As many of you know, I have spent the last several weeks in Washington State caring for my mom who just had a hip replacement. I’m happy to report that Mom is doing amazingly well and the time had come for me to return home. Daniel flew up to Seattle to help Lucy and me drive Sisu home. Let’s recap the cast of characters here:
Tacoma to Chico is quite a drive and though Lucy and I did it in one day on the way up, I was hoping to split it into a two day drive on the way back. It’s long. Even though we planned an overnight on the Oregon Coast on our return, this didn’t really leave much time for exploration. Better 24 hours than nothing, we thought! So here’s the plan: head south via the Oregon Coast, spend the night in Yachats approximately half way to Chico, then on the second day dart over to Eugene and zoom home.
We were introduced to McMenamins while we were in Tacoma, so we decided to hit a few of those locations on the way home. You can read more about our McMenamins adventures here. We made a quick stop in Centralia, Washington to do our McMenamins quest and headed towards the Oregon Coast with another stop at Gearhart, Oregon at their McMenamins there.
The northern part of the Oregon Coast meanders through rolling farmland, small towns, and in and out of occasional coastal settlements. It’s not the truly spectacular portion of the Oregon Coast, but we had an enjoyable time putting southward while Lucy snoozed in the backseat. We didn’t have time to make many of the stops we wanted – let me tell you…it was tough for me to pass up an ice cream at the Tillamook Creamery – but time was limited and onward we must go.
We did, however, stop at the Tillamook Country Smoker Outlet. This was worth it! (I was initially skeptical.) We found delicious jerky for less than 99 cents an ounce in their ‘misfits’ bin. All different flavors! Daniel stocked up on some and Lucy gave the place a two paws up, also. Time to continue southward.
Oh, my goodness! A Dutch Bros! If you know us, you know we love Dutch Bros. Their company culture is incredible and service top notch. This is one of our big splurges in life and seeing at Dutch Bros in Lincoln City – we had to stop. Lucy got her puppachino, Daniel was sipping on his americano and a caffeine infused Rebel was coursing through my veins as we continued our trek. Life is good!
The day is waning and Lucy is whining in the back seat. We had been hugging the coast for awhile now and being the water-loving-beach-romping Lab that she is, she knew exactly where she was. She wanted to get-the-heck-out-of-this-car and play! It was time to find a good access point and let the girl frolic. Beverly Beach turned out to be the perfect spot.
As the sun cast its long, autumn shadows on the beach, Lucy chased her stick and romped in the cold ocean water, a smile as big as the world on her doggie face. This stop was more about her than us, really. Sure, we love the beach, who doesn’t? But to a dog, especially Lucy, it’s different. The beach is a wonderland for her. She has been a faithful and loving companion for 11 years; she has been with me through the most difficult times in my life. Her mere presence gives me more comfort than I can put into words. I cannot imagine the day when I will have to live without her, so I embrace wholeheartedly any chance I have to give her even a fragment of the joy she has shared with me.
She is an old dog, approaching 12 years. She doesn’t run as fast or as long as she used to but she enjoys it as if she were a puppy. It fills my heart to overflowing to see her smile and play here, it really does.
Romp on, Lucy my loyal companion. This is all about you, my dear. You are a light, a joy, an amazing love. I’m sure all you dog lovers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. Needless to say, she had a wonderful time and we did, too.
Beverly Beach was an amazing find! We enjoyed every moment of the sunset show and headed to our hotel in Yachats about 30 miles away.
Saint Lucy, resting on ‘her bed’ at the hotel. We stayed at the Fireside Hotel in Yachats, a dog friendly establishment perched on the bluff just north of Yachats. We had views of the ocean from our window and balcony and were lulled to sleep by the sounds of the ocean waves lapping the shore. If you’re heading to the Central Oregon Coast with a pup, this is a great lodging option.
Our sunrise walk was slow and gentle, poor Lucy still a bit tired and sore from her beach adventure from the day before, but still anxious to get outside and sniff that ocean air. After enjoying the continental breakfast offered by the hotel, we pointed Sisu southward and headed out towards our next destination: Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.
Cape Perpetua has 26 miles of interlinking trails with incredible views to be had. We were especially interested in finding Thor’s Well, so we headed into the Visitor Center to ask how to find it. We’d been told it was tricky to find, but in reality, it was a piece of cake. If you start at the Visitor Center parking lot, the trail is clearly indicated by signs. The folks at the Visitor Center are very helpful, too! Be sure to stop in and browse their many exhibits and scan the horizon with provided binoculars.
We walked down the hill from the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center towards Thor’s Well. Viewing is best during high tide and our luck – it was low tide. We still had a great time watching the 20 foot deep pool empty and fill with the ocean waves and because the tide was out, we were able to go right up to it. Take extreme caution if you decide to walk down on the rocks! The area is incredibly slippery, sneaker waves are abundant, and one false move could lead to death. Be careful down there.
Heading on down the road, we reached Heceta Head Lighthouse. The day was grey, but we stopped at a pullout to take in the striking views of the lighthouse off in the distance.
Do you love lighthouses? Heceta Head Lighthouse is actually a bed and breakfast, known for their extravagant, multiple course breakfasts and stunning views. They often have mid-week specials. Follow them on Facebook to keep tabs on upcoming events. We have never stayed here, but it’s on our list.
Just south of Heceta Head Lighthouse is the Sea Lion Caves. I had been here once before years ago, and Daniel and I decided we would stop for a look. We had seen many sea lions frolicking in the water just off shore from our last lookout stop and were anxious to see their little hideaway. When we entered the building to buy our tickets, the worker there informed us that there were no sea lions in the caves at the moment because they were all out fishing and doing their daily sea lion duties. There is a television screen with a view of the cavern to have a look at in the gift shop. We opted to save $14 bucks each and hit it on another day when we might have a chance to actually see the sea lions in their cave. I remember it being quite impressive (and fragrant!) when I visited several years ago.
One last glimpse of this beautiful shoreline before we headed east towards Eugene. Though we only had 24 hours on the Oregon Coast, we enjoyed the time we had. Lucy, especially, thought it was a trip well done.
Have you spent time on the Oregon Coast? What are your favorite attractions? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share, like, and follow our blog for more adventures. Thanks for reading!