Kayla Pershall and Brette Bliss in front of the Peter Iredale

Oregon Coast Road Trip With my Best Friend

Sorry this is late! I meant to post this yesterday, but I hand’t realized how much work it was going to be to polish up my notes and get it ready to be published.

Last Friday I took the cats to the vet for boarding, locked up my house, and loaded up the car for an Oregon Coast Road Trip with my best friend.

Before Summer began, Kayla and I decided we wanted to go on vacation again. We met during the Paris trip I went on last year. We originally planneda 10 day trip with a meticulous itinerary from Astoria, Oregon to Cambria, California. After discussing this with my family and stressing about getting it all done in time, we decided to cut the California part off and just do as we wish along the oregon Coast with a very loose itinerary. We had a direction, some things we wanted to do, and nine days to do it.

We left on Friday, arrived at my parents house that evening, stayed the night, spent the next day with my parents grocery shopping and hanging out, then started our trip officially on Sunday.

Day one

We got up at 4 am, left the house at 4:32 am and drove to Astoria. We ate at Pig N’ Pancake at 6 am and was at the Peter Iredale shipwreck for low tide at 7:30 am. It was amazing in the early morning because the sun was still coming up. We were early for Fort Stevens so we drove around Hammond and visited their cemetery. At 8 am, we were at Fort Stevens and ready to go. Fort Stevens costs $5 for a parking day pass. We ran into a family friend and walked for two and a half hours exploring the fort and its many buildings. We walked through the museum when it opened at 10:00. We didn’t leave Fort Stevens until 10:43. After a coffee stop at Dutch Bros (Kayla’s choice), we went down to the docs with our picnic basket and made ourselves some sandwiches.

After lunch, we spent a few hours walking around downtown Astoria. We stopped at Pat’s Pantry, bought some tea, and spoke with the owner. He had some great suggestions for places to stay in Newport.

We perused the Sunday market, walked through the Museum of Whimsy, and stumbled into some pretty cool antique shops, local business and galleries.

The Museum of Whimsey was $5 per person and I think it was worth the $5 just to see the inside of the building. The museum had some interesting things, but the best part was experiencing the building.

We ran into a lot of friendly locals who we eager to provide travel advice.

Our feet were tired and we headed to Sunset Beach and sat in the sand eating mochi and relaxing.

By 5:00, we were back in Astoria and being seated at a window side table at Buoy Beer Company. Kayla even tried my fish and chips and liked it! On the way back to my parent’s house for the night, we stopped in St. Helens so she could see Halloween Town.

Day 2

We got up at 6am and drove to Lincoln City. We ate at Lil’ Sambos around 9 am where we planned our day. After we called a bunch of hotels and motels for their rates, then made a reservation for Motel 6 for the night. We walked around the outlet mall for a bit. Later we checked out Prehistoric to look at the fossils, then went into some touristy shops and antique stores in the same area. We had lunch on the beach with our picnic basket and yelled at seagulls.

After, we went to the Connie Hensen Garden Conservancy. It was surprisingly large and we really enjoyed ourselves. After that we checked into our hotel, relaxed, then went to dinner.

We decided to eat at the 60’s Cafe and Diner. The sandwiches were cold, the fries were hot, and their boozy milkshakes were more boozy than milkshake, they were impossible to enjoy. The three wait staff in the Cafe and Diner each asked us if we had been helped over the course of the first 15 minutes and it didn’t feel like it was because they were being hospitable, but because they genuinely didn’t know who was supposed to be helping our table.

We had to get Coldstone ice cream to make up for dinner.

At the motel, we washed some dishes from our picnic basket and were in bed by 8:30.

Day 3

I woke up at 3 am and it was 60 degrees in our room after Kayla had set it to cool before bed. I couldn’t figure out how to make it warmer so I pressed the up button until it stopped cooling. By the time we woke up it was a little warmer.

We left our motel at 8 30 and stopped at Mojo coffee for breakfast, which was a short walk from the motel. The bagel sandwich (homemade bagels) was amazing and the coffee was just want I love in coffee (courtesy of Stumptown, my coffee preference). They were friendly and affordable, and while we were there some Lincoln city firemen stopped by too. It was an amazing start to the day. We ran into another friendly local on our way back to our car.

We stopped in Depoe bay, walked around and did some window shopping. Nothing opened until 10 or 11, or was closed on Tuesday. I bought a “Namastay in Depoe Bay” sweatshirt. We assumed that because the weekend is the busiest for tourist areas, they have their weekends during the week.

After Depoe Bay, we went to Newport. We went to the Hatfield Marine Science Center but when I had checked their times, it had been for our original road trip plans to go in the summer, but because we had to move our road trip into September I forgot to check their winter hours. Long story short. they weren’t open.

We spent two hours at the Oregon Coast Aquarium as planned. Adult admissions is about $23.

After, we walked around some consignment shops before heading down to the historic bay front to explore. I bought a tea strainer from an art gallery that I had fallen in love with the last time I was in that gallery a few weeks ago, and a, “Oregon Dreaming” rainbow tee shirt from the Made in Oregon Store.

We decided not to stay in Newport as we had originally planned. We called around some motels in Coos Bay, made our reservations at the Super 8 and left.

We checked into our Super 8 in Coos Bay around 8pm then had “dinner” and cocktails at the Whitecaps cocktail bar at the old mill casino. I had some Rosé and we shared a 1/2 pound burger. We got back to our room around 9:30pm and were in bed by 10pm.

A couple fought in the room next to us and she wailed all night. I did not sleep.

Day 4

We ate at Super 8s complimentary breakfast around, packed up, and headed out for the 8 am low tide at Sunset Bay. We saw only one starfish. It was slightly disappointing compared to tide pools I had experienced at Brooking’s Hidden Beach, but we wont be in Brookings for a low enough tide to see those pools.

Then we checked out the Botanical Gardens at Shore Acres State Park. We were there while there was an inmate working crew. It caught me off guard initially, but we minded our own business and it didn’t change the experience, in fact, it made it a little more interesting.

We talked to one of the park guides about where to eat in Bandon, she suggested the Bandon fish Market and we talked about where we are from, surprisingly, people have been to and enjoyed Klamath Falls.

I was exhausted after the botanical gardens and in a bad mood from the lack of sleep on the trip and the fact that my sandals were saturated and uncomfortable. I changed my shoes and we shared fish and chips at the Bandon Fish Market. We also sampled and bought sweets at the Cranberry Sweets store and shopped around.

We stopped at the Bandon Coffee Cafe for a caffeine kick. They didn’t have anything close to my drink of choice on their menu, so I got a dark chocolate mocha they called the “coastal mocha” and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Their prices were really great and the atmosphere was cozy and it felt like if we stayed long enough, we could make friends with everyone else in the cafe.

We stopped at the West Coast Wildlife Game Park south of Bandon and played with some baby ferrets, a young caby, a young raccoon named Rocket, a possum, a young fox, a nine month old lion club named Pharroh, and a year old lynx. We hung out with some deer, goats, and a very friendly donkey. The game park is $19 for adult admission plus $1 if you pay with a card. We were there for about two hours.

After, we drove through Port Orford and Gold Beach and stopped in Brookings. Brookings is our final stop and I have family there. We ate dinner at my grandparent’s house on the Winchuck and went to bed early.

Day 5

It was my Grandma’s birthday today. We got up to go to 9am low tide in Crescent City to collect Sand Dollars. We did’t think we would find any, but between three of us, we found about 140. Then we went to the Battery Point Lighthouse but it was to late for a tour because the tide was coming in and no one wants to get trapped at the lighthouse.

We went to Lunch at the 101 Hawaiian Grill and ate amazing butter lettuce wraps and kalbi/galbi. We drove through the Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park. The road was unpaved, narrow, and winding, so be aware of that before you go. We went back to Grandma’s and made some shell ornaments, took a nap, and then went out for birthday dinner at Khun Thai. I had the red curry and it was incredible. The staff was intensly friendly, warm, and helpful.

We went to bed early again.

Day 6

We went back to the lighthouse today at 10:15 and were in the last tour of the day. Its $5 per adult and that money goes towards the maintenance of the lighthouse. We got lucky. The tour made me consider being a lighthouse keeper, I will add it to my list of things to do as I’m sure there are very few keeper positions that aren’t short term volunteer experiences.

We went back to 101 Hawaiian Grill for Thai ice tea (I added Boba). Then headed to the Trees of Mystery. The Trees of Mystery is $18 general admission for adults and that includes the gondola ride. The Trees of Mystery is a magical walk through time and being among the redwoods is a spiritual experience. After, we walked through the gift shop and the Native American Museum.

Back in Brookings, we checked out the Foxglove Apothecary downtown and had Slugs ‘n Stones ice cream cones at the Port. We walked among the boats at the docks and then headed back to my grandparent’s for dinner.

Tomorrow we are gonna go to some beaches, have some lunch at Dee-Ann’s Tea Room, then head back home.

This Oregon Coast road trip is just what I needed after taking summer courses and not having had more than a few days to just have fun in over a year (the week off for my wisdom tooth extraction didn’t count because pain). I always have to worry about my cat, think about work, or whether I have an assignment due soon. I’m also glad we picked a route I knew well.

I am a writer and like all writers, I love stories. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, blog and social posts, pictures, music; they all tell stories. My favorite stories are based in experiences. The human experience is truly magnificent and we all experience it differently. "Brette's Bliss" is a play on my name. I've spent most of my life worrying about whether I am happy or will be happy, and wondering if the meaning of my last name was something that would define my life or if I was simply overthinking it.  As I record my experiences, I learn more about myself and realize happiness is now, not in the past or in the future. This blog is where I share my experiences one story at a time to relive my joyful moments twice and encourage others to do the same. 


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: