No blue skies this morning, but at least we could see Haystack Rock! I didn’t realize we were that far south of Cannon Beach and there are two Oregon Haystack Rocks, so this is the junior version. I figured out a wacky setup using my bendy tripod on the back of a padded chair set on the coffeetable to get a good photo of us on our hotel balcony with the view behind us…hooray! As we pulled out of the parking lot, there were two black & brown bunnies hanging out, and I just barely caught a photo of them out the window before they hopped away.
This was the most expensive hotel yet but no breakfast with only a coffee shop downstairs. I was starving but Grandma claimed she wasn’t hungry yet, so she wanted to find somewhere to eat along the way. I scarfed a couple leftover Brownie Briquettes to tide me over, but I was still getting a low blood sugar headache since it was about 14 hours since we had eaten dinner. Hwy 101 is inland for awhile, so we saw a lot of cows, and some blue sky really trying hard to peek through, so I was hopeful for more views when we got back to the coast.
We didn’t find anywhere to eat until downtown Tillamook, where I spotted a sign on the street advertising Eggs Benedict, so we pulled right over, just minutes before they stopped serving brunch at noon. The Rendezvous Restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall, but Grandma was impressed how clean it was, they made the hash browns crispy all the way through, and they gave me a half order of Eggs Benedict, a perfect portion size. I thought the upside-down wine glass as candle pedestal was cute. About an hour after lunch, I found another splurge…there were signs for a winery farther north, and I was sad we had driven past so many Willamette Valley wineries the day before with no time to stop, so since today we had time, Grandma said sure. She only tasted a couple, but they had FRUIT wines – real fruit wines! When I said I’d have trouble deciding since I have to fly home, she said they’re offering free shipping, so I splurged on all 6 of their fruit wines to share with friends back home. The cranberry & peach were Rieslings re-fermented with juice, but the plum, blackberry, green concord, and red concord were all truly fermented from the actual fruit…and were VERY tasty! Too sweet for Grandma, but I won’t be sharing them with her. 😉
North of Tillamook is where the coastal views are spectacular along the Pacific Coast Highway, and the blue skies kept trying hard to peek out when they could, so I stopped at almost every turnout for photos while Grandma sat in the car enjoying the view without walking. The last time I had been on this stretch in summer was 1997, pre-digital camera with no exposure options or fill-in flash, so I grabbed as many snaps as I could, some perhaps worthy of framing for my travel gallery wall back home. There were also information signs that were not there in 1997, so I learned that the drive-through Neahkahnie Mountain was completely impassable without a dangerous climb until Hwy 101 was built, and it is still an impressive rock wall supporting the road. I also learned there is a lighthouse called Terrible Tilly so far out even my camera digital zoom can’t do it justice. It was replaced with a marker in 1957 but the trouble it took to build that all the way out there, plus staffing and maintaining it was quite a feat.
I mentioned two Haystack Rocks, and the most famous one, featured in The Goonies movie, is at Cannon Beach, so we took the turnoff to see if I could get a photo. Grandma also thought it was time for an afternoon snack, so we were also in search of ice cream. What a busy Sunday at the beach town! We drove very carefully around town a bit, finding the beach but of course no parking, found a shop with a loading zone open for me to run in to buy us excellent ice cream cones, then I got the idea to try the national park turnoff I saw to the north. The park was a fee entrance, but there was a street nearby with a turnaround by some beach homes…voila! Grandma stayed in the van eating her ice cream while I hiked over the grassy hill to the beach and got some photos of the real Haystack Rock, still no blue skies, but at least a view. I didn’t go all the way to the water since it would take too long, plus then I would have wet sandy feet for the rest of the drive! 😉
We found the Warrenton Costco just south of Astoria exactly when the gas light turned out…seriously, we were sitting in the gas line when I heard the sign & saw the light go on…haha! It was only 4pm and I had seen a billboard for the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria, but Grandma decided we should shop for groceries instead, so we didn’t get to our hotel until 5pm, also too late for the street fair that was already packing up. C’est la vie! This hotel is quite nice but not cheap. The only online reservation I could get was a single queen bed, so we asked if there was any way we could have two beds.They had the last double suite available for $80 more, putting this almost as expensive as last-night’s hotel, but Grandma thought it was worth it. What a fancy place! Around the corner from the old Liberty Theatre (where we saw Empire Strikes Back in 1980), remodeled but with vintage art deco flavor, nicely decorated with wetbar & fireplace, we have separate rooms each with a TV, and our suite looks out onto Grandma Peterson’s church, Peace Lutheran!
I didn’t let Grandma have any scotch yet since I had an agenda in our short time here in Astoria. I wanted to drive past the old Peterson house to see how it was doing, eat fried razor clams at the Pig N Pan, plus find any buildings I remembered, maybe go up to the Astoria Column, and be back in time for sunset on the hotel rooftop balcony, when we would enjoy our scotch. I found the house easily enough, then we continued down the south hillside of Astoria and around the horn again to the Pig N Pan for an early dinner. Yummy fried razor clams, but I do think Grandma Peterson’s were better! 😉
We followed the signs up to the Astoria Column but it was closed for some special event. They were taking busloads of people up who wanted to see it, but we only wanted to drive up there since we’ve both been there before many many years ago. Too bad since the view should have been nice at least. My next mission was John Jacob Astor School, which I found on my phone map on the other side of town. I had never driven on Irving Street before, and it’s mostly trees so that was nice to see. We found the school, no I still haven’t seen Kindergarten Cop, but I know it was filmed here. Since we were on that end of Astoria, I thought of trying to find the Goonies house, especially since my Grandpa Peterson’s childhood home was down the street, but no luck. When I looked it up online tonight, I literally was only one block away…argh! I did find other cute houses though, and the most vivid royal blue & purple hydrangeas I have ever seen. I want my hydrangeas to be that color!
I knew the most gorgeous Victorian house in Astoria, the Flavel House, was near our hotel, but I had forgotten the courthouse and jail were across the street! The jail is now the Oregon Film Museum of course, with an old blocky black Jeep parked out front, just like the bad guys drove in the Goonies! Hahaha! Great idea for a building that had been idle for my entire lifetime, and I wish we had time to peek inside. I don’t ever remember going inside the courthouse, but Grandma Peterson worked there as far back as I remember until she retired, and one of my living room chairs is an old wooden carved jury chair from when they were being discarded.
That was the end of our Astoria tour, perfectly on time to ask for ice from the front desk, get upstairs to pour ourselves truly teeny tipples of scotch & water because the room glasses were so small, and head to the roof for our sunset. We couldn’t sit by the firepit since a guy was smoking a cigar, but we found a sheltered spot out of the breeze and enjoyed the view, even with the “bandaids” on the bridge from construction. Lovely sunset, so at least I got one good view from the past three days!
Tomorrow we head back to Seattle on a schedule, but we’ll drive up 101 over the Astoria Bridge since I have never driven that way myself. It’s been a good trip, but after driving well over 1000 miles since Tuesday, I am ready not to be driving for awhile! Full photo gallery is below, as always…enjoy!