Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Oregon Coast Aquarium

I'm pretty sure these are the last group of pictures of the trip. I took a ton and narrowed them down to my favorite 85. Besides the lighthouse, one of the top things to do in Newport was the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It's one of the top aquariums in the country and we had to go! It was beautiful. Really nicely done. Every hour they had feedings or shows happening with the animals and we caught a few shows.

After the aquarium we went to eat at a restaurant overlooking the ocean. As we sat waiting for our food a lady near us came and told us that they've been watching whales breech and to keep an eye out. Sure enough after a few minutes Greta and I saw a whale blow water a few times and then came slightly out of the water. It was cool. We stayed in Newport at a hotel on the beach for two nights before driving back to Seattle and flying home. It was a very memorable trip full of firsts and it won't be forgotten. Here are the last photos of the time on the beach outside the hotel.

A vacation wouldn't be complete without watching Sponge Bob Squarepants in the hotel room.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Tide Pools

After Cannon Beach we hopped in the car and kept heading south along the coast. Our destination was Newport Oregon for two nights. We looked up fun places in Newport and Yaquina Head Lighthouse was at the top of the list. So we drove to the entrance and for $7 a car load headed into the park. The parking lot was full so we parked back at the visitors center and walked to the tide pools and lighthouse. It was low tide when we arrived and got to explore around and see all the critters and sea life at Cobble Beach.

The Yaquina Head Lighthouse is right out of a post card. It's beautiful! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cannon Beach, OR

After our foggy trip to Mt Saint Helens we headed into Oregon on the Pacific Coast Highway and headed south. It was spectacular right from the start. Giant trees that had to be over 200 feet tall lined the road. Quaint little seaside towns clustered along the coast. Our first stop along the way was Cannon Beach, which if you are heading south is one of the first places to really see the ocean. We pulled off the highway and found the first ice cream shop, got ice cream for the kids and headed to the beach.

What a beautiful place to see the ocean for the first time! I could see coming back to Cannon Beach as a destination for a future trip. It was truly breathtaking. It wasn't too warm, a nice 65 degrees and the water wasn't freezing. I found out that three movies were filmed on this beach (or the beach right north of this one): Goonies, Point Break and Twilight. I can see why!

The town wasn't too touristy, very quaint and cute. Lots of fun little shops and easy access to the beach. We found a good place to eat rather easily and there were even several vegan options on the menu. When we got home I got onto Airbnb and found several cute houses for under $150 a night. I'm ready to go back!

Here is the video I took of us walking up the block to see the ocean for the first time. I'm pretty annoying so you don't have to turn up your speakers. I'm pretty sure I was the most excited person in the family to see the ocean. The kids were pretty excited to eat their ice cream.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Watershed Park and Mt. Saint Helens

Before we said goodbye to family and started our road trip down the coast we had to go on a beautiful nature trail called Watershed Park. It's just a couple of blocks from my brother-in-laws house and is utterly spectacular. Randi and Rich try to walk it daily with Hilde their dog when they visit. Sean told me often it felt like we were on the planet Endor from Star Wars. I wouldn't even be surprised to find out it was filmed here.

We rented an SUV like a Ford Edge for this trip but when we got to Seattle to pick it up they were all out and upgraded us to a Ford Flex. We had no idea what it was going to be like but were thoroughly impressed by the end of the trip. It was top of the line and had not one, not two but three sunroofs which proved to be really cool for seeing all of the views. Plus with the third row seating we were able to fit six adults in it for the graduation (we left the three kids with a sitter). It was like a fancy little school bus.

After leaving Olympia we headed south to go see Mount St. Helens. It was an overcast and drizzly day so we weren't expecting much. Turns out it's good to keep your expectations low, the mountain was hiding in a giant cloud. We drove all the way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory which was quite a ways off of the highway. It was a beautiful drive none the less.

Above is the picture from the observation deck. We laughed. Here is a picture of what we should have seen from this point.  The Observatory itself was full of information about the 1980 eruption with a movie and detailed accounts from the survivors. Wish we could have seen the mountain, perhaps another day. The lady at the observatory said it's only visible for about 100 days out the year.

Down the road is the Forest Learning Center which is even more informative than the Observatory with beautiful views of the valley. Plus it has a nice gift shop which is always a hit with the kids.

 More tomorrow.