers camp because of the drinking and noise. However, we were willing to take a chance here because of the location near the water. We didn’t have any hook ups, but it was a nice sunny spot so the solar would charge our batteries. Over the weekend it got crowded and loud. Lesson learned.
The campground is located on the Three Capes Scenic Loop that goes along the coast and bypasses Hwy 101. The full route encompasses Cape Meares (with lighthouse), Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. Of course, it was another very scenic drive and we were able to see the Cape Meares Lighthouse along with a sighting of whales playing off the coast. This was our first and only whale sighting on our trip. I was very glad I had my binoculars along. I’m always thrilled when I see whales…cannot explain it…just am. However, nothing will ever beat the whale encounter we had in Banderas Bay while sailing with our friends Debbie and Mark. They were very, very close to the boat and put on quite a show for us.
The Cape Meares Lighthouse is the shortest on the Oregon Coast. It is only 38 feet, but it is noteworthy because it is fitted with a tilted first-order Fresnel lens. It is located on a high bluff so the lighthouse itself doesn’t need to be very tall.
Pacific City is on the Three Capes Loop and is a quaint, small town famous for the dory fishing boats that are launched directly into the surf. It is also the home of Proposal Rock (and no…there was no proposal). One morning I made a stop at the Grateful Bread Bakery for breakfast. I didn’t get the pun until I was paying my bill at the counter and noticed the large poster of Jerry Garcia. I was wondering what the tie-dye shirts were all about!
We used Sand Lake as a base to see Tillimook and the rest of the northern coast. While in Tillimook (pronounced Till-a-muk by the locals) we visited the Tillimook Cheese factory and the Blue Heron Brie factory. I was a little disappointed with the cheese factory because they only showed the packaging of cheese, not the actual making of the cheese. I also learned that the Tillmook factory is actually an independent dairy farm co-operative. The co-operative includes 110 dairy farms, mostly within Tillamook County. Products produced by the co-operative include cheese, butter, ice cream, sour cream and yogurt. Their most famous product is Tillamook cheese, including the famous Tillamook Cheddar. In March 2010, Tillamook’s Medium Cheddar cheese won the gold medal in the 2010 World Cheese Championship Cheese Contest hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association in Madison, Wisconsin. The cheese scored 99.6 out of 100 points possible, beating 59 other entries. The creamery made news in February 2005 after the board asked all members to stop using artificial bovine growth hormone on their dairy cows, despite pressures from the chemical company Monsanto. Tillamook County Creamery Association recently celebrated 100 years in business. It’s important to support small, independent farmers, so please give Tillimook products a try. Big agribusiness is driving these farmers out of business and destroying our food. Don’t get me started…
We visited the Garibaldi Museum (a maritime museum) in the small town of Garibaldi. The museum features 18th century sailors’ life and the history of this small fishing town. There was a film on the history of the port which was very interesting.
I also visited the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center which is housed in a restored historic schoolhouse. There are antique and contemporary quilts, spinning and weaving equipment and demonstrations and antique textiles. I had some of the same antique textiles that were handed down to me from my grandmother and great aunt. I was a Clothing and Textiles major when I attended Cass Tech in Detroit. I’ve always had a great love of textiles and the textile crafts. I’ve done it all; from knitting, crocheting and weaving, to pattern drafting and hat making (millinery). This place was right up my alley!
We decided not to take the rig all the way up to the Astoria (the very top of the Oregon Coast) and saved a lot on fuel by taking the Mini Cooper for a day trip. We covered Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Seaside and Astoria. It was a very long day and was packed with interesting places.
Seaside is a classic coastal resort town. Cannon Beach is Oregon’s answer to California’s Carmel and is filled with galleries, restaurants and resorts. It is home to the 235 foot tall Haystack Rock. North of Cannon Beach is Terrible Tilly, the last lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. The formal name is the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and it stands one mile off shore. You cannot get out the visit the lighthouse. I can only imagine (in my nightmares) what the lighthouse keepers went through living on that “rock”. A hard life indeed.
Our last stop was Astoria, a historic town at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. It is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. It celebrated it’s bi-centennial in 2011 and is still a working port today, one of the busiest on the West Coast. We had lunch in the port area and it was yummy!
While in the area we visited the Fort Clatsop National Memorial in the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Fort Clatsop was the winter encampment of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery during 1805 and 1806. The park has a replica of the fort built from logs. People must have been much shorter then because even 5’4” me had to duck to get into the doors.
I understand many RVers like to drive the Lewis and Clark trail. Lewis and Clark’s great journey west begins in Washington D.C. and zigzags along the eastern seaboard encompassing the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania; then proceeds through Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. The trail then meanders through the great plains of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and continues through the mountains and the valleys of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, concluding at the Pacific Ocean. The Lewis and Clark Trail is a cultural destination that covers over 4,600 miles, crosses four time zones, and showcases some of the most beautiful and rugged areas of America. Maybe someday…
We also stopped by Fort Stevens State Park to walk among the ruins of the famous Peter Iredale shipwreck, a four-masted steel sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906. Today it is a rusting bow of the boat raising out of the sand.
So ends our tour of the Oregon Coast. We’ve seen and/or toured all the lighthouses along the Oregon Coast. What a fantastic trip thus far.
Next stop is Portland/Vancouver to visit our friends Debbie and Mark. This will be another first…driveway camping.