Since I was up anyway (*grumble*), I got a nice early start, and was packed and on the road to Aberdeen by 7am. A bit chilly with the top down, but the heaters going full blast took the edge off. Aberdeen used to be a much, much larger town, but the logging industry isn't quite what it used to be. It is, however, the birthplace of Kurt Cobain, leading to the city motto of "Come As You Are".
I got there around 9:30, and didn't find much happening. Drove through the downtown a bit, enough to see that there wasn't much to come back for, and turned south. Following the good 'ol PCH for a while, down to Astoria, OR. 101 is very nice, but as you might expect, it gets a lot more scenic when it's along the coast. I did take Rt. 4 down, as the map suggests, since I knew I'd take 101 on the return trip. The bridge across the state linewas just as fun as it looks like would be, too.
Astoria was a very cute little town, and even though it was about lunch time, I didn't stop to eat at the town fair: it looked like lots of fried food and kitschy craft stands. Bleah. The area is somewhere I'll be back to, though.
A short jaunt north to Ilwaco, WA and a detour through Cape Disappointment State Park was next. The loop through the park was closed 2/3 of the way in, so I had to retrace my steps, but this was just a minor annoyance. The lighthouse was nice, but more crowded than I was expecting. The modesty fastners on my kilt came in handy on the open steps to the top; people should only get the view they paid for.
It was right around this time that the fog that had begun to burn off started making a comeback. On that note, I headed up to Long Beach, WA for some lunch at Dooger's Seafood and Grill. Have I mentioned how much I love my Fodor's Guide? It tells you the best places to eat and stay even in the tiniest towns! It was not wrong this time, either. While I had a 20 minute wait for a seat (it was Labor Day weekend, after all), I chose the "Quick Lunch Special" and had my food within 90 seconds of ordering. It was great! The clam chowder was thinner than I expected, but rich and tasty, and the garlic toast and side salad with shrimp were both very good additions. Thumbs up!
I decided to take the scenic route back to Hoquiam. The "long way" along Rt. 105, by the way, is not worth the extra time. The scenery was kinda boring, actually. It was getting late, and the beaches were foggy, so I didn't really stop anywhere. Hoquiam was another cute little town, possibly worth another look some time. I did pull over briefly to try to track down somewhere to stay, going through all the promising looking entries along the next stretch of coastline. Nothing was to be found, though, except for one nice-sounding place for $229. Pass. So I drove on, hoping to snag something along the way. Cleverly avoiding the Ocean Shores area (since that was the major town, the places were sure to be booked), I headed on up the coast and unsurprisingly passed by lots of "no vacancy" and "rv yes/motel no" signs. My luck came through, though, and I found a very nice, relatively cheap room at Echoes of the Sea Motel & RV Park. The 2-bedroom was all they had left, and at $95 I jumped on it. Woo! Now I didn't have to sleep in my car somewhere! And it turned out that the place was listed in my guide book, too! Don't know how I missed it....
Since I now had a base of operations, and it was beginning to get dark, I started checking out the beaches in the area. Nothing special, and the intense fog spoiled what little view there was to be had. Bah. So, using my handy guide book yet again, I went to Ocean Shores for dinner.
Ocean Shores is quite the destination, apparently. It reminds me very much of Ocean City, MD, except on 1/3 the scale. A quintessential seaside "resort" town. I'll probably head back, but it's something I'll have to be in the mood for, given the inherent tourist population. Oh, and this town is home to an entry for "worst intersection ever": 6 busy roads coming together unevenly, and it's just stop signs all around. Ugh! On the upside, Mike's Seafood provided some amazing fish&chips; I'll be sure to get the cioppino when I return.
Finally, I returned to the motel for an early sleep (no sleep the night before, remember). Ahhhhhh....
Day 2 in another post....