CANON BEACH/HUG POINT
Before Director/Sadist Michael Bay can destroy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then collude with Spielberg/Lucas to annihilate my 80’s childhood completely, I visit the backdrop for one of my favorite movies, ‘The Goonies’.
First up, Ecola State Park, a bit north of Canon Beach off the 101, down a winding path through vivid fern-carpeted, temperate rainforest.
The vantage point is slightly obscured, as the weather is as melancholy and gloomy as Katie Holmes and Kelly Preston during Pride Week.
The relentless salty mist, and whipping winds soak your clothes, then turns off, leaving a picture perfect grey/green – fjord/ocean landscape with star monolith ‘Haystack Rock’ rising in the distance. It’s beautiful, lucid, a bit of coastal Maine, shades of Scotland, but uniquely Oregon.
South on the 101 to Canon Beach for a closer look at Haystack Rock jutting up about 230 feet, abuzz with Terns frantically fighting for food exposed by the receding tide.
Movie Trivia: The Goonies was filmed in Astoria, Oregon, but Haystack Rock served as a backdrop to the beginning of movie, when the Fratelli Brothers are running from local police.
Canon Beach is cute, touristy, and has a strong Pacific ‘Jaws’ feel – filled with galleries, knickknacks, candy shops, and the like. The town is empty for now, as the crowds won’t come for another couple of weeks. If you ever make it over to Canon Beach, grab a Widmer’s Heifeweisen and some clam chowder at Wayfarer’s overlooking the beach – fantastic.
Hug Point Arch
A hidden spot discovered by my brother-in-law (Clark) just a few minutes south on the 101, is simply stunning, even in the misty showers. With ‘Goonies’ in mind, we explore some caves carved and dug out by the ebb and flo of the tide. The area is remote, possibly because of the weather, or the necessity to adhere to a tide-chart to visit.
The hardened sand of the beach originally served as THE only highway on the coast of Oregon, and in some places, within the rocks, you can still see definitive wagon grooves from numerous crossings.
The tide rushes in – not wanting to get stuck in a cave with the mythical Sea Bear – we run for dry ground, and the comforts of a motorized vehicle on paved roads.
WILLAMETTE (Will – LAMB – ette) VALLEY
The Allison Inn, Newberg, Oregon
A few weeks back I wrote about not really ever giving a crap about what hotel I stay in when traveling; going to have to amend that comment for this post.
The Allison Inn in Newberg – heart of Oregon’s Wine country – is the nicest place I’ve ever seen, or laid my weary head. I CAN sleep soundly anywhere, even if ‘forced’ to nuzzle in the swanky, pampered, green certified, Lexus-partnered, highfalutin lap of luxury. The staff here are freaking astounding, and so efficient, it’s borderline ‘Village of the Damned’ – pleasant, but equally occult.
Look out Travel and Leisure, I’m walking out from the Super 8 campground, gunning for a cushy column with your shoddy rag (if you are from T & L, please denote dripping sarcasm. I would give my left one to write for you).
The Rivers in Oregon Run Red with Wine
I’m not a true wine guy – feeling more comfortable drinking whiskey (or scotch), or beer from a tall can – compared to swishing wine in a glass, smelling it, coming up with adjectives other than ‘earthy’ in describing the taste. But, perhaps a testament to adaptively (re: alcoholism), I really, REALLY like Oregonian wine, and in the words of the sage-like Dr. Steve Bruhl “No way am I spitting this stuff out it tastes like fruit”.
The people of Willamette are gregarious, a bit quirky (like Portland), but quick to suggest places for dinner, or other neighboring vineyards to visit, advertised as a major contrast to the apparent back-stabbing of uber-competitive wine Mecca – Napa Valley.
Touring some of the wineries, gleaning the history of the area, the soil, learning about loam, jory, and the sacrifice these Oregonians make to bring quality wine, inspires new adjectives in tasting it, and tasting it, check thesaurus, and tasting it, and tasting it.
Fun Fact: Call Pinot Noir ‘Peanut Nor’, and watch the Tasters/Sommeliers cringe. Hilarious!
SILVER FALLS STATE PARK – 10 Falls Trail.
I save my liver from absolute pickling, driving with Marti/sister christy/bro-in-law Clark in our mini-van rental an hour south to Silver Falls State Park for a detox hike, and trek into Bigfoot territory.
The weather is unseasonably warm, snowy peaks pour off the Cascade mountains creating roaring and spectacular waterfalls – a common theme of the trip.
You can actually walk behind South Falls on the Trail of 10 Falls, and soak in the scenery/incredible sound produced by the rushing water. We’re talking freight train loud contrasted with a very still landscape.
The trail is vigorous, treacherous, and quite slick – can’t see up ahead for Bigfoot, but start getting the feeling we’re about to get ambushed by a snickering wily bear, playing a quick game of hide and seek before ripping off our faces.
Fortunately, there’s no bigfoot, no bear, just unadulterated Oregonian Nature. Turns out, Salmonberries are edible. Damn.
There are times I fantasize being an ex-pat, living in Spain or France like a poor poor man’s Hemingway. Then I go on consecutive trips in the US where my interests and sense of adventure in such a diverse country are reinvigorated, satiated (for now).
Oregon is simply gorgeous. If you like wine, nature, mountains, ocean, adventure…go there. It’s multifarious, beautiful, and at times, like Portland, a little kooky. But hey, aren’t we all a little kooky sometimes? – Mike
Post Dedicated to Roam About Mike, Sr. Cheers, Dad.