Our Oregon Coast Journey, Part Three

Cloud bank over Tillamook Bay

Tillamook Bay

As part of her Brownie work this summer, Anna is taking the Wonders of Water journey. Because she’s currently between troops (for reasons I won’t go into here), she’s taking this journey over the summer with us, and our Oregon Coast trip was a big part of it.

Our first full day on the coast ended in a little town called Garibaldi. On our second day we visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory and the Blue Heron French Cheese Company, both in Tillamook, and then drove the Three Capes Loop down to Pacific City.

The first cape on the loop is Cape Meares, home of the Cape Meares Lighthouse.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Cape Meares Lighthouse

At only two stories tall, it’s the shortest of the Oregon Coast Lighthouses. The height of the cape made a taller lighthouse unnecessary. Built in 1890, the lighthouse guarded the entrance to Tillamook Bay until it was deactivated in 1963. The lighthouse was spared from demolition by public support, but suffered several major acts of vandalism over the next few years before the State Parks department took over the site in 1968.

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Our Oregon Coast Journey, Part Two

Anna and the Seaside sign

In Seaside, Oregon

As part of her Brownie work this summer, Anna is taking the Wonders of Water journey. Because she’s currently between troops (for reasons I won’t go into here), she’s taking this journey over the summer with us, and our Oregon Coast trip was a big part of it.

After leaving Astoria, we drove down to Seaside to visit the Seaside Aquarium. The aquarium is small and easy to miss. It can’t compare in size or scope to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, but it features one activity that its larger cousin lacks.

Seal tank

Seals waiting to be fed.

You can buy fish and feed the seals.

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Our Oregon Coast Journey, Part One

The Columbia River Maritime Museum, in Astoria, Oregon.

Photo: Steve Morgan (CC BY-SA 3.0)

As part of her Brownie work this summer, Anna is taking the Wonders of Water journey. Because she’s currently between troops (for reasons I won’t go into here), she’s taking this journey over the summer with us, and our Oregon Coast trip was a big part of it.

Our first stop on our way to the coast was Astoria, Oregon, the earliest European settlement on the Columbia River and a major West Coast port. While there, we visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum and learned about the river and its perils.

Wall display with buoy.

Reading about the perils of crossing the bar.

The Columbia River Bar is where the outward flow of the Columbia River meets the inward flow of the Pacific Ocean. The collision between two massive and opposing flows of water creates one of the most dangerous shipping areas in the world, long known to sailors as the “Graveyard of the Pacific.”

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Time to Exhale

Waves breaking on a beach.

Photo: Anna Ozab

Tomorrow, Julia and I are taking our first real vacation in ten years. Our last one was our honeymoon. After that we took trips—to San Diego and to Indiana to visit family, day trips to Florence, the Wildlife Safari or the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, and occasional overnights to Portland or Bend. But this is the first real drop everything, take a week away, and have a real vacation since before our Anna was born.

We all need a break from the routine. We all need time to exhale.

So we’re going to the Oregon Coast. We’ll head up to Portland tomorrow, then after Mass at the Grotto we’ll drive out to Astoria Sunday afternoon. From there, we’ll spend the next four days working our way down the North and Central Coast, from Seaside to Florence, and returning home on Thursday night.

Anna is looking forward to it and so are we. I’ll be writing every evening—in a journal, not online—but otherwise I’ll be soaking it all in.

The blog will still be here when I get back, and I hope you will be too. (In the meantime, I’d love it if you checked out some of the 594 other posts I’ve published since December, 2010.)

Later this morning,  we’re off to a Fourth of July parade, an annual visit to our tree, an afternoon of packing for our trip, a family dinner, and fireworks shortly after dusk.

Then tomorrow morning the vacation begins.

Time to exhale.

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