Seaside wrap up

The excitement of Cannon Beach was obviously too much. Thoughts of activity slipped away to be replaced by thoughts of, well, nothing. Having said that the holiday culture need was satisfied by paying a visit to the Seaside museum. As with past walking tours and museum visits, a familiar pattern to the history of the town emerged.

Hardy pioneers, entrepreneurs, and fierce fires all stepped forward to take their bow. I may have to abstain from west coast culture for a while as its becoming a single story with highlights that can be swapped in and out of any of the towns or cities. The museum was actually full of informative exhibits. As Seaside is such a small place it was interesting to thumb through the old school photos. The growth of the town was very visible through the expanding grad class.

A lazy morning turned in to a slow lunch. A perfect holiday pace that continued in to the afternoon with another visit to bygone days, this time courtesy of a wander around the antiques and collectables mall. Maybe it’s an ageing thing. There’s just something comforting about unearthing artefacts from ones childhood. Simpler days. One great fund was an original Life Magazine from the actual day I was born. A must purchase if ever there was.

The day wound down with a slightly energetic walk along Seaside promenade. It’s a lot narrower than some of the marketing pics make it look, however it’s a good long walk. Combine the prom with a beach stroll and you have a great way to close off the day.

After a déjà vu final day it was time to head back north. The weather was turning and the Megler Bridge across the Columbia had an air of mystery about it as the far side was shrouded in mist. Once back in Washington, Dismal Nitch provided the perfect photo opportunity for an end of holiday snap.1308-Seaside-06

To spice up the drive home, lets face it, who wants to sit on I5 when there are alternatives, we decided to head across country to Bremerton and take the ferry to Seattle. Excellent choice.

The Puget Sound was a millpond, the sun was shining and the sights coming in to Seattle were sumptuous.

1308-Seaside-20So that was it. An Oregon coast break. As wonderful as living in the Lower Mainland is there’s something very special about walking mile long, almost deserted beaches. The beaches absolutely lived up to their reputation of being stunning. I’m certain that I’ll be beside the seaside again.

Namesake beach

It would be wrong. Travelling to the Oregon coast and not visiting Cannon Beach would be unthinkable. So, a day at namesake beach it was.

1308-Seaside-03I’d ridden around Cannon Beach on my first motorcycle road trip in 2010. Back then I was on a tight schedule and couldn’t spare the time to stop. It felt good to be able to put that right. The strange thing was that the town area was nothing like what I thought I remembered. It would appear that I was suffering from bikers delusion. In 2010, Cannon Beach was early on day two of a six day excursion. I guess places simply blended together, and so in 2013 I was greeted by an unfamiliar town.

Although still very much a tourist-centric town, Cannon Beach seems to have set out its stall as providing a more ‘upscale’ experience than Seaside, at least in the town area. If you’re just looking for access to a great beach there’s nothing to choose. Oregon schools had returned for the new year so I have no idea how busy the beaches can get in summer. At the tail end of August, although not deserted, there w as plenty of space.

1308-Seaside-04Cannon Beach can also differentiate itself through the presence of the large Haystack Rock which certainly adds character to the area. The rock reminded me of the even larger beachside giant at Morrow Bay in California. I’d spent a wonderful afternoon in Morrow with my young family back in 2000, cue melancholy moment.The town area of Cannon Beach has none of the Seaside amusements, prefering to focus on the arts to persuade its visitors to part with their cash (or maybe to part with their credit card is more appropriate). So within a short drive one can have two very different holiday experiences.

It was back to Seaside for the evening meal and a walk along the promenade. The simple joys of walking and observing reminded me that this holiday was about relaxing. I wasn’t fussed about what the towns offered, the beaches were great to stroll along. The beaches provide the perfect place to let work related stresses get blown away.

1308-Seaside-07A spectacular, melt in to the ocean sunset viewed from the Lewis and Clark commemorative statue rounds off a very agreeable day.


The two sides of Seaside

The receptionist at the hotel in Olympia seemed very underwhelmed when we mentioned that Seaside was the next destination. Her advice was to make sure we took in Cannon Beach. Later on it would become clear what her advice was based upon.

1308-Seaside-05After another roadworks littered drive, Seaside! Seaside has made its claim to fame as the end of the Lewis and Clark trail. It seems that the claim is stretching things slightly as the expedition stopped at Fort Clatsop and sent a working party to what is now Seaside to produce salt to preserve food for the journey back east. I’m not going to call out Seaside on a technicality.

First impressions? Accommodation excellent, beach amazing. Time to explore some more. The short walk in to town turned up a local cafe and what appeared to be a rather interesting antiques hall. More about that later. Walking back to the suite, the second side of Seaside surfaced.

The walk west along Broadway became a walk back in time. It was seaside in the more English style, compete with arcades. The only missing piece was the ‘Kiss me quick’ hat. So from the very European (Dutch/Belgian coast) beach to a very British seaside experience all within the space of a few hundred metres. I’m guessing that the hotel receptionist in Olympia has been exposed to ‘Kiss me quick’ Seaside and not the great beach. My preference is undoubtably the sandy Seaside, one of multi-mile beach, constant crashing of waves, rolling dunes and wide open space rather than the more manufactured Seaside. 1308-Seaside-02The pont is that there’s a choice. Although the town is small, the Pacific frontage is wide and deep enabling those that prefer their downtime to involve nothing more than nature to get exactly that. Want dodgems? No problem, Seaside can do that too.

Dinner was taken in the rather fine Pacific Way Cafe in the adjoining town of Gearhart. Well worth the short drive both for the food and taking in yet another stretch of super sandy, lightly populated beach.

The holiday was shaping up well in terms of offering mental downtime.

This was a great view to end the day.


Heading to Seaside

After much deliberation the Sunshine Coast was consigned to ‘another time’. BC Ferries were the sole reason for a vacation 180 degree. As much as the scootour would have been fun, combined ferry fares exceeding $300 were simply too high. BC loses out to south of the border. The Oregon coast called loud. Some swift research unearthed a very cool looking place in Seaside. I’d ridden through Seaside on my 2010 road trip so was familiar with the area. It’s reminiscent of the Belgian/Dutch cost and that’s not a bad thing. Pre holiday excitement kicked in.

A great idea from Lesley. How about staying somewhere Sunday night. Olympia was an obvious choice do me and having secured the rather pleasant Red Lion hotel at a great ‘Hotwire’ rate, everything was in place. Time to test the Nexus cards again.

The previous crossing went somewhat wrong as there was a ‘problem’ with my card. This time, easy. The card repaid the cost of enrollment as a one hour line up for the great un-nexused was a 30 second breeze across the border. The North American version of holidayng abroad had really started.

Despite very heavy traffic either side of Seattle, a combination of stalls, accidents and so many cars, the holiday mood prevailed. The overnight accommodation was perfect and a relaxed end of day meal closed out the Seaside trip, day one.


California road trip day 8

We were wet. We were very wet. We were very wet indeed.

Day eight and rain was forecast from Eugene to Portland, and the forecast was correct. Our end point for the day was Olympia, Washington. We had around 300 miles to cover and it was all Freeway. Not an exciting prospect.

We had a plan. Oregon, the home of zero sales tax. Elliot was looking for a small, bike portable tent and I was looking for an iPad. Finding somewhere to sell me the electronics proved to be far harder than getting a tent. Roseburg, nope. Eugene, nope. Hmmm, at this rate I’d run out of Oregon. Elliot was fine, he’d picked up his tent and tarp. The goods were firmly bungied to his bike and we set out from Eugene towards Portland. The weather was closing in fast and we tok the opportunity to stop under a Freeway bridge to don the waterproofs. Good timing too, as within 5 minutes we entered rain that lasted for   a good couple of hours. Portland was my final chance to pick up the hens teeth version of the iPad I was looking for and finally BestBuy delivered the goods.

Coffee break as the rain was finally easing off. We were wet. We were very wet. We were very wet indeed. I’m pretty certain a sizeable puddle formed beneath our draining gear, this was possibly wetter than day one.

We’d booked through again and for the final night we scored big time. The hotel was terrific. Fantastic food, jazz in the restaurant and a gorgeous view out of the window. If there was a way to close out the trip, this was most definitely it.The positive was that we’d toughed it out. No more rain to dampen us, it was now an easy ride to Olympia.

Tax free purchases, check. Dry kit, check. Well fed and watered, check. Day eight, check. Ducati and Suzuki performing well, check.

Hopefully the border crossing on our final day wouldn’t prove difficult.