The words of this post’s title are those of the Lewis & Clark expedition when they had reached the Pacific.
We awoke freshly and with anticipation. We all knew what was at the end of highway 20.
We still had hours of Oregon before we could experience “the joy,” but there was a new spring in our step. We were no longer in the high desert. We had experienced trees again in the Cascades. We were actually at our lowest elevation since we left on this journey.
We drove through this town. Philomath. I wanted to pretend that it meant that they loved math!
More brown landscape with irrigated patchwork. More forests. More curves and hills.
This may sound funny, but this was the first time we had seen REAL dirt for a long while!
But then, “Ocean in view! O the joy!” Newport, Oregon!
We settled into our campsite directly on the bay and visited a local seafood restaurant that evening.
Afterward we walked to a pier which neighbored the local seafood processing plant, where a local educated us on crabbing.
Friday we first visited the Yaquina Head lighthouse and Interpretive Center. It was fascinating both to experience this new landscape but also to delight in the children doing so.
The rocks, the waves, the tidal pools. The birds, the sounds. The air.
The hazardous Cliffs.
As we walked up the trail to attend our lighthouse tour, our family witnessed seals, whales, and water birds. Invigorating.
The lighthouse tour was much more interesting than I had expected. Twelve thumbs up!
Afterward we headed down to another tidepool area. The “beach” consisted of rounded slate gray stones of various sizes. Very difficult to traverse! It actually reminded me (on a much smaller scale) of the Boulder field we visited with my sister back in March.
The tidepools were stunning. To see this ecosystem’s creatures was thrilling! We couldn’t get enough.
All of this required quite a bit of walking, so we didn’t mind having a little downtime at the Interpretive Center.
Following a quick lunch break, we visited nextdoor Agate Beach. The fine sand had been deposited by wind or water in wave after wave, ripple after ripple, dune after dune. Pretty impressive. Also pretty windy and cold.
Cliff & I sat on the beach and enjoyed the children playing in the wet sand.
Next we all took a long walk down the beach to do a little beachcombing.
While the kids searched for their treasures, I discovered my own. A neat chevron pattern in the sand!
To be honest, it was very refreshing to be away from our rig all day. Just what the doctor ordered. After our aggressive drive to get to the impossible as soon as possible, doing all of Yellowstone in one day, an agonizingly slow journey to get through Idaho, and a late night in the Cascades, we were ready to be outta there!
Add in a little popcorn-and-movie family night, and I’d say that we had a darn near perfect day!
We plan to drive up the coast of Oregon, eventually hitting the exact spot where the Lewis & Clark expedition spent the winter in Fort Clatsop after hitting the Pacific. And then on to Mount St. Helens, where we will turn around and head back east.
We’ll take you along with us for the ride…