The Journey Home: Day 2

When I woke this morning I pulled back the windows and found that we had stopped no more than 30 meters from a very large, very cool looking old bridge. Neither Sarah nor I had seen it last night, which probably means that it was a good time to stop driving. From our hotel room, we had a spectacular view of the coast.

We weren’t the only ones looking for breakfast at this point.

The Oregon coast would be an awesome place to go on a family vacation with a couple of 8-12 year old kids. In the two hours that we drove between Gold Beach and Coos Bay, we passed a Dinosaur park, a Wild Animal Safari (specializing in big cats) and the Oregon Sand Dunes. The Dunes were by far the coolest of the bunch. I regretted bringing the cat along as we watched the tourists crawling over the dunes like little ants on their ATVs and Dirt Bikes.

The 101 is a very different highway. Most roads I’ve driven are long stretches of nothing, dotted with gas stations and the occasional major city. There’s rarely a shoulder to speak of, and the emphasis is definitely on getting from wherever you’ve been to wherever you’re going.

The 101 is a highway designed for travel, not just transportation. At every opportunity, the highway planners chose scenic over direct, and planted small towns and coffee shops every 20 miles. The space around the towns is filled in with picnic stops, hiking trails, and seaside beaches. The road is noticeably absent of transport trucks, who all opt for the more direct I5. And, most remarkable of all, there is a bike lane that runs the entire length of the state of Oregon, allowing people to casually cycle, explore, stop, chat and really experience everything.

We stopped a few times to take a picture, or dip our toes in the water. This is definitely a trip that I’d like to do again, but without a pet in the car so we can really get out and see what’s around us.

Just before leaving the 101, we made one final stop to run out to the ocean. The water was coming in huge waves (we later found out this was another Tsunami zone) and the tide was powerful enough to make it difficult to walk into shore, even when it was only a few inches deep.

Just as we were leaving, I spotted something in the water that surprised me. As the salt water swooshed back out to the open ocean, a rock stood up and ran along the sand, following the tide out to sea. In retrospect, I think that it might have been a clam, but at the time I jumped up and down pointing at a bare spot of ground yelling “Sarah!! That rock totally stood up and ran!!” She probably thinks I’m crazy, but she did take a picture of the sand so we can examine it later.

Off of the 101 is back to boring old Oregon (Boregon?). The traffic moves too slowly, and there’s not a lot to see. The only thing notable along route 18 were the two dozen or so wineries that appeared around the Newberg area.

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