Dispatches from the Road: The Northern Oregon Coast

‘Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.’-Confucius

Sometimes, you just need to get into your car and drive. I was feeling overwhelmed and needed to get out of my head and out of Bend. As I’ve said before, my favorite place to do this is the Pacific Coast…so I went. I worked Saturday morning and when I got off, I hit the road. I use Expedia for most of my travels and I had accumulated a lot of reward dollars so I was able to get a room (somewhere near Salem) for minimal funds (seriously, I spent about $100 on this trip including hotel, tank of gas, and In-N-Out). I took all necessary precautions and stayed at a chain. Fortunately, Oregon’s Covid-19 cases are quite low and we’re pretty good about masks. I stopped at In-n-Out along the way…it was so convenient that it was on the way but lets get real, I would have made a detour (I also stopped again on my way home, lol).

In my mid-30s, I now get up early on the regular. I have turned into my dad, ha! So I hit the road first thing. I knew I wanted to drive the Northern Oregon Coast so I looked at my map and drove to the top of the state…Astoria. From there, I could pick up the 1 (technically the Pacific Coast Highway is the 101 here but I’m a California gal through and through). On the way, I stopped at Ft. Clatsop, part of the Lewis and Clark National Trail (it starts in Nebraska!). Not that I wouldn’t have stopped, but LCNT follows me on Instagram and I am very appreciative, so wanted to explore plus I had never been. I used my America the Beautiful pass for entry (it’s $10 otherwise). The main museum was closed but the outdoor area was open, including guides to answer questions. Let me tell you, it was stunning. It was like walking into Fern Gully. It was so green and it wasn’t even that sunny out (seriously, Oregon weather is so strange…it was 60 degrees over the July Fourth weekend…thank god I packed my L.L. Bean fleece!). I walked around for about an hour and hit the road again. I highly recommend adding this to the list!

I arrived in Astoria and got some coffee and sat on the pier. It was a really nice morning. Astoria is a fishing town and famous for being the setting for ‘The Goonies.’ I did not do any of the movie tours but it had a really cool vibe and a tasty cardamom mocha latte.

Next stop, Cannon Beach! I was a bit worried it would be packed for the holiday weekend but it wasn’t too bad! The town had bustling streets so I did wear a mask but the beach was fairly empty. Walking along the beach, life seemed almost normal. I had not been to Haystack Rock and it was really cool to see up close. I really loved seeing the Tillamook Lighthouse (Dangerous Tilly as she’s called). I snapped this selfie and one of my best friends commented how happy I looked. I was telling my therapist about my trip and she said something similar. That my entire demeanor changed talking about this day versus my frustration about the world around. So it’s true, the Pacific make me feel calm and restored. As I ponder my next move, I know it needs to be close to the ocean.

The nice thing about solo road trips is that you can stop when you want…and I did. I drove along PCH and pulled into every scenic viewpoint. On the way home, I pulled over to check out Detroit Lake and Dam. It was nearing sunset and so lovely! I walked across the dam, another test of my bravery with heights! It was a steep drop off but I snapped another selfie and didn’t puke!

Life in the time of Covid has been hard. I don’t do well with uncertainty and 2020 has been full of uncertainty (this something that my therapist is helping work through…I immediately start to plan, which feeds the anxiety, which makes it worse). My brother had to cancel his trip out at the end of the month and I had to postpone my Philadelphia trip in September (I’ll be, hopefully, be going over Christmas Break). But I’m turning these lemons into my favorite drink…lemonade. The Next Great Adventure is hitting the road. The days my brother would have been here (since I had already requested the days off and worked an extra couple shifts to have some extra money), I am going to road trip, with my parks’ pass in hand, to Southern Utah to visit the ‘Mighty Five.’ So stay tuned and be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram!

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