Walkway to the Beach in Seaside
Visiting Portland is always relaxing in comparison to NYC, but I was in need of even more nature than Portland was offering me. My best friend Angie suggested a visit to Seaside, Oregon. Ah, yes! Seaside!
We decided my father also needed to escape the confines of Portland and Court TV and asked if he wanted to come along. Sure, he did. He has the pioneering spirit as well! So we grabbed our jackets and my iPod with the road trip mix and headed towards Highway 101.
It takes about an hour and a half to get to Seaside from Portland and the drive up was pretty uneventful.
The ride to Seaside consists of a whole lot of highway and a whole lot of trees. That and passing lanes that appear every ten miles only to last for quarter of a mile. During that stretch everyone tries to pass the RVs, vintage cars and anyone with a Washington license plate as these are the slowest drives on the road. Whoever made these passing lanes had a sick sense of humor because all of the passing lanes are uphill, never on the downhill part, so if you have a V4 engine, you are screwed and will keep getting stuck behind the slow drivers after the two lanes merge. Sick, just sick…
Cool Trees Rock!
After and hour and 15 minutes we were ready to get out of the car and stretch a bit, so we were happy when the signs for Seaside began to appear. I was feeling thirsty so we decided to stop at the Seaside Rite Aid to grab some water. After finding our refreshment of choice we walked out the door and found a group of people selling hot dogs to save sea turtles.
In the years I lived in Oregon, I never knew we had sea turtles. Unfortunately, on the trip I never found one so there were no photos to document them, but I did get a picture of the sign!
Go Sea Turtles!
Now onto the actual beaches; I need to clarify one thing. Beaches in Oregon are not really what you would think of when you think of a beach. Nobody in Oregon calls anything on the coastline a beach, only a coast. Why? Because 350 days out of the year the Oregon Coast is chilly, windy and overcast. Believe it! I have had friends who had never been to the Oregon Coast before dress in bikinis thinking they were in Miami.
Sometimes people just need to learn things the hard way in life.
That is One Big Squirrel
It turned out the day that we went was indeed one of the 350 days of cloudiness. It was 60 degrees with 25 MPH winds and it was July…yes, I repeat, it was July. Got to love the Oregon Coast! Still we weren’t going to let this get in the way of our fun! So we decided to take care of the most important thing first; we went to the candy store. A trip to the coast requires this to be done; that is the way of the universe. Who are we to argue with fate? So we decided the best place to go for candy was the one and only Candyman in Seaside. This place is nothing like the movie The Candyman for any horror movie buffs; there is nothing to fear except maybe the 15 different renditions of the song The Candy Man being played on a loop.
I have to say after 30 minutes in the store, Sammy Davis, Jr. still owns that song!
Hoping to Get Lucky in the Candyman's Domain
The Candyman has been around for years. Basically it is a candy store that specializes in taffy. In fact it has over 170 flavors of taffy for your teeth rotting enjoyment. They also have Jelly Bellies and other various types of candy you would expect at the coast. Candyman has the cheapest candy in Seaside and you can also win free taffy by spinning the taffy wheel, though you probably would have a better chance of winning the lottery. But remember this; nobody walks away a loser in the house of the Candyman. Everybody wins a consolation prize; a piece of taffy. If you walk down the street near the shop you can also get another free piece of candy from the Candyman himself! You can’t miss him; he is dressed up like Uncle Sam and is carrying a big bag of taffy.
The Candyman Wants You - Even if Your Picture is as Bad as This!
Satisfied with our loot of taffy, two pounds of it for me (1Lbs is still in my desk drawer), we wanted to grab some lunch. My dad had never had Japanese food before (crazy, right?), so we took him to a place in the center of Seaside and ordered some sushi, tempura and miso soup. It was quite good and a great deal, everyone left the table satisfied. My job was done.
But we didn’t come to the coast just to eat and shop, oh no! So we made our way over to Ecola State Park which is actually in Cannon Beach which is a few miles up from Seaside. On the way there we ran into a group of bikers.
We had been seeing bikers all day, I mean ALL day! When we passed the convention center, we knew why. There were hundreds of bikers lining the streets. Apparently bikers love the Candyman too! That is a lot of free taffy!
Only a Handful of Bikers
We took a quick snapshot of the bikers and I mean quick because you don’t want to piss off a biker let alone 100 of them and onward we continued to Ecola State Park. From Ecola you can get one of the best views of Haystack Rock; Cannon Beach’s famous landmark. Haystack Rock can be seen in the movie blockbusters 1941, Goonies and Kindergarten Cop. If you are living in the US, you can see these life altering films on the weekend around 2AM. Check your local listing…
Besides the views at Ecola, there are trails for hiking and places for barbecuing and picnicking.
Little FYI, horses are not allowed, but dogs on leashes are alright, sadly I had to leave Trigger at home…
The Rolling Hills of Ecola
The ride up to Ecola is lovely yet stressful. There is a small, narrow, winding road that you need to take up to the park very slowly, otherwise you could end up going off of the roadway. For some reason it is alright for people to ride bikes along it though, which is crazy because it is barely wide enough for two lanes of traffic. The scenery is beautiful on the way up if you get the chance to see it while trying to dodge bikers.
When we got to the top of Ecola, it was overcast and windy. This wasn’t too much of a surprise considering everytime I have been up there it is overcast and windy. I think Ecola has had one sunny, calm day only once in ten years, but that has not been officially documented.
Hazy Haystack Rock
Once we parked the car we headed over the hill towards the main path. If you look to the left you have a great view of Cannon Beach including Haystack Rock and if you look to the right there are scenic little hills and a lighthouse way off in the distance. The day we were there we got free entertainment in the form of a wedding party with a bagpiper thrown into the mix. You have to love guys in kilts…especially on a windy day…
After we had our fill of checking out the kilt wearing man, we were ready to hit the hiking trail but unfortunately on the gate leading to it we found a sign saying that the main trail was not accessible that day. Hmmm, you would think they would have posted that before making us pay the fee to get into the park wouldn’t you, but you would be wrong. I expressed my disappointment with my father, but he is the type who never complains.
Someone could steal his car and he would smile at the officer and comment on how beautiful the weather was. So there would be no sympathy from my father.
Angie and I, we were a little disappointed, but it was out of our hands, so we took a lot of various, stupid photos to make it appear as if we had had a full day at Ecola when in actuality we had only been there a total of 30 minutes.
After another half an hour spent on taking more bizarre photos than we needed, we decided to head back to Portland as I had to leave at 5:45AM the next day. Even though we didn’t get to hike the trail, we still weren’t disappointed. We had 2Lbs of taffy and the memory of bikers and The Candyman to fill our Oregon Coast void. Life was good….