Monday, July 2, 2012

June - Pacific Northwest travels

As I mentioned previously, our two-week trip to Oregon, Washington and Vancouver gave us a chance to explore new places, revisit old favorites and spend lots of time with good friends.  Now, more details, with photos!
We left on the early side of Wednesday, June 13 and shot straight north, making excellent time along Interstate 5 and arriving in southern Oregon before dark.  That was easy to do since the days were so long!  We enjoyed watching the sun go down around Klamath Falls while sipping a beer:

The following day, we meandered to the coast, taking a detour to Crater Lake.  I had driven by the lake a few years ago but had not appreciated the splendor that the views offered.  It was a bit too snow-packed (mid-June!) to hit any of the trails, but we enjoyed playing a bit in the snow and couldn't believe how beautiful it was.  

See all the white stuff?  Snow!

After enjoying Crater Lake, we headed north and west - to the coast!  It took us most of the day as we winded along the Umpqua River.  We stopped at one point to check out the sand dunes that were just over a hill.  It was so strange - evergreen forest on all sides but then the dunes snuck up.  We parked and hiked up a sand hill and took in the dunes.  Crazy!  And, one interesting detail about the Oregon sand dunes - they apparently inspired Frank Herbert who wrote Dune

Finally, we arrived at our destination: Yachats, Oregon!  Or just south of there, where we stayed at a cabin right on a cliff that looked out west and northwest and gave us views of the coast.  It was amazing, until we wanted to go to sleep and it was light until far past my usual bedtime!  Before tucking in for the night, we explored the coast a bit, heading north to Newport, Oregon which has an awesome bridge!  I don't know if other people find bridges fascinating, but we saw lots of cool bridges on this trip.  

In Newport, we stopped by Rogue Brewery for a drink (or four - I had a taster).  The bar area was great because it looked out on Yaquina Bay and had a bit of a working-class feel with the fishing boats coming in and out of the bay.  I wish that I had enjoyed the beers a bit more - they were awfully strong and I didn't just *love* them like I do some beers.

Our lodging for the two days we spent in Yachats couldn't have been better.  Well, I suppose it depends on what people want in lodging, but we stayed at Ocean Haven, a quirky place that was right on the coast.  We stayed in the "Shag's Nest Cabin" which was a tiny place perched at the top of a hill overlooking the coast.  We fell asleep and woke up to the sound of the waves and windows that looked west - from one window, all we could see was the blue-green of the ocean - it made me feel as though we were on board a ship!  We could easily walk down to the beach:

Our day along the coast also took us inland a bit as we rode our bikes along Yaquina Bay, a great little ride, and followed that up with one of the best meals at a seafood place that I've had.  The restaurant, Local Ocean, was busy but relaxed.  We scored a spot at the bar, so we could watch people prepping the food, all of which looked amazing.  When the server carried a bowl of a seafood stew by us, we immediately agreed that we had to order it.  It did not disappoint - was full of clams, mussels, oysters, crab, scallops and fish.  That and the beer we quaffed made for a perfect lunch!

Saturday, we headed back east and up I-5 to Seattle where we stayed about 4 days with good friends.  They live in the very cool Phinney Ridge/Greenwood neighborhood, and we enjoyed having such a great home base.  We did play tourists in Seattle, but not quite to THIS extreme:

No, no duck tours, fortunately!  But Petra, my old roommate, did score us free passes to the Experience the Music Project.  I lived in Seattle for a brief 2 years and never went to this museum, and Petra's been there 15 or 20 years, and she visited the EMP for the first time too!  The visit - eh, it was okay, but I'm not sure that I would have paid for the experience.  
In addition to drinking lots of great coffee, exploring neighborhoods such as Ballard and Fremont, perusing food at Pike Place Market, drinking lots of local IPAs and eating amazing seafood, we were also active!  We went on two great runs - one to and around Greenlake, the other was a run with a friend which took us to Lake Washington.  Our last full day in Seattle was a gorgeous day (finally!), and we took advantage of the weather, hiking up Rattlesnake Ridge, a nice hike in the Central Cascade region.  

Afterwards, we drove through the town of Northbend, the setting of the 90's David Lynch series, Twin Peaks.  We are currently watching the series, having missed it when we were in college, so it was fun to see some of the places from the show.  We did not stop for pie at the local cafe, but we did recognize it!

Before leaving Seattle on Thursday, we drove west to Golden Gardens, a city park that is on the western side of the city, looking out to the Olympics.  That was a great place to say our good-bye to the Emerald City before heading north to Bellingham.


Rachel said...

looks like a great trip! i'm currently planning a roadtrip through northern california to crater lake - it looks absolutely mesmerizing, and i can't wait to experience it in person!

Kristina said...

Crater Lake was amazing! I do wish that we'd had more time in Southern Oregon and Northern CA. Every time we go through that part of the world, we say that we're going to return to really experience it!
Enjoy your roadtrip!

kilax said...

My gosh, the landscape photos look so beautiful! They almost look photoshopped!

I love love love bridges! I could do a bridges tour and not get bored :)