Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Making Our Way Down the Oregon Coast and We've Been on the Road for Two Years!

Summer may be winding down but you wouldn't think so along the Oregon coast. The State Parks are still full on the weekends as folks try to grab some beach time before the rainy season sets in. That's why we made sure to make reservations at several State Parks well into the month of September.

A couple of weeks ago when reviewing our upcoming reservations we discovered we'd missed a single night, a Friday night no less. Fortunately we found a site large enough for our 5th wheel at Fort Stevens State Park, conveniently located between Long Beach, WA and our next stop Nehalem, OR, for the one night.

We packed a lot into our 24 hours at the Fort! A 2.5 mile hike around Coffenbury Lake. A sunset drive to see the wreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach. A 17 mile bike ride that included the tip of the peninsula to view the mouth of the Columbia River as well as a visit to the historic military sites in the park. There are extensive bike paths throughout this enormous park that take you through beautiful forest and salt marshes. This turned out to be an excellent stop over and would be worth a return visit.

Moon rising over the Peter Iredale.
On a warm summer evening it was impossible to get a shot without people on it!

We've spent the last few nights at Nehalem Bay State Park. For our first outing we wanted to make a loop hike out of the peninsula we are camped on. Bordered on the West by the Pacific Ocean and on the East by the Nehalem River, the peninsula is four miles long and is home to deer and elk, we even saw a sign about a recent bear scat sighting.

We ended up hiking 7 miles, a lot of it on sand (both hard packed and very soft), plus some bushwacking when the shore disappeared along the river or near the jetty. We did see fresh elk scat, but unfortunately no animals in the flesh. It was a tough 7 miles, but we really enjoyed the bushwacking and wayfinding parts!

On the river side of the peninsula we had the beach entirely to ourselves.

Taking a little used trail through the interior of the peninsula...on the lookout for wildlife!

Back on the river...

The jetty was packed with driftwood for us to clamber over to get to the beach side of the peninsula.
The dots above Hans' head are fishing boats hanging out at the intersection of river and ocean.

Our friends Dennis and Sheryl met up with us at Nehalem and we got to meet their new puppy, Phoebe.

Phoebe is a five month old ball of fire!

The four of us took at hike at Oswald West State Park, just a few miles North of our campsite. We first checked out the beach at Smugglers Cove then took the Cape Falcon trail hoping the foggy, drizzly conditions would clear up by the time we reached the viewpoint.

We were a little too late for tidepooling but the colors on the rocks were interesting.

Dennis and Sheryl crossing a stream.
The damp conditions made for some very slippery spots on the Cape Falcon Trail.

Burls and plants growing on trees.

Hans goofing around on the edge of a cliff!

Sea foam art.

We took a drive into Tillamook one day, stopping along the way to do a little hike at Kilchis Point Reserve. This is a new reserve and trails are still being built but we were able to walk a couple of miles through pretty forest and out to the edge of Tillamook Bay. Lots of interpretive panels on these easy walking trails.

An unusual start to the trail!
The first quarter mile is very fancy, but turns into a pleasant gravel path, then further in becomes dirt track.

In Tillamook we visited the famous cheese factory and enjoyed reading about the history and process of cheese making...and noticed most people went straight for the free cheese samples without even stopping to read the information panels! The place was packed and very touristy.

We also visited the much nicer Blue Heron French Cheese shop, where there are plenty of samples plus wine tasting. During the drive between our campsite at Nehalem Bay and Tillamook we passed the charming towns of Nehalem and retrospect it might have been more pleasant to walk those two cute towns than deal with the crowds in Tillamook!

Our last full day, today: September 10th, is our two year anniversary as full time RVers! What a blast we've had these past two years and no end in sight yet. Today was no exception. We started the day with a hike up Neahkahnie Mountain.

Neahkahnie tops out at 1600 feet and can be accessed from two trails. We chose the shorter 3 mile round trip South trail with 900 ft elevation gain. It's a relatively easy ascent through beautiful coastal forest to a viewpoint, just below the rocky summit, looking South over the quaint town of Manzanita and Nehalem Bay State Park.

Manzanita in the foreground, with Nehalem Bay to the left and the Pacific Ocean to the right.

We were excited to finally see a rough skinned newt on the trail!
As much as we wanted to touch him, we did not...these newts exude a strong toxin!

Afterwards we celebrated our On-The-Road Anniversary with an excellent lunch at San Dune Pub in Manzanita. Seriously good Chipotle Bacon Burger and Sweet Potato Fries, plus we tasted the Fort George Vortex IPA for the first time and it is a winner!

Nehalem Bay has been a wonderful stop and tomorrow we continue our coastal crawl, moving on to South Beach State Park. Here's a few more shots of this beautiful place we got to call home for a few days.


  1. Looks so beautiful up that way.. we must explore more of the coast! If your southward wanders bring you by Cape Blanco State Park, we'd love to meet you!

    And happy Nomadiversary!

  2. Congratulations on two years! Here's wishing you many more good travels.

  3. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Makes me want seafood'mm

  4. Those were amazing pictures! The colors and forms were incredible. Looking forward to spending more time on the OR coast some time. Thanks for sharing!

  5. You guys are living such a great life! Such an inspiration! Congrats on two years! I am toasting to you with a glass of red in Butte, MT, where it is supposed to get down to 28 degrees tonight. Enjoy the coast! Wish I was there!!

  6. Congrats on arriving at your two year anniversary looking so happy! May you have many more happy years on the road.

  7. Cheers on your two years of living on the road! And here's many many years more to being nomads :)
    I love that sea form art! And your gorgeous pictures makes me long for the west…and the pacific coast!

  8. Wow is right. These photos are incredible. Either I need to view blogs more often on my laptop or you have a new camera. You are making me miss the coast. We spent the last ten years camping at Nehalem but missed it this year. Love the little town of Manzanita--if you are still around check out the Bread and Ocean Bakery. Be sure to let us know if you head inland to Central Oregon.

  9. Happy two years! We hope sometime in our travels to make a summer in the NW coast, really beautiful.


  10. We spent September on the Oregon coast and the weekends at the state parks were very busy. One of those places where you definitely need reservations well after labor day. Loving all these photos, but especially the sea foam art. How unique! Happy two year Anniversary, and enjoy South Beach S.P. It was one of our favorites.

  11. We just drove through that area on our way to Astoria from Tillamook. Looks like we missed a lot!

  12. Another beautiful area with so much to do, see, hike, eat, climb, drink, photograph. So no bear or elk, just inmates? Phoebe is a cutie, just not sure we could do a puppy again :-) - great for a visit though! Congrats on your two-year, and thanks for continuing to share and inspire those looking forward to following in your foot and tire prints!

  13. Looks like you had a fantastic trip.

  14. I am loving this trip you are taking. I most definitely think it is something we need to do. Looks like lots of interesting hikes. I love the burls on that tree. What great sea foam "art!" Good eyes:) Your final photo is gorgeous! A real keeper:)

  15. We were just out that way this past weekend in our Rialta on a day trip. After visiting the Tillamook Forest Center on Hwy 6 (it's worthy of a visit if you're out that way again), we drove up 101 towards Manzanita. It took us about 2 seconds to decide not to stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory-busy! We were able to pull over and park along the road that fronts the beach in Manzanita and get out and do some beach combing. The town has some nice shops and is dog-friendly. I agree with you about Wheeler and Nehalem, though we have yet to explore them more. I wonder if you are dealing with some wind today, as it is windy here in Portland. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures!

  16. Lisa, you are making it hard for me to wait 7 more years! :-)

  17. Happy Anniversary!! Really well done on getting that Friday campsite at a state park. I messed up my dates once and it was a real pain. I'm just in awe of what you guys did in that 24 hours. And looking at the rest of your beautiful pictures of your other hikes I'm thinking that you actually out hike us. Hope we can get together for some hikes one day. I'm keeping all your Oregon posts since it's a place I've been wanting to go ever since we started full timing. I thought next summer but now David's health may not permit that. Thanks for showing me all these great places.

  18. What a gorgeous trip you are having! Your pictures sure make the Oregon coast very inviting Lisa...we are hoping for a trip that way next summer.

    Congratulations and Happy Anniversary...what a life! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  19. Congratulations on two years of full-time traveling -- and wishing you many more fabulous adventures ahead! (You find the best hikes -- thanks for all of the great tips.)

  20. How can you stand being on such a crowded beach? Lol. Congrats on your two-year anniversary. Hope there are many more to come and some day our paths cross.

  21. Happy two year anniversary! Your beautiful images make me long for the OR coast. We are hoping to get back that way next year.