Tag Archives: Oregon

Days 9-14: Quinn Epic Oregon Adventure

I just know that you’ve been anxiously waiting for the conclusion of my Epic Oregon Adventure, which took place last month, and I want you to wait no more! You can find Days 1-5 here and Days 6-8 here. If you want to see all the photos and more stories for Days 9-14, visit my Facebook album here.

The vast, vast Dunes

The vast, vast Dunes

Day 9: We woke up at Cape Blanco State Park to sunshine after a day in the fog, and promptly headed to our next stop at Jessie M. Honeyman State Park, in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, excited to see the Dooooones! After getting our spot, we went to one of the tourist trap, er, activity areas to book a dune buggy and driver for that afternoon. We booked one that holds four passengers and is driven by a driver with years of experience. If you want a true experience and a wild ride, definitely do this, and don’t simply hop on on the large 20-30 passenger vehicles. The latter is slow and, well, touristy… our choice was fast, as obnoxious as a roller coaster (in a good way) and left us with sand in places no one should ever have sand. We laughed, screamed, held our breath and were left with a desperate need for a cold beer to wash that sand away. Such a rush! The campground that night was very full and loud — you could hear the dune buggies til late in the evening — and the bathroom facilities were a bit sparse, especially for the amount of people there.

The Dunes! Taken from the dune buggy - you can see a thin stretch of ocean in the distance.

The Dunes! Taken from the dune buggy – you can see a thin stretch of ocean in the distance.

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I managed to fit some important hammock time in too.

I managed to fit some important hammock time in too.

Day 10: We spent nearly this full day driving the 3 hours to our next stop (Cape Lookout State Park) but stopping at tons of great attractions along the way. We toured through Florence, a very cute little town with shops along a boardwalk; stopped at the sea lion caves, which were unfortunately sans sea lions while we were there, but still neat to see the caves; tried to have lunch at the popular Brewer’s on the Bay brewery and eatery in Newport, but the wait was over an hour at 2pm on a Monday(!); visited the amazing Devil’s Punchbowl five miles south of Depoe Bay and ran around on the beach there before indulging in some local wine tastings and ice cream.

View of the Devil's Punchbowl from the top.

View of the Devil’s Punchbowl from the top.

View from inside the Devil's Punchbowl!

View from inside the Devil’s Punchbowl!

Finally, a half hour before the sun set, arrived at Cape Lookout State Park — by far, my favorite beach yet. We quickly parked the trucks, grabbed a couple beers and found a spot to sit on the beach and watch the amazing sunset, along with probably less than 20 other people. Later that night, we took in the amazing sky from the beach – it was so dark and the stars so bright and shooting across the sky. There was a lightning storm somewhere on the other side of the mountains, and although our sky was clear, it would light up every so often, making for quite a show. My husband and I just stood there looking up, holding hands in silence for awhile, both completely blown away by this special moment. I could have stayed there rooted in place forever.

Most amazing sunset at Cape Lookout State Park.

Most amazing sunset at Cape Lookout State Park.

Perfect sunset.

Perfect sunset.

Day 11: We said goodbye to our friends in the morning as they were heading back up to Vancouver and took a big walk on the beach (one of the longest stretches in Oregon, apparently).

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The beach at Cape Lookout.

Seriously, one of the most amazing beaches anywhere!

Seriously, one of the most amazing beaches anywhere!

We took our time heading to one more Oregon campground before the end of this leg. We stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and enjoyed some cheddar cheese curds (yum!) and later wandered through Cannon Beach and Seaside — both super cute and probably worth a lot more time there — before eventually getting to Fort Stevens State Park, the home of an old military defense station and a fantastic beach that you can actually drive on (which we did, naturally)!

Enjoying the sunset on a beach you can drive right on to!

Enjoying the sunset on a beach you can drive right on to!

Days 12 – 14: Day 12 saw us turning our truck towards our final destination. The last few days were mainly days of driving, bypassing the major cities and closing the gap to Canada. We spent our final night in the US (day 12) at the KOA in Ellensburg, WA, which was actually quite nice – very quiet and right on the Yakima River. The only stop of note was in Cashmere, WA where we wandered around and found ourselves at a factory for aplets and cotlets. I had no idea what these were but had to find out – and was deliciously surprised at the Turkish delight-type treat, filled with apples (aplets) or apricots (cotlets) and walnuts. If you find yourself in Cashmere, go there! You can even have a factory tour, and lots of free samples! After this, we made our way without a problem through the border crossing into Osoyoos, BC, with our final stop being my grandma’s house in Kelowna (not without some more wine samples through the Okanagan first though… of course… :) ).

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Campground on Yakima River in Ellensburg, WA

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Welcome back to Canada! First stop, Burrowing Owl Winery :)

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Days 6-8: Quinn Epic Oregon Adventure

You’ve already read about the first 5 days of our trip down the I-5 to San Francisco and starting our voyage back north towards the Oregon Coast (and if you haven’t, you should now!). We left off in Sonoma, one of my newly found favorite places ever! If you want to take a gander at my photos for Days 5-8 and more stories, please visit my Days 5-8 Facebook album.

Foggy morning in Sonoma - from jessicaquinn.ca

A foggy morning at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma.

Campsite deer in Sonoma  - from jessicaquinn.ca

Deer next to our campsite at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

Day 6: We woke up in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, to find a quiet fog settled down over the meadow and deer right next to our camper. It’s worth mentioning that the washroom and shower facilities at this campground are great too – very clean and comfortable. After I showered, I came outside to see wild turkeys running across the campground! We took some time for a short hike around the park and saw lizards on rocks and trees too.

Hiking the hills - from jessicaquinn.ca

Hiking in the hills at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

Eventually we ventured back down the mountain to visit some of the wineries that Sonoma is known for. We had lunch on the patio of B.R. Cohn winery, and I’ll be the first to admit that it gets a little fuzzy after this ;). They pour a lot more generously in the US than in Canada, and my husband was driving. Here’s a list of wineries we visited:

It doesn’t seem like a lot looking at it, but it took quite awhile. Back in Sonoma, we hit up the Sonoma Cheese Factory too for wine and cheese samples. We were going to try another campsite, but after taking a wrong turn, went back for another peaceful night at Sugarloaf Ridge instead.

B.R. Cohn Winery patio in Sonoma - from jessicaquinn.ca

B.R. Cohn Winery patio in Sonoma.

Day 7: After sadly saying our goodbyes to Sonoma, we headed northwest through the Redwoods National Park and hugged some GIANT trees!

Redwoods National Park - from jessicaquinn.ca

Redwoods National Park

In northern California, we went through a town called Eureka – have you been there? Don’t. Avoid it. I could be wrong, maybe the highway just runs through the worst of it, but it was the most depressing, downtrodden town I’ve ever seen, leaving us feeling a bit… blue. But about 15 minutes out of Eureka, we turned a corner and BOOM! Our first sighting of a beautiful white-sand beach! We took a quick scamper across the sand, then headed on.

Northern California beach - from jessicaquinn.ca

Our first beautiful beach encounter in northern California.

We wanted to stay at Patrick’s Point State Park in Trinidad, CA, but unfortunately, it was the Friday night of the Labour Day long weekend and by the time we got there, it was full. We ended up staying at Sounds of the Sea RV Park, five minutes down the road, which was your typical “line ’em up” RV park, where everyone disappeared at 8pm to watch cable TV in their giant RVs. But we did hear sea lions when we woke up which was cool. It was a couple mile walk to the beach back at Patrick’s Point, so we did that and scrambled down a steep cliff-side trail to the beach to take in the sunset.

Heading to the beach at Patrick's Point State Park - from jessicaquinn.ca

Heading to the beach at Patrick’s Point State Park.

Amazing ocean views at Patrick's Point State Park - from jessicaquinn.ca

Amazing ocean views at Patrick’s Point State Park.

Day 8: We woke up to such thick fog that our camping chairs, which we left outside overnight were soaking wet. You could literally see the moisture in the air. After a soggy breakfast, we hightailed it out of there in pursuit of more sunshine. We drove straight to our next destination, across the border into Oregon, and to Cape Blanco State Park, which is at the tip of a peninsula with a lighthouse overlooking a great beach and stunning ocean views. We took a long walk on a completely deserted beach. Why are there no people in these amazing places!? It was breathtaking. Some friends from Vancouver met us at the campsite to spend a few days with us; we shared some food, good wine and lively stories.

The lighthouse at Cape Blanco State Park - from jessicaquinn.ca

The lighthouse at Cape Blanco State Park.

A beautiful deserted beach at Cape Blanco State Park - from jessicaquinn.ca

A beautiful deserted beach at Cape Blanco State Park.

Stay tuned for Days 9-14… (we’ll be going to the Dunes!) :)

Days 1-5: Quinn Epic Oregon Adventure

My husband and I booked two weeks off at the end of August and took our first real vacation in awhile. We bought a new camper (a pop-up four wheel drive camper) and decided to drive down the I-5 to San Francisco and then up the Oregon Coast.

Quinn Epic Adventure

Quinn Epic Adventure 2013

I had intended to blog about our adventure on the way, but that quickly fell to the wayside, losing out over taking the extra time to kick back and relax instead. Can you blame me? As much as I love blogging, everyone needs a vacation from everything once in awhile. Now that I’m reflecting on our trip, I thought I’d just write a small synopsis of each day for you here, in three parts, highlighting some of our favorite places and the campgrounds we stayed in.

Feel free to visit my Days 1-5 Facebook album for more pictures and stories of the first leg!

Day 1: We drove from Prince George to Vancouver, brimming with excitement to pick up our new camper before the day was up. We spent the night with some friends, in our last “real” bed for awhile!

Day 2: We left Vancouver, anticipating a fairly long wait at the border crossing. It did take over an hour, but luckily we were waved through with minimal questions. The highlight of this day (mostly for my husband) was visiting Bruce Lee’s grave in Seattle. Finding a campsite near cities was definitely the most challenging part of our trip, and this first night was the worst. We had dinner at an Applebee’s in Federal Way, WA, as darkness was coming on quickly and finally found a campsite on our iphone map. We pulled up five minutes after the gate closed, but being the rebels we are, we sneaked through (as stealthily as we could with a truck and camper) the other side of the road and found an empty spot. I have no idea what this place was called and we left really early, but it seemed nice!

Deschutes beer sampler

Sampling the beer at Deschutes Brewery in Portland.

Day 3: We visited Portland, home of the American microbreweries, and we didn’t miss this chance to test some of their product! We wandered around a bit, enjoying the free wifi on nearly every street corner. That night we stayed at Sunny Valley RV Park, a little over an hour north of the California border. Even thought the campground was right next to the freeway, it was down a bit of a hill, so pretty quiet, and very pretty. Not exactly roughing it though with wifi, full hookups, showers and a even a pool, but very nice after spending so much time driving!

Our camper

Our setup at Sunny Valley RV Park

Day 4: We drove and drove and drove, and finally approached San Francisco. We wanted to stay somewhere before entering the city, but again, ran into the problem of finding campgrounds near the city. We thought there was one just before it, but taking a wrong turn, ended up in a… let’s just say, less than savoury neighbourhood (oops!). We drove through the city, unfortunately right at rush hour, and quickly reconfirmed that we’re not big city folks! Loved our first Golden Gate Bridge experience though and ended up staying at the huge KOA Campground about 45 minutes north of SF, in Petaluma. A quick dip in their pool followed by a toasty warm campfire put us at ease again.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Day 5: We ventured back into San Francisco, found some parking, and spent the next few hours wandering on Fisherman’s Wharf, taking a cable car up, up, up the big hills and exploring Chinatown. After eating warm steam buns, fresh crab and lobster, and taking in the stunning views of Alcatraz, we’d had enough of the craziness of city life and driving through the fog once more, turned towards Sonoma.

Seafood in San Francisco

Crab rolls and lobster on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Riding the cable car in San Francisco.

Riding the cable car in San Francisco.

We didn’t arrive in Sonoma until about 5pm and we were both instantly transfixed by the quiet calm of the small town. City Hall sat in the middle of town, surrounded by a park and then shops on the streets around it. Sonoma was a place where people actually read books in the park and sipped wine in bakery cafes. We went straight to the wine shop for our first tasting, got free bread in a bakery (as it was closing) and then I totally geeked out in my first Whole Foods experience. What an amazing grocery store! After leaving the crazy busy heat of SF we fell in love with Sonoma. We drove our way through the hills to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, and oh, the tranquility! Deer were grazing in the meadow in the middle of the campground, and it was just sooo quiet. The perfect place to wind down.

Sonoma bakery

Bread and wine at the bakery in Sonoma.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

The sun setting at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

Stay tuned for Days 6-8 coming soon… :)