The Pacific Coast Highway

Have you ever been woken up by a donkey? Several times during our second night in Washington we were woken by a combination of honking, squealing, and wheezing that sounded to Lisa like a large machine being tortured but that Joe identified correctly as Super Donkey, preparing to wake up all of creation from the farm next door. Nonetheless, the morning found us refreshed and ready to make the journey back to Oakland. We planned to take two days driving down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) since it's supposed to be beautiful.

99W - Not westOf course, first we had to escape the clutches of Portland. The antics of our donut quest were repeated as we got sidetracked or lost at least ten times trying to follow the signs. Their signs are awful. As an example, look at the sign shown here. It indicates that you are travelling on Route 99W South (which is actually west). But W does not mean west! You can take 99W North and go east, too! If you are driving in northern Oregon, we recommend ignoring all signs and putting your faith solely in your atlas.


Once we made it out to the coast, the trip was lovely. This is a section much better described in photos than words. Here are a few:
Lighthouse coast Butterfly

On the evening of the first night of our drive, as we searched for a place to eat, we tried to decide whether to complete the trip in one day. We both felt like getting home and, perhaps, sleeping in a bed rather than on the ground. We stopped in Bandon, a little seaside resort town that apparently closes up shop for Labor Day weekend. The fourth place we tried was open and could serve our vegetarian needs. We decided to finish the drive that night, figuring it would probably get us into Oakland around 3 AM.

SunsetWithin an hour, that plan was out the window. Sometimes choosing the stupid option is the best way to knock some sense into your head. Just a few minutes of driving after dinner, Lisa realized just how sick of being in the car she was, and Joe readily commiserated. After stopping to watch the sunset over the ocean, we changed our minds.

We stopped at Arizona Beach, a private campground near the coast, at around 8:30 PM. The main office was closed but a sign on the door referred new arrivals to a mobile home on the property. At the door of the mobile, Joe was confronted by two young children. One just stood there smiling, but the other ran back into the house screaming happily, "It's a bad man! It's a bad man!" From his tone, you'd think he'd seen Santa Claus. Their dad gave us a camp site anyway.

HazyThe drive on the next day, Labor Day, was much longer than we expected. We left before 9 in the morning and didn't get back until 6 PM. Route 101 runs through some towns just big enough to have a traffic signal. But their signals weren't equipped to deal with the extra cars comng through for the holiday. At at least two different times we were slowed to a crawl for about an hour. Eventually we did make it home, full of delicious memories of the sights we had seen and glad to sleep in our little home once again.

Perhaps most important of all our experiences during the trip, we learned an important lesson: it is indeed possible to have a fun vacation without a Frisbee or a cribbage board!

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