Continuing on the 101 into Oregon, the highway finally runs directly along the coast. I drive through the beach town of Seaside and it’s packed, not a single parking spot within a mile of the beach. It’s Saturday afternoon and everybody is out on the beach. It seems a little strange to me as it’s so foggy you can’t even see the ocean from the top of the beach and the temp is about 63, but it’s crowded like Oak Street Beach on the 4th of July.
This little turnaround is the end of Main Street and the start of the beach. The ocean is right out there somewhere. Main Street in Seaside is like Coney Island, bumper cars, coney dogs, Tshirt shops, all the usual stuff.
The fog lifts a little as the day goes on but it’s still in the low 60s. Finally some scenic ocean views, it’s like this most of the way down the coast. Slow going as I have to stop at all of the overlooks and get out to look at the ocean.
I make it down to Tillamook, home of the Tillamook cheese factory, I called ahead and there is a campground about 10 miles up in the hills with a couple of tent sites open. Also made some online reservations for Oregon state parks the next couple of days, in each park it was almost the last site open. Most of the other state parks were completely full.
Started off the morning with a tour of the cheese factory. There is not much to see, on one side they make the cheese in giant vats then the 40 pound blocks are wrapped and sent off to the warehouse to age. When they are old enough they come back down to the other side where they are cut into blocks of different sizes, packaged, and boxed up. Had some samples and bought some cheese in the factory store and I was on my way.
It’s sunnier today but still cold on the beach, upper 50s in the morning. Despite all of the campgrounds being full and all of the No Vacancy signs at every hotel, at most of these beaches along the highway I’m the only person walking around.
Cape Kiwanda at lunchtime. I’m not sure how cold the water is but the surfers are wearing full wet suits with hoods. Everyone else is just tailgating on the beach. It’s pretty cool that you can just drive your car up to the edge of the water and set up your picnic stuff.
There is a lighthouse at Yaquina Head with great views of the coast. I climb up the trail to the top of the bluff behind the lighthouse, the sun is out but the wind is really blowing. On one side of the switchbacks I’m leaning into the wind, then being blown along by the wind on the other side. From the top I can see some sea lions enjoying the sun.
The scenery is always changing, as is the weather. The sand dunes below are much larger than they appear in the picture
Camp for tonight is in Tugman State Park, a very nice spot about 1/2 mile inland. Since I have a full service site with power and water I decide to wash the mud and bugs off the Land Cruiser. It took about an hour or so using a wash basin, rag, and towel but I managed to get it pretty clean doing one section at a time. All of the Dalton Highway mud is finally out of the door jambs and tailgate.
As I’m sitting there enjoying a cold drink and admiring the shining paint, a couple of guys from the campsite across the road stop in to look at the rooftop tent and they invite me over after dinner to join their families at their campfire for coffee and dessert. They have two RVs set up for the week and they are well prepared. As soon as I walk over they pull out a plate of brownies and get a card game started. I’ve never said no to a brownie so we’re off to a good start. The card game is Phase 10, I have never heard of it but it’s sort of a cross between rummy and Uno. The brownies are followed by a huge blackberry cobbler (blackberries grow along the road everywhere here, if you want some just pull over to the side and fill up a bucket. Glen grabbed a bucket this morning and made the cobbler this afternoon in the RV) then chocolate zucchini bread and finally blueberry muffins. The card game goes on until almost midnight then they send me on my way with a big package of desserts to tide me through the next day. It’s great to meet such friendly people. They seem to be having such a great time out camping with several generations of their family: Glen is coming up on his 75th birthday next week (it’s past by now, Happy Birthday Glen if you are out there) and his lovely wife, Dave his nephew along with his lovely wife, Glen’s daughter Katie and Katie’s daughter Brailey who is about 13.
In the morning the sun is completely out but still chilly, it may have made it up to the mid 60s at one point. Lots of places to see along the coast.
I think this was called Whaleshead but it looks like a full whale to me.
At another Oregon state park, Harris Beach. This campground is right at the top of the beach. It has a very nice sand beach then rocky tidal pools off to the side. You can wade through the tidal pools and see all sorts of anemones, urchins, and starfish. It’s so hot out today, 66, that people are going into the water almost up to their knees.