Excitement and fun started at the Blaine Peace Arch Border when we presented our enhanced drivers licenses at the Nexus lane. We had about a 40 minute wait in the lineup to explain how we had misinterpreted information we had read and be explained that the enhanced DLs can be used at the sometimes available Ready Lane but not the Nexus lane. Thankfully that was all and we were on our way again. Thankfully I did not faint in the lineup which happens occasionally when I stand in hot lineups and my blood sugar gets low. Fainting in the interrogation line would have really rung some bells!
About 1.5 hours of very slow construction traffic through Seattle and Tacoma, almost all the way to Olympia then finally onwards. Arrived at Astoria at 6:30 pm having had a slower start than hoped for, finally underway at about 8:45 am from Vancouver.
Gee!!! The joys of traveling in high season are unknown to us!!! This morning we had snagged almost the last room in Astoria for Friday night and then for Saturday booked one of the last rooms available on the entire Oregon Coast, I kid you not, in Lincoln City. Phew! These will probably be our 2 hardest nights to book... I hope...
We stopped for lunch in some small town and found a great Whole Foods style Coop similar to the one in Mount Vernon so happily had a very wholesome meal. Got to bank those healthy meals when we can get them here in the US as sometimes they're hard to find when on the road.
Astoria, above, a very authentic and individual little town. Lovely old buildings and just the right amount of cute married to good architectural design. The film Goonies was filmed here. Sea lions barked on and off all nights, which was okay with earplugs but noisier than our almost silent home but everywhere is noisier than home.
Astoria was getting ready for it's big Regatta weekend and a big parade and much as we would have loved to stay for that, we pushed off early after a little walk around and coffee at a very happening little cafe bakery. This place would have become our local hangout if we lived here.
Fabulous fine sand, flat dunes. Lovely.
Saw about 14 huge elk grazing in wild grasslands by beach dunes. They are BIG! You do NOT want to hit one of those with your car, huge racks on heads.
Cannon Beach, below
Art that caught my eye...
Jeffrey Hull huge watercolors and view from his gallery above, very beautiful and impressive large works now that hubby and I are learning watercolor. His gallery is a spectacular space just in itself too.
Modern Villa Gallery
Josef Kote, Albanian artist living in NY
Great palette knife work
White Bird Gallery
Best artwork so far, a lovely mix of artists
Jacqeline Hurlbert figurative ceramics artist we will visit in Portland
Randall Tipton, very expressive water media on paper
Cannon Beach, way too cutesy and out and out touristy to stay long, too many gift shops, La Conner on steroids/ hemorrhoids/ sweet cotton candy. Really damned cute if you DO like that sort of thing though. I wish I could have asked the two sisters with these dressed up dogs in their baby stroller to pose for some drawings. They were ALL interesting characters!
Watched the very entertaining process of making salt water taffy at a big seaside candy emporium. Nice! We just ate the one sample, escaped without buying any more, thank you. I loved the way the old machine twisted on the wrappers and cut them. Very Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Stopped for lunch just up from the windy beach, opened the car door and it blew open like a kite! Windy day! Fabulous kite flying and kite surfing beaches. Great organic sandwich and apricot bar in a kinky cafe with the appropriately long but relaxed line up waiting for the good stuff...
Garibaldi, huge inland water body with a big bar mouth entrance to interior arm. Those river mouths can strike sheer terror to boaters who time their arrivals or departures wrong. The waves build up over the shallow river mouths and can be a big challenge.
Aug 28 1998 my hubby and 3 pals departed Gibsons to sail Sandingo down this coast but they stayed about 100 miles off coast for safety and never even saw the coast as they hurtled down in 4 days from Neah Bay, WA to San Francisco, CA and avoided this rocky treacherous coastline.
Tillamock Cheese Factory, cute and what a great marketing ploy to pull in the traffic and no real cheese factory tour or perhaps we just missed that part of it. Good cheese, nice samples, tons of visitors, good for them!
Art that caught my eye...
Judy Voglund photo collage
Larry Thomas watercolor
Dennis finally bought some gloves to keep the long sunny days off his little iguana hands, simple cotton gardening gloves with rubbery bits. Cheap thrills, low tech solutions.
Great cup of tea at surf/ bar/ coffee roaster immediately next to airport complete with low flying planes overhead and across the street from Fat Freddy's Diner, what more do you need in life??
Fantastic sand dunes, vehicles allowed up to 25 mph. Looks like fun.
We moved up to a new car this year as we're planning to become road wanderers rather than water wanderers. The new one is fantastic. Cruise control speeds up or slows down depending on car ahead of you. It beeps when 2 hours driving time, then 3 has passed without a stop, suggesting that hey buddy, it's time to pull over for a leg stretch, chimes and beeps for lane deviation. It's a marvelous safety feature and visibility and leg space is far superior to our 2008 version which it replaced. I guess it's our new boat. The land boat.
Bigger town, motel is a much more basic standard than we've let ourselves get u$ed over the last years to. Seeing the simple but clean shower stall was like greeting an old friend. As long as they're not killing each other in the hallways and there are no bedbugs ( and believe me I look), it's fine... Hopefully.
Booked our next hotel for Sunday night in Newport and of course much more selection and much lower prices. Ahh, yessss, the joys of traveling in summer high season and this is exactly why we have not done it for about 2 decades... Prices for tonight are well over what we'll pay tomorrow but that's what we get for jumping into the shark pool without any reservations made far ahead. When we travel, it's almost always off season.... And when we went off boating, we could just drop anchor.
Anyway, the Oregon Coast is very nice, very dramatic and windswept. It's a super trip and part of the never ending learning curve. We're stopping at lots of the viewpoints, getting out and enjoying the rugged views from above with all the other road warriors.
I'm busy behind the scenes lining up some studio visits with some of my figurative artists down this way, stay tuned for those stories later on this trip.
No place to park to see Lincoln City's bustling Farmers Market so off we pushed south.
Art that caught my eye...
Freed Gallery, a very smart gallery
Catherin Woscow gorgeous monotone nudes
Ann Ruttan nice oils landscapes
George Hamilton faces
Yoshino Ikeda massive ceramic teapots with crawling glaze
Whale Watching Center with visiting gray whales right below us. Smallest navigable harbor with a demanding entrance out to sea, seen above with 2 whale watching Zodiacs barreling in. Great natural show for appreciative audience, watching the adventurous boats and the whales. The docents in the whale watching center pointed out several in the bay in front.
Buckets of fresh fish of good sizes, eager seals and seagulls waiting for the crumbs and castoffs. Exciting and dramatic petite town high above the turbulent Pacific Ocean.
Trust the safety signs!!!
Stopped high atop on Cape Foulweather to admire the devastating views north and south. Treacherous waters!! Mariners better darned well know know what they're doing when they cast off the dock. Boy, in our protected waters in BC's Gulf Islands, we sure have a pretty easy time on the water ...compared to this.
Devil's Punch Bowl
This would be a wild spot for storm watching! Amazing rock formation and then just next door, a popular surfing beach, what a combination.
Topped off with Mo's classic seafood joint where we kept our elbows in tight and enjoyed tasty lunch with 62 of our new best friends at eight tight tables for eight.
Seen signs for lots of quilting stores which is fairly heartening sign of a certain amount of disposable time and income for either the visiting touristas or the locals too.
A bigger town with a very serious boat harbor and professional fishing fleet. Trident Seafoods big seafood factory is right on the bayfront providing real human interest to the otherwise typical seaside tourist treasures, a classic combination of real and faked up appeal.
Sunday as we rolled into town, the streets were crowded with loads of sunny summery tourists of every shape, size and color and then Monday morning things were a little quieter, giving us a chance to have a wander with our tiny watercolor travel boxes and sketchbooks. Had lunch at the wonderful Oregon institution of Mo's again, super seafood and charming old-fashioned simple pack 'em in decor. Well done, Mo's! We'll be back!
This family was having a summer day at the office with dad working away, the 2 girls drawing and jumping around, mom supervising and the crab trap dangling over the fence, being pulled up every 20 minutes. A great day at the seaside! Can't you just smell the sea now??
The sea lions barked and lolled right below us with dozens of audience members watching in amazement at their bulky bodies and ferocious whiskered faces. Some get up to 1000 pounds. They don't have these babies in the flatlands!
Before I could quite finish this street scene, a big truck pulled up right in from of us so I finished off with writing up our Newport story across the bottom of the page.
So we finally visited the beautiful and rugged Oregon Coast. Astoria, Depoe and Newport were our favorite spots and summer, without booking ahead is NOT the time to wander down. The next leg of our trip will take us up through Corvalis and Portland with 4 studio visits to some of my exceptional and talented figurative artists.