With our last trip to Oregon, we have finally conquered the whole California Coast. Top to bottom. Not in one day, but we have seen it now from the north to the south point. There are still beaches, bays and trails to be discovered, but one thing is for sure – it’s one of most beautiful places on earth. It feels so primal, massive, breathtaking, strong and brittle at the same time. All the lush colors of the green woods and the blue hues of ocean are so fascinating. You can travel for miles and miles and the view of the sea mingling with the coast never gets old. I have seen Big Sur so many times now, but I will always make a stop at the same view points, soak in the beauty and take picture #459.
On our way back to SF we hit the coast at Lincon City in Oregon and continued on Highway 101 & Highway 1 all the way down. It definitely takes time, but it’s worth. Passing the largest sand dunes in US and small coastal towns we made it on July 4th to Newport and planned to stay there overnight, go for a walk and watch the fireworks. That plan didn’t turned out so well. Hoping to find a hotel room spontaneously on July 4th somewhere on the coast is a huge mistake. After we had one of the best clam chowder ever at Chowder Bowl we spend like 2 hours calling each and every hotel/motel in 100 miles radius, just to hear: “sorry, we are booked out, but you can make a reservation for July 4th, 2015.” Sure! Patrick is never a diva when it comes to travel and sleeping somewhere, but if I have this one idea in mind how something should be, I can pout really bad if my idea starts to fall apart. Yet I had to admit my defeat as the only free room we found was at Holiday Inn Express in Corvallis, one hour inland. Bye bye fireworks on the beach. After being in the pouts for the next 20 minutes I cheered up and arriving at the Holiday Inn Express was a nice surprise. The hotel was really in a great shape, directly on the river, room huge and clean and on the hotel’s balcony they were serving free ice cream, cookies and milk – waiting for the fireworks to start. The evening ended up being super nice. We talked to fellow travellers about the world cup and road trip stories over some hot tea.
Our journey continued again at Newport. We didn’t want to miss a mile of the coast and the next few hours were under the sign of view points, lighthouses, beaches, coffee stops and picture takings.
Thoughts On Road Trips…
I think road trips will always be my favorite kind of traveling. Definitely, there is also something nice about a beach vacation, but being on a road trip you are able to see so many things, challenge and also learn new insights about yourself. Embracing unexpected situations without pout was one of the lessons I learned as well as talking to strangers and listening to their stories or that being spontaneous isn’t always smart. And sometimes I will just travel with Patrick, who is the best travel companion I could asked for and we will laugh, talk, discuss, plan and be silent together. I think having a partner, no matter what kind of relationship you are in with him/her, who shares the passion of road tripping makes the whole road trip experience even stronger. It’s important to support each other, but also to accept and respect new sides that might come up. And if you don’t go for his or her throat it will probably make the relationship bond more. The ultimate test for a relationship ( love or friendship) is traveling together.
For your notes: For lunch we had the best fish & chips ever in Coos Bay at Fisherman’s Seafood Market. I think the taste of fish & chips stands and fails with the batter and the most ones I tried were jus stale, not this one! So order some and enjoy it on the deck next to the fisherman boats.
We didn’t have to rush to be back home and after driving windy roads for 6 hours we decide to sleep in Eureka. I’m not really sure what to think about Eureka. My first impression was “let’s just drive through” but as we had already booked a room, we stayed. Luckily the Old Town was quite nice and we met an american-german family that we already met while driving to Crater Lake. We stopped at some sports bar that day to watch the german soccer game and we got into a conversation. Lovely people! Isn’t it a crazy coincidence to see them again!? We ended up staying for one hour on the street chatting with them.
For your notes: We stayed at the Bayview Motel, which had the best Yelp reviews and even though noting fancy it was super clean and nicely done. We had dinner at Five Eleven, which I also can recommend.
Next morning was drizzly and foggy and we hit the road early in the morning so we could make most of the day – few bullet points were left on our list. One of them was the Avenue of The Giants – a scenic old part of the highway 101 running trough Humboldt Redwoods Park. It’s definitely one of the most outstanding parts of California. If you have ever seen Redwood trees then you know how huge they are, but on this 31 mile stretch they are even bigger. I don’t want to presume I could sum up the beauty of this trees in my words, I think this quote by John Steinbeck says it all:
“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”
For the rest of our trip we enjoyed discovering new small towns and beaches along Highway One that we haven’t seen before. Fort Bragg and Jenner were the ones we liked most. From Mendocino on we already knew what to expect, still found some new serendipities. Sea Ranch was a place that I always wanted to see from near. I love how the coast is sprinkled with homes that blend into the landscape. You can read more about the history of the Sea Ranch here.
6pm was already approaching and one place had to be visited by then – the Cowgirl Creamery. No trip up north is completed without some grilled cheese and tomato soup from Cowgirl Creamery. This award-winning cheese factory is kind of a California Institution. It’s a must-visit and must-eat. At 5.57pm you can still get the tomato soup but the grilled cheese maker will be clean by then. So keep that in mind.
With the sun behind us and pretty pastel sky ahead we hit the road back home. Happily exhausted we were only able to brush out teeth before falling asleep. Oh no, that’s not true we watched one episode of Pretty Little Liars.
I really love being on the road, but nothing beats the feeling when you sleep in your own bed, right?
I hope you guys liked following our road trip to Oregon and if you have any questions let me know!