This was our sixth week traveling the Pacific Coast Highway heading north from San Diego towards Seattle and beyond. Our trip this week was 215 miles, which took us from Crescent City, CA to Waldport, OR. We used US-101 the entire way for our journey this week. Since Crescent City is only a few miles from Oregon we FINALLY crossed into another state. After 5 weeks it was nice to put California behind us and start a new chapter of our journey – The Oregon Coast. This was my first time ever in Oregon, so it was nice finally “crossing” that state off my list. I’ve now been to a total of 43 of the 50 states.
The trip this week started off rainy and foggy, which made for some tough miles. However, it started clearing up about two hours into the trip and we finally got to see some of the awesome landscape. Since it rains in Oregon much more than California, there are several big rivers with impressive bridges and views. There are pictures of a couple of these below.
With this week’s 215 miles, we’ve now traveled a total of about 1165 miles.
Our stop this week was at the Waldport KOA in Waldport, OR. Waldport is a small coastal fishing town of about 2,000 people and is about 15 miles south of Newport, OR. The Waldport KOA was a combination of great campsites and little cottages. The campground was situated on a bluff over the Alsea River, which made for great views of the ocean, river, and Waldport bridge. The view from our campground was amazing and I’m really going to miss the excellent hiking along the river. It was about a 2-3 minute hike from the campground, down the bluff, and to the banks of the river. From there you could hike for miles up the river (which we did almost everyday) and enjoy the views and wildlife.
Dune City, OR and the Oregon Sand Dunes
The highlight of the week for me (by far) was our trip to Dune City where we rode dune buggies / quads on the sand dunes. Dune City was about an hour south of our campground in Waldport. We got lucky to find a sunny day, so the drive was really pretty. Once we got to Dune City we rented 250cc quads from Sund Dunes Frontier for one hour. The first 20 minutes or so were really scary. These quads weren’t regulated in any way and went really really fast. If it was flat even ground, it wouldn’t have bothered me a bit. However, the sand dunes are anything but flat. The really scary part is the sand drifts, which can have drop-offs of 5-20 feet or more. Everything around you for almost as far as you can see is sand, which creates a whitewash effect when it’s bright outside. This makes the drop-offs very hard, if not impossible to see in some places. It wouldn’t be fun to hit one of these drop-offs at 30+ miles an hour. Once I got comfortable with the lay of the land, I started opening up the quad. That’s when the real fun began and I didn’t want to turn around once our hour was up. If you are ever at the Oregon coast I highly recommend taking one of these dune buggy trips on the sand dunes!
Newport was one of my favorite towns so far on this trip. The town’s economy revolves completely around fishing, which makes for some great meals. They have this really amazing area right on the river/bay where all the fishing vessels come in and process their seafood. Some of these processing plants are closed to the public while others have a storefront / viewing area / restaurant attached them. There are several fish markets, restaurants, and shops along this 2+ mile strip on the river; I wish I had time to visit them all. The fisherman were catching everything from Dungeness crabs, scallops, oysters, baby shrimp, salmon, cod, and tuna. We went to Newport no less than five times during the week and each meal seemed better than the last. If we had the opportunity to spend an extra week in the area we would have. There was a great campground right on the mouth of the river that I had my eye on – maybe next time.
Southern Oregon Coast
We spent a lot of time driving the Oregon coast between Dunes City and Newport during the week we were staying in Waldport. We took 100′s of pictures and went on a couple great hikes in the area. Since I’ve already posted too many pictures in this blog, I’ll just post 3 more key pictures of the area. One shows how rugged the cost line is in places. The second one is of a great light house up on a cliff. Finally, there is one of the many seals that swim in these waters. Overall this was a great week!