Sunday, August 20, 2017


… some thoughts and incidents from the great
California to Vancouver Island Loop of 2017…

This trip up the Oregon Coast was primarily one socked in with fog.  But even as the Pacific’s marine layer embraces the coast, the ride up US 101 is marvelous.  Particularly when it is 106 degrees at home.  

Allowing two days, as opposed to my customary one, afforded an opportunity to stop more frequently, but the chilly, moist air prompted me not to.  Regrets.

That said, although while not fully fared, the big windshield on the T-Bird more than adequately diverts airflow around the grips.  I was never compelled to don my heavy riding gloves.

My first-day goal was to reach Bandon, a quaint coastal village only recently becoming a bit too tourist-a-fied.  Still, walking the streets, it is easy to picture life eighty to one hundred years ago when the economy was based upon the fishery and the forests.

I’m a sucker for lighthouses.  This one is located on the spit near Bandon’s harbor.

The layover was spent at Best Western’s Inn at Face Rock, a trick to find off the highway, but worth the effort. 

Face Rock, this evening (and the following morning) was obscured by that marine layer, but the whisper of the surf provided and apt and lovely lullaby after a long day in the saddle.

No sooner am I back on the road the next morning than I find out that, apparently, I’m a sucker for old locomotives… 

…and rusted machinery (and old trucks and old barns) as well. 

These relics are located in a foundation-run museum in Coos Bay located right on US 101.  Worthy of some time and a donation.

The bridges along Oregon’s coastal route are classic with, perhaps, the most classic being this one in Newport over Yaquina Bay.

There’s a lighthouse here…

…but I must admit that I missed a shot of one of the more dramatic examples 20 miles earlier down at Heceta due to my slow-witted approach to parking along the highway.

Boats leaving harbor intrigue me.  Where are they going?  What might be their catch?  Will they return safely?  There must be a reason for the widow's watches atop the older houses in town.

I wonder if the raven wonders the same thing, or just might be waiting for some chum.

US 101 up the Oregon Coast is a delight.  I am, however, pulled out of the reverie induced by her curves, bluffs and vistas when navigating through Newport, Lincoln City and Seaside.  These commercial and tourist centers are necessary, I’m sure, but the traffic on a summer Saturday feels more citified than I find enjoyable.

I skipped a visit to Fort Clatsop this time around, having checked in with Lewis and Clark and Jean Baptiste Charbonneau last time – heading instead for the Best Western in Astoria.  The Bridgewater Bistro, a warm and casual restaurant is close by with nicely prepared seafood and a wonderful wine list.  Perfect way to end a day.

Two things (well, more than two things) caught my eye on the walk over: the slogan on this fuel carrier…

… and something you really don’t see every day – a folding chair atop a classic (though stripped) VW.  (My '71 came from the factory painted 'Clementine Orange.')

The Oregon Coast is one of America’s great rides.  It is never the same from one day to the next.

That’s why I look forward to my next opportunity to enjoy the route.


Face Rock: What I missed due to the fog at Bandon:

Fort Clatsop: Well worth your visit near Astoria:

Bridgewater Bistro near the wharf in Astoria:

© 2017
Church of the Open Road Press

1 comment:

  1. Those stunning views always come with two downfalls: the traffic and the marine layer. The fog is a welcome respite when it is hot in the valley here, just as you found it as well.

    I love the picture of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport. I know a few bloggers with that same picture with their bikes in it.

    Great pictures all around. I always enjoy seeing our 'backyard' through other peoples lenses.