The Oregon Coast


241 Nehalem State Park_

Remember those amazing blue skies when we first arrived at Nehalem Bay? Yeah. They lasted until around 1 am. Around 3 am, both Aaron and I awoke to rain falling hard on our tent. Aaron and I both waited to see if it was going to let up. It didn’t. We put a tarp over the top and I prayed for about a half an hour that the kids wouldn’t get drenched. When the drops still fell, despite the tarp, we began our plan C. I put all of the pillows and blankets in a bag to carry to the car (for each individual child), then put the sleeping bags in black bags, as Aaron either escorted or carried our five kids to the van….which would now be our bed until we awoke. While it was exhausting and a little discouraging, as Aaron and I both fell into our seats, we looked at each other and laughed. We fell asleep holding hands across our pillows. What a life!

Amazingly, we slept from 4:00 to 8:00am. We were so tired! When we awoke, we met our neighbors. It turns out, they are Utah transplants, who now claim Portland for their home. Spencer and Aaron (we thought it was cool that their names were both androgynous like ours) and their two little ones even braved a trip down to the beach with us, to have a small devotional, before the storm came back to insult us.

242 Nehalem State Park_

Simon was thrilled to have a little boy his age to scurry around the beach with.

243 Nehalem State Park_

No more blue skies.

244 Nehalem State Park_ copy

But that didn’t stop these beach lovers from getting their toes wet again. I swear, Aaron is half-fish.

245 Nehalem State Park_

The dark clouds grew darker, and it was time for us to move on our way. We had our devotional, which included an opening and closing prayer, a song (the Popcorn Song), and the positive thought for the day, which was given by Ryan (“Be kind to each other.”).

246 Nehalem State Park_

So happy to have met this sweet family. It is such a small world, after all.

247 Nehalem State Park_

As the rains set in, we moved quickly to get back to our camp. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the rain, the mist upon the layers of trees, the shades of green. The urge to capture it was too overwhelming to ignore. This is what happens, when you attempt to take a picture in the rain….without a rain cover. I really wish I would have had something to cover my head (and my faithful camera).

248 Oregon Coast

As we headed on down the coast, I had to exercise some self-control to keep myself from stopping every 5 minutes to get more amazing shots of the landscape. So beautiful.

249 Oregon Coast

We saw these signs all along the coast….kind of made me glad that we don’t live close to the ocean.

250 Tillamook Factory

Being the cheese and ice cream lovers we are, we had to make a stop by the Tillamook factory. It didn’t disappoint. I love the VW bus!

251 Tillamook Factory

We enjoyed watching them make and package cheese in the factory.

252 Tillamook Factory

These were the souvenirs Aaron and I chose to take home with us. 🙂

253 Tillamook Factory

This was the 5 scoop sampler we got for the family to share (can’t beat $5 for a large bowl of ice cream). We chose Fireside S’mores, Oregon Strawberry, Hazelnut Salted Caramel, Wild Mountain Blackberry, and Tillamook Mudslide.

254 Tillamook Factory

We got a lot of strange looks from other visitors, as we each took turns taking a spoonful of each flavor, then passing the bowl around. But we didn’t care. We were too busy enjoying the yummy treat! Nothing went to waste on this roadtrip…..nothing.

255 Mo's

On our way down the coast, we stopped by a Mo’s in Lincoln City to eat some of their famous seafood.

256 Mo's

The seafood lovers were thrilled. The view was spectacular and the clam chowder was amazing.

257 Mo's

We bought some calamari, a family-size serving of the chowder, some shrimp with cabbage, shrimp with coleslaw, and linguine with mushrooms and shrimp. We ate all of our dishes buffet style (we have learned that this is an awesome way for our family to try new foods). The waitress was so sweet and they all gave us such excellent service, we tipped 25% and even filled out a comment card, expressing how much we appreciated the experience. Next time we go to a Mo’s, we will be ordering 3 family servings of the chowder and some bread. The chowder is like crack. Seriously, can’t wait to go back!

258 Mo's

Mo’s bathrooms…the kids sure got a laugh out of them.

259 Yaquina Coast

While we were looking for the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, we came across this little house on the edge of Cape FoulWeather. Now, I am not one to be afraid of heights, but this house is literally situated on the edge of the cliff and it made me a little queasy looking out the windows. Here is an image of what the outside looks like.

260 Yaquina Head Lighthouse copy

We arrived at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse around 4:28 and they had already closed up their gift shop. The tours had to be scheduled….in case you ever want to go there and see the inside of a lighthouse. In all of my planning, I completely slacked off when it came to planning lighthouse visits. Next time Aaron and I travel through Oregon, I will be sure to make sure we get a tour of each and every one we can tour. He loves lighthouses.

261 Yaquina Head Lighthouse copy

262 Yaquina Head Lighthouse

My little troopers….happy to get a break from driving and a chance to run around. Love these kids.

263 Yaquina Head Lighthouse

My man, lover of lighthouses.

264 Yaquina Head Lighthouse copy265 Yaquina Head Lighthouse copy

We did a lot of driving. Aaron would stop every time he heard me mention something was beautiful or that I wished I could get a picture of it. I am so blessed that he loves me so much. I finally learned not to say anything unless I truly wanted a picture. There were a few times, towards the end of our trip when he did some crazy maneuvers, just to get off to the side of the road….only to have me ask why he pulled off. LOL

266 Yaquina Bay Bridge copy

I especially enjoyed shooting the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Can’t wait to come back to both the Seattle and Portland area to capture more bridges. But the Yaquina Bay Bridge was quite a treat to shoot.

267 Haceta Head Lighthouse copy

It was raining pretty heavily when we passed the Heceta Lighthouse, so we didn’t venture up the steep pathway to see it up-close. But I was able to get a few long distance shots from a view-point, a ways down the road.  Not too shabby for a rainy, windy, no-tripod, telephoto lens shot, eh?

We headed down to Coos Bay. Rather than drive around for hours, seeking lodging (like we had in Seaside, the last time we had to find a hotel on short notice), we decided to find a hotel to stay in and reserve our room beforehand.  By the way, we had heard so many stories about Coos Bay, so we were expecting it to be “all that”. It isn’t.

We stayed at the Red Lion in Coos Bay. Let me just say, the Red Lion of Coos Bay looks nothing like the Red Lion of Salt Lake City. Aaron and I LOL (literally, laughed out loud), as we pulled into the parking lot. They did have a room with 3 queens and a decent complimentary breakfast. So, that made up for the cheesy appearance and the musty smell of years of smoke in the “smoke-free” rooms.

268 Oregon Coast

The next morning, we drove down the coast towards California. We passed this little store and stopped in to get some locally made jam. We had missed the few fresh strawberry stands along the way and regretted it. We didn’t want to miss out on getting some jam. We got the salalberry jam (the unique berry that we had seen a lot of, while on the trails around Fort Clatsop).


268 Toy Yoda 100k miles_

While we were driving along on 101 along the Oregon coast, Toy Yoda (our Toyota Sienna) turned over 100,000 miles on her odometer.

269 Toy Yoda 100k miles

Can’t wait to see where her next 100,000 will take her!

270 Oregon Coast

There were so many views like this along the way….wish we had a week just to take in all of the beaches, one by one. Oregon has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen (and I have been to quite a few around the world).

271 Welcome to Cali

Finally! A Welcome to this State sign that wasn’t on a bridge (both of the Oregon signs and the Welcome to Washington sign had been on bridges with no shoulder, where we were going over 55 mph. And Idaho didn’t even have a sign…..).

271A The Redwoods

From what I read about the Redwoods, Jedediah Smith State Park was supposed to be the most beautiful and have the best campgrounds. The only problem (or blessing, depending upon how you look at it) with going in May, was that there was no way to make reservations. I assumed this meant that it wouldn’t be full….and I was right! YAY!

272 The Redwoods 273 The Redwoods

So, here is the story behind our tent. We purchased an 8 man tent quite a number of years ago. We had only used it once, when a friend asked to borrow it. When it came back, all of the stakes were missing, along with the rain fly. 😦 Since then, we only used it when we knew there wasn’t going to be any rain.

When we decided to head out on the trip, we made a decision to purchase a new tent. The boys told us about an awesome one they had seen in our Costco mailer. It was regularly $130, marked down to $100. The sale began the day our trip began. That morning, once we were packed and ready to go, we headed down to Costco. We looked and looked, but couldn’t find it. We finally asked a Costco rep to help us find it, that was when he pointed out that it was an online deal. We were SO BUMMED. But we decided to just press forward and get on with our trip.

Anyways, as we wanted to camp as much as possible and especially to camp out in the redwoods, we obviously needed a worthy tent. So, after getting rained out at our amazing site in Nehalem, we finally broke down and went to Wally World to purchase a new tent. We found one that has a rain fly, sleeps 8, has a screen top (which is pretty amazing to look at the stars through), and only spent about $90 on it.

274 The Redwoods

It took a while to get the new tent figured out. The first time setting it up took about 1 hour. But we did it. And if it rained, we could listen to the rain and not worry a bit about it dripping into the tent. Merry Christmas to us!

While the boys set up our tent,  I pulled out our one burner stove (which I absolutely adore, btw) and made some super yummy wild rice with coconut curry, mushrooms, yellow bell pepper, fresh green bean, and cilantro. It was dark when we began eating, but we were happy when we went to bed that night….full bellies and full hearts.

275 The Redwoods

Feeling blessed that we made it to The Redwoods AND we were even going to be camping out there. YES!!

Pura Vida!




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