August 03, 2012

West of Portland: The Oregon Coast Part 1

After spending a month in Portland, we tore ourselves away and drove to the coast. Our first stop was in Tillamook, famous for the Tillamook cheese factory.We found easy street parking for the night, and in the morning decided to bike a portion of the Three Capes Scenic Route. I say a portion because the total ride is over 30 miles long, and very hilly, and after running 8 miles the day before and Sky playing 2 hours of soccer, we only had 23 miles of hills in us (on mountain bikes no less!).

Driving out to Tillamook
There was barely anyone on the road that morning, and we had the capes to ourselves. The water in the bays was so calm that everything reflected perfectly, and when a stork took off from his hiding place, it was like two storks were flying at the same time.

Views from the bike ride
The double stork
The water was so calm
We biked up a massive hill, and were rewarded with great views from the Cape Meares State Park. There is a lighthouse up there, right on the cliff, that you can walk around in. There is also a viewing platform, and state park volunteers had binoculars and monoculars set up to view wildlife.

Viewing wildlife at the state park
The lighthouse at Cape Meares State Park
More views of the coast from the bike ride
After the biking we packed back up and went down the street to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a self guided tour. I can't say the tour was horribly exciting, but the buffet of cheese samples wasn't so bad. (Do you think they take turns cutting the cheese??)

Cheese samples
When we were done making cheesy jokes, we drove north on highway 101 to Bay City. Right on the edge of the highway there, between the road and the bay, is a HUGE pile of discarded oyster shells.

Sally Sells Oyster Shells?
A little ways past that was the little beach town of Manzanita. We stopped in for a quick walk down their main street and picked up some coffee. Our destination for the night was Seaside, but right around the bend from Seaside, about 8 miles before, is Cannon Beach, and the famous Haystack Rock. We got a great view of the beach and the rock from the highway viewpoint, and then drove down to get a closer look.

Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock is very sizable and quite impressive on the wide beach. The beach itself is one of the widest beaches we've been to, and one of the cleanest. Directly in front of Haystack Rock is a collection of protected tide pools, and they are filled with a wide array of marine life. We saw clams, sea slugs, sea stars, mussels, snails, and sea anemones. Sky had the unfortune (or is it good luck?) of being pooped on by one the many seagulls flying around. :o)

Exploring the tide pools at Haystack Rock
Aww..bird poopy
To see more pictures, click here.

Happy Beach Side Exploring,


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