Trip to Manzanita

Visit Dates: November 2-4, 2018

I’m not sure how this blog post will look; I’m using the new WordPress editor. So please bear with me.

I grew up in Southern California where you go to the “beach” for a day or weekend. For the past many, many years I’ve lived in Oregon where you go to the “coast”.  One word – big difference. On the northern Oregon coast you don’t go sit on the sand and frolic all day in the waves – the water is much too cold for that – even on the hottest day. No, in Oregon you go to a little seaside town, visit shops and walk along the sand – most likely wearing a heavy jacket – and maybe, just maybe, dipping your toes in the water for a moment. The Oregon coast has its charms; but even though I’ve lived in Oregon two or three times as long as I did in California I have to do a little reset when we visit.

Nevertheless, the coast is a great place to spend a cozy weekend in the Fall or Winter; or when it is beastly hot in Portland, then it’s great to get out to our natural air conditioner.

So you see I have a complicated relationship with the coast. This isn’t to say I don’t like it; it’s just different from what I grew up with. Now, my DIL, Sarah, adores the coast (she grew up in Oregon) – and I adore Sarah, so we try to get over there a couple of times a year to rent a place for a weekend with her and our son Jeff.  

We spent the first weekend in November down in Manzanita.  Unfortunately Sarah got sick; because she was leaving for a business trip early Monday she needed to stay home and rest. But Jeff came down. We both brought our guitars and strummed together a bit. 

The house we rented was off Ocean Blvd on the north end of town. We got a great view of the cloud shrouded Neahkahnie mountain.

Looking north from Manzanita to Neahkahnie Mountain
Looking north from Manzanita to Neahkahnie Mountain

As I said, coast towns have their quaint charm. Most of the homes have some sort of nautical theme. Since it wasn’t rainy we were able to walk the mile or so from our house to downtown Manzanita to enjoy the sites. We passed this house whose shape is great for water side. Is it a house boat? Or a boat house?

Houseboat? Manzanita, Oregon

We walked up and down the main street Laneda Avenue. Tucked away off the stree we found this decorated back yard fence.

Manzanita, OR

We enjoyed window shopping at this store…

Shop – Downtown Manzanita, Oregon

After breakfast Sunday morning Jeff wanted to get home to Sarah but Carla and I had extra time so we took the longer way home.Instead of heading north on US 101 up to US 26 – the Sunset Highway – to get home, we headed south toward Tillamook so we could drive up the Wilson River highway. 

As we drove south toward Wheeler, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Was that a train headlight I saw?  We quickly pulled off to the side of the road. The Tillamook Railroad used to run from the coast over to Portland but a big mud slide about a decade ago covered the tracks shutting down most revenue service. So I had no idea what was coming.

I was delighted to see the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad was in operation. And I was doubly delighted to see the tourist train led by a General Motors EMD F7!

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad’s General Motors EMD F7 – Near Wheeler, Oregon

This is the kind of locomotive -albeit in a different paint scheme -that got me hooked on train watching as a boy when I’d watch the Santa Fe Super Chief and El Capitan passenger trains stop in Winslow, Arizona for refueling.

We pulled into a little parking area in Wheeler to walk down to the Nehalem River and take in the other bank.

Looking across the Nehalem River. Wheeler, Oregon

We continued on down to Tillamook and stopped at the Tillamook Creamery. We hadn’t been there in years and it’s undergone a huge renovation since our last visit. It’s hugely popular, with a large crowd on a random November Sunday. It must be nuts in the summer.

There is a large viewing platform where you can walk along looking down at the various stages of cheese processing. And ice cream! Such good ice cream! We each got a cone and since it was a pleasant day we sat outside to lick them away.

We made our way back out to the car and headed down to the intersection with Oregon Highway 6. The Wilson River highway was a pleasant drive – a nice change from our usual route into Seaside up north. But we made the mistake of turning off into Forest Grove and taking the city streets through Cornelius, Hillsboro, and Aloha. We hit lots of traffic and got every red light along the way. We were happy to be home.

 Despite all my grousing about the Oregon coast we all had a great time although we missed Sarah.

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