After two and a half months in Washington state it was time to continue south back into Oregon. We really hated to leave gorgeous South Beach and our campsite overlooking the ocean. As we pulled out early in the morning there was already someone waiting to grab the site.
We headed south down highway 101. We spent one night at the Elks Lodge in Hoquiam, WA and the next morning we crossed the Astoria-Megler Bridge which spans the Columbia River. It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. In the middle of the bridge is the state line between Washington and Oregon. And just like that, we were back in Oregon!
Unfortunately it was a foggy morning and we were unable to get good pictures of the bridge or view from the bridge of Astoria.
We stopped in Seaside for a two night stay and then drove to Tillicum Beach Campground located in the Siuslaw National Forest for a five night stay.
Along the way we passed the 45th Parallel, the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. We were last at the Tillicum campground in June 2014. Our view of the ocean here wasn’t quite as nice as South Beach, but we could see the water and hear the waves crashing.
Tillicum National Forest campground is located just a few miles from the tiny town of Yachats, pop 700. Our first couple days there the sky was hazy and smoky from the Canadian wildfires and we were under an air quality alert. We drove around the beach at Yachats but it was hard to get any pictures through the haze.
We definitely prefer the Oregon coast over the Washington coast. The views driving down the coast are better, the beaches are sandy rather than rocky and the beaches are much more accessible. The beach at the Tillicum campground could be easily reached by walking down some steps.
Even though the haze was still in the area the next day we drove north to see two lighthouses. We crossed the beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge into Newport and visited the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, the second oldest standing lighthouse on the Oregon coast.
Built in 1871 it was decommissioned in 1874. Yes, after only three years! It is the only existing lighthouse with the living quarters attached and the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing. It was restored to a working lighthouse in 1996 as a privately maintained by the Oregon Parks and Recreation as a navigation aid for the United States Coast Guard. Today a steady white light shines from dusk to dawn.
Next we drove to Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. The Yaquina Head Lighthouse located there, is also called the Cape Foulweather Lighthouse because when it was built they mistakenly thought they were at Cape Foulweather. At 93 feet, it is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. It was first lit in 1873 and was automated in 1966. It is still active today.
We first stopped at the Interpretive Center where we saw exhibits on whales and watched a movie about the area.
We then drove to the lighthouse which has beautiful views.
We could see whales spouting in the distance, seals lounging on rocks and lots of birds.
As we walked up towards the lighthouse we noticed a bad smell. At first we thought it was from the seals. Then in the distance we saw huge rocks with seabirds sitting on them. The rocks were covered in white bird poop. That was the source of the smell. Yuk!
We read that the common murres bird colonies here are the most rapidly growing on the Oregon coast.
Sunset from our beach side campsite.
Next up : more time on the Oregon coast
What a beautiful state. Really enjoyed the photos.