970+ miles in two days. I cannot count the number of times people have told me about how beautiful the Oregon coast is. So I decided I would check it out for myself.
Let us begin with the route. Click here to see the route for the trip.
The first leg of the journey was Redmond to The Dalles. Along the way, a stop at Portland to pick up an Adidas for yours truly. The Redmond-Portland leg was quite straightforward along the I-5. The day was sunny and bright, and it took about 3 hours to get to Portland. From Portland, I headed to The Dalles. The route has some neat waterfalls en route and more importantly runs along the Columbia River Gorge giving you some breathtaking views. Fortunately, this is also a highway, so you don’t lose too much time. The downside is that you cannot really slowdown and enjoy the views. You can stop at the Multnomah Falls though. There is a little park there and you can see the falls from the road. Further up the road, you come across the Bonneville Dam and the Cascade Locks. Both these sights make it worth your while to push along the Columbia River Gorge highway till The Dalles.
Then I traced my way back to Portland and headed south to Eugene. Most of this leg was again on the freeways, and not very scenic. It was about 10 at night when I got into Eugene.
The next morning I started out on the leg that I was really looking forward to. First stop Florence. Florence is a small little town on the Oregon coast. For this leg, I told my GPS to avoid highways. This meant that I was able to meander though small towns, which are markedly different from the image we have of the USA. No skyscrapers here, no freeways, no traffic jams. All you have are uninterrupted views of the countryside, punctuated by small towns. No McDonald’s or Burger Kings here, instead you have wonderful family run establishments which serve you delicious American food.
Once I got to Florence, I took the Oregon Coastal Highway. This road runs almost parallel to the Oregon coast, giving you fabulous views of the Pacific Ocean. Along the way you have great view points and a number of lighthouses. I kept pulling over all the time to take pictures and marvel at the colors that nature was painting the landscape with.
The southern half of the coast is not too touristy and you still get to roam through quite a few small towns.
The lighthouses are an integral part of the history of this part of the USA and great places to visit. I stopped at the Yaquina Head lighthouse. The tallest lighthouse on the west coast, it was decommission in the 1980s when the US Coast Guard automated the lighthouse. However, the lighthouse is well maintained with a Visitor Center that lets you get an idea of this wonderful lighthouse.
This was the last stop on my road trip. I then cut across to the 1-5, once again roaming interior, rural America before returning to the concrete jungle of Seattle.