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Travels with Brian

Travel staffer Brian Cantwell, his wife and their two cats traversed the Oregon shore in a rented motorhome. Read their adventures here.

April 18, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Pros, cons and the view from the end of the road

Posted by Brian Cantwell

To see the start of this blog, click here and scroll down to the first entry, "Motorhoming the Oregon coast."


From Cape Lookout State Park, looking toward Three Arch Rocks
National Wildlife Refuge, off Netarts, Ore.

That's a wrap. After eating what felt like a trawlerful of seafood (but too few jelly donuts), burning up 896 miles of highway and almost 80 gallons of gasoline, Barbara, the cats and I are home in Seattle. A little tender in the rear suspension (all that driving) and sandy around the toes (all those beaches).

As I guessed at the outset, it beat the heck out of sitting in the office all week. Would we do it again? The trip had its pros and cons:

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April 18, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Beach towns, beach bakeries (and the jelly donut dearth)

Posted by Brian Cantwell


Bandon has good baked goods and outstanding chainsaw art.

If you're a jelly-donut lover, Dundee's Donuts on Broadway in Seaside is your place (see earlier installment in this blog). Elsewhere along the coast, we found some good towns with good bakeries, but most aimed to be too highbrow to offer the lowly jelly donut. (What have beach towns come to?)

A few other places worth a stop:

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April 18, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Campground hosts, lighthouses and pink flamingos

Posted by Brian Cantwell


Parks volunteer Michael Hayes spends his days looking for whales
and giving lighthouse tours at Heceta Head on the Oregon coast.

There's a bizarre subculture on the fringes of our nation, often concentrated near coastlines. Their only permanent address is a private post box in some far town. They live a life in which they're ready to break camp and move on whenever the whim strikes, or if state or federal officials might begin to notice that they've overstayed their welcome. Most likely, they will never be counted in the census.

They are not terrorists. They are campground hosts.

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April 17, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Rating the coastal campgrounds

Posted by Brian Cantwell


Beachside State Park, near Waldport, Ore., was a favorite because
it lived up to its name.

How do you judge a campground at the beach? A top criterion has to be this: From the time you step away from your campsite, how quickly can you be walking on the sand and playing "Red Rover, Red Rover" with the incoming tide?

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April 17, 2010 at 1:00 AM

Free-range beer in Newport

Posted by Brian Cantwell



Beer and boats are a specialty in Newport.

It was a nice capper to earn us our local-foods merit badge: lunch and a beer at the Brewer's on the Bay brew pub, part of the "Rogue Nation World Headquarters," as it says in very large letters outside the home of Rogue Ales on Yaquina Bay in Newport, Ore.

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April 16, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Beautiful bridges of the Oregon coast

Posted by Brian Cantwell


Highway art: the Siuslaw River Bridge, at the south end of Florence.

There's an underrated scenic attraction -- or a bunch of them, actually -- along the Oregon coast: the bridges along Highway 101.

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April 16, 2010 at 1:00 AM

Beauty in Brookings

Posted by Brian Cantwell


A man and girl stroll the beach at sunset among the dramatic
seascape of Harris Beach State Park, just outside Brookings, Ore.

Oregon's southern coast, from Florence down, is about sand dunes, sand dunes and more sand dunes, until you get to Bandon; wood products, around Coos Bay; sheep farms and wool shops; cranberry bogs, and, finally, around Brookings, some of the most dramatic seascapes on this coast, possibly eclipsing even Cannon Beach's Ecola, which is saying something in my dog-eared book of favorite Oregon beach places.

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April 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Fresh and local food, Menu 2 (with crab tacos)

Posted by Brian Cantwell


At Karla's Smokehouse in Rockaway Beach,
the daily offerings are listed on the front door.

We've eaten really well from what we've picked up along the road. (That didn't come out quite right. I'm not talking about roadkill raccoons and skunks, of which there have been more than a few. We're not the Clampetts.)

We've watched for roadside stands, fish shacks, cheese plants, whatever we can find, to stop and pick up something fresh and local for dinner. Cooking it all up has been a tasty side project for the trip -- something you can't do in a hotel -- and it's time to report back again.

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