Looking back on our last day along the Oregon coast, I can't help but wonder if we rushed this leg of the trip a bit. Sure, there wasn't that much to look at and after a while all the large rock formations in the ocean can start to look the same. But Oregon sure is beautiful and next time I feel like I should take more time to appreciate its natural beauty... and its breweries.
Shortly after we left Yachats, we stopped in Newport to have a little breakfast alongside the historic bayfront. This is the area we were supposed to have reached the night before to make a stop at Rogue Ale's Bayfront Public House. By the time we got there the next morning it was too early to stop for beer but it was the perfect place to stop for breakfast.
The entire bayfront area felt super quaint and reminded me a lot of Maine, but with warmer weather and seals. For Oregonians, I'm sure it's the perfect spot for a lowkey weekend getaway.
We parked and started walking down the main bayfront street until I found a place that looked like they might have a decent breakfast. Inside, The Coffee House was adorable and warm and packed with families and fishermen alike.
Unfortunately, coffee and ambience were really all that The Coffee House had going for it. The food, though doled out in huge servings, left a lot to be desired. We picked at our breakfasts, took advantage of the wifi for a bit and then made our way up the 101 to our next stop: the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
For someone who loves cheese as much as I do, it would have been blasphemous to visit Oregon and not stop at a cheese factory. So I chose the largest one, Tillamook, for its early hours of operation, the free cheese samples, and of course, their famous ice cream.
Inside, we immediately hit up the sample bar, then ordered some ice cream to enjoy while we wandered along the self-guided tour. At the ice cream counter, there were too many options and I was too indecisive to go with just one, so I ordered a sampler of five thinking that I'd get a tablespoon's worth of each flavor.
I was wrong. Each of the five flavors came as a scoop, making this cup of ice cream an impossible but delicious feat. I tried flavors like Cinnamon Horchata, Fireside S'mores, and White Chocolate Raspberry Yum until my tastebuds and my stomach gave up. It remains a great tragedy of the trip that so much incredible ice cream had to go to waste.
After Tillamook, it was time to head back out into the rain for what would end up being the worst weather day of our trip. The weather was insane for the rest of the day, all the way until we hit Seattle. Downpours frequently gave way to crisp blue skies which frequently turned back into mist and rainbows within a mile's time.
Luckily, by the time we got to our last coastline stop of the day, the famous Cannon Beach, there was a break in the rain so that we could spend a few moments on the sand.
Cannon Beach is a small coastal town and a packed tourist destination in the summertime. There were people all over the beach and the town's sidewalks and restaurants were overflowing with families and couples on vacation. Visitors rode beach cruisers past adorable little summer rental houses and a large hotel near the beach appeared to be prepping for a wedding. Before we left, I dipped my toes in the chilly water just to say I got into the Pacific in Oregon.
The rain continued on and off throughout our final miles in Oregon and then, before I knew it, we were crossing an insane (but beautiful) bridge into the state of Washington.
To my surprise, coastal Washington consisted of nothing but evergreen trees lining either side of the road. I had wanted to continue up the actual coast for as long as possible, but the lack of water made this a pretty underwhelming endeavor. Eventually, we started to make our way inland towards Seattle, officially leaving the coast behind for what would be the last time on our trip.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much to see here. It was a small, squat suburban neighborhood that we were in and out of in the blink of an eye. I could have made an effort to check out the nearby Kurt Cobain Memorial Park, but honestly, I didn't feel like slowing down or stopping just to see a marble guitar statue for a musician who isn't that important to me.
From there on it was full speed ahead to Seattle, or rather to Sammamish, the town where Ryan's friends Patrick and Marjorie live. After a long day of driving, we arrived at their gorgeous home around dinnertime, got the tour, and then headed out to Bushnell Craft Brewing Company in Redmond.
A little rainbow in the distance
I tried their Crack Back IPA and their Game 39 Irish Red Ale and enjoyed them both with my delicious burger. It was a great dinner and evening of catching up with friends over drinks.
The next morning, I woke up early to get in a 5 miler for marathon training and ended up having the best run of my entire training program. The mist and cool, crisp morning air in Washington was so similar to the weather I grew up with in Connecticut that my body responded immediately to it.
And with the last training run of vacation done and out of the way, we were ready to explore Seattle!