Our Unforgettable Trip on the Oregon Coast
By Mario Boschmann
Entered our Win a Winter Getaway to the Oregon Coast Contest
We started our trip up the Oregon Coast one morning in June 2007. It was a perfectly clear day as we began making our way north while taking in the South coast. We decided to stretch our legs after driving a while and pulled over to stop in Gold Beach off the PCH 101. As we parked the car, we noticed a couple of swings off to the side and decided it would be fun to go for a swing. It was just the two of us – my wife and I. I can’t remember the last time I felt as carefree as the memories of being a child came rushing back. The higher we swung the more of the ocean we could see beyond the tall grass separating us from the ocean. We were kids again in that moment. We continued on further north and made our way up to Coos Bay. As we drove through town and as a runner myself, I couldn’t help but think of the inspiring life story of Steve Prefontaine and the legacy he left behind there. We eventually stopped to get some lunch at a small grocery/convenience store there along the 101, the kind I grew up with in my local neighborhood back in Kansas that are almost non-existent anymore. After lunch, we proceeded further north eventually stopping at Neskowin. This small and quiet stop on the coast offered us an opportunity to walk the beach and see Proposal Rock again and is a memorable location as it is the place where we first experienced the Oregon Coast in 2004. We continued on north to Tillamook where we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese factory to pick up some world famous cheese and ice cream.
Driving on further north we made our way through Nehalem Bay and up the road from there where we eventually discovered one of the most spectacular viewpoints along the Oregon coast – the pullout along the 101 on Neahkahnie Mountain in Oswald West State Park. The sunset was now beginning to set and it was as if time stood still as we both looked out at the ocean in awe as the blue sky met what seemed to be an almost still ocean that day. Waking up the next morning, we took a walk along Cannon Beach at low tide and were amazed to see all of the orange and purple starfish at the base of Haystack Rock. We decided to take surf lessons later that morning and discovered Short Sands in the process – a hidden cove in Oswald West State Park. Later that day, we made our way up to Ecola State Park where we once again stood in wonder of the view looking south toward Haystack Rock. I can’t help but think now about William Clark’s famous words he wrote in his journal as the Expedition first arrived at this location 200 years earlier – “From this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed.” Later that evening, we went back out to the beach to watch the sunset over the ocean. I was reminded of the simple pleasure of a bonfire and s’mores. We eventually made our way to Astoria where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. The Astor column provided incredible views of the surrounding landscapes, ships passing on the river, and Astoria’s Victorian homes lining the hillside below. We also visited some of the sites of my favorite childhood film that recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary there – The Goonies. Astoria truly emanates a sense of presence and authenticity. It was an unforgettable road trip experience along the Oregon Coast. The Oregon Coast is truly one of America’s best kept secrets – pure, authentic, mysterious, magical, and stunning. For these reasons, our family will continue coming back to experience this incredible gem.