Two days after we arrived in Portland, we set out to drive Highway 101 down the coast of Oregon. We woke up early, checked out of our hotel & headed back to the airport, this time to rent a car. Since we had SO much luggage, they upgraded us to a 4-door hatchback VW. Plenty of room for our luggage & just enough room for the two of us. Here is our cute little rental car:
I fell in love with it. Hatchbacks are awesome! (Those pictures were taken later in California, by the way.)
Once we got the car, we drove over to Rocky Butte Natural Area in Portland & got a view of both Mount Hood & Saint Helens. This was a fantastic way to bid the city farewell. It was an amazing view seeing both volcanoes on either side of us. Once we took a few pictures, we hopped in the car & headed towards Highway 101.
The route we took was 99 West, which turned into Highway 18 along the way. We got onto 101 just outside of Lincoln City. I recommend this route because it’s quick & easy but also because we got great views of Oregon Wine Country along the way. I didn’t even know Oregon had a wine country but it does & it’s gorgeous.
I also recommend this route for the numerous drive-thru coffee shops. This may have been my favorite thing about the west coast. Seeing the coffee culture in Oregon & California felt like a welcome call. I might just belong by that gorgeous Pacific Coast.
Throughout the day we drove non-stop, pulling over constantly to take pictures & jump up and down like a couple of teenagers at a pep-rally. We were beyond giddy & in love. There were flowers, mountains, cliffs, wildlife, ocean waves, etc. I was awe struck by all this beauty. And I was getting to take it all in with my husband by my side. It doesn’t get much better than that day was.
Here is a quick list of spots we pulled off. Sometimes we took pictures, other times we just took it in for our memories.
1. Lincoln City – This is around where we began on Highway 101. We pulled off several times while driving through this area to feel the ocean breeze. One of the great things about Highway 101 are all the areas along the side of the highway where you can safely pull off to enjoy the view.
2. Depoe Bay Wayside Ocean State Park – We drove through here & took in views of the ocean crashing into cliff sides with mountains & evergreen trees as a backdrop. It was the stuff movies are made of.
3. Dunes City – We didn’t go all the way into the Dunes National Recreational Area since we would need to go without the car. But we did catch a nice glimpse of dunes while driving through this area.
4. Devil’s Punch Bowl – We went during low tide so we didn’t get to see the ocean water churning in the “punch bowl.” We did see the “punch bowl” formation, ocean views & our very first western squirrel. We were a little too excited about the squirrel, I’ll admit. But it did actually look different from the squirrels I grew up with in the South.
5. Sea Lions – Let me type that again, SEA LIONS!!!!! We didn’t actually go into the Sea Lion Caves. Remember how I mentioned that we did little to no research before our trip. This one had been mentioned to us & we quickly forgot about it. So when we came upon it, it was a total surprise. We pulled off at this curve just to take this picture.
While we were taking pictures, we heard animal noises coming from below. We looked over the edge & what did we find? SEA LIONS!!! All piled on a rock & on each other. It was a really cool moment. I highly recommend making time for those cute little puppy dogs of the sea.
6. Brookings – This is where we stayed the night. Brookings is just by the Oregon-California border & was a great place to rest before venturing into California the next day.
We stayed at the Pacific Sunset Inn. I know some people turn up their noses at roadside inns and usually for good reason. But that’s not our travel style. We are able to travel as much as we do because we are willing to do it on the cheap. And boy did we win by choosing this inn. This one has hipster charm coming out of its ears. From the vintage decor to the vintage smell (just think of your Grandmother’s house) & best yet, the vintage TV. It was Zenith that made the pop/buzzing sound & flash of light as it turned on. It was clear that this place has not been updated or renovated but rather, immaculately maintained. It was spotlessly clean & everything was in working order.
I got a little teary eyed when we turned on the heater. Remember that vintage smell I mentioned? I could have sworn I was back in my Grandmother’s house. Even the sheets reminded me of hers.
Do those curtains remind anyone else of the Red Room in “Twin Peaks”?
Next stop: Nor Cal!