Oregon not to miss.
That one authentic and precious, made of alternative paths, enchanted forests, plains, farms, nice craft bakeries, ghost towns, historic small towns located along the path covered by the Oregon Trail before and the old western railroad then and sudden views straight to the Ocean.
I want to tell you about a short and intense itinerary – little over 200km – that, following the US26 and taking then the US101, links Portland city to Astoria, located at the border with the Columbia River, the opening on the Pacific Ocean and the borderline of the Washington State.
A route to cover over day, with no hurry – through a series of stages to which dedicate more or less time according to one’s interests – in order to reach Astoria late in the afternoon, just in time for a wonderful sunset on the Astoria Megler Bridge and the Columbia River.
Gone out from Portland and taken the US26 in a very few kilometres on both sides of the road you run into a series of luxuriant portion if green, copper and gold colored land (according to the season), a landscape characterizing the path as far as the small town of North Plains and over.
A little detour along the 217 and 219 state routes which will allow to discover – even before North Plains – Farmington and Hillsboro.
They are small villages risen behind the building of the old railroad station and then over time turned into lively farm towns, but however they have kept a bound with their own past through some preserved historic areas over time become downright ghost towns.
North Plains, originally called Glencoe, was funded in 1842 by Scottish colons who followed the Oregon trail and who decided to stop in those fertile plains I mentioned before. The downtown keeps numerous references to that period and the following one related to the construction of the railroads.
A short stop in all three small towns is really recommended, even only to breath that “old north west” atmosphere we saw (and maybe we fell in love with it) in movies and TV series or to look around into the old stores or among the historic buildings, each with a story to discover.
Keep going westwards along the US26 progressively you left behind the big plains, the view changes little by little the road clambering towards the access to the great forests which precede the outlet on the Oregon Coast.
Right in this portion of route – near the detour for the suggestive Clatsop State Forest – along the road it’s easy running into the Espresso Cart Pods, colourful prefabricated small houses with the ESPRESSO neon sign.
If you want a regenerating coffee break, these pods are really recommended: the Espresso is really good and cheap – about 1,75$ – and furthermore is possible to purchase even delicious homemade sweet things, salads and sandwiches for the journey.
What are the stages of the route not to be missed?
The Bakers General Store and Bakery – at 44573, Highway 26 near Seaside – a nice store in a wooden and stone chalet with gas pump attached, small diner and a superb bakery. The double chocolate and cinnamon lemon cookies are really good. First try and then trust!
Little far always keep going westwards at 42362, Highway 26 near Elsie, on the right you run into one of the most famous and crowded Restaurant & Logging Museum in the area, the Camp18.
It’s a theme restaurant with forest neighboring it, with souvenirs store attached and museum going over the history of the camp built about the lumber’s working and sales in the 1920s and 1930s.
As outside as inside in the bound and elaborated restaurant room it’s possible to admire and take photographs of unusual and original wooden sculptures besides some carriages of the old railroad “running” westwards.
And then finally the Oregon (golden) Cost!
About 30km far from Camp 18, the US26 enters the US101, the panoramic road following the whole Oregon coast and then keeps going towards the Northern California one.
Turning off lightly southwards you reach one of the more suggestive and crowded beaches (and small towns) in the state, Cannon Beach, which is famous for its monoliths suspended between sky and sea – among them there’s the huge Haystack Rock – used as background of many movies and TV series.
Little far there’s the very beautiful Ecola State Park, rich in excursion tracks and with a wonderful view of the coast.
Keep going northwards among strip of sand, seas and promontories straight on the ocean, you reach the Lewis & Clarke National Historical Park, the final point of the explorer Meriwether Lewis and William Clarke’s expedition, left in 1803 from Pennsylvania to track a route via land towards the Pacific Coast.
Little far there’s Astoria with its Victorian dwellings located on an ups and downs of hills and winding roads, the promontory linking the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, and the Astoria Megler Bridge linking Oregon to the State of Washington.