Tag Archives: Cannon Beach

In which Dean and Michele come to Portland; we see more of the coast

View from Ecola Park.

View from Ecola Park.

Michele and Dean came for a visit. They were here for a few days and then drove to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

Michele and Dean on Hwy 101, north of Cannon Beach.

While they were here, we headed to the northern part of the coast to drop them off for a bike ride. We got a late start, so they ended up only riding for a few hours, but they said it was a completely beautiful ride. They went over the passes on Hwy 101! They took the ride that I always say “wow, these are brave and crazy people to climb this mountain on a bike.”

Dean said the only really scary part was going through the tunnel, despite the fact that you can hit a button as you enter it that causes a light to flash and indicate “Bikes in the tunnel” “Bikes in the tunnel!” This is supposed to tell car drivers to go 30 mph, but I’ll be honest and say that this is the first time I noticed that I was supposed to go 30 when the light flashes, so someone might want to make that a little clearer. I wonder if I will ever be a person on a bike who sees a hill and says “Oh neat!” instead of “oh shit!”?

We picked them up just south of Tillamook and drove into Lincoln City just before sunset. We ended up eating at Fathoms and watching the sunset.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

Lookign toward Cape Foulweather from our room at Inn at Otter Crest.

We stayed at Inn at Otter Crest again, which was alright. The restaurant is closed now, and it sounds like the hotel is undergoing a change of management. We stayed on the headland side, right up front. Very beautiful, and we had a few colonies of harbor seals in front of us, which were great to watch and listen to the next morning. We also watched the fog roll in and out as we waited for low tide.

Michele tidepooling.

Michele tidepooling.

Wandered down to the Devil’s Punchbowl tidepools, where we saw more hermit crabs than I’ve ever seen in a tidepool, and some spider crabs, and a ton of anemone. No urchins this time, although we did find bits of their tests. Given that urchins are often signs of an unhealthy tidal pool, that was great.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

Michele, Brian and Dean inside the Devil's Punchbowl.

We wandered into the punchbowl during low tide (I’m so overly cautious about this due a number of people getting trapped there) and then up to Mo’s for some clam chowder, the reward of tidepoolers in Oregon. We saw some whales too – but I didn’t get a good enough look to identify. I’ll say greys, but I think they were smaller than that.

Finished up the day by going to the Oregon Aquarium and watching all the fish. They’ve raised the rates to $15/person, ouch! Maybe buying a membership again makes sense. We’ll see. I told Brian that maybe some marine biology or oceanography classes would be a nice birthday or Christmas present for me. I also think I should go volunteer at the Aquarium, it’d make me pretty happy. We’ll see, I’d have to pay for a hotel or camp, so that will have to wait until I have a job, and if I have a job, I’ll not have too much time to do it.

Then, off to Coeur d’Alene to watch the Ironman – I’ll post some pictures of that later. It was strange to be there without saying hello to Wilma, but fun to wander downtown.

Thursday Coast visit

We had a great day at the coast this week. Brian wanted to see large expanses of water, and we decided the best way to do that on a Thursday was to drive to Seaside. Mostly because I have spent almost no time there since I was a child (we tend to hang out in the Central Coast or if we are in this area it tends to be either Cannon Beach or Astoria).

The drive up was really pretty, and there was much less snow this year on the side of the road (we were on Hwy 26 out this way last year with Tim). No elk this time though. We saw the rubble left by the arsonist who burnt down Oney’s – it had been there since the 1920s, so it’s horrible that someone would do that. I don’t remember if I’ve eaten there or not. Here’s the fireplace, still standing:

Oney\'s fireplace
Oney’s fireplace on Hwy 26.

Here’s their sign, which was untouched by fire. Two things I noticed after I took the picture, one of which makes me feel like a jerk: first, the sign said “New Owners” at one point but was painted over; second, taken from this angle, doesn’t it look like the lumberjack peed out the lake? Sigh. I’m a jerk. I know it.

Oney sign
Oney’s Lumberjack sign on Hwy 26.

Seaside was fun. We were mostly there to drink in the ocean, which calms and invigorates both of us. And to check out the aquarium which has been there for over 70 years. It was small and nice – they were the first aquarium to successfully breed harbor seals. They have a nice sized herd (? I’ll have to check on that collective noun) of captive-bred harbor seals that you can buy fish to feed.

Seaside Aquarium sign
Seaside Aquarium sign on the promenade in Seaside.

They also had a nice collection of local PNW fish and animals. The showstopper for me was the big open tank they had in the middle. It was covered with lots of paper signs saying “caution, freshly painted” so I briefly peeked into it and seeing nothing, moved on. Later, I realized there was a full grown Giant Pacific Octopus in it, which is one of my all time favorite animals. You don’t want to get me going on octopi, they are so beautiful and graceful and intelligent. I’ve read that their intelligence is pretty close to ours, and only their short lifespans (3-4 years) prevent them from having civilization. I can watch them for hours.

Giant Pacific Octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus at Seaside Aquarium.

He was so amazing once I realized where he had camouflaged himself. He woke up and noticed me watching him and we studied each other for a bit. Then he went for a swim around his tank, gracefully unfurling his tentacles as he went, occasionally sticking a tentacle out of the water, or even most of his head. I took a video of him swimming at this point, which I’ll post on here later after I upload it to vimeo or youtube.

They had a nearby tank that had fish in it, and a huge sign talking about octopi, so I turned around to read it. Lots of interesting information, not all of which I had known. One of the sixth sense sort of things happened, and I turned around quickly to notice that the octopus in the tank was behind me, and good way out the water reaching for me. !!! I am sure he was bored, there wasn’t anything in the tank for him to interact with or any toys, so given that we had been interacting for a half hour or so, it’s not surprising he was trying to figure out what I was doing. This room was cool – everyone at the aquarium was in the room with the seals, so there were large points of time when it was only Brian and I in with all the fish tanks and this octopus.

Still, having an octopus whose head is bigger than yours reach for you is a bit unnerving, so I wandered over to Brian to tell him about some of the interesting facts I had learned. He went over to read the sign, and sure enough, our friend in the tank started swimming again. I stood next to the tank and watched him, and Brian finally got concerned enough about how much of the octopus was out of the water that he told me to back up a little. Octopi move fast! In or out of the water. As soon as I backed away, the octopus went back into the water and back to his little cave in the corner and that was that.

It was so amazing though to be that close to an octopus of that size, and watch one watching me.

After that, we went for a walk on the beach, collect sand dollars and watching people digging for clams (it’s high season right now). A beautiful calming walk.

Sands at Seaside
Sands at Seaside.

After that we decided to head into Cannon Beach for dinner. We ate at the Wayfarer, which has a beautiful view of one of Oregon’s more famous Haystack Rock, and super delicious food. I will have to go back there even though we’ve vowed to only eat at new places on the coast since we fall into a bit of a rut. I had wild salmon topped with dungeness crab, with a rice pilaf & wild rice mix, squash and green beans, yummmmmm. We finished with chocolate souffle and peppermint ice cream, which may be one of the most perfect combination of taste for me. Service was great too. Brian pointed out that they had won one of Wine Spectator’s 2008 awards for having one of the best wine lists in the world. Cool.

All in all a completely lovely day. We hardly ever head to this part of the coast, and it’s the closest to us. And in winter, it’s not crazy-crowded as it is in summer, so perfect for us.