Tag Archives: Road Trip

PACIFIC COAST HWY: COOS BAY TO ASTORIA, OREGON


Digging for Clams at low tide. Waldport, Oregon.

MAY 26 – The weather forecast must have changed overnight because it was overcast all day today. Hardly rained though. Just the occasional drizzle and very little wind which was nice. There wasn’t much to see in central Oregon, most times the road took you just far enough inland you couldn’t even see the coast. From what I’ve seen, the scenic portions of the coast in Oregon are in the far North and far South of the stretch of highway. The south just before hitting the State of California was probably the nicest for photo ops.Stopped in a town called Waldport to stretch my legs and take a walk on the beach. The tide was out and I saw a bunch of people in the distance of what looked to be clam digging. Clam digging! It was on my bucket list so I went over to take a closer look. I talked to one guy who explained to me the fine art of clam digging.

The best time for clam digging is at low tide. You will see tiny holes in the sand referred to as a ‘show’. A show is actually a breathing hole made by the clam. It will stick out its neck toward the surface to breathe. I saw them stamping their feet and pounding the sand with shovels. If there’s still a clam underneath, they will squirt water up through the show to surface. Apparently they can squirt up to 2 feet! Once they’ve identified that there is a clam there, they take a bamboo shoot and stick it in the hole at the clams neck, to coax it back in its shell to avoid cutting its neck off when you dig with a shovel or clam gun. In this case they were using a clam gun which looks like a hollow cylinder, about 3 ft long and 4 inches in diameter. They insert this cylinder over top of the show, and with an up and down, rocking and twisting motion, till the entire thing is buried. There is a hole on top of the gun, so once you have buried it in the sand, you place your thumb over it and keep it plugged as you pull the gun out of the sand. Like pulling liquid out of a glass with your thumb over a straw, the sand inside the hollow tube comes out as well. Once you take your finger off the hole and give the tube a little shake, all the sand comes out, along with the clam! Cool stuff! Didn’t have much time to stick around otherwise I would have asked to try. Another time for sure, it looks like fun.

As I was gearing up to leave, the same man comes over and asks me a few questions about my trip. He says, “that’s so awesome, wished I could do that.” I said its easy, just do it. He said, “no it’s not, I can’t, those bikes are too expensive.” I didn’t have time to get into a lengthy conversation about it, so I left it at that and we said our goodbyes and I thought about what he said on my ride…

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Stopped at The Blue Herron French Cheese Company in Tillamook to have a late lunch. You can sample local cheese and wine from the wineries in the area. I had a cheese sampler platter and finished it off with a sample of Tillamook hard ice cream and I think it was the best hard ice cream I ever had.

‘The Goonies’, filmed on Cannon Beach, Oregon

Enroute to Astoria, I had to make a stop in Cannon Beach. It has appeared in several films including, The Goonies, Twilight, Point Break and 1941. Spent an hour strolling the beach taking pictures before I continued on my way. The beach was full of people. Some where having fires and picnics, some flying kites (there were quite of few kites in the air), others playing / taking their dogs for walks.

Stayed in Astoria for the night. I think another thing I should mention is that if you are planning on doing the coast. I recommend knowing where you’re going to stay for the night and booking in advance. I phoned around, looking for a room in the afternoon and I was lucky to find one. If it was peak season, all rooms would have been booked I’m sure. And this happened throughout my trip. I made it a point of booking ahead that day and probably saved me some headaches but I suspect that during peak season you would have to book a few days ahead.

From Astoria, I will be traveling East along the Columbia river Gorge that borders Oregon and Washington. Should be a nice, warm ride. Then head north towards Spokane. This route was planned because I thought it the warmer route to take to get across the Rockies. If I would’ve continued North along the coast into Vancouver, I would have had to cross Coquihalla Pass, which is notorious for unpredictable weather, which translates to snow! And May is not the best time to be riding through the mountains on a motorcycle.

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PHOENIX TO SAN FRANCISCO


I guess some of you may have been wondering where I might be since I haven’t typed much in over a month and yet on the right hand side it says that I’ve gone to Phoenix to pick up the bike. Well, I did pick it up at the beginning of May and headed straight west to Los Angeles. It was about 40 degrees celsius. Hot, hot, hot! But started to cool off as soon as I left L.A and dropped to about 25 degrees by the time I made it to San Francisco. From Laguna Beach, CA, I stuck with the Pacific Coast Trail (Hwy 1) through L.A and would not do that stretch again, as it took me over 3 hours to get through the city, stopping at stop light, after stop light. My left wrist was so sore from holding the clutch in, that it became more of a rush to get to Cambria,CA for the night to rest. I was planning on visiting a couple of sites around Hollywood but didn’t realize how long it would take to get through the city. If I could offer a piece of advice to anyone who is planning on doing the Pacific Coast drive, it would be to not bother staying on that stretch of Hwy, you won’t see much anyways, take the time to see Hollywood and / or Venice Beach and stick to one of the Interstates to get you through instead.

Cambria is a little town situated along the coast, North of L.A. It was my first time staying in a bed and breakfast and left me with a great first impression. The B&B I stayed in was called the Olallieberry Inn, http://www.olallieberry.com/ noted as providing some of the best B&B breakfasts in North America and has won several B&B awards in the last few years. Breakfast was really good! And there were homemade cookies on a tray

Olallieberry Inn, B&B

waiting for me on my bed when I checked in that evening. The community it very artsy, lots of art shops, boutiques and restaurants line the main street of this sleepy little town. The home itself was built in 1873 and there is an 120 year old Redwood Tree that stands in front of it. I liked the novelty of sitting with other guests at the same table at breakfast time and having a chance to interact with everyone. It felt very warm, engaging and welcoming. I will definitely try to get more into the habit of staying at B&B’s from now on.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

The next morning I visited Hearst Castle http://www.hearstcastle.org/. “It was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947[2] for newspaper magnate and film director William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and ’30s. The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate’s airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill were among Hearst’s A-list guests.”

After half a day spent touring the premises, I headed for Carmel By the Sea for the night.

‘Roman Pool’ Hearst Castle

Another town that has a heavily influenced arts community. Had the opportunity to walk barefoot in the sand along the shore that night and watched the surfers till the sun set. Made it to San Francisco the following day and spent some time at Fisherman’s Warf and Golden Gate Bridge. The bike was parked at the hotel I was staying at and flew back for work for a couple of weeks. I found this website http://www.parksleepfly.com/  that will store your vehicle for free for a certain

Bears going for an ‘afternoon cruise’. Found in parking lot at Golden Gate Bridge view point.

number of nights if you stay with them for 1 night. For $130 I stayed for 1 night, was able to park the bike for free for 7 days and get a free shuttle to the airport. Shuttle alone would have cost me $30. I talked to the manager about storing the bike for another 9 days for free if I stay another night when I get back so it was a good deal. A bike storage company would have charged me $100 alone and about $80 in taxi fees to get to airport and back.

I will be flying back to San Fran this week to pick up the bike and continue North

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

and try to make it to Calgary by Tuesday. May is still too early to be riding in the mountains but hopefully the Bike Gods look over me and keep the snow away.

Will keep you posted…