After all his beach time in Maui, you’d think a monster would want to stay on dry land for a while. But when Mr Husband and I made plans to visit my mom’s place at the Oregon Coast, the fearless Finn McSpool was eager for another beach trip. Our destination for the night was Netarts, a tiny bayside town just outside of Tillamook.
A few days before we planned to leave, a huge storm hit the Pacific Northwest with pounding rain and howling winds. Of course it only takes a minor rain storm to flood the low-lying plains of Tillamook so we were a bit worried about getting through. But the skies cleared, the flood waters receded and we lucked out by experiencing that rarest of things: a sunny, warm, and windless couple days along the beaches of northern Oregon.
First Stop: The Bay Ocean Peninsula
Since it was so nice out, we ditched our bags at Chateau Mom and zipped over to the Bay Ocean Peninsula (named so because it divides the Pacific Ocean from Tillamook Bay). This is a gorgeous stretch of beach, but to access it you need to trek through a stretch of grassy dunes…and stop for photo ops on the way.
Bay Ocean used to be a happening spot. Founded by T.B. Potter in 1906, it was marketed to become the Atlantic City of the West with hotels, dance halls, a natatorium, and plans for an amusement park. In addition to these attractions, Bay Ocean also had hundreds of homes and businesses that sprang up around it, and by the late 1920s was a booming little beach town. hold on, looks like Finn has caught glimpse of the ocean.
Unfortunately, this boom didn’t take into account the fact that Potter (by now his son was running the show) was building on sand…next to the ocean…in a place where it rains about 90 inches a year. By the early 1930s the buildings were already slipping and storms had destroyed several buildings. The town was officially evacuated in 1953. In 1960, the Pacific claimed the final house. (If interested, take a peek at vintage photos of the former town at PDX History.)
But hey, on the up side, Bay Ocean is now a gorgeous place for a beach walk…once you finally get to the beach, which it looks like Finn has…
Of course, Beasties quickly get bored on the beach (especially since they don’t like to get their paws sandy) and far prefer climbing things. Luckily, the storms had brought in some “trees” for Finn to clamber over.
He also wanted to check out this one, but I wasn’t about to chase after him over those rocks in my bare feet.
With bellies starting to rumble louder than the ocean that was still churning from all that storm energy, we decided to scramble back over the dunes and head back the Chateau Mom for some nibbles.
Next Stop: Oceanside
With such rare wonderful weather, you can’t keep a Beastie still for long and soon we were back in the car and heading over to the not-so-cleverly-named town of Oceanside. So far, this little village is still managing not to slip into the sea.
However, this sign makes me wonder if Oceanside might be the setting for the next comic book franchise….
This area is popular for hang gliders who like to jump off nearby hills and soar around that cliff face (called Maxwell Point). Finn was hoping to have a go, but thankfully the lack of winds meant no soaring stunts on this trip. Instead, our destination is a tunnel carved into the cliff face. The seagull’s beak points to where we’re headed.
Finn, of course always braver in words than deeds, was a little nervous when he got close enough to read the sign…
-Are you sure this is safe?
-Safe? Of course it’s not safe. This tunnel was blasted out in the 1920s before things like “safety” and “surveying for stability” were a thing. I think the slogan of the guys who built it was something like, “Have Dynamite, will blast.”
-Don’t worry, the tunnel hasn’t caved in in nearly a hundred years – well there was a rock slide in 1979 that closed off the entrance, but, you know, we’re probably okay.
The tunnel, while short, is not built for anyone with mobility issues. It’s uneven, unpaved, and (thanks to the storms) was riddled with Beastie-deep pools of water when we went through.
And on the other side….well, more beach, duh. Again, due to the storms turning the ocean into something angrier than a clothes washing machine possessed by the devil, the waves were coming up too high to get down to this beach, so we turned around and sloshed and stumbled our way back through the tunnel. (You can read more about the tunnel’s dubious history at the Headlight Herald)
More appreciative of the flat, dry sand, Finn didn’t complain about our beach this time. And it turned out Finn wasn’t the only beast on the beach this day when we came upon this handsome little sea lion.
But, once again, our adventures had us hankering for a meal, so after an hour or so of walking, we turned around and headed back for another round of raiding the fridge at Chateau Mom.
Thanks for coming along everyone!! I’ll be back next week with more book-related and Beastie-related fun!
What about you, ever been to the Oregon Coast? How was the weather? Any favorite beaches near you? Tell me all about it!!
From now through the end of the month you can get The Trials of Hercules (Book One) and The Maze (Book Three) for only 99 cents each. Clicking on the books’ titles above will take you to a handy dandy site with direct links to all your favorite ebook retailers.