Today we left Vancouver and Canada and crossed back into the lower 48.
The Port of Entry into Blaine, WA was crowded, but border patrol moved the cars through quickly and efficiently. The hardest part was driving through the very narrow lanes with our rv!
We had planned on spending a few days here in Washington and visiting with some of our friends who live in the Seattle area… but as luck would have it, they were vacationing in Arizona – in our home state while we were in theirs!
So we decided since we’ve done the Seattle area several times before we would pass right on through and get to Oregon. There is so much more we want to do in Washington that we decided we would plan another trip up here and really take our time at the national parks and beautiful and charming coastal towns.
The only stop we made was for lunch in Issaquah at the RAM restaurant & brewery. I had a Santa Fe burger with roasted green chilies and a hometown blonde ale to wash it down. It ended up being one of the top 5 burgers of the trip, and the beer was pretty great, too!
Also, Charlotte discovered ranch dressing at this lunch and it kept her happy enough that we could enjoy our entire lunch! (Don’t judge. If it means a quiet lunch for us and the rest of the restaurant, we’ll take it!)
We drove into the night, and ended up crossing into Oregon over the long Astoria bridge, and then trying to find a spot at four different rv parks before finally ending up in a Petco parking lot north of Seaside. The only thing about traveling without a schedule is running a risk of popular destinations being fully booked, but we always make it work! Tomorrow kicks off our week along the coast of beautiful Oregon!
We woke up in the strip mall of a Petco and called around to all the nearby rv parks. July is their busy season, so most places were booked, but we were able to find space in Rockaway Beach, just south of Cannon Beach and Seaside, where we knew we would be spending our next few days.
There was also a drive-thru truck wash on the way, which gave us the opportunity to wash some of the grime that remained from our trek down from Alaska.
After parking the rv in it’s home for the next few days we headed to the stores to do some back to school shopping for the kids, knowing that we would be arriving home several days before the start of the new school year.
By the time we were done with our shopping haul, it was dinner time, so we hit up the new Seaside Brewing Company.
We were seated on the top deck overlooking the main strip of Seaside. The weather was perfect! We are slowly thawing out a bit from the great north.
We ordered oyster shooters, fish tacos, and tried one of their made-on-site beers. The kids were not sure what to think about the oysters. Instead of shot glasses of Bloody Mary’s with oysters in them, these shooters were just cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon.
Everything was delicious and it was a great experience!
On the way back to the rv, we stopped for our chalkboard photo at a viewing stop along the 101 (we were still a day off on our chalkboard count and didn’t figure it out until we returned from our trip and I sorted through the photos). I’m telling, there isn’t a bad view from anywhere along this coast! Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!
Today we started off our day with breakfast in Seaside at our favorite breakfast stop when we are in Oregon – Pig ‘N Pancake! We actually had breakfast here for the next couple of days. It’s a tradition every time we come through the state.
Then I took my older girls for a morning of some pampering while the boys (and Charlotte) went to get spiffy at the barbers and then hit up the Costco to do some grocery shopping!
We had our nails done for family photos on the beach that evening at Beyond Nails in Astoria and they did a wonderful job! The girls loved the big massage chairs!
Then it was down to Cannon Beach to kill some time at Haystack Rock before it was time to go back to the rv and clean up for photos.
The beaches of Oregon are beautiful and pristine with miles of smooth sand and impressive rock formations! Too bad the water is always so cold!
That evening we were very grateful to have the amazing Coleen Hodges from home on vacation at the same time as us so we could have our yearly family photos taken on the beautiful setting of Arcadia Beach! I loved the opportunity to encapsulate our summer with these photos that we would treasure forever.
I could go on and on about these photos. They are a treasure. We love you, Coleen!
Today we had the whole day to relax in the Cannon Beach area. We started our day with some antiquing at Wheeler Station Antiques by our rv park. It was a very large string of connecting shops with a great selection of items.
I was thrilled to find some vintage luggage that I planned to use for decor for the vintage travel/hot air balloon themed birthday party I was planning on having for Charlotte’s 1st and Aubrey’s 9th once we returned home. It feels like a fitting party theme for our well-traveled girls!
We picked another brewery for lunch in downtown Cannon Beach after our morning of shopping…the Public Coast Brewing Company!
We were sold by the atmosphere immediately and we hadn’t even tried the food!
Of course, it was delicious! They have a simple menu of gourmet burgers and fish tacos. I can vouch for the Forager being absolutely delicious, but I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu here. The relaxed atmosphere where you order at the window and seat yourself makes this the perfect place to stop in after a day at the beach!
Needing to walk after stuffing our faces with all the food…we headed out to the beach after lunch.
After the kids were sufficiently dirty, we walked downtown Cannon Beach so they could dry out. We played at the park, browsed the toy store, and ended up (naturally) in the candy shop filling bags of fresh salt water taffy.
We decided to head north of Cannon Beach to Seaside for dessert. We parked at the end of the main strip of shops and restaurants where the road dies into the beach. There was an ice cream shop and a bench with the view of the ocean, so what more could you ask for?
Then we headed back south toward the rv park, but decided to stop at Arcadia Beach just south of Cannon Beach so we could watch the sunset and fly the drone.
We were back in the rv today, traveling south on the 101. Our first stop was Tillamook for lunch at the cheese factory!
Cheese samples, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, and every flavor or ice cream imaginable??!! How can you NOT make this stop if you are in the area?
I ordered “The Piglet” grilled cheese (sharp white cheddar, ham, caramelized onions, dijon mustard and apple butter on sourdough) and tomato basil soup. So good…
After lunch, we went into the creamery inside to pick out our ice cream flavor choices. Caramel toffee crunch for me, but Charlotte took her share!
Whenever there is ice cream involved, there are happy kids!
Stuffed from our large lunch, we were back on the road, traveling our way down the coast! Our view was pretty much gorgeous ocean the entire drive.
We drove much further than we anticipated today. The weather was beautiful, we had the windows open and the sea breeze blowing in, but when we finally decided we might be ready to stop, we couldn’t find a park or campground with vacancy because it was a Saturday night. After our third attempt at stopping for the night, we had a nice camp host let us in on a little insider spot in Port Orford, so we headed that way.
It was late and very dark by the time we arrived in Port Orford, and but we followed the directions off the 101 onto Harbor Drive, which curves into Dock Road – where there was a large vacant lot with a handful of rvs parked on it. It had a view that overlooked the ocean that was better than some campgrounds! The lot is owned by a local who keeps a mailbox on the lot and asks for $10 to stay the night on the honor system. We parked as quietly as possible, paid our rent, and immediately went to bed.
Today we left the rv in the lot for the morning and headed slightly north to the Cape Blanco Lighthouse. We have done the Oregon coast twice before while traveling. Our first time up was in 2005 before we had children. Adam and I flew one way from Phoenix to Reno, NV, where we rented a car and drove to Lake Tahoe. From there, we drove to San Francisco and then up the coast from there all the way to Seattle! It was one of those adventures that solidified how much we love being on the road. The Oregon coast is a perfect example that it isn’t just getting from point A to the point B that makes a good trip because there is so much to be seen in between. We knew we wanted to visit friends in Seattle, but if we had just flown directly there- we never would have experienced Oregon. RV travel is not for everyone, but it is a staple in our family. When they look back at their childhoods, I know these trips are going to stand out as some of the most amazing time we spent together as a family.
During our initial time in Oregon in ’05, we did the full lighthouse tour of the coast. There are 11 lighthouses in Oregon and most of them are very accessible. If you ever have the opportunity, we highly recommend this! Each one holds it’s own beauty and romantic charm.
Cape Blanco is the most southern of Oregon’s lighthouses, and is the westernmost point in Oregon. We were lucky that members of the Lighthouse Historical Society were there on this day to give tours up to the top for a small fee.
Erected in 1870, this lighthouse stands on Oregon’s farthest west point of land and is the oldest one continually operating in Oregon. It holds the record for longest service at one lighthouse too: James Langlois worked here for 42 years. Our tour guide from the historical society told us several stories about those 42 years of James Langlois’ service.
We left the lighthouse and drove directly down onto the beach. There are a handful of beaches that vehicles are allowed onto, and this is one of them. It’s a very narrow driftwood-lined road down, and was tricky to navigate with our RAM, but was absolutely worth it! What a beautiful beach!
We would have stayed longer if the winds hadn’t been so crazy! We were getting sandblasted! We drove a few laps back and forth along the ocean before heading back.
At the end of Dock Road where we were stayed for the night was the Port of Port Orford and a tiny seafood shack called Griff’s On the Dock. It’s where to go to buy fresh-from-the-boat fish caught that day, fishing and gift shop items, and there is a tiny eating area for seafood rolls and fried fish.
We had a quick seafood lunch and then we were back on the road, California bound!
The remainder of our drive looked like this with endless ocean and blue skies. Before we knew it, we were crossing into the state of California!
We try to make it a point to stop and have a laugh at goofy roadside attractions whenever we can, and Klamath, CA has a big one! It’s the largest Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Ox, you will ever see! The draw here is the “Trees of Mystery” tour that they advertise on billboards for 100 miles in each direction along the road. Apparently it’s a vortex in the forest, or some tourist trap like that, but we’ve never wanted to pay the money to do it.
The day was coming to a close as we approached our stop for the night – The Avenue of the Giants! Our final week of our summer adventure was upon us! My California post and journey home is coming next! Have a great weekend!!