Yesterday we drove up the Oregon coast from Bandon to Garibaldi. We loved it. The Oregon coast is very different than that of the Northern California. The cities are much more clean and the road is easier to drive...they're different. We loved Oregon, but don't be offended my California friends. CA did have it's draw as well. :)
Other than driving, we spent most of our day at a state park called Cape Perpetua. When we got there, we went to the visitor's center to ask for directions and the ranger told us that really, it was not the greatest day to visit the park. It was foggy so views were limited, and the low tide was not going to be very low...we were momentarily disappointed. With only hours to explore, we worried that we had come all this way just to be disenchanted. But when we walked down the short trail, through the tunnel under the highway and emerged onto the beach, we were anything but...it was amazing and gorgeous and probably one of my favorite places in the world...
It is an unforgiving landscape...a black rock beach, difficult to walk on, you had to be very careful not to twist your ankle or fall and scrape yourself on the sharp and unforgiving shards. The waves smash the edge of the rock and its not even tempting to get too close to the edge. If you fell in, you would be crushed against the rock before you could ever find a hand or foothold to climb out.
The receding waves left tidepools with small sea creatures stranded for our delighted discovery. I think this is why the ranger told us it was a bad day to visit. When the tide is lower, the small animals are more plentiful and I think you can often see starfish and sea urchins. We did not see these, but what we did see was enough.
The other thing that was so amazing about Cape Perpetua, and actually the whole Oregon Coast, is that the forest is yards away from the beach. We left the shore for a mile walk inland in order to see a giant spruce tree. The walk felt like jungle as the cold wind of the coast hit the slightly warmer air inland. Giant ferns, ivy and clover cover the ground and every tree is cloaked in heavy moss. With the fog rolling in behind us, I felt like we were walking through a scene from Jurassic Park.
|Roots of the Spruce|
I was really sad to leave Cape Perpetua and would love to return someday. It was a place so different that its difficult to describe and a memory I will cherish for a long time.
Miles on down the road to Garibaldi we stopped for some fun dinner at a little dive in Newport. It was my favorite type of place! People were lined up out the door, it was simple, and good! Allen had a crab sandwhich and I had fried oysters. I wanted the oysters because we had seen so many at the cape earlier...I knew they must be fresh! I also slurped an oyster shooter. Basically a raw oyster in hot sauce...I swallowed it whole pretty much. It was spicy and oceany.
|Ah! Oyster shooter!|
We ended the day in the Tillamook/Garibaldi area. Its very rural...dairy farm meets the ocean. A funny combination, but it works! I'd love to live here. A Tillamook Cheese factory tour fixed our sweet took with fresh ice cream.
Finally, we made it to our hotel and went for a short walk around the bay's small port, admiring the ships and marveling at how they must brave those crazy, scary waves we had stayed far back away from earlier in the day on the tide pools.
|This guy was mounted on the bow of a ship. We laughed because it takes someone about that brave to take on the waves!|