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Pacific Coast Highway, Day 4: Newport to Port Orford

Yesterday a Japanese barge washed on shore a mile from our location. The incident goes well with the “Tsunami Hazard Zone” signs we’ve seen every few miles. But tsunamis aren’t really a danger here, are they? Hello? Guys?

Heading south out of Newport, we spotted some spectacular bluffs. And it was low tide. Of course you know what that means. (Insert theme music for dramatic reveal.) Tide pools! We shimmied down a rock face.


Despite the impression I’ve given in this blog, I’m not actually an athlete. So I risked life and limb for this venture. But look!


A starfish! And this thing, whatever it is.


Some might say it wasn’t worth my life to get photos like this:


But you know me. I’m a giver, a selfless, humble giver.

We headed south again in search of another bakery more wildlife. Just about every town up here seems to have the word “port” in the name, except for the ones that have “cape.” Those are my favorite because they show someone was thinking outside the box and also make me wonder how they came about.

Pioneer 1: What should we call this place?

Pioneer 2: How about Cape Hope?

Pioneer 1: No, there are already five of those. We need something that describes the majesty of our location and he indomitable spirit of man.

Pioneer 2: How about Port Shaped-Like-A-Monkey?

Pioneer 1: *blinks* We’re calling it Cape Disappointment. Now go to your wagon; you’re shunned.

Speaking of capes, our next stop was Cape Perpetua. (“Perpetua, Perpetua.” Bridget Jones’ Diary.) First we needed to refuel after all that death defying hiking.


The Green Salmon Coffee Shop in Yachats where we bought:


Cheese danish and a peanut butter cookie. The danish tasted like gooey butter cakes. If you don’ know what gooey butter cakes are, I weep for you.

Back to Cape Perpetua. This is the place to stop for all-in-one scenery. There’s the Devil’s Churn–a churning mass of ocean that thunders through a fissure. Unfortunately we were there at low tide, so it was basically a cavern with a trickle of water.


The Cape Perpetua visitor’s center is also not to be missed, especially if you have young children. The volunteers are eager to help and to talk, especially about agates. Especially when someone asks lots of questions about agates. (I’m looking at you, husband.) There are many hands-on nature exhibits.


as well as binoculars for some window whale watching.

The next leg of the trip is a blur because of car sickness. You would think that someone who gets carsick wouldn’t plan a trip that require fourteen days on twisty-turny roads. You would be wrong.

*Fast fact: You’re not allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon; it’s the law. Oregon: Catering to lazy foodies since 1859!

We stretched our legs in picturesque Winchester Bay. A reader recomended the pie at Kitty’s Kitchen and, OH MY, was she right! (Thanks, Molly!)




Not only is it massive, but the filling is the perfect balance of creamy and peanut butter, the crust an exact ratio of sugary, buttery, graham crackers. And the store is a delight–an eclectic mix of homemade food and kitschy decorations.

On our way out of town, we stumbled across this place:


Lunch became a boule of fresh sourdough with butter.


You know what washes down copious amounts of pie and bread? Candy!


Cranberry Sweets is a candy store in Coos Bay that gives free samples of all their products. That’s right; free samples. Like this:


This caused a bit of controversy between me and the hubs, though.

Him: I can’t believe you talked and talked about this place and only bought one thing.

Me: Free samples.

Him: Huh?

Me: I told you this place had free samples. How did you not know that was why we came?

Him: We ate all that free stuff and only bought one thing.

Me: Actually, I didn’t eat that much. I only tried a couple of things. I mostly wanted to look.

Him: Well I tried everything! Don’t you feel bad?

Me: Don’t judge me.

When I think back, I’ve lost track of how many of our conversations about food end with me saying, “Don’t judge me.”

As penance, he dragged me ot the wilderness, down a gravel mountain road that would be an ideal place to, for example, leave your wife’s lifeless body where no one would find it. Called “The Seven Devils State Park,” the ranger in Cape Perpetua told him it’s the ideal place to hunt for agates. (Don’t ask me what those are; I have no idea.) The area was so remote, I began to fear the park ranger was actually a deranged serial killer who preys on men with a yen for geology. And we were playing right into his hands! Then I saw this:


This man loves agates so much, he named his driveway after them. I should talk to his wife. Maybe she loves food. They could be the Oregon Bartals, the Bizzaro us.

At last we arrived.


The husband flew solo while I remained in the car with a sleeping child.


The trip was a success. (?)


Next we traveled through Bandon, the cranberry capitol of Oregon, before arriving at our hotel–The Sea Crest. This is the only question mark on our vacation, the only non-chain place. (We booked everything else on Hotwire. Great prices, if you’ve never tried. Almost every night was under a hundred and most included breakfast.) Anyway, back to the Sea Crest. We’re the only people here. On a Friday night. Still, it has an awesome view of the ocean. The amenities are sparse, but it’s mostly clean and mostly comfortable.

In a stroke of providence, this restaurant happened to be just down the street.


Only after I booked our hotel would I realize that the Crazy Norwegian has been written up in several places because of their fish and chips. And they were as good as everyone said.


We finished the night with a nature walk and then back to our hotel. (Everything closes before five here.)Tomorrow we’re California bound!


About vanessagraybartal

Author. Eater. Wife. Mother. Not necessarily in that order.

8 responses to “Pacific Coast Highway, Day 4: Newport to Port Orford

  1. Valerie Harrintgon ⋅

    More about Mira..
    This trip is good for you guys. If you are taking pictures of starfish and rocks you definitely need to get out more. Did I mention more about Mira?

  2. Kami ⋅

    I’m enjoying reading about the trip. Mira must be a very patient passenger for her age. Are you allowing her sugar on the trip or are you eating everything behind her back:)?

    • She’s getting tons more sugar than normal, but she still has to eat her meals first. She’s doing really well, and she naps in the car during the long stretches. She’s SOOO excited to be here!

  3. Jamie

    Rocks? Not rocks, agates. Nice looking agates Chris!! Although it took me a second to remember what agates were, thanks to Phineas and Ferb for a moment I thought you were talking about the things on the end of your shoelaces.

  4. Vickie McClurg ⋅

    Umm….did I see in one of the pictures a specialty tea shop along with the coffee? I hope you took copius notes of the tea varieties along with possible flavors, on-line ordering options? Did you even think of me once when you saw the word tea???

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