Monday, July 6, 2009

Yaquina Bay Lighthouses

Our day got off to a dreary start with heavy cloud cover and even a little misting.  The sun finally won the battle, however, and by mid-afternoon had forced the dreariness away.

We expected Oregon to the shrouded in mist and we weren’t going to let that deter us from our goal of seeing the coastline.  I tend to move a little faster in the morning if it’s bright and sunny so this morning I just kept sipping coffee. We finally got started on today’s journey about 10 AM.  We headed north on US 101 with no real destination in mind.  Our intention was to hit the overlooks to get the views and just stop anywhere we found something of interest.
Alsea Bay Bridge
We turned onto 101 and immediately stopped at the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center.  The original Alsea Bay bridge, one of several coastal bridges designed by Conde McCullough, was built in 1936.  That bridge was replaced in 1991 by this new bridge, but the magnificent art deco towers (2 at each end of the bridge) remain.  While I was off making pictures of the bridge, Gene attended a clamming and crabbing demonstration with the local park ranger.

Driving on up the coast, we stop at a few pullouts for those rugged coastal views.  We soon decided it would be best if we did this on the way back to avoid crossing traffic to get to the coastal side of the highway.

A few miles north of Newport, we found the Yaquina Head light.  We toured the small interpretive center and gift shop then walked the quarter mile out to the lighthouse.  This is the tallest light on the Oregon coast.  We were not the only ones breathing hard after climbing the 114 steps to the light room.  On the rocks in front of the light were colonies of shorebirds.  It was pretty impressive to see so many birds in one spot, but boy did it smell foul.

We couldn’t see the Yaquina Head light without going to the Yaquina Bay light.  This small two-story clapboard light is the only lighthouse on the Oregon coast with living quarters attached.  Being only 5 miles south of the Yaquina Head light, it was really located in the wrong place and so was decommissioned after only 3 years of service.  It is now a museum.

We stopped at Lost Creek state park for a short walk down to the beach and a tour of the campground.  While there we fed our tummies.  It was too windy to be comfortable outside, so we feasted in the truck.
Yaquina Bay Bridge, another McCullough bridge
On our return drive to Waldport, we stopped at several pullouts.  By that time it had cleared and the sun was shining brightly.  Much more appealing photos, I think.

We plan to drive south tomorrow and maybe take in a short hike.

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