Cannon Beach

Champaign and chocolates for Sandy's birthday

Sandy has wanted to go back to the Oregon Coast for a while. This summer she suggested that we go to Cannon Beach to celebrate her birthday. I didn't need much convincing. It sounded like a good idea to me.

We left on her birthday, which was on a Sunday. Our original plan was that we would be back home on Tuesday night, because Sandy had to travel to Moscow for a work meeting on Thursday. That made for a short trip to the coast. It also meant that as soon as we got home, Sandy had to leave again to drive to northern Idaho . Being a good husband, I suggested that she could save time if we drove directly from the coast to Moscow on Wednesday. That would save her a day of driving. Plus she wouldn't have to do the drive between Boise and Moscow, which she really dislikes. She jumped on that quickly so I figure that I earned some husband points. While Sandy was at her meeting, I would also have a chance to make a quick visit to Coeur d'Alene, which is only about an hour from Moscow, to see my mom.

We got there in time for a walk on the beach Sunday evening

We left first thing in the morning on Sunday. The drive to Cannon Beach was eight hours according to Google, and we gained an hour because of the time change. The drive was straightforward until we reached Portland. Then it was a little exciting as we had to go through Portland's famous Spaghetti Junction - the I5/I405 interchange. It wouldn't have been bad except that as soon as we merged onto I5 from the right we immediatly had to get across all the lanes of traffic to exit on the left for I405. Even on a Sunday afternoon there was enough traffic to make that exciting. After that, leaving Portland on US26 was easy, although traffic going into town was backed up for several miles. We resolved that when we came back, we would find a route that avoided going through Portland on a busy weekday.

Then it was a little over an hour of easy driving through the coast range. The one thing that I remember from that stretch was that we passed a large jerky stand with a big sign for "Vegan Jerky". I'm not even sure what that is, although I'm sure it's organic, and gluten free too. We knew that we were in Oregon.

Walking on the beach near Haystack Rock

When we were planning the trip we looked into staying at the Stephanie Inn. It's a beautiful lodge, right on the beach, with a view of Cannon Beach's famous landmark, Haystack Rock. We have wanted to go there for years, but when we checked it was $300-$400 per night. Too expensive for a couple of old retirees. Surprisingly, even at those rates, it was fully booked. I'm not sure who stays there. Instead we stayed at the Courtyard. It was very nice, much more reasonably priced, and only about fifty yards from the beach. We may be old and retired but we can make it that far.

And as soon as we got to Cannon Beach, checked into our room, and unloaded the car, that's where we went. We walked along the beach for about an hour. Although there were a lot of people out on the beach, it is so big that it didn't seem overcrowded. As the sun got low on the horizon, we tried some artsy shots of the sun going behind Haystack Rock and other sea stacks near the water's edge. It was very pretty but we were getting hungry, so eventually we headed back to get some dinner.

Before we left for dinner, I texted my friend Dale. He was in Hawaii, so I told him we had just arrived at the Oregon Coast, and that we had gone down to the water and waved to him. I wanted to know if he had seen us. He replied soon after, without missing a beat, that of course he had seen us. Hadn't we seen him wave back?

The sun sinks behind a sea stack

Besides being close to the beach, it was only about a quarter of a mile walk to downtown Cannon Beach. That's not as impressive as it sounds - it's only about two or three blocks of shops and restaurants. Most of the shops were closed for the evening but the restaurants were still open. We got a table on the patio at Driftwood, where we had a glass of wine and a nice dinner to celebrate Sandy's birthday. On the way back to our hotel we stopped for ice cream at Schwietert's Cones and Candy. It was a perfect way to finish off our dinner. The store also featured a lot of old-time candy and I made an amazing find. They carried an old favorite candy of mine, Regal Crown Cherry Sours. I used to buy them all the time at the student union when I was in college. I've looked for them many times since over the years but had never been able to find them. Apparently a few years ago a company named Iconic Candy decided to revive them. I made a point to stock up and bought ten rolls to take with me. Not to mention ordering a couple of boxes as soon as I got home. This was more exciting than when they brought Twinkies and Suzy Q's back.

Sandy got her main birthday present early, a new computer, before we left on the trip. It was an HP Envy 34-a010, a very cool all-in-one with a curved 34 inch monitor. But I had brought a few more presents along that Abby and I had picked out and Sandy opened them when we got back to our room. Then we finished the evening by watching the first presidential debate. Since this is mainly a travel blog I will forego making political comments on the debate.

By the time the debate was over, it had been a pretty full day. I think Sandy really enjoyed her birthday. The forecast for the next two days was good and we already had hikes picked out.