Day 147: Highway 101 down the coast

Trip Start Oct 17, 2013
Trip End Mar 22, 2014

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What I did
Tillamook Cheese Factory
Maeres Park

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

We had a long day planned for today so we were up bright and early to eat and get ready to go. Hotel breakfast was pretty basic but did its job. The weather was really nice which was fortunate since we had a lot of coastal views to take in today. In total, we planned a trip down the coast that said it would take six hours.

Since it was still a bit chilly out this morning (frost on the ground and everything) we started off the day indoors at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We were pretty much the only people there to do the self-guided tour. There were giant windows that overlooked the different parts of the factory and we got to see the workers in action. In one area the cheese was being sliced into smaller blocks and then packaged in fancy wrappers to be sold in the store. In the other large area the cheese was being put into plastic bags to go into storage. The machine that pumped out the giant blocks of cheese looked funny as it expelled the block into a plastic sleeve. I guess you had to be there.

After sampling some cheese and ice cream we were officially off to start our drive down the Oregon coast on route 101. We started off with a stop at Meares Park. There was a lighthouse at the end of a short path. The waves were really giant today and also really loud as they crashed on the rocky shore. From the lighthouse deck area we could see the three rocks with arches out in the water. Also at this location was a neat tree called the 'Octopus Tree'. It is a large tree that somehow grew several trunks from one large base (46 feet around). The trunks grew out like a normal tree and then dart upward to the sky giving it the appearance of an octopus with all of its legs out.

Driving south again we made a small detour inland to visit a National Forest outside of Lincoln City. We drove twelve miles up a hill and through the forest to reach a trail head. The trail took us 1.25 miles farther in to the forest to a 250 ft long suspension bridge. It was nice to get out and move around and the bridge was neat. The bridge gave an amazing view of a 70 ft high super powerful looking and sounding waterfall called Drift Creek Falls. I don’t think that anything living would make it over the waterfall and live to tell about it because it emptied out onto a bed of sharp rocks.

Back in the car and on the coast we continued south. Our next stop was at Seal Rock State Park. We thought it would be a good place to get a glimpse of the cute little creatures, but they all seemed to be somewhere else at the time of our visit. Oh well. Back on the road we drove for a few minutes and then veered off highway 101 to take a one mile scenic drive loop that supposedly had the best views of the Oregon coast line. We saw massive waves that seemed to stretch on forever and everything was pretty.

A little ways up the main highway again we pulled off to see a site called the Devils Churn. It is basically a split in the rocks where waves are able to rush in really fast. The split starts off very wide and then gets narrower until the gap between the sides in only a few feet. The water has done a good job of eroding the stone over time and the whole area looks like a drowning death trap. We were warned to be on the look out for massive waves that come out of nowhere and make the water level rise above normal. John and I had a fun climbing around on the rocks close to the edges…luckily there were no big surprise waves.

The sign at the park stated that there was another water and rock attraction a few tenths of a mile up the road. The Spouted Horn (during high tide) supposedly builds up enough pressure to send a tall water spray high into the air. We were there during low tide and did not get to see it in action. We did however get to see an area of flat rock that seemed to have a giant hole in it. When the waves came crashing in, the hole would fill with water from the bottom up and sometimes send a spout into the air. This little hole was called Thor’s Well.

One last stop on the coast was made so that we could see some seals. On the coast next to Sea Lion Cove we were able to get a glimpse of three wee seals swimming around in the surf. I am sure that they were on the hunt for dinner but it just kind of looked like they were playing around to me. I am glad we made the stop and that the animals decided to make an appearance. At this place we also had a good view of a pretty white lighthouse up on a cliff. It would be pretty cool to be the person that lived and worked there.

I checked our trip progress at this point because it was about 5:45 pm and I thought we should be at least halfway down to our destination in California. False. The GPS lady told me that we still had four hours of driving left. No more stops for us…

Well, we did have to make one last stop. We stopped in Coos Bay for dinner at a place called Shark Bites. Little did we know that we would be in that place for two hours. The kitchen was backed up from a large group that had been in before us and our food took a pretty long time to come out. Once it did, everything was really good. John and I split a clam chowder and I got some of the best fish tacos of my life. To say sorry for the food delay the waitress gave us all free dessert. Yum.

Now we are driving down to Crescent City. I am in the car typing this and we currently have two hours left of driving. Good news though, we do already have a place to stay for the night. Tomorrow we will set off to explore the Redwood National Park. John and I are super excited because we have been wanting to see this area of the states for a while.  

# of countries: 44
# of states: 3
# of cities: 87
# of planes: 14
# of trains: 138
# of ferries: 1
# of buses: 26
# of taxis: 2
# of water taxis: 4
# of beers: 91 
# of monies found: 17.78 Euros, 8.05 Peruvian soles, 39 cents American, 10 cents Bolivian, 58 cent Canadian, 15 Swiss Francs, 11 Czech Republic Korunas, 5 Croatian Lipas, 2 Hungarian Fillers (no longer in use), 10 Romanian lei, 3.70 UK Pounds, 1 Ukrainian Hryvnia, 3 Danish Kroner, 22 Norwegian Kroner, 2.4 Latvia lats (no longer in use, exchanged for 2.85 euros at the bank), 1 Lithuanian Centu, 71 Polish cents, 3.5 Thai Baht, 150 Indonesian Rupia,15 Singapore cents, 20 Malaysian cents, 2 Japanese Yen, 5130 Korean Won
# of times we did laundry: 8
# of languages we know how to say Butterfly in: 31 
# of holes Amber's sneakers: 6

Next stop: Redwood National Park
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cowlady18 on

Your Mom & I went to the Redwood Forest in California back in 1975. I know I remember how HUGE & MASSIVE these trees are! There was 1 tree where you could drive a car through! Can't wait to hear how much you enjoyed seeing these giant trees. Hey - see if you see any seeds lying on the forest floor & bring a few back for me!

Mom on

I can't believe how beautiful the water is! I made one my desktop background! Hopefully CA will be warmer! Enjoy the ride down the coast!

Cheryl.Pete on

Wonderful pictures of the coast. Enjoy the sights. Wish we could see them also. Love dad and Cheryl

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