Our Honeymoon Journal
     Entry 6 - 26 August 2000
Sand dunes and cliffs, forests and farms. The 26th was sunny, with a cool wind.  Click here to see what the weather is like today...
  Bandon to Hillsboro (Portland)

Vanessa We woke to a solid gray type of day and left the motel at about 7:30am, both of us glad to be out of there. Breakfast was on-the-road at a place called Mom's Kitchen in North Bend, about half an hour's drive away. The clouds began to clear and our day was looking brighter.
  Best Western has a 1-800 number - no coins required!Our next stop was at Reedsport where Chris telephoned to reserve our accommodation for the next night, since it was Saturday - a traditionally difficult time to get anything if you don't book ahead. He ended up getting us a room in Portland, not in Salem as we had planned. All the places he tried for in Salem were already full - and it was only 9.45am! We should have rung the day before - lesson learned.
  Our next major stop was near Florence, at the mouth of the Siuslaw River.Lots of sand for sand castles! It was lovely and warm in the sun, but a cold wind was blowing. The beach was very exposed and was made up of large sand dunes. There was also a lot of bleached grey driftwood. This dune area is a very popular place for local holidayers and tourists. We braved the wind and trudged through the soft sand to dip our hands in the water. We can now say we've touched both sides of the Pacific Ocean!

Darlington Botanical Wayside was our next point of interest. It was supposed to have pitcher plants growing there. I wasn't expecting much, maybe a few plants scattered here and there, so I was pleasantly surprised at the long boggy area that was a thick mat of the plants. It was only a short walk from the carpark along a boardwalk that gave both easy access to the plants and protected them from trampling feet and curious hands.
  Some miles to the north along the coast is the Sea Lion Caves. This is quite a spectacular place to visit. At the top of a cliff is a well established tourist information building with all sorts of souvenirs for sale and where you pay for entrance to the caves. Through this building, there is a walkway down the cliff-face over the ocean which ends - in all things - at an elevator entrance! The lift takes people down another 200 feet and opens on to a large natural sea cave. We took some photos of it too!Sea lions love the "shelter" of the caves and the time we were there, there were a number of them crowded together on a rock with the waves crashing below them. We tried taking some photos in the low light (no flash allowed). Another part of the large main cave opened out with a viewing "window" through the cliff face. From there you can see a seabird rookery - Pigeon Guillemots, and beyond that, the world's (supposedly) most photographed lighthouse.
  Further north of the Sea Lion Cave, the coastline became much less rugged and the countryside reminded us of the Queensland Sunshine Coast hinterland. There were pink sweetpeas growing along the roadside. I couldn't tell if they were growing wild or if they had escaped from someone's garden and spread.
  Lunch was at a place called "Leroy's Blue Whale Restaurant" in a town called Yachats. A talkative waitress found out we were Australian and informed us that Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter", and his wife, Terri, eat there sometimes, as his wife comes from that area. The waitress also chatted with an English couple who were seated at the table next to us. They were going the same way we were, to Portland, and the waitress recommended Highway 34 as the way to go. Whichever route you took supposedly took about 3 and a quarter hours, but this way was supposed to be very scenic. We had planned to go another way which took us through a city, but after hearing that, we changed our plans. The food was every bit as good as promised and the atmosphere was friendly. I had a look at a local bulletin board pinned up near the "restrooms". Points of interest: there was an advertisement for a Songs of Love and Happiness evening; another meeting about predator control in the local salmon fisheries; information on enrolling in the local preschool and a bus timetable.
  Lots of red barns on the farms...The new route took us away from the coastline and into the mountains. The road followed the Alsea River through some very pretty valleys. It was real salmon fishing country and there were blackberry bushes everywhere. On the other side of the mountains, the land flattened out into gently rolling hills - much like the Darling Downs in a good season. The farms grew corn, apples, stonefruit, wheat and there were also some vineyards. Along the way we stopped at the Missouri Bend Recreation Site and walked through the trees to the river. It was quite shallow at this point, so it was possible to walk on the rocks to the middle of the river. The spot was very pleasant with the water gurgling by and the sun shining brightly.
  We weren't actually to spend the night in Portland proper, but a town called Hillsboro on its outskirts. Hillsboro seemed to be a very new town, with lots of new condominiums. It also seemed to be a centre for hi-tech companies and we saw a large Intel complex. (The buildings are set in some lovely gardens!) We had a very nice room at a Best Western. Dinner was at Old Chicago - pasta, pizza and a choice of 110 different beers.
  After dinner, Chris tried to get online while I sorted out our rapidly growing pile of souvenirs and began writing postcards.