Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Southbound On The West Coast - Sensational, Wondrous, Dazzling.

To celebrate the beautiful northwest, listen to this recording of 
Woody Guthrie's song, Roll On Columbia,  recorded by 
Dave Mallett and The Mallett Brothers. 
It's now the official folk song of the state of Washington.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

We left Poulsbo and the family and headed south. It took us a while but we reached the famous U.S. 101 - part of a collection of roads designated as the Pacific Coast Highway. which runs from the most northwesterly point of the United States up yonder on the Olympic peninsula to the southern tip of Baja California. And it passes through an interesting and varied coastline with hilly terrain and some of the most spectacular scenery imaginable: the vast and endless beauty of the seething Pacific ocean, giant rocky monoliths that jut up out of the sea floor, often shrouded in fog, wide and empty sand beaches that stretch on for miles and the grandeur of the redwood giants, some of which have inhabited this earth for as long as a thousand years. Seeing them is a humbling experience if there ever was one. There are quaint villages  to explore and twisty roads to drive on, making it difficult to gaze out at the impossible vistas that greet you at every turn. Thankfully, there are innumerable turnouts that afford a place to just rest and look and think about the beauty of this country of ours.

Crossing the Columbia river on the Astoria-Megler bridge from
Washington to Oregon. The city of Astoria, Oregon is on the far bank.
Just around the bend in the river here is where Louis and Clark g
ot their first view of the Pacific ocean.

We stopped for lunch in Astoria on the banks of the Columbia. These sea lions were cavorting
and barking loudly as they swam  up and down the harbor. 

Quite beautiful: the Columbia River as it flows out to the Pacific.
At this point it is five miles wide. This is the point where
Louis and Clark completed their historic explorative journey.
But they had to pause a few days, waiting for the turbulent wind and waters
o calm before they could view the Pacific ocean.

Astoria, like many of these western towns, has been able to reinvent itself to some extent. This is a proces we'd seen repeated in many of the cities and town that we passed through. As industry dried up, in this case logging and fishing, tourism takes its place. Or at least that's the idea. Towns have reclaimed and restored their old historic main streets, repurposing buildings to house shops and restaurants and other businesses. Sometimes it works; often it doesn't or it's a work in progress. We saw  success though in Idaho Falls, Walla Walla and now Astoria, Oregon.

City wastebaskets have reproductions of old
salmon cans emblazoned on them.

This old art deco building is now a restaurant.

They built incredibly beautiful and ornate theaters in many
of these western towns. Impressive!

Astoria street corner and historic buildings.

Another waste basket: Gill Netters Best.

We drove on to our evening's stopping point: Cannon Beach with its famous Haystack Rock, a massive rock that juts up from the ocean floor. It's surrounded by other monoliths and provides a stunning vista of churning ocean that constantly pounds the rocks, sand beach and, by comparison, tiny humans walking on this vast and sweeping expanse of beach.

Our hotel, the Wayside Inn, was right across the road from the beach.
Great location and lovely hotel. Pet friendly too!

We walked on the beach as the sun was peeking out from the
bottom of these clouds, creating a dramatic sunset.

Biggie finally gets a chance to chase a ball
after being cooped up in the car all day.

Canon Beach and its famous Haystack Rock. You can't realize just how large it is until you
see people standing next to it in the distance -- they're tiny  by comparison and then you  suddenly
appreciate the massive size of this outcropping. It towers 235 feet above the beach.

Cannon Beach - the sun set after it peeked out from under this cloud-laden sky.

Spectacular Cannon Beach.

A panorama of Cannon Beach at sunset.

Tomorrow we'd continue along this amazing highway, stopping in Coos Bay, Oregon and the next night in Arcata, California.

Check back for more of our road trip.    - Matt


  1. jealous. of Biggie. beautiful photos.

  2. Oh, sigh.

    I actually illustrated a children's book using photos of just those rocks, and I always wondered what it would be like to actually be there. And lookie there, there you are.
    Beautiful writing, beautiful photos, beautiful heart, beautiful nation.
    thank you. d.

    1. Let's see a photo of that drawing please!

    2. Diane, I would like to get a tattoo of Haystack Rock. It's one of my absolutely favorite places I've ever visited. I loved it so much after my first visit, I dragged Erik back there a year later. Is there any chance you could help me out with a drawing? I would like to see it as a line drawing, but also want some color. Here are some of my photos of Haystack: http://www.danipressphoto.com/#!coastal-oregon-landscapes/con3

  3. Absolutely stunning- especially the panorama!

  4. Matt nice touch with the audio, thanks for sharing, loved the last frame , tremendous!!