Our journey south from the Columbia River along US 101 took us through miles of rural scenery, filled with dairy farms and small fishing communities. In places where the road runs right along the coast, we could sometimes make out dramatic pillars of rock down topped by hardy evergreens just offshore. Unfortunately, persistent rain and fog made it hard to see anything very distant, and at times even made it hard to see the road. This is apparently typical for the Oregon Coast. In any case, I suppose the dismal conditions aided our travel speed, because otherwise we might have been forced to pull over at every single scenic viewpoint along the way.
Our first stopping point was in the central Oregon coast, north of Cape Perpetua. Our national forest campsite at Tillicum Beach Campground was perched right on a bluff above the Pacific, and from the moment we pulled in we could hear the Pacific roaring. Unfortunately because of the rain and fog we couldn’t actually see the ocean when we arrived, but luckily the rain lifted for several hours each day during our stay. This allowed us to spend hours walking on the immensely broad beach just below our campsite. Since this is a national forest campground, with no hookups, I was forced to get creative in making meals that used the oven as much as possible to keep us warm and relatively less damp. As a result we ate plenty of bread, pie, and roasted vegetables, which probably added to our enjoyment of the area.
When not ambling along our nearby beach, we visited some of the notable viewpoints in the central coast area when the weather allowed. Cape Perpetua is surrounded by dense basaltic rock that resists the onslaught of the mighty Pacific, creating dramatic points of interaction. The scene of immense force meeting immutable rock has earned these formations many evocative names, like Cook’s Chasm, Devil’s Churn, Thor’s Well, and Spouting Horn. Watching the geyser-like spouting and hearing the low-pitched booms of the crashing waves was both mesmerizing and humbling.
When the weather deteriorated to the point where it was no longer fun to be outside, even with our highly effective LL Bean rain gear, we knew exactly how to warm up: another brewery. Yachats Brewing and Farmstore is set in a small oceanside community and offers an interesting range of beer and food. Their specialty is fermented products of all sorts (think sauerkraut and kimchi) so it was no surprise that their beer selection includes many fruity saisons and sours with live and active yeast cultures. While this is not necessarily our favorite style of beer, we enjoyed trying something very different from our usual fare. The glass-enclosed beer garden, filled with potted plants and interesting murals on the wall, was a very cheerful place to spend time on a rainy afternoon.
After a brief 3-day stop in the central coast, we head further south for one final stop along the Oregon coast, where we hope to enjoy slightly better weather.