Friday, May 29, 2015

Coming to the Coast

From Sutherlin we headed out on the 138 again, this time in the Monaco with our car trailing behind us.  When we got to Elkton, we took Hwy 38 west and in a little over an hour found our selves on the Oregon coast where we are scheduled to spend a month enjoying the spectacular scenery, abundant seafood and cool summer weather.  When we reached the coast highway, we turned north, grousing about how our GPS seemed to be malfunctioning. When we left Sutherlin for some reason it wanted us to take US 20 from I-5 instead of OR 38.  We figured it was dealers choice and the GPS would figure it out eventually, but it consistently refused to recalculate the route even though we were by now only a few miles from our campground.  We sailed past the Oregon Dunes and through Florence, ignored the Sea Lions Cave for the moment and rolled down the hill to find this...

The GPS, which knows how tall our motorhome is, was not malfunctioning, it was trying to tell us our 12.5 foot rig was about to meet an 11.5 foot tunnel and wanted us to go back the way we came.  Of course it didn't come out and say "There is a low tunnel on your route", nooo... it just told us to go 200 miles out of our way for no very well spelled out reason.  We were disconcerted momentarily until we noticed that the 11.5 foot figure only applied if you hugged the tunnel wall as you went through.  In the center the height was over 16 feet.  We probably could have stayed in our own lane, but there was no one coming toward us, so we just lined ourselves up on the double yellow line and sailed through with no problem.  Suddenly the GPS told us we were only 20 miles from our destination rather than the 238 miles it had previously been insisting on.

Special exhibit
Our first couple of days on the coast were pretty grey and dismal, so we opted for some indoor activities, such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.  This was actually our third visit to the aquarium.  The first time was when our son was little.  The second was 6 years ago after we had shipped him off to college and were traveling on our own again for the first time in many years.  So we had seen it all before, but it's still a fun place to visit.

They had a special exhibit that was not suppose to open until the following day, but I guess they figured it was finished and ready to go so they went ahead and opened the doors a day early.  It was ostensibly about shipwrecks but was really more of a  primer on underwater archeology.  It was mildly interesting but clearly geared for a younger crowd. 
Unauthorized snack

We meandered through and looked at the fishies and jellies.  This guy looks like he snuck himself an unauthorized snack.  One problem with the aquarium is that all your photos are taken through 2 inch thick plexiglass which plays havoc with your camera's autofocus and even if you focus manually, the stuff isn't very clean.  At least at the hands-on tidepool exhibit, you're looking directly at the water.

Outside they have a seabird aviary.  They had a
Tide pool area
few atlantic puffins and guillimots like we saw last summer in Maine (story here), but they also had tufted puffins which are more of a west coast phenomenon and, as such, are much more fashion obsessed.  There are also outdoor enclosures for seals, sea lions and otters, but they have the same plexiglass problem the fishes have.
Tufted puffins giving me the eye
When we got out of the aquarium the harbor had misted up a little, making for some interesting photos.  Be that as it may, we are hoping for some better weather as the month progresses.

Bonus Pics

Newport marina
Yaquina Bay Bridge

Another puffin

Sea otter through plexiglass

Lion fish

Seals from our 2009 visit (when it was sunny).


  1. Well, your pictures may have been taken through plexiglass but they really turned out good. Glad to hear you didn't have to try and turn around and go back. We ran into that problem back in New York and found out we had two inches to spare after I made Jim get up on the roof and measure us twice. We went to the Sea Lion Caves. I loved it because it takes you down to the noise and all the smell. It was so fun.

  2. The last time we were here the Sea Lion Cave was empty. Fortunately you could see that from the cameras before you went down. We couldn't see spending 10 bucks apiece to go down just for the smell, so we skipped it. We'll probably get back there sometime this trip.

  3. Normally, I would say that fog is probably a terrible condition for photography, but I really like that shot of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.