Monday morning. I’m awake and waiting. Sue wakes up, wanders off, returns. “Big day” I say. “Hmmm?” “Yep, big day.” “Uh… is it your birthday.” “Yep. 60 today.” “Oh! I’m sorry I thought it was tomorrow.” And so I managed to stretch my 60th celebrations out :o)
I already knew where I wanted to go for breakfast. The PDX app mentioned a place down on NW Front St.: The Dockside Saloon and Restaurant. It sounded perfect. Large servings, friendly staff and a traditional setting. After a bit of back and forth on the streets leading to it, exacerbated by some construction we found it.
Note the large timber exterior. And the interior was just as classic with lots of photos of the area, dedications to long-time staff and customers, lots of wood features and neon beer signs. The waitress was bright-eyed and friendly and the menu wonderful. Sue flipped over the menu and read the back. “You have to read this.” It was a brief exposition about how a waitress had noticed an excess amount of garbage in their dumpster in ’94 and had dug into it looking for some idea of where it’d come from. Lo and behold! it was Tonya Harding’s garbage, detailing her plot to derail Nancy Kerrigan from the figure skating championships. The waitress called a friend at the local paper and the next thing she knew the story broke big and Tonya Harding and her accomplices were caught.
Our breakfasts arrived. Huge. Yummy. Sue had homemade biscuits with hers. We stuffed ourselves. Meanwhile people came and went. You could tell that the restaurant had regulars, especially amongst the local workers. I mentioned that maybe since it was my birthday I’d have my photo taken with the waitress. But I jammed out. Outside Sue asked what happened with my photo op. Then she mentioned that that was The Waitress, the one who’d found the incriminating evidence. She’d signed our bill and Sue recognized her name. We went back in. She told us the story, filled in some details and let me take her picture.
Kathy and her husband now own the Dockside. This place is a real slice of Americana and a great breakfast stop.
We headed out of Portland, first on the 405, then the I-5 and finally joining the 99 and 18 to head Southwest towards the coast. It was a lovely drive through the rolling hills, bright autumn colours, large clouds rolling in from the coast and little traffic. We passed through small towns with funky old buildings, past vineyards and fields of cows. The hills grew higher, the forests thicker and the clouds bigger and blacker. We came out to the coast and made a quick stop at Lincoln City.
We started north along the coast, stopping at beaches, headlands and small towns.
We enjoyed the drive, getting off the 101 and taking scenic byways. Finally we headed back inland to Tillamook, driving past more fields of cows and pausing at Tillamook Cheese, where we sampled and then purchased some of their tasty cheeses (smoked cheddar with black peppercorns! yum!).
Daylight was fading so we continued on to Cannon Beach, where we’d reserved a room for the night. We’d never noticed Cannon Beach before, as it’s off the highway, but we’d heard many good reports. We checked into the Ecola Creek Lodge, a super comfy little inn near the State Park and then headed back to town for dinner at the local Mo’s Seafood Restaurant. The sun set behind a mass of storm clouds while we enjoyed our seafood dinner. No room for dessert we went back to our room and spent a quiet, celebratory evening sampling Patron silver tequila.
Last Full Day on the Road
We were sorry to be leaving our lovely lodgings after such a short stay. We considered staying another night but that would mean a marathon drive home and there were still lots of sights to see. We take last look around the lodge and drove into Cannon Beach for breakfast.
We walked through town, sizing up the breakfast options. A log building on a corner caught our interest and we approached. A couple coming out raved about their breakfast and that settled it. Morris’ Fireside Restaurant, purpose built in 1921 and re-built in 1985, exudes character. We sat near the fire, by a window and enjoyed the ambiance, the friendly informative owner/waiter and the great food. I had smoked salmon bennies to die for.
After such a big breakfast, and the previous day spent behind the wheel, a walk on immense Cannon Beach seemed in order. The clouds and surf continued to roll in. Despite the weather lots of people were on the beach. In summer the town and beach must be packed.
Suddenly the rain started pelting, almost horizontally in the wind. We fled back to the car. We will return to Cannon Beach, and the surrounding Oregon Coast, for a longer stay in the future.
We drove north on the 101, crossing the Columbia River at Astoria on the incredibly long Astoria-Megler Bridge. The wind howled and shook our little Suzuki.
As we drove the weather alternated between heavy rain and brilliant sunshine. The Fall colours against the grey skies induced me to stop a few times.
I particularly enjoyed the scenery as the highway wound through the Willapa National Wildlife Reserve.
We decided to drive north along the Hood Canal, on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula, one of our favourite scenic routes. Unfortunately we were starting to get pushed for time and I only made a few photo stops; one being this deserted garage.
We had to decide between going to Port Angeles and catching the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria, or to Port Townsend and from there over to Whidbey Island and north to Tsawwassen to catch a BC Ferry homewards. We decided on Port Angeles as it gave us a bit more relaxation and shopping time. Once there we found a great room at the Port Angeles Inn, with views to the north and south. (as a kid I thought when my parents said we were going to Port Angeles that I’d be seeing Disneyland. Big disappointment!)
With such great views we simply sat and enjoyed them for awhile.
Later we drove to Fiesta Jalisco Mexican Restaurant. The meal was huge and delicious. I don’t think I’ve had chicken molé since spending a month in Oaxaca in the late ’90s. After dinner we did a bit more shopping, making our last purchases before crossing back into Canada. And topped the gas tank up. We don’t cross the border often so we took advantage of any bargains we could get within our legal limit.
Next morning we were at the ferry terminal as the sun rose.
The ferry ride across to Victoria was mellow (sometimes it can be rockin’). I wandered the decks and caught this photo shoot:
Soon we were docked and passing through Customs, where I declared to full extent of my beer purchases. “Welcome Back to Canada!” the agent declared. We picked up some veggies from farmers’ markets on the way to our next ferry and by mid-afternoon were back home on Pender Island.
We had a great road trip and often talk about returning to Portland and the Oregon Coast. Meanwhile we have a stash of some fine craft brews to savour and remind us of the good times we had there.