Cioppino at Sharks Seafood Bar & Steamer Co. (Newport, OR)

Sharks Seafood Bar alone would be worth a trip to Newport, Oregon, even if the town has many other virtues. The interior doesn't have a very big space, with only a few tables and a sitting bar toward the back. Their cioppino is justifiably famous, named by Sunset Magazine in 2003 as having the best version... Continue Reading →

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area (OR)

One of the most spectacular areas along the Oregon Coast is the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. It also is the highest viewpoint of the ocean accessible by car in the state. Over 2,500 acres, the highlights include a geologic blowhole (Spouting Horn), a long, narrow crack cleaved in the coastal basalt (Devil's Churn) and a... Continue Reading →

Lunch at Minute Café (Bandon, OR)

Once in a while, you get surprised by a meal that you didn't expect much from. We stopped in Bandon to stretch our legs and get a little lunch before resuming our road trip. First, we visited a confectionery, Cranberry Sweets & More, where all things cranberry are made into candies, and then walked around... Continue Reading →

Western Azalea

One of the glorious native shrubs that grows along the coasts of California and Oregon is the western azalea. It is really not an azalea, but rather a rhododendron, a deciduous one at that. When in bloom, the shrub is very prolific. Since it was late spring, our road trip coincided with its peak blossoming... Continue Reading →

Fern Canyon (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA)

Steven Spielberg saw its primeval potential for Jurassic Park 2, the backdrop for the T. Rex chase scene. Fern Canyon is an impossibly verdant gorge, carved out millions of years ago by a retreating sea, its vertical walls literally covered with walls of ferns, five species of them, and mosses. Water seems to seep out... Continue Reading →

Molcajete at La Hacienda (Orick, CA) – CLOSED

Two different Hispanic locals gave us the same recommendation: a shop keeper in Arcata and an employee at a gas station in McKinleyville. The tip was that La Hacienda in Orick was the best place in the area to have Mexican food. As we drove through Orick, situated within the Redwood National Park boundary, at first... Continue Reading →

Trinidad Head Memorial (Trinidad, CA)

A replica of the Trinidad Head lighthouse sits on a bluff overlooking the sea. It is really a memorial to those lost at sea, whose names are on plaques along a concrete wall nearby. The lighthouse itself still is perched on the headland, not accessible to the general public. The fog bell that was originally... Continue Reading →

Patrick’s Point State Park

There is no better evidence of the powerful forces of plate subduction than the shoreline of Patrick's Point State Park. The Farallon Plate is diving under the North American plate slowly, leaving behind good examples of broken and folded coastline, including some impressive examples of basalt outcroppings out at sea. There is a fault that... Continue Reading →

The Redwoods (CA)

It's impossible to miss the magnificent stands of redwoods in northern California. Along Highway 101, there are several outstanding preserves, which include a national park and a good number of state parks. At one time, they were much more abundant. Redwood trees appeared all over the world 20 million years ago when climates were warmer... Continue Reading →

Mendocino (CA)

It isn't hard to understand why Mendocino is such a tourist attraction and a residential community for many artists. The town of less than 1,000 residents sits on a headland. There are many restaurants and galleries as well as a large number of bed-and-breakfast accommodations. For all its idyllic charm, with quaint homes, many behind... Continue Reading →

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