Saturday, September 01, 2007

2007 Vacation with friends - Part 4

We left our rented beach house on July 4th to head north to Seattle to spend a few days up there before Dennis and Gigi had to head back to South Africa.

This is the view from our beach house in Newport. You can see the Yaquina Head lighthouse way out there in the distance. This stretch of beach is about three or so miles long, so if you walk down to Yaquina Bay, you get a bit over two miles of walking in as a round trip. Up to Yaquina Head and you're taking a five mile walk there and back.

A couple of years ago Steve and I did both walks, one before dawn and the other near sunset. It was glorious. I really like walking the Oregon coast before everyone else is up - especially when it's a bit on the foggy side and the air is calm.

Here we all are together. I enjoyed the time at the Oregon coast.

We took the scenic route up Hwy 101 and then the bypass to the three capes scenic drive. I wanted to show the Laidlers some temperate rain forest biome so we took a short walk at one of the state parks.

It's a pretty wet, but lush biome with every surface covered in moss, lichens, ferns, and other epiphytes. Unfortunately, I didn't see any banana slugs. I really wanted to show the Laidlers one of these critters. Saw some slime trails, but that was as close as they got to the west coast banana slug. Oh well.

I always find the biomes of southern Africa to be amazing and wonderful. I think the Laidlers felt the same way about the different forest biomes I showed them while they were visiting the Pacific Northwest. I wish we could have gone down to the redwoods, too, but there just wasn't enough time.

Western red cedar bark - lovely pattern!

I can't remember the name of this overlook, but we stop here each time we travel the north coast route.

This is the view from just south of Oceanside. The eroded rock out there is the beginning of the big haystack rock zone on the north coast.

This is a closer view of those offshore rocks - you can see the white of the bird guano from here. I suspect there are hundreds of cormorants and common murres out there.

Cape Meares lighthouse is a definite must-see stop along the scenic three capes route. This is the smallest lighthouse I've ever seen, but it's out on an exposed cliff that's way up high so I don't suppose it has to be very tall.

The basalt cliffs here are a couple hundred or more feet tall.

Steve and Meghan are already up at the top of the lighthouse. I took my time walking down the path - there was a lot to look at along the way.

The views are stunning, and we were treated to a pair of peregrine falcons hunting along the cliff. They swooped in close to the vegetation while making their calls. I think they were trying to scare small birds out of the foliage.

This is the Cape Meares lighthouse.

This is the "Octopus" Tree. It's an old sitka spruce that grew a bit differently than most. You can read about it in the next photo.

It's a pretty cool looking tree, I think.

Here's what Sitka spruce usually look like.

No comment (except to say that this will make it into the collection of slides I show at her wedding reception some day).

Of course, if you pass through Tillamook, you must stop at the cheese factory.

Actually, this is the first time we've ever stopped here.

You can do a self-guided tour to look at production. There wasn't much going on when we were there, but here's a look at the bit of production that was taking place during our visit.

The upstairs gallery area has a lot of different displays. Some are of old equipment, some have a bit of history to explain.

I think most people go upstairs to find a shorter line for the ice cream sales.

There's still a lot of beautiful coastline north of Tillamook.

You'll have to click on this picture to see the Tillamook lighthouse out there on Tillamook Rock. What a desolate lighthouse that must have been to live in. It's no longer functioning, but has become a repository for human ashes.

Dennis and Gigi.

That's my hubby and me.

Canon Beach is famous for the haystack rocks. It was crowded on the fourth of July.

Another Tsunami reminder.

The Oregon state boundary is at the Columbia River on the north.

We crossed over at the Astoria bridge, which is three miles long. That's a mighty big river when it takes a three mile long bridge to span it.

A view of Astoria from the Washington side of the river.

We stopped at a rest area just east of the bridge. I was embarrased to have Dennis and Gigi see the boorish behavior of some American citizens. There was a group of morons shooting off fireworks in the parking area of the rest stop.

Why anyone would want to have a fourth of July picnic at a rest area is beyond my ken, but these guys were whooping it up in a loud and obnoxious way, not to mention very dangerous way with the fireworks.

Nice trash, eh? A few minutes after we left the rest area there were a couple of state troopers heading that way with sirens blazing. I hope they busted the lot of them.

Now, here's a more fitting way to celebrate the 4th of July. We spotted this bald eagle along the Columbia River. There were two of them along this stretch of river.

We also saw lots of western gulls. . .

and a few Common Terns.

This was an interesting encounter - there were a couple of crows harassing a raven. The raven lost the dispute.

We arrived in Seattle after dark and were treated to all the "official" fireworks displays along with the illegal ones. Steve's folks live in a suburb where there are fireworks going off on every street corner. It was very strange driving into that chaos.


The Quacks of Life said...

have you shown her the photo?

Andi Wolfe said...

Yep - she was pretty pleased with it at the time. I'm sure that will change as she grows up a bit. It does sum up this part of the trip for her, though. She was more interested in getting to Seattle where she could go clothes shopping.