We left for Oregon with the luxury of having only a 4 1/2 hour drive from Olympia! This was a piece of cake after all of those loooong drives. It is a beautiful drive with Mt Rainier in the rearview mirror and the Columbia River Gorge out the front window.
We wanted to stay near Astoria, because…GOONIES!! Growing up in the ’80’s (yes, the 1900’s), what kid didn’t love The Goonies movie?! Astoria has the Goonies house and is near some great beaches.
Please note: You cannot go to the Goonies house. This sign is posted at the end of the long driveway leading to the house. Please do not go and disturb the owners. Louie went and did the “Truffle Shuffle” at the house so that you don’t have to! Check it out!
We pulled into a campground just outside of Astoria and inquired about any open spaces. Nope. They were fully booked. Keep in mind the solar eclipse was occurring during this time, so I knew that campsites would be hard to come across. So, on we drove. We then came across the Astoria Warrenton Seaside KOA and what luck!! They had a site…for two nights. We had originally planned to stay for five, but we were going to take what we could get and go from there.
Our site was all of the way in the back of the campground inbetween camper after camper. The spaces were small and the rigs were large, so it felt a little claustrophobic. The bathroom was sooooo far away. Like seriously, about 1/4 mile walk there and 1/4 mile walk back. On top of that, it was quite pricey. Besides the nightly fee, we had to also pay a $10 resort fee/person which gave us a wristband to use the two pools, bouncy things, and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast each morning. We did not make use of any of these things so I do wish that it was optional. But hey, at least we had a campsite!
The first adventure that we decided to do was take the short drive to Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is featured in the movie…The Goonies! Yes, we love the movie. But the beach is amazing on it’s own. It was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean and it was AMAZING!! I will let my pictures do the talking.
After spending a few hours at the beach, we had worked up a hunger. Almost right on the beach is Mo’s Restaurant– famous for their clam chowder. There was a beautiful sea breeze and we opted to sit outside with a full view of the ocean. As I have mentioned, I am not a seafood eater. But the Clam Chowder came served in a bread bowl. I love bread bowls!! So I asked for a small sample of the soup to see if I would like it. Oh. My. Goodness. It was DELICIOUS! So thick and creamy. But, I ended up ordering the hamburger. The chowder was too much of a “heavy” meal for a warm day on the beach. I, as a non-seafood eater, can highly recommend the clam chowder though! Louie had the clam chowder in a bread bowl AND the Bay Shrimp Louie (how could he resist a dish with his name?!), which was a shrimp salad. Lil Louie, the ever adventurous eater, ordered the bouillabaisse. The bouillabaisse (longest word I’ve ever typed?) included Oregon Bay shrimp, salmon, cod, Yaquina Bay oysters, clams, and crab legs in a tomato broth. We all really enjoyed our meals. It was a perfect way to end our day out.
On Sunday, we made the short drive into Astoria for church. We attended St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. It happened to be the Priest’s last mass at that church so it was a pretty special service to be a part of.
After church we decided to drive Bowpicker for their famous fish and chips. Bowpicker is not your typical restaurant. Fish and chips are the only items on the menu and it is served food truck style out of a retired fishing boat that is set up in a parking lot across from the Columbia River Maritime Museum. The line is often long and they sometimes run out of food before the end of the day. The fish is beer battered and fried Albacore tuna served with steak fries. Malt vinegar and tartar sauce is available. The line didn’t look too long, but it was quite slow moving because there are only two people working and everything is fresh. According to the Louies (no seafood for me) it was well worth the wait! They both ordered a half ordered and were full. Another highly recommended place for a meal.
We were able to secure another spot in the KOA for the remainder of our time near Astoria. We had to move the camper, but our new spot was fantastic! It was much more private than our last site and we had trees surrounding us. It was also very close to the bathroom. This was our spot for the solar eclipse! The campground gave out glasses to watch the sun with, which was really nice since we hadn’t picked up any. We were about two hours north of the total eclipse, but it was a neat experience. For a few minutes everything looked very eerie- almost like sunset, but with the sun high in the sky. Then, just like that, it was over.
Our last day at the KOA we drove across the street to Fort Stevens State Park to visit the public beach. If you are using the beach you do not need to pay the State Park fee.
This beach is spectacular!! As you walk from the parking lot towards the beach, the view is obstructed by huge sand dunes. The sand is very dark, almost black, and so soft. I loved the feel of it on my feet. Walking down the dunes, you are suddenly confronted with the shipwreck remains of the Peter Iredale. The Peter Iredale ran aground in this spot on October 25th, 1906. It is so incredible to be able to walk right up to the wreck during low tide. There is not much left, but it is still really neat. The high tide came in while we were there and WOW! It comes in FAST! We were standing near the wreck, then minutes later that area was in deep water. I LOVE watching the tide go in and out. There was tons of driftwood along the shore which was great for sitting on. We absolutely loved this beach.
So, our time on the Oregon Coast came to an end and we were now headed to near Mt Hood for the rest of our time in Oregon. It was about a two hour drive to our next destination- Mt Hood Village RV Resort. It is part of the Thousand Trails campgrounds. What. A. Campground. Indoor pool. Trails. Decent bathrooms. Friendly staff. On site restaurant (we didn’t try it out though).And gorgeous sites. I cannot even begin to tell you all how much we loved our spot. Towering pines covered in thick moss and a trail to the Salmon River right behind our site. It was so peaceful and relaxing.
Until I saw this sign.
Black bear and mountain lions both spotted not even a month before. Ohhhhhhkay. It was still a beautiful site, but I was a little on edge at night when I would hear a noise.
Like the night that it was way too dark and eerie for me to walk to the bathrooms. So I decided that I was just going to go outside. What?! It’s the woods, I’m camping, it’s dark, and there is no one around. So, I prepare to go. A branch snaps. Then I hear this weird sound. I can’t even describe the sound I heard because it did not seem natural. Just a very weird, loud sound. In a panic I finished by business as quickly as humanly possible and did not even finish getting everything pulled up correctly as I lunged back into the camper to crawl under the covers. Oh what a sight I must have been!!!
The thing that I was most excited about doing was visiting Mt Hood and the Timberline Lodge. Mt Hood for obvious reasons. Timberline Lodge because it was featured in a movie. The Goonies?! Nope, another of my favorite movies. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining used Timberline Lodge for outside shots of the “Overlook Hotel”.
Sadly, there is no hedge maze in the back like there is in the movie because Mt Hood is the backyard! We took a lot of pics of the outside then decided to do a quick walk through the inside. What a beautiful hotel! Wow! There are a couple restaurants, a gift shop, balconies, and an amazing wood interior with a towering fireplace. We would really love to stay here sometime. The only other hotel that I am this excited to visit is The Stanley hotel in Colorado, which is where Stephen King got the inspiration for his story of “The Shining”.
The remaining days in Oregon we spent relaxing and soaking up the forested beauty around us. Our Verizon service was horrible in Oregon and we could not get a good wifi signal, which was the only downside of our trip.
Once again, there is so so so much more that we wanted to see and do that we did not have time for. We would love to tour the Movie Museum and Maritime Museum in Astoria. We would love to visit the town of St Helens, where the movie Halloweentown was filmed. We would love to spend time in Portland. And we would love to hike to some of the waterfalls. We know we will be back to Oregon. Each of us left a very large piece of our heart there.
Next stop: Idaho! Waaay more than just potatoes!!