Day 1 - I landed at Portland, rented a car and drove to Florence via I-5 South and the 126 West. The last 30 miles run through forests and mountains and half of this road runs parallel to Siuslaw river. I stayed the next 3 nights at Florence 101 Hostel. It is strategically located just off Highway 101, near grocery stores and gas pumps. I just scouted the locality the first evening. The hostel had a lovely patio where I enjoyed my dinner and made journal entries.
Day 2 - I began my drive north on 101. Destination - Cannon Beach. This was my longest day drive. The road is lovely, curving through mountains on your right and the sea on your left. You pass through many quaint coastal towns and cross a number of bridges. I personally loved Yachats and stopped there for breakfast. Cannon beach is a lovely little coastal village with pretty cottages and of course the famous Haystack Rock. There are cute little gift shops and restaurants...with serenading musicians. Parking and restroom facilities are great. I spent four hours on the beach...then returned to Florence. On my way I stopped at Whale cove point just south of New Port. Another great stop is the Yaquina Lighthouse.
Day 3 - This was a day to unwind after driving about 350 miles the previous day. I drove back up to Yachats which is just 22 miles north of Florence. Along the way, one can stop at the Sea lion sea caves, Thor's well and a multitude of viewpoints and beaches that dot his picturesque corridor. I had lunch at Yachats and sat down by some rocks by the sea. As the Sun made an appearance from behind the clouds, I made my way south, back to Florence and stopped at all the beautiful vistas 101 offered. My best stop that day, was Heceta Head lighthouse.
Day 4 - I checked out of the hostel and drove as far south as Bandon on this day. I made a two hour stop by the Sunset bay state park at Coos Bay. In order to reach 101 to head south I inadvertently used the "Seven devils road" which is gorgeous though little used. It basically shows you the dense forests that cover the uneven land that can fool anyone into thinking they are no where near the coast. My main interest in Bandon was "Face Rock Creamery" which in pre - Covid times used to allow free cheese tasting. The weirdest cheese I saw was their " Vampire slayer garlic cheese". Too bad tasting was no longer allowed and there was no way I could have preserved any cheese I bought. However, I was lucky enough to taste their ice cream which was heavenly. Then I explored Bandon beach and Coquille point which were surprise finds.
Day 5 - I headed further south to California. Here again, the road gets interesting south of Bandon with wonderous beaches with more rock formations, national parks, Samuel H. Boardman scenic corridor which houses the famous Natural Bridges of Brookings. I travelled far south of Crescent city to visit the "Tour through a Tree" redwood. As you reach the southern too of the Oregon coast you start seeing redwoods which are awe-inspiring. I stopped for the night at an Airbnb farm within the redwood forest which was delightful. I found some really great Thai food at a restaurant called Sea West restaurant thanks to my hosts.
Day 6 - After some hot cinnamon chocolate "Molten lava" at Dutch Bros Coffee, I set off to find the "Boy Scout tree" trailhead. This is a hike through redwood tree forest that takes about an hour and half in. The Boy Scout tree is so named thanks to the tree having split it's upper trunk into two, sort of like the scout sign. The tree trunk is massive in proportion and humans feel properly humbled by these majestic giants. I met just two other hikers and had the trail to myself, which was refreshing. There is also a small waterfall another 5-7 minutes beyond the famous tree. I drove through some marvelous forests and mountains in that pretty little part of California. I almost did not want the day to end. I stayed once more at Hostel 101 in Florence. I loved every night I spent in that hostel. The host was charming.
Day 7 - I began my journey back to Portland, the same way I got in. It was a rainy day and the drive was prettier because the leaves had started turning color. I stopped over at West Beaverton for the night. If not for Covid I would have succeeded in touring the Nike headquarters and museum. I discovered "Powell's Books" and spent most of my last day browsing books and shopping for mementos. I flew out of PDX the next day, but not before I tried some strawberry cream cheese from Tillamook creamery on my bagel!!