Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oregon Coast on 101..Coos Bay to Ashford, OR

Finally got away from Medford on June 8th. Spent 7 full days there but loved it. We so enjoyed seeing Jim's friend Dick and his wife, Jesse. It was nice to stay somewhere longer than a day.
Traveled up I-5 from Medford to just below Green, OR. Found OR 42 and headed west to the ocean. Nice road and nice day to drive. Made good time and got to Coos Bay. Found Wal-Mart and decided to stay there for the night. This was the largest parking lot we've ever seen at a Wal-Mart. We did some shopping, of course, but just relaxed for the night. Still very cold. BRRRRR!
The next morning was beautiful and got back on 101 just after breakfast. We're planning to get to Astoria, OR, today. Astoria is right on the Columbia River.
The road from Coos Bay to Astoria is breathtaking! Too bad Jim was driving on the steep hills and tight curves...he couldn't enjoy like I could. We did pull over at a nice parking area for a little shop that offered tours. We didn't have time for a tour but we did manage to take some pics. A nice couple took our pic. There is always someone who will take our pic at the scenic views.
We made it to Astoria in such good time. Found a KOA in Hammond which could take us for one night. We set up camp and headed out. Went to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum which was right on the river. Saw the bridge we would travel over in the morning. WOW! The museum was nice and had a film about the river and all the ships who've traveled up and down the river. Lots of shipwrecks...there is something called the Columbia Bar which needs to be navigated with the help of river pilots. Actually there are river pilots and bar pilots and they get on the ships while everything is moving. Jump from small ship to large ship...SCARY!
We also toured the last lightship used out in the Pacific at the mouth of the Columbia. It's named the Columbia. It was anchored out in the ocean to warn ships about the "BAR". It's out of service now.
When we left the museum we wanted to take a little tour by the trolley...it runs along the river front and the drivers give a little history. The river front was completely lined by fish canneries...not many buildings left..just can see pilings. Some are now shops and restaurants. On the tour we also saw the school which appeared in the movie "Kindergarten Cop" and the house used in the movie "Goonies". After finishing the tour we drove around the town a bit and just had to drive up the steepest street...8th! It was scary enough going up..no way I wanted to ride down! We headed a little bit out of town looking for a diesel station and managed to get into a construction zone and was stuck trying to get back into downtown. When we got back we found a restaurant which was recommended by locals...The Ship Inn. Ate too much again. We had a nice view of the river though.
We're planning to leave in the morning but want to look around Fort Stevens State Park before we go. It is located right across the street from the expensive KOA! Wish we would have camped there.
Fort Stevens has a perfect camping area and is a beautiful park. It has access right to the beach and an area of historic significance. There is a shipwreck on the beach so we did go see that. We didn't have time to really tour the historic part...too bad. We'll need to do that next time.
Ready to go on to Washington and Olympic NP. Ready to cross that big bridge over the Columbia River.

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