Motorcycling the Oregon Coast

The final leg of our motorcycle loop through Oregon and California was riding north along the Oregon coast. We’ve been wanting to take the bikes along this particular route since we moved to Washington, and six years later we finally made it happen!

We spent three days riding from Arcata, California to Port Orford, Oregon by way of Redwood National and State Parks, then from Port Orford to Newport, Oregon by way of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, and finally from Newport to Seaside, Oregon before turning inland for our half-day ride home.

I had a laundry list of places to stop along the way, but here are a few of the highlights.

Port Orford

We arrived in Port Orford around dinner time and I was stressed, tired and so happy to be there! We had a wonderful first half of our day, but the final hours riding along the coast amid crazy wind gusts off the Pacific Ocean that were pushing me all over the road was downright scary. We saw another group of bikers pulled over on the opposite side of the road with one of the bikes in the ditch. I was holding on for dear life, trying to go the speed limit, and grateful for Brian’s reassuring voice in my helmet headset until we pulled into Castaway by the Sea, our accommodations overlooking the water.

It is possible that my relief at arriving safely in Port Orford gave me rose-colored glasses for our stay, but I don’t think that is the only thing that made this brief, overnight stop enjoyable. For starters, this was the view from just outside our hotel room!

We were able to walk to dinner at the highly recommended Crazy Norwegian’s Fish and Chips (it was delicious and worth waiting in line!) and the next morning we were able to walk over to Battle Rock Park for a closer look at the sea stacks and tide pools.

I never tire of seeing all the brightly colored starfish and anemones!

One other unusual aspect of Port Orford that we were able to witness from our hotel is its port. Check out the two yellow cranes in the photo below.

The ‘Port of Port Orford’ is the only dolly dock on the West Coast – and one of only two in the United States. It’s termed a ‘dolly dock’ because vessels are launched into and retrieved from the water using cranes, and the weight constraints limit the size of the ships that can launch from this area.

I’ve never seen a ship launched this way – we enjoyed sitting on a bench overlooking the port and watching the show!

Newport

I also thoroughly enjoyed our brief time in Newport where we had the fun experience of staying aboard the Newport Belle! This restored, 97-foot paddlewheel boat has five beautiful rooms on the first and third floors, a second-floor shared living/dining space, and the loveliest hosts.

We arrived in the mid-afternoon to blue skies and had no trouble checking into our first-floor room, admiring the views of the harbor, and enjoying refreshments in the nautical-themed living area with our hosts. The next morning we had an absolutely delicious multi-course breakfast in the floor-to-ceiling glassed-in room you see below before squeezing into our riding suits and heading back on the highway.

An advantage to staying on the ship was its easy walking distance to Rogue Brewery and its nearby distillery.

We lucked into seats overlooking the harbor, and we enjoyed some tasting flights and appetizers as well as the company of a couple sitting next to us who also happened to be staying aboard the ship!

Netarts Bay

We headed off route 101 and followed the coastal route to Netarts Bay in search of one of my roadside picks, Jacobsen Salt Co. and production facility. This small Oregon company makes artisanal sea salts that are both pure and infused, with their main products hand-harvested from the Netarts Bay directly behind their facility.

I bought their eight vial set, which includes a pure flake salt as well as habanero, lemon zest, black garlic, and pinot noir-infused salts, to name a few. I love trying these on all kinds of dishes!

Note: they are located down an extremely steep gravel drive that terminates in front of their shop and has very limited parking. As you might imagine, this was less than ideal on our bikes. We made it, but we didn’t have a fun time doing it.

Our other stop along the bay was Schooner Restaurant & Lounge. This spot was busy and had a really fun energy with both indoor and outdoor seating and a yummy seafood menu.

We opted for the Netarts Bay oysters and the calamari – perfect for sharing!

Bonus: Westport Ferry

Although technically not on the Oregon Coast, I wanted to mention a fun inland side excursion. There is one remaining ferry that operates between Oregon and Washington on the Columbia River.

The Oscar B runs a 12-minute trip from Westport, Oregon to Puget Island, Washington, and some iteration of this ferry service has been operating since 1925.

Brian tries to fit at least one boat ride into every trip we go on, and this was it!

Aside from my constant battle with the wind, we enjoyed the interesting and at times beautiful ride along the Oregon Coast with many stops along the way!

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