The Oregon Trail

This bit covers two days, as we have had intermittent or no Internet en route.

Today (– well obviously not, but bear with me…), Tuesday, we packed our bags and set off on our road trip from Seattle to San Francisco.

We’d bought return tickets with Grayline The ‘Downtown Airporter’, when we arrived at the airport (Sea-Tac) so all we had to do was wait outside our hotel to be picked up. As we were staying at one of the named ‘stop’ hotels (there are about 10 downtown @ $11 each way or $18 return) this was easy. If we’d been staying at one somewhere else we would have been re-picked-up and taken there for an extra charge. A taxi costs $32 – one way.

Our hire car turned out to be a Chevrolet PT Cruiser, which is fine except it wallows on bends, has no whoomph and no gear stick! It’s a really cool gray colour though. There is something about an automatic that makes you lazy – or perhaps it’s just me and Sharon. We found it really hard to keep the car in a straight line and were always scaring each other to death with the closeness we were driving to the kerb.

Apart from the car, a delightful pizza at lunchtime somewhere un-remember-able and a cooler coastline, there’s nothing else to report today. Once we got off I5 south of Tacoma, the journey was pleasant. We’re staying in Manzanita, just about 30 miles into Oregon and the scenery is just changing for the better.  The whole journey from Seattle via Aberdeen and Astoria was around 210 miles.

Well, as I was about to upload yesterday’s drivel, the Internet packed up (I think I must have overloaded it with my pictures to Flickr). We stayed at a bed and breakfast place called ‘Zen Garden’. It was about 1.5 miles from the small town centre and we walked there on the beach, which is beautiful. We’d only set off to look at the Ocean, but after ending up in the town itself, we gave it a coat of looking at and stayed for dinner. The town itself had a lot more going for it than Bandon, where we’re staying tonight (Wednesday)

We arrived in the town of Bandon about 5.45pm but all the shops were closing and most of the restaurants seemed to close at 7.00pm or 8.00pm, which seemed really strange, especially for such a prominent town on such a popular tourist route. The one restaurant we’d had recommended was full – no space at the inn! But we’re here tomorrow too – so we’ll see what happens then. {Late news – our B&B owner has booked us places for tonight – Thursday}

Manzanita to Brandon
The drive down took from 9.30am and we arrived at 4.30pm – seven hours to do about 220 miles. Highway 101 is the artery that serves the Oregon coast and for most of its way it is a pleasant trip, but some bits of it are ugly and today there were mile upon mile of road works. We’ve been unfortunate to have had an overcast day today – no rain, but dull – so some of the beautiful scenery was not evident, but that we did manage to see was breathtaking. The road to Florence is close to the Ocean but then, until Bandon is mainly inland as it passes huge tracts of dune.

We’re staying at another bed and breakfast: The Bandon Ocean Guest House, which is fabulously placed. Because of a cancellation, we were offered a choice of rooms – so we’re in one with a bed the size of a football pitch and a view (and balcony) you wouldn’t believe. We’re in ‘The Donegal Room’. Fingers crossed, the sun will reappear tomorrow and it will be bliss.

I’m preparing this on Thursday and am not sure when I will be able to post again, so I will report upon the breakfast here at Bandon Ocean Guest House. Wonderful! It would have been VERY rude to photograph the fayre as we were sharing a table with two other guests. We were given an asparagus and rosemary fritatta with fried potatoes and bacon. Even these contained a little rosemary and other herbs from the garden. We also had strawberries, marinated in balsamic vinegar and layered with yogurt. Tea, selection of juices and toast with local preserves too. As I said: wonderful!

In Manzanita, Sharon had a Chilli Burger and I had a BLT with ‘Swiss’ in a Ciabatta bun. Both were ok, but nothing to write home about. With beers though, we didn’t really pay any less than we had the previous night in Seattle.

Zen Garden is quaint, to say the least, but the breakfast was superb. We had to make our choices the night before but that didn’t matter. Sharon had Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup AND Bacon and Scrambled Eggs. I had Granola and fruit separate from my Bacon and Eggs but both were excellently cooked and available in small, medium or large portions (we both had small). The toast was home made bread, or as close to home made as you can get and the fruit we got as a starter included raspberries, banana, kiwi fruit, pineapple and blueberries. Lovely.

In Bandon, we had Thai. Two specials, tasty, ‘nuff said.

Hopefully I will get this up on the ‘net when we go into Bandon tomorrow (Thursday – now today) – if the ‘free WiFi’ coffee shop is open! It might be a day or so before we come back online – depends on Internet en route.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by cheryl4barlowtrailwelcome on July 24, 2009 at 6:34 am

    So wonderfully fun to read your blog while sitting in my livingroom. I must tell you of the most wonderful place heading towards San Fran. I am a Redwood/Humboldt County native. If you are traveling down 101 through N. CA. Please take advantage of a few of the Redwood Coast offerings. You will drive by beautiful beaches and Crescent City, a very small town on the CA border has an awesome, get out and walk stretch. You can also take a look at the commercial fishing boats docked, and enjoy clam chowder at one of the local restaurants nearby. Ask a native and they’ll tell you the best. Heading down further on 101 S. and you will go through the Redwood Park area near Orick. Look out for the herd of Elk as they can cross the freeway at whim. Trinidad Bay is so photo worthy that you must take a peek. Their eatery is a good breakfast eat. An hour further and you will come through “Eureka”, my hometown. The Old Town area will be on 3rd street and includes the “Carson Mansion” a great photo hit. You can find lot’s of interesting shopping, including the Irish shop. If hungry, you have a great Italian restaurant “Mazzatti’s” (or close to that:) or my favorite in the area “the Sea Grill”. As the daughter of a commercial fisherman, I am a picky seafood eater, and they meet my requirements. If you want to drive another 30 minutes for a really awesome bowl of Seafood Chowder, stop in at King Salmon, take the exit and drive to the end of the road. You’ll dead in at the door of the restaurant. You won’t find anything better until you hit San Fran. If you like Victorian Town Themes, Ferndale is also a must stop. A beautiful small town, restored, with a few bed and breakfast Inns. Again, the locals will tell you the favorites. I find the local coffee house will always provide an area “advisor”.
    I hope that you enjoy your trip and have a wonderfully safe visit to my former hometown area!
    Happy Trails To You…Cheryl


  2. Hi Cheryl,

    I’d love to comment via my post for Thursday and for Friday but the internet at tonight’s hotel just won’t let me. We’re at Benbow Inn – which I’m sure you’ll know and without having read your post – we have done ‘some’ of the things you’ve suggested. Many many thanks for commenting.

    Are you still local – or did you find my blog in the UK?



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