We picked up Maarten and Ineke at SFO to begin our three week NW journey. The plan was to hug the coast northward on the Pacific Coast Highway and to return south on inland byways to see the Columbia Gorge, Lassen NP, Crater Lake and other national parks.
Healdsburg was our first stop. A very cute center of town with a square much like Paso Robles. In the morning we headed out for a canoeing trip.
At the end of the day, we bedded down in Fort Bragg, where Glass Beach offers a spectacle of glass pebbles. I was pocketing some of them when Diane pointed out that there was a $500 fine if one is caught with them. Needless to say, I threw them back.
The best Airbnb we've stayed at was in Fort Bragg at John's place. Beautifully done. He also offered a jacuzzi, sauna and amazing gardens.
In the morning we drove through the Avenue of the Giants, stopping by the "drive thru" tree. With the rented van, it was a tight squeeze.
This giant is the biggest of all - about 360 feet tall.
We stayed overnight at a funky motel aptly called the Curly Redwood Motel. Just across of it were the docks of the fishing fleet and further out a pier and a quaint lighthouse.
Crescent City is the last stop before proceeding into Oregon. We stopped briefly in Brookings for some supplies and a cup of coffee. We then were treated to the spectacular rocky coastline.
A small waterfall along one of the trails along the ocean.
In the latter part of the day, we found a small, beachside motel with little cottages in Brandon to spend the night. It wasn't fancy but the views were dramatic and beach walks, a must.
We had to walk all of 100 feet to see this view from our cottage.
One of the surprising spots we stopped at was Depot Bay. The ocean was a bit wild and we happened to stop in at a shoreside building that housed a whale spotting group. They pointed out that whales were feeding right in front of us. Sure enough, we only had to wait for a few minutes to see a couple of small gray whales feeding just a hundred yards off from where we stood.
Not visible in the photo, but the whales were very nearby.
Next, was Cannon Beach. The town has grown up and was quite busy. Even finding a parking spot was not that easy. But a walk along the beach and the sight of Haystack Rock was inspiring none-the-less.
We spent the Warrenton, OR a neighbor town of Astoria. Along the beach, there's an old wreck from the early 1900's. Not much is left from the 200 foot schooner.
Although not convincing, I found downtown Astoria to be charming. An odd assortment of shops line the main thoroughfare through town.
Downtown Astoria, OR
From the Astoria docks, a view of the bridge crossing the Columbia River into Washington.
Before leaving Astoria, we visited where Lewis and Clark stayed in the early 1900's - Fort Clatsop. It was named after the Indian tribe that lived there.
After crossing into Washington state, we drove to Port Angeles. We stayed in an Airbnb near the waterfront with a view of Victorial, BC. In the morning we drove into Olympic National Park to hike the Hurrincane Ridge trail.
On our hike, we were treated to absolutely beautiful views
After our morning hike, in the afternoon we drove to the Crescent Lake area. The trails were a stark difference from the more arid terrain we had encountered in the morning. This trail was verdant with lots of ferns, redwoods and spruces.
After a couple of days in Port Angeles, we took Maarten and Ineke to the Victoria ferry and we headed off to visit with our friends in Port Townsend - Tom and Diana. This was the most northern area we were going to travel to - the rest was southward and inland.