Some good things, and one disappointment.
I got a kind of late start this morning two weeks ago, and I woke up to overcast skies and a fair amount of wind. In my experience, the Oregon coast is a very windy place, and I’d just been lucky the day before.
I stopped in Waldport at a visitor center commemorating the bridge over the Alsea River, which was interesting, especially since the bridge they were commemorating (built in the 1930s) had been replaced by a more modern one just a few years ago.
Then I stopped at an ocean view pullout and wrote for a while since I hadn’t the night before, before driving on to Newport, where I arrived about lunchtime, by design. I’d been looking forward to going to Mo’s, which is sort of an institution on the Oregon coast, famous for, among other things, its clam chowder. I’d eaten there before and enjoyed it, but not this time. As I wrote in my journal, it was “an absolutely wretched lunch. A crab melt, which was watery and flavorless, and, oh, the bread was burned, and a small cup of chowder, which tasted pretty much like Campbells out of a can. I don’t know what’s happened to Mo’s, but I won’t ever be going there again.”
I then went to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (Yaquina is pronounced ya quinn’ a). I’d been there before, but I thought it might be interesting again, and it was. The rooms are all decorated in period, and the lighthouse itself is in a state park. I wish Heceta Head’s lighthouse and keepers’ quarters were the same building, because I suspect it would facilitate the plot, but I’ll manage. Also, Yaquina Bay Light, which was only actually lit for three years (see the website for that story) is supposed to have a ghost, too.
After that I drove the short distance up the coast to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. I thought I was going to get blown away, but other than that it was a terrific stop. They have a very nice visitor center with lots of interesting historical exhibits and a short movie about the lighthouse, and then there’s the lighthouse itself, which is the tallest one in Oregon (not in the northwest, that would be the Gray’s Harbor Light, which is in Westport, one of my favorite day trips from home). Once I was done in the visitor center, I drove on up to the headland, parked my car, and hung onto my hat (literally — my hair is thin on top of my head, and I always wear a hat outdoors to keep my scalp from getting sunburned). The views were spectacular again, but the tidepools were terrific. They were seven stories worth of stairs to reach from the lighthouse parking lot, but the basalt beach cobbles and the sea stars and crabs and sea anemones and other interesting critters were well worth the climb back up.
Then I headed north to Lincoln City, where I visited the North Lincoln County Historical Museum. They’ve done a very good job there, telling the story of that part of the Oregon coast. Lincoln City is basically five small beach tourist towns that banded together to provide basic services to their citizens. Lincoln City today is basically miles and miles of motels and strip malls and beach houses, but the history of the place — I was especially enchanted with the exhibit that told about the gathering of redheaded people that happened there every year, apparently for decades — was much more than that.
And I found a good motel in Lincoln City, too.