Bruce retired last year, and for the last few years before he retired he was the chair of the water-use user group (WUUG) and I worked very closely with him. When WUUG met in Portland in 2006 he was a great host, so when I knew I was coming back I sent him an email asking if he was around to visit and also for advice on making an excursion to the Oregon coast on my one sightseeing day. (I'd done parts of the Columbia River gorge on previous trips out here.) Well, Bruce and his wife Donna picked me up Monday morning and gave me a guided tour of a chunk of the coast.
Actually, they started out by coming down to meet me for dinner Sunday night after I got in--we went to McCormick and Schmick, a couple of blocks from my hotel on the waterfront. That was lovely (I had seared sea scallops with a green curry sauce, plus a spinach salad), then we walked around the waterfront parks for a while to stretch our legs.
Monday we headed west on US 26 to Cannon Beach, a fairly ritzy beach resort town, and wandered first around the shops, especially the art shops. The gourmet flavors of salt-water taffy in the candy shop did provide a blend of the low end and high end, I must say. Then it was out to the beach itself, to walk on the sand and look at the shore. It was rather chilly--despite the 100+ temperatures Portland had had for the past week, the coast still didn't get above about 75. Monday it was foggy most of the day, and the high was maybe 70. A lovely change from the Georgia heat and humidity I'd left.
So, after walking on the beach we got back in the car and stopped at a glass-blower's shop, catching the end of a demonstration as he made a vase. Then we moved on to another beach at Hug Point--a State park that was basically a parking lot with restrooms, and beach access. A smaller beach, but very pretty.
We headed south again (all this excursion down the coast was on Highway 101) to Manzanita, stopping at a scenic overlook to see an exhibit on the difficulties of building that road, especially the section around the shoulder of the mountain we were on. We moved on to Garibaldi where we had a forgettable lunch in a local restaurant--Bruce had been looking for a place he used to eat at when doing field work in that area, 15 years ago or more, but it was gone.
Then it was on to Tillamook, of Tillamook cheddar fame. Tillamook apparently lacked access except by sea for a good ways into the 20th century, which might be what led it into developing as a cheese-making center. Today the Tillamook Dairy is a tourist stop, but it's very much a working dairy operation nonetheless as evidenced by the strong scent of manure all around the building. Inside the tourist part is a cafe, a large operation selling ice cream, a self-guided tour on cheesemaking, a gift shop, and a cheese shop. I bought several small blocks of flavored cheddar (garlic, black pepper, etc.), and we all had ice cream.
Leaving there I mentioned I could use livestock water use pictures for the report I'm working on, so we made a loop around the dairy-producing area looking for photogenic cows. Found one, but there's no water actually visible in the shot so it might not get used. Oh, and right there was a huge WWII-vintage dirigible barn, now a museum. I had seen one before in Brunswick, Georgia--wonder if it's still standing? edited to add: it seems the Brunswick hangars were demolished in 1971 after damage from a 1964 hurricane. If you hadn't seen the air museum in the area, the little sign on a cross road that said "No access to blimp base" might have been puzzling.
From there we went further south to a beach near Salishan (a high-end development), and had a long beach walk just enjoying the pounding of the surf and the cool air. Then it was time to start back, but we did go on south to Newport to pick up US 20 to head west. Then it was over to Corvallis, where they gave me a glimpse of Oregon State (where their younger daughter is in school), and then north to Portland. A very long day, but lots of fun...