Getting it Together on the Road: Oregon Coast

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

When I travel, I either have a down-to-the-minute (slight exaggeration) plan or no plan at all. Lately, it’s been “no plan at all”, which is ironic, because I’m a serious planner (in my head at least I think I am… I like to know what dates are on the calendar, etc.). When I was in Portland last, I decided that Jake and I could use a little out-of-Portland adventure, so I rented a car with my only plan being “drive until you see the Pacific Ocean”.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Reaching the Pacific: Check.

The car rental guy asked me where I was headed off to. I usually hate answering these types of questions because I like to be mysterious but I thought maybe I could use some advice. “Um, the coast? Any towns you would recommend”. He said Cannon Beach and I had already thought of Cannon Beach because I heard rumors of puffins (bird, not the cereal) on Haystack Rock. I had totally meant to grab a pair of binoculars from my dad because allegedly they up really high so they just look like normal birds. When I got back and surprised Jake with the keys I told him Cannon Beach and he seemed cool with it so that’s where we headed off to.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Bay views.

I didn’t tell Jake that I didn’t have a serious plan because I didn’t want to stress him out. I had spent a little time researching where we should go (aka Googling “Best Oregon Beaches”) and looking through a Pacific Northwest Road Trip Lonely Planet guidebook. He asked if we should fill the car up with gas before we left Portland and I said no, it’s fine, we have a half tank (foreshadowing) and we hit the road for the Pacific Coast Highway. (Or is it Oregon Coast Highway – fact checker, where are you?)

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Not a bad view.

I imagined every Oregon Coast town to be completely deserted and idyllically isolated, much like the photos I had seen. I often have gross misconceptions (or no conceptions at all) of what places are going to be like. Cannon Beach was a NUTHOUSE. We drove around the town that is really 3 or 4 streets that circle around each other for at least thirty minutes until deciding to try our luck leaving the car in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant, El Mariachi Loco.

On the drive to Cannon Beach, Jake and I had been lamenting on the lack of good Mexican food in both Pittsburgh and Portland… and by good Mexican food we mean the greasy Tex Mex of our childhood. “We can eat seafood for dinner, right… and we had a lot of seafood last night at Roe” we asked/told ourselves and promptly decided to have lunch at the famed El Mariachi Loco.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Obligatory selfie.

After we had fueled up (aka put food to our Roe hangovers) we hit the beach. Strange fact: the beaches in Oregon are cold and no one wears swimsuits. I’ve toyed around with the idea of surfing in Oregon because it is supposed to decent surfing (as if I’m an expert… ha) but we were both too hesitant to test the water temperature, which makes me think I would just be miserable surfing in it, even in a wet suit. We checked out Haystack Rock, the third largest sea stack in the world (can someone tell me where one and two are?) looked at some things that could have been puffins, and watched a lot of people all flying the same kite.

cannon beach haystack rock oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Looking for puffins at Haystack Rock. There those black things that look like dirt on your computer screen.

We walked back down the beach with fingers crossed the car was still there (it was) and only got lost once in the process (see: having no plan). We decided we should just keep driving south since Cannon Beach is Northwest of Portland along the Pacific/Oregon Coast Highway to Manzanita, the next stop on the “Essential Coast Roadtrip” or whatever chapter in the book.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

See why I love Oregon?

This is where things get sticky. It’s always interesting traveling with people because you see a side of them you never normally do. With me, that’s a not-so-wound-up-with-anxiety side. We had a quarter tank of gas (completely acceptable to me) and Jake began to get nervous (author’s note: I’ll give him this – gas stations were few and far between). “I have AAA, it’s fine they’ll just bring us gas.” “How long will it take? Also we have no cell service. Will you look up gas stations?” (PS Jake you’re extra cute when you’re anxious about running out of gas.)

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

I found this in my bag so I had to leave it at Jake’s with a note on it. PS the lack of Fiji Water in Coastal Oregon is anxiety-inducing. Yes, I pay for a bottle of water with a debit card like an asshole.

Manzanita had little to look at, but did have the highlight of the trip for Jake, a Shell Station that was every bit as scary as you would imagine a gas station in the middle of nowhere Oregon to be.

Since Manzanita was a bit of a bust, Jake remembered Oceanside was nearby and had a lighthouse at Netarts Bay as well as an “Octopus Tree” from his trip to the coast earlier this year. We drove through Tillamook (of Tillamook Cheddar fame) and the drive from Manzanita to Oceanside was the most beautiful of the trip (and honestly one of the more stunning drives I have done – it reminded me a lot of Hawaii).

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

This post could alternatively be titled “look at how attractive my boyfriend is”.

We went to Netarts Bay and checked out the Cape Meares lighthouse (which was like maybe taller than me but possibly not) but the views were worth the trip. There were also more puffins at Cape Meares (as the excited older women next to us exclaimed) and our lack of binoculars or a quarter for the binocular machine thing made us feel like particularly bad birdwatchers.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Aren’t the views STUNNING?

Now to the part you’re all waiting for – what is an octopus tree, you ask? Well, the Octopus Tree is a tree that has a bunch (maybe 8?) of huge trunks (I had to look up “part of a tree” to find that word) and no stump. It is also a Historic Oregon Tree incase you were concerned. Despite my wish to climb the tree for a good Instagram photo, I decided to obey the State of Oregon’s request to “stay off the tree”. Two young gentlemen who were walking towards the tree on our way back probably did not obey those wishes.

octopus tree oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

An Oregon Historic Tree.

octopus tree oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Octopus Tree Take Two.

We decided a drink/snack was in order and headed into Oceanside for a bite. It was dinner time so we ended up stopping at Roseanna’s, which was basically everything you could hope for in a small, sleepy beachside town. Roseanna’s had a hand written menu, a heavy pour of Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris for $7 and a lot of butter-laden dishes. We sat by the window, polished off a lot of clams, bacon wrapped scallops and more wine (and beer for Jake).

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

See that help wanted sign? It felt enticing to stay in a town forever where I could drink $7 Sokol Blosser.

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

CLAMS. You can buy a $7 shellfishing license to go clamming on your own.

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Is this vegan?

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Grilled salmon salad because it’s my favorite food (besides oatmeal, greek yogurt, avocados, nut butter and ice cream, of course).

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Cioppino.

roseanna's oceanside oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Not a bad dinner view.

Jake indulged me by walking back out to the ocean one more time before we headed back to Portland. The sun was setting and it was the end of a perfectly unplanned day with all of my favorite things – sun, sand, ocean, a solid wine buzz and handsome boys.

oregon coast road trip | almost getting it together

Fave.

Chat with me:
What’s your travel style – plan, no plan? How are you on road trips? Do you get anxious when Fiji Water/coconut water aren’t readily available?

36 comments on “Getting it Together on the Road: Oregon Coast

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on August 14, 2014 8:45 am

Aww, I’m glad you guys had a good time despite a couple hiccups! I tend to be overly planned and type A on trips (and in life) but I’m working on being a little more easygoing.
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:43 am

Once you let it go the first time it’s easier, I promise! This is coming from someone who is type A in everything BUT travel :)

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Davida @ The Healthy Maven on August 14, 2014 9:56 am

SO FREAKING CUTE. I like the alternate title. Your boyfrandddd is a hottie mcbody. Hi Jake! I also pay for water with a debit card. I was unaware this made me an asshole. Now I’m self-conscious lol. You also have now made me want to visit Oregon asap. This is particularly shocking because I only recently discovered that oregon is a state and not a city in Washington which apparently is different from Washington DC. Shhhhh I’m Canadian.
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:42 am

Haha we’re also the same person because we both have hot boyfriends. Please come visit Oregon ASAP (well, when I’m there) okay?? Also, YOU’RE HALF AMERICAN. We’ll start your American geography lessons soon.

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Kelli @Hungry Hobby on August 14, 2014 10:15 am

AWWWW this was a cute post looks like you guys had a lot of fun! It depends on what kind of trip it is …. how many people are going, etc. I love road trips with the hubby, it’s been our “thing” since we first started dating :)
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:41 am

That’s such a good thing to have as a “thing”. I could never be with someone who didn’t love to travel!

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Bethany @ Accidental Intentions on August 14, 2014 11:08 am

Cannon Beach is beautiful! I went there on a family vacation several years back and absolutely loved it. Actually, it’s pretty much the extent of my Oregon experience (though we did fly into Portland to get to Cannon Beach). We went to Tillamook as well, and my cheese-consuming life has never been the same. I don’t think anything compares to Tillamook cheddar.
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:39 am

I keep looking for Tillamook Cheddar at home but can’t find it!

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Christine@ Apple of My Eye on August 14, 2014 11:15 am

GORGEOUS trip! I love that you took it spontaneously and didn’t plan too much ahead. I’m a bit of a compulsive planner myself, so it must have been so freeing :)!
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:39 am

Yes, definitely pretty freeing – it’s the only time my brain isn’t in overdrive, to be honest!

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on August 14, 2014 11:27 am

Gorgeous, picturesque, and adorable. And cioppino. Alex and I like a little plan mixed with whatever comes our way. Because, really, how are you ever going to know what you really want to do until you are out there? We like to have a place to start, and then go from there. THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:35 am

LOVE THIS COMMENT :) It’s always good to have a starting point but what if there is something amazing you didn’t know existed??

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Jessica on August 14, 2014 11:40 am

Despite the fact that I am a planner for most things, I like trips to be more relaxed. I’ll read a lot about the destination prior to going and have a list of “must see” sites, but I don’t rigidly schedule how we check those off. It doesn’t feel like vacation if you’re worried about waking up early, being on time somewhere, and rushing from place to place!
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:33 am

Have to agree… I used to shove SO MUCH into vacation thinking “I’ll never be back” but then I started visiting places multiple times (Paris, Italy, etc.) that I realized if I love it enough, I’ll be back.

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Caitlin on August 14, 2014 11:45 am

This sounds like a lot of fun :) I like to think I could do something like this and for a day I’d probably be ok, but for longer, I know I’d need a plan. When we go on trips, we usually pick 1-3 restaurants (depending on length) that we really want to try and I’ll pick a few things I want to do or see, but we also try to leave time to just explore and see what we find ourselves when we get there :)
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:33 am

That’s a good idea to pick restaurants… I had kind of looked at that but not a whole lot lol.

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Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness on August 14, 2014 11:58 am

Aww what a great trip! Even the things that go awry lead to great memories and even better stories! I’m not a planner :) and ps- the pics of you and your bf are ADORABLE.
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:32 am

I definitely agree with you! The best things are unplanned… and THANK YOU! :)

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Ang @ Nutty for Life on August 14, 2014 1:39 pm

Lovin’ that pour on the wine.
Looks like a beautiful trip, as always. Sometimes the best things are unplanned.
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:31 am

RIGHT? We were thinking that pour was SO NICE.

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Jake's Mom on August 14, 2014 3:28 pm

For the Record… Your BF has had that “less than half a tank” anxiety ever since he learned that cars run on gas BUT his Mom never ran out of gas!!! Great recap of a beautiful trip!

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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:31 am

Haha good to know he’s had that forever! It’s really cute though!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. on August 14, 2014 5:21 pm

I freaking love Oregon, but it’s been a handful of years since the last time I’ve been. The road trips I took down the Pacific coast were epic, though. And when it comes to those kind of trips, I always play it by ear. Heck, we’re headed to Whistler in a couple of weeks and have nook idea what we’re going to do once we get there. The way I see it, it’s a beautiful place with tonnes to see — you really can’t go wrong!
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:29 am

That is such a good way to look at it… I love the Pacific. Definitely best coast :) Can’t wait to see all your photos from Whistler!

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Joanna @ LivingMintGreen on August 14, 2014 5:42 pm

I WANNA GOOOO!!! I’ve never been to Oregon. You should break up with your boyfriend and date me instead. We can go adventuring all over the world together. Yes??

HAHA. You guys are super cute! :)

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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:19 am

That sounds SUPER enticing. You need to go to Oregon. Maybe not QUITE as beautiful as Banff, but different beautiful :)

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Lindsay on August 14, 2014 6:48 pm

i want to face plant into that food and that trip, NOW!
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:20 am

The Kiwi needs to have a tri in Oregon!

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Erin @ The Almond Eater on August 14, 2014 10:02 pm

Haha I like Jake’s moms comment :) also you two are PRESH (you know this). I’m a planner… I just get so excited to travel places since I don’t travel that often that I want to make sure I do alllllllll the fun touristy things. I think if I went to the same place a lot I wouldn’t be like that (like when I go to DC I no longer plan things to do).
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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:18 am

Um I’m so jealous you’re going to Puerto Rico… can you pack me in your bag?

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Tiger Bait Snus on August 14, 2014 10:08 pm

Your BF has perfect facial hair. Can you ask him how he cares for it?

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Cassie on August 15, 2014 8:13 am

Thank you! Here is what he said: “I use a safety razor to line things up. I comb it. Then I use a beard oil.”

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Kristen on August 15, 2014 12:01 am

Ahhhh this makes me want to visit Oregon so bad!!!! I’m flying down to Seattle in September for a week and I really want to keep traveling down the coast to Oregon! PS if you want to see puffins, come to my town – we see them all the time!
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Arman @ thebigmansworld on August 16, 2014 5:38 am

I legit have a slight obsession with your on the road recaps and read each one like a travel diary- Keep travelling lol!
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Heather @fitncookies on August 16, 2014 8:24 pm

When I was in Oregon last year, we took a drive to Cannon beach, too. I was in Portland so it wasn’t a bad drive, but it was CRAZY how much the weather changed!! It was snowing while we were going to Cannon beach, yet in the 50s and 60s in Portland. I also felt the water, and man it was freezing!!
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