TIO Left Coast: A Perfect Road Trip

TIO Left Coast: A Perfect Road Trip

Once again Sus doubted my navigation skills: we headed north from Bellevue, Washington to meet Daughter #1, Kimm and her husband Michael in Cannon Beach, Oregon for the weekend. It made no sense to my somewhat navigationally impaired wife.


But here’s the deal: Kimm and Mike both were working for most of the day on Friday, whereas we had the whole day to get to the seaside town. So my northbound departure bought us a ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston on the Kitsap Peninsula, a brief detour to Port Gamble and just across the Hood Canal Bridge to Port Ludlow and then a beautiful sunny fall drive down the shore of Hood’s Canal. (Sorry, I know it as locals knew it years ago: Hood’s versus Hood Canal.)

Mount Baker to Starboard

The first part of our journey was against the morning drive-time traffic, a bonus right from the start. We just made the 1030 sailing of the ferry across to Kingston and were rewarded with a beautiful fall crossing- cool and breezy, but with splendid views of Mount Baker, Whidbey Island, the Olympic Range. We had recently been in New England for autumn, and even a few days at the end of fall in Telluride. All beautiful. However, on a clear autumn day on the Olympic Peninsula it’s hard to even think of being anywhere else.

Coming into Kingston, Olympics Behind

We stopped briefly at Pleasant Harbor, which has to be one of the most perfect harbors in America, surrounded as it is by abrupt hills, with a narrow inlet open to the northeast and the eastern slope of the Olympic Range looming above. Did I mention it is beautiful? Long ago I kept a small sailboat in this harbor and it remains as lovely as my memories.

Pleasant Harbor

From Pleasant Harbor we continued south along the water to a wide spot in the road, the Hama Hama Company’s Saloon/Company, our lunch stop. We sat outside in the sun, lunched on salmon chowder and local oysters on the half shell, accompanied by a crisp Willamette Valley Pinot Gris from Cooper Mountain Vineyards.

I’m partial to the oysters from the Pacific Northwest, but you haven’t tasted oysters until you’ve tasted them fresh from the beds, probably harvested on the most recent low tide. That’s fresh. And good!

Hama Hama Oyster Saloon


Oysters, Salmon Chowder and Pinot Gris

South of Hama Hama we turned west off Highway 101 and followed the backroads across the south end of the Olympic Peninsula until we turned south again on the Wynooche Valley road, where Bobby, my first wife, and I had a farm right on the river. The Wynooche is a cold, clear body of water that flows out of the south end of the Olympic Range. Our old place has over a mile of river frontage. It was good to return to the area on this beautiful day.

After Montesano we headed south across southwest Washington. Sunset found us along Willapa Bay, then on to dusk, crossing the Columbia River at Astoria.

We arrived in Cannon Beach about 1930 (7:30 p.m. for those of you who don’t think in terms of a 24-hour clock), in time to check in to the Hallmark Hotel, unpack, clean up, and head out for our dinner reservation at The Wayfarer, a short walk from our hotel.

With their mid-afternoon departure from Seattle, Friday evening traffic, and a fast-food stop en route for people fuel, Kimm and Michael got to the restaurant in time to join us for a drink.

As for our circuitous journey, we had a beautiful, low-stress drive through some spectacular country, an incomparable lunch, and still made it to our destination on the Oregon coast well before we were joined by our family.

Repeat after me: All who wander are not lost!

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