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Published: August 31st 2017
Today was my last day on the Oregon Coast and I decided to head south again to see a whale one last time. The day started out very chilly and foggy and I thought it would never clear up. Most of the drive to Newport was through the mist on the 101. I stopped at the Yaquina Head Outstanding Park again to check out the tidal pools. The pass I bought the other day was actually good for three days so I was able to get in without paying again. Unfortunately, the tide pools were still closed. I didn't see any seals on the beach, but maybe there was one just out of view. The whole rest of the area was pretty well covered in mist so I wasn't able to see very far offshore at all. The lighthouse did look neat though!
I headed a little farther into Newport and visited the historic bayfront area. Here, there are shops mixed in with fish processing plants. I saw some type of fish or fish parts being loaded into a dump truck. I would hate to be driving behind that! The main draw here is the semi-resident group of California Sea
Lions. These males haul out on the floating docks, much the same as Pier 39 in San Francisco, and are here for a few months starting in August. They are noisy and great fun to watch! That was about the only draw for me in this area. Across the bay is the Oregon Coast Aquarium, whose most famous resident was Keiko or Free Willy, but I could not see it because of the fog and I wasn't going to pay to go in.
It was getting on lunch time so I headed back north to Depoe Bay. This time, I took the time to walk along the short coastal walk and go in the Whale Watch center to learn more about the gray whales. According to the sign, they had seen one so far that day and I was hoping there would be more. I picked up some lunch to go from the Chowder Bowl and headed back to Boiler Bay to find some whales. First, I had the most delicious Dungeness Crab melt! Lots of crab meat and some pretty good fries on the side. Two days earlier, this was my best viewing spot for whales. Today, there
were none. I waited awhile, but finally gave up. At the Whale center, I heard of one other place to look for resident whales, Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint and decided to head there. This spot is slightly south of Depoe Bay, but I took the chance on backtracking and it paid off. There was one whale really close to shore, close enough that I could hear him spouting. It was so cool! There was a second whale farther out and at least one more farther down the coast. I watched them for quite awhile. Eventually they started heading south and I couldn't follow them so I said goodbye and got back in the car. Hopefully I'll get to see some more whales on my upcoming trip to the Azores, but for now I am satisfied!
And that was my day. Not as many stops as the previous days, but I saw more whales and lots of misty coastline. I really enjoyed my time here on the Pacific coast. Cannon Beach was my favorite town because of it's main street of shops and restaurants and the wide beach with the beautiful Haystack Rock. The Depoe Bay area was my
favorite for wildlife because of the whales. I've talked about them enough. The best thing about driving along the coast is the number of state parks to stop at. Whether you want a sandy beach or a cape with demanding trails, there is a park for you. If you get gas, you don't have even get out of the car as it's against the law for people to pump their own gas in this state. A nice attendant will swipe your card, fill up the car and hand you your receipt. If you want to eat seafood, you'll find it fresh in every town. If you want McDonalds or Starbucks, you may not be as lucky so go local for your burger and coffee.
My hotel was, for the most part, fine. I wanted a water view without paying a ton of money for it and I found it at this no-frills place. There's no free breakfast, but there is a mini-fridge and microwave in the room. The walls are pretty thin so you can hear people talking at a normal tone or a dog barking if they brought their dog. There are only two restaurants here and the
salad I got at one for dinner tonight wasn't anything spectacular for the price. I ate in all the other nights with salads I got from the deli at a grocery store. If you want to eat out every night, this is not the town to stay in. You'll have to go north or south for more options. But the view was amazing and I left my balcony door open every night so I could hear the waves.
Tomorrow I leave the coast for Portland where it's going to be 95+ degrees every day. But there will be snowy mountains to look at so maybe that will help!
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