Never one to turn down an adventure, especially one that pegged itself to be the last great adventure of 2016, I joined one of my best friend, Jenny, and her friend Misty, on a road trip from Portland back to Los Angeles. Jenny had been volunteering on organic farms up and down the west coast for about six weeks and was ending her travels in Portland. I flew up to join her for a weekend of brewery fun in the snow and ice and to accompany her and her car all the way back down to Los Angeles.
We left Portland and it’s 20 degrees and icy roads in clouds of fog. But not before we witnessed a magical sunrise over Mount Hood. It was so very magical tears pricked in my eyes, and it wasn’t just from the bitter cold from winding down the window to attempt a photo from a moving vehicle. I failed. It’s a photo in the memory bank instead.
We were headed straight to the coast to begin our journey, we drove, carefully, down through Oregon’s farmland, hazelnut farms and apple trees all barren for the winter and covered in snow were our perma vista for the duration. It was beautiful, it was cold, and thanks to the fog it was pretty scary at times.
Otter Rock, Oregon
Our first stop was at Otter Rock, home to the famous Devils Punchbowl. Tide was low and we walked along the beach in an attempt to go inside, but tide wasn’t quite low enough. We headed up to the cliffs for a birds eye view. Even with the tide low, it was easy to see where this natural wonder got it’s moniker, the waves crashed inside and echoed with a cavernous roar.
Yachats Brewing and Farmstore
Yachats Brewing and Farmstore, in the center of teeny Yachats was the perfect stop for lunch. Whilst it was maybe a smidge early for beer (ok, not really) I did go for a Beermosa with my breakfast (I had the Patas Bravas). We also sampled a few of their beers and took some cans to go (in lieu of growlers they can your choice of beer on the spot).
Continuing on our mystically named rock vs wave formation theme, our next stop was at Thors Well. Thors Well is a hole in the rocks that sucks the incoming waves down into an apparent vortex. It’s neighbour, the Sprouting Horn, does the opposite and shoots the incoming waves into the air.
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Our plan at this point was to continue along the coast in time to make it to Lost Coast Brewery before dinner, but, like all good road trips we found a detour. I’d heard about the sand dunes on Oregon’s southern coast before but it wasn’t until we were driving alongside them and their mountainous presence that I really understood quite how magnificent they were.
A quick jaunt off Highway 1, a $5 day use fee and an “arduous” trek up a giant sand dune put us here for an early magic hour.
Again, no intentions to stop anywhere until Lost Coast Brewery, but a slapdash “Ocean View” painted on the road and an arrow pointing up a hill off highway 1 had us darting off route and rewarded us with this sunset. It was rather fitting to watch the sun rise and set in Oregon.
Eureka! We learned, not just a town name but also our home state motto, who knew? We stopped at Lost Coast Brewery and sampled literally all of their beers (in samples of course) and I chowed down on a delicious beef stew made with their 8 Ball Stout. Yum. We then made our way to our yurt for the night. As we pulled up we were greeted by the universe. More stars than I swear I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. I was moved to tears.
The owners had already gotten the fire going for us, so it was pleasantly toasty and we hunkered down for a night under canvas.
More to come from our #WestCoastBestCoast Road Trip. To check out our route, have a look at the map provided below!