April 19, 2017 - Yesterday, as we drove into Newport, our first reaction was blasé at best and we even considered to keep going, but we (and by we I mean Tony) have been driving for six hours and we (and by we I mean me and Tony) were done. As per our routine, if we do not know what we want to do or where to go, I find a restaurant and we take a time out to figure out our next move. I depend heavily on the online reviews when choosing a place to eat (only four stars and above are considered), plus per Operation Get About guidelines, locally owned restaurants only - no franchises we have back home, preferably Mom and Pop type diners or cafes. As we turn off the main drag toward the restaurant, which is on the beach, we start to see the quaintness of Newport and breathe a sign of relief as we have found our home for the night.
Our first day in Newport it rained all day, which is stereotypical of Pacific Northwest climate, so we made a decision at breakfast to stay put in Newport for another day. We had a great room at the Hallmark right on the beach so I finished editing photos and the previous day's post while Tony conducted business with his feet propped up and the Pacific Ocean crashing beneath him.
Imagine a ridge that goes the length (North/South) of the town, which happens to be Highway 101. If you turn west you descend into the coastal areas. We came upon a charming seaside hamlet called Historic Nye Beach where we had lunch and found boutique that met all our apparel needs (as mentioned before we did not pack for the Pacific Northwest climate). But Nye Beach was not the discovery of the day. Our friends in Portland had recommended a restaurant call Local Ocean and it had great reviews online so we set our course in google maps and off we went to the east side of 101. Keep in mind this town is squeezed in between the Ocean Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean so there is a lot of winding and up and down hills to get anywhere in Newport. So we are winding and climbing and crest the next hill to reveal the bright coastal colors of the cozy structures and hundreds of fishing boats as we descend into the Historic Bayfront. The initial intake was overwhelming. This experience right here, these emotions, right now are why we do Operation Get About.
As we are leaving the restaurant after a delicious dinner of Salmon and Dungeness Crab we stop in our tracks because there is a loud overbearing sound that we can't quite identify. So we have got to investigate, right? Walking along the boardwalk - in the rain - we conclude what we're hearing is sea lions barking - lots and lots of sea lions. Then we see them, jumping up on the docks by the fishing boats, swimming in the bay around the yachts and perched on the rocks that separate this cove from the rest of the bay. Obviously, I am trying to figure out how I can take one home with me after all, we do have a pool.
We arrive back at our hotel to spend the evening looking at the ocean for whales but that seems to require a longer attention span and more patience than I have available. But, our stay at Newport is complete with the most amazing sunset.
April 20, 2017 - Since we stayed an extra day in Newport we have to make it to Crescent City, CA today. We eat an early breakfast and depart Newport heading south on the 101. Once again the mountainous terrain and cottage structures remind me of back home, specifically Chapman Highway through Seymour and Sevierville.
We enter Siuslaw National Park where we no longer have to worry about Tsunamis washing us away but now our safety concern is a Bigfoot encounter. One of the locals informed us that most of the Big Foot sightings were in an area where special mushrooms were known to grow. Tony was very intrigued and wanted to investigate these mushrooms but I had a winery to get to so we compromised and headed toward the winery.
We reach our first stop of today - The Sea Lion Caves right past Cape Perpetua. Following the path leading to the caves, we boarded an elevator that descended 208 feet at 250 feet per minute to the viewing area. We found out this little tidbit after the fact while researching for this post. We had NO IDEA we went down that far that fast.
The smell was a little overwhelming when we entered the viewing area of the cave - a mix of barnyard and dead fish. But on this day there were over 200 sea lions in the cave having a social, I assume, because they were all talking, laughing and yelling at once. It was a sight to see.
As we continued on our trek to Crescent City the waves seem to have a higher arch and crash with the authority of a school marm with a ruler (I've heard Mimi tell stories). We took full advantage of the waysides and viewpoints that Highway 101 has along the way stopping to take pictures of the Southern Oregon landscape each chance we got. The canopy of Pine trees seem to be getting taller and new colors are emerging in the vegetation the further south we go. There were bright pops of yellow flowering bushes on the cliffs going down to the beach, pink rhododendrons and tulip trees, and little purple flowers everywhere. The inclines and declines of the mountain ranges were more extreme. Small towns were peppered along the coast but were few and far between. Steam rolls up from the road as the rain clouds surrender to the bright afternoon sun and the roller coaster ride of mountain ranges continues. As we get closer to the Oregon-California line we see piles and piles of logs along the river waiting to go to the saw mill. We cross Elk River and pass through Port Orford, the oldest town on the Oregon Coast according to the sign.
California here we are! The first thing we noticed was California roads are way better than Oregon roads. We stopped at a local diner to eat and figure out where we want to stay for the night as sea lions sunbathed in the evening sun on the floating dock just outside the diner. Our home for the night was the Lighthouse Inn, Crescent City, CA.