Growing up in California, I enjoyed our trips to the beach, but it wasn't until we moved to Oregon, that I really fell in love with the ocean. Unlike the waters off the California coastline, it's too cold to swim in, but that doesn't bother me as I am drawn in by the beauty that is Oregon. Lighthouses, the pounding surf, tide pools, magnificent sunsets, sandstone cliffs, and monolithic rocks. The most unique aspect of the Oregon coast is the Beach Bill, which grants public access to all the beaches.
Last October, we (Ed and I, my parents, and our oldest son, Michael) visited the North Coast of the Oregon coast for an extended weekend. Yes, I know, a little crazy to visit the coast in October and not summer, but in Oregon it doesn't really matter. It's beautiful year round. Plus, we had hoped for bad weather as we wanted to see a storm pounding the coast, whipping up waves and blowing sand streaming across the beach.
We arrived at the condo in Seaside late Friday night. Thanks to friends who are members, we were able to stay at the Wyndham Resort. We have had the opportunity to stay at a handful of their resorts, and as much as I like how clean everything is from the grounds, to the units, to the lobbies, the units are large and airy and have full size kitchens, the convenience factor of how close they are in everything; however, we are just not interested in becoming owners. Maybe, if we had bought earlier, I would feel differently. But the kids are mostly grown and don't want to travel with us very often and we just don't have the money to buy a timeshare. Maybe someday, but not today. As much as I have enjoyed staying at the Wyndham Resorts, theirs salespeople are as slick as any used cars salesman you could ever meet, except they wear nicer suits. An hour-long presentation turns into almost three hours of hard pressure selling, with lots of freebies and plentiful promises. We barley got away with our pocketbook intact. Nonetheless, the condos are a lot nicer then most hotels we have ever stayed at, but if we're going to spend that kind of money, I rather buy an RV.
Saturday morning - we endured the never ending sales pitch. The weather was dark and gloomy, inside as well as outside. After we left the "owner's seminar", we decided to explore Seaside. We have stayed in Seaside several times and I love the quaint little "sea side" town, which many shops and restaurants, arcades, amusement rides, and more. Every Fourth of July the town puts on a fantastic parade and fireworks celebration show. We beach combed and window shopped. We ate bread bowls of clam chowder for lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Good chowder. Sorry, I don't remember the name of the place. We also swung on the swing set on the beach and took advantage of the hot tub at the condo in the evening. The hot tub would have been more enjoyable did we not have to listen to some jerk lecture those around him about the evils of the Mormon church. Five minutes longer and I think my dad would have socked him.
Sunday, we started the day eating a bunch buffet at the Twisted Fish Steakhouse. Most excellent. I especially liked the made-to order omelettes and plentiful breakfast choices. After brunch, we drove south stopping at the town of Cannon Beach and visited the beaches of Twin Rocks and Rockaway. We then continued to Tillamook, stopping at the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory, where we had ice cream for lunch (and I didn't care). Next, we stopped at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company and then visited the Cape Meares Lighthouse, where Ed and I got soaked on our hike. The sun then broke through the clouds, as we headed toward our final destination of the day, the beach at Oceanside.
Monday, we visited the town of Astoria, stopping at Fort Stevens (a state park located on the mouth of the Columbia River) and walked along the jetties and then explored the old Army gun batteries. Next, we drove to Fort Clatsop, a reclica of winter quarters for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. There is a family connection to Fort Clatsop, as my great-great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Hamilton Willard, was a member of the Corps of Discovery and traveled with Lewis and Clark on their trek to the Pacific Ocean. Finally, we stopped at the Astoria Column, which is a 125--foot high column and has 164 steps spiraling to an observation deck at the top. Yes, I did climb all the way to the top. That evening, we watched the sunset turned the skies an tangerine reddish-orange. Breathtaking! And this is exactly why I love the Oregon coast.