It was easy to walk outside to the bus station. We got on the light rail line (LRT) (with one line change) to the Portland Airport. The LRT line was relatively fast and handled baggage well. Although we did have to fight with the bicycles for spots.
We decided to a car in Portland because we found it was the cheapest place to pick one up. The Enterprise car rental clerk at the airport was easily able to give us our car one day early. She chuckled when we said we were headed one way down the Oregon Coast, into California and on to Las Vegas.
Our Two Days On The Oregon Coast
Our hotel the first night was at the airport. We wanted to be able to get quickly out of town the next day for our morning scenic tour of the Columbia Gorge. After this scenic tour we headed back towards Portland and viewed it from afar as we rolled past.
Ignoring I5, we took the route that got us out to the coast through wine country. We had a delightful surprise stop for lunch.
The first sight of the Oregon Coast was wild. We stopped at numerous lookout points to ooh and ahh until the view finally dulled a little.
A Stop In Yachats
Our stop the second night was in the town of Yachats on the Oregon Coast. We stayed, at the TripAdvisor recommended hotel the Fireside Motel. Dinner was at a local diner (Luna) – ok when you are tired and hungry.
We were up early the next morning. We hoped to catch the whales off the shore by our hotel. But our timing was not right. We had better luck later on our drive.
It was a straight run down the Oregon coast with one detour thru a long stretch of redwoods. This was our first but not our last view of big redwood trees.
We crossed into California when the produce inspection was not open. So we did not have to ditch our bag of fruit. Having purchased a mini blender, the fruit became an essential part of our morning routine.
Hotel – Radisson Airport (Portland)
With an upgrade to the executive floor, this ended up being a much nicer hotel than we thought it would be. The room was large, with great wifi and robes for lounging.
The executive service included drink and appetizer tickets. So we were well fed and watered in the onsite restaurant. The free cookies in the exec lounge went quick, even if the coffee machine was broken down.
There is a large mall very close, although if it was a bit of a twisted route to get to. It was a quick mall trip for us to pick up a cooler and our smoothie blender. We planned to take advantage of Westjet Plus service on the way home which included two bags each!
Hotel – Fireside Motel (Yachats)
When I searched the route between Portland and San Francisco, there were several recommendations that were repeated on the TripAdviser forum. Virtually all said to stay off of I-5 and to travel down Hwy 101 – the Oregon Coastal Highway.
There were a lot of suggestions to stop in Yachats – a town it was hard to find on most maps. The Fireside Motel was a common choice. I had to book with them directly. But had no trouble with their website to assess the property and pick a room. I was a bit leary because it was a pet-friendly hotel. But our room had no dog smell and all the dogs in residence when we were there were well behaved.
The hotel was right on the water. Our sea view room on the second floor had a balcony we could sit out on to watch the Pacific. Luckily we booked a room with a fireplace to warm us up after we sat outside and watched the sun set over the water.
A continental breakfast included home made muffins, cereal and fruit. But no protein unless you could stomach hard boiled eggs.
Things To Do In Oregon
1) Visit The Columbia River Gorge
With only less than one day in Portland, we chose to get up early and head to the Columbia River Gorge. We left Hwy 84 at exit 22 to travel along the Oregon Scenic Byway (old Hwt 30).
The highway climbed up and away from the river so that when we got to the Vista Point, we had a great view of the entire Columbia River basin. The downside of getting on the road at 7:30am was that the view was still a bit hazy in the distance. Although by 10am it was all burned off.
We continued along the old route and stopped at the series of waterfalls along the way. We spent some time as we explored the big one at Multnamah Falls. There were walking paths that took us to both overlook points and to the falls directly.
We turned around after a short stop at the Bonneville Dam, to marvel at the engineering and to see an underwater view of the fish ladder.
2) Enjoy A Drive Along The Pacific Coast
The Pacific Coast was not a single destination but an experience to wander along. The Oregon coast was rugged, with rock shores and crashing waves. At times of the year (and times of the day), there are whales to be seen.
The water was too cold and rough for all but the most hearty to enter. We saw nobody in the water until well into California.
3) The Redwood Highway
The Redwood Highway was a short 20 mile detour off of Hwy 101 at Leggat. It gave us an early view of giant redwoods we saw as we travelled down the west coast. There were numerous trail heads to stop for a walk or just slowly drive thru the park.
4) Watch For Whales
The Information Centre clerk suggested we stop at the Requa Overlook, high above the mouth of the Klamath River. She said there were often there because the whales fed at the river mouth. We hoped we would not miss this viewing.
When we pulled up we saw everyone with binoculars to their eyes. We knew we were in luck. It took awhile to zero onto the right spot and find surfacing whales. They were really visible to the naked eye. And even David only got so-so pics with a zoom lens even closer than the overlook.
The route along Hwy 18 from Portland to the Pacific Coast took us through Oregon wine country. There were wineries and tours everywhere. We wanted a real lunch so we stopped when we saw the Dundee Bistro, nestled beside a wine tasting bar and a glass shop.
The patio was quite deserted when we arrived. But filled quickly over the lunch hour. We were driving so we passed on wine. But lunch was great.
The salad provided a good array of fruits and vegetables as a shared starter. The special of the day was a seafood soup that was crammed with seafood in a tasty broth.
Since we shared the appetizer and main, we could each have dessert. My creme brûlée was done just right. But David’s strawberry shortcake was not the sweet delight we had hoped for after tasting the strawberries in the salad.
Wow, amazing waterfalls! We didn't make it to the Columbia River Gorge on our west coast trip a few yeas ago, have to make it next time. Great photos guys.
Thanks! We had planned only one day in Portland so this was our pick for the day. Up early and saw the fog rise up over the water. Next time we will go further inland.