By Chuck Woodbury
The Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful places in America and easy to explore with an RV. The pavement is good, there’s not much traffic (except in peak tourist season) and there are many wonderful state park campgrounds (most with hookups and spacious sites for large RVs).
U.S. Highway 101 hugs the ocean shore often, and everywhere you turn there’s a state park or U.S. Forest Service campground (some a short walk from the beach). There are many attractions along the way (besides the magnificent beaches). Visit the Sea Lion Caves near Florence or the funky tourist shops in Seaside. Drop by the library in Brookings to see a sword worn by a Japanese aviator who flew a single engine plane, launched from a submarine, into the area during World War II and dropped a few bombs (with fizzling results). It was the only attack on the U.S. mainland during the war by enemy aircraft.
Visit the little town of Bandon, where brave souls gather in winter to experience the often foul weather at the “Storm Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast.” Walk to the nearby lighthouse for some wonderful photo opportunities.
In Newport, visit the incredible aquarium or indulge in great clam chowder at the legendary Mo’s, right on the wharf. Farther north, pause in Tillamook at its famous cheese factory and partake of the tasty free samples. Near the northern tip of the Oregon coast, visit a replica of Fort Clatsop, where explorers Lewis and Clark spent a soggy winter.
What I like a lot about the Oregon coast (besides its wonderful state parks and campgrounds) are the countless pullouts along the highway where you can park and then stroll to the beach. In the Lincoln City area, keep an eye out for volleyball-sized glass floats that once supported the fishing nets of Japanese fisherman, but broke loose and in most cases drifted at sea for a decade before washing up on shore. It’s rare to find one these days, but the local chamber of commerce plants a couple of thousand small reproductions each year as a publicity gimmick.
Sad to say that what IS easy to find these days on the beach is debris from the tsumani in Japan in 201 . Bring along a trash bag and pick some up. Or collect a bunch of little plastic pieces like I found and assemble them into a work of art. (see photo).