We’re starting 2014 the same place we started 2013 – at the beach. We’ve spent a lot of time at the Oregon coast this past year, and I have to say it’s one of my favorite spots. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time you may have noticed the shift from lots of different adventures to ones that are more coast centric. We spend most of our weekends exploring the north coast of Oregon and the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington. There’s so much to see and do!
We did something this week we’ve never done before – clamming for razor clams. We bought the necessary license, purchased the gear, watched the YouTube videos, and waited for the negative tide to head out to clam. We stomped around looking for a show (that’s how you know where the razor clams are), but only got one clam. It didn’t look like those around us were having much luck, either. Maybe everyone was as inexperienced as we were.
We’re looking forward to lots of adventures in 2014. We hope you’ll stick around to see what we’re up to.
They say the best camera you can have is the one you have with you. While antiquing on the Oregon coast over the weekend we ran into something we’ve never seen before – Railroad Motorcars, or speeders as they’re sometimes called. The only camera I had with me was the one on my phone, so here are some so-so pictures of some really cute rail cars.
These cute railcars are owned by individuals who get together for excursions on the rails. These were originally used to inspect the rails for defects. They replaced the hand pumped maintenance cars from years ago. Recently, they’ve been replaced by Hy-Rail vehicles, the pickup trucks you see running on the rails.
Even though they only reach a top speed of 30 mph, they were called speeders because they traveled so much faster than the hand pump cars that preceded them.
Motorcar owners belong to clubs that obtain permission to use the rails for excursions that range from one day to over a week across the US and Canada. You can see a full list of excursions on the NARCOA web site.
The speeders were were big enough for a couple of people. Some were hard-sided while others had canvas around the back and sides.
This was a nice surprise encounter on an otherwise rainy day on the Oregon coast.
No trip to the Oregon coast is complete without a visit to the Astoria Column in Astoria, OR. It sits high upon a hill and stands 125 ft tall. You can climb the 164 steps to the top for sweeping views of the Columbia River, the Astoria-Megler bridge, the Coast Range mountains, and the Pacific ocean.
There’s artwork that winds all the way from the base of the column to the top telling the history from before the white people arrived in the area to the arrival of the railroad in Astoria. You can read all about the scenes that stretch out to 500 ft of art if unwound on the Astoria Column web site.
Kendall and I didn’t climb to the top, but we did send the camera up. Here we are from way up top.
We found this cutie waiting patiently for his people to come down from the column.
As if climbing to the top of the column wasn’t enough fun, you can purchase balsa wood gliders in the gift shop and fly them off the top of the column. We saw some with some pretty long flights and others that dive-bombed to the ground.
We took Kendall shopping in Seaside, OR yesterday, and out of all of the treats they have at Beach Puppy, she picked chicken feet.
They crunch like potato chips, and she loves them. I bought two, but she’s only had one so far.
Kendall loves shopping in Seaside. She’s welcome in the antique mall, the dog store, and the Ace Hardware. Some of our favorite restaurants are down in that area, too. We love the Firehouse Grill for breakfast and the Yummy Wine Bar & Bistro for happy hour. Of course, her favorite thing to do in Seaside is walking on the beach, although we’ve had to curtail our walks for a little bit.
We spent some time at Ecola State Park on the Oregon coast doing some whale watching. Every year, about this time, the grey whales make their way past the Oregon coast on their migration to Mexico. If we’re lucky, we get to catch a glimpse of these beautiful mammals as they pass by.
We packed a picnic and headed out to do some whale watching. Our first stop at the Ecola Point viewpoint yielded lots of people but no whale sightings. We headed down to Indian Beach where we procured a picnic table with an awesome view, and we waited. And waited. Until we saw a blow on the horizon. We spotted a few whales traveling south together and were able to track them south until they were out of view. I happened to have the binoculars pointed in the right direction at the right time and saw a tail come out of the water. What a treat. We saw a couple of other blows not long after the first set, but that was it for the day.
We headed down to Pacific City, OR to celebrate New Year’s. Yesterday was as beautiful as it gets at the coast in January – a bit chilly, a bit windy, and a lot sunny.
This was a big day for Kendall. She was allowed off leash on the beach for the very first time. She tends to get very sidetracked when she sees a bird or a squirrel and doesn’t always come when called. There weren’t many people on the beach, so we let her run a little bit. She kept tabs on us, and we didn’t let her get too far.
As soon as we saw the horses the leash went back on. She barks at llamas, and I’m not sure how she’d behave around horses.
While Kendall was off at a sleepover with her favorite Cavalier and a Westie, we were off to the Oregon coast for a weekend of fun. The company where I work was celebrating their 30th anniversary by taking the employees to Salishan Spa & Golf Resort in Gleneden Beach, OR. We went over to the coast on Friday. Saturday was a gorgeous day, so we headed down the coast with no particular agenda. We found ourselves with time to explore all of the little places we’ve always wanted to stop but never had time to visit.
One of our first stops was at Otter Rock. There we ran into three of my co-workers who were headed out surfing. It wasn’t until one of them pointed out that the rock looks like an otter on his back did I realize that it was Otter Rock. Now I can’t look at it without seeing it. Can you see it?
We saw some birds out on a rock that were either cormorants or puffins. They were a bit too far away to tell. Then – we saw whales! There were a few of them feeding just off the coast. It’s always a treat when you get to see whales.
Then, we drove down to Newport where they were having a seafood festival.
There was a sign explaining the cage. Apparently, it’s a sea lion disentanglement capture cage. The doors are left open and the sea lions are free to come and go as they please until a tangled sea lion enters the cage. Then, the doors can be lowered and the tangled sea lion anesthetized without the danger of it swimming off and drowning. Scientists can approach and disentangle the sea lion. You can read all about it on the Marine Mammal Institute’s site.
We don’t get many beautiful weekends at the Oregon coast, so we treasure them when we do get them.