Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Oregon, May 23-24, 2016

We saw our friends off on Sunday and Monday and Pam was kind enough to let us stay another night at her cabin while we figured out what we wanted to do next. Our only plan was to return to Portland on Thursday night, when our car rental was over. I wanted at least one more day on the coast. We cleaned and did laundry at the Livermore House and headed south to Manzanita to have lunch at the Big Wave Cafe on Hwy 101. I needed some fried halibut before I left the coast. We drove a bit further south and poked around a few shops in the little town of Nehalem, then went back to Pam’s cabin, said goodbye to her, and caught the sunset over the ocean one last time. I finished weaving my sample, although later I went back and unwove part of it and altered it.


On Tuesday, the weather forecast was excellent so we decided to drive up the Columbia Gorge, spend the night on the east side of the Cascades, then drive several hours farther southeast to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. We stopped on Alberta St. in Portland on the way to have a piece of pie and explore a few stores there. I took a photo of this house because I think that the colors might be nice for our Craftsmen house when we paint the exterior.

Then we stopped at Multnomah Falls. I did walk on that bridge, but I got off quickly. I hope that I’ll be able to go back and hike to some of the other falls along here one day.

We turned south at the Dalles, and ironically, just after the sign stating that we had left the national scenic area, there was this view of Mount Hood. And I began to fall in love with central Oregon. Maybe it’s because that I grew up in the swamps that I love hilly dry country with lots of sky.

When we got to the tiny town of Dufur, we reached our destination for the night. We were the only guests on a Tuesday night at the Balch Hotel, a lovingly restored hotel built in 1907. We had cheeseburgers at the saloon across the road, then settled in to the former “Ladies Sitting Room,” our bedroom with a view of Mount Hood. The next morning, we had a wonderful breakfast in the hotel which was included. This may have been the best deal on a lovely hotel I’ve ever gotten. The rooms and the grounds were gorgeous.


My view at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday was this. I picked up my phone and snapped it from our bed, then went back to sleep.

art retreats, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

On the beach at Oswald West State Park

Sandy and I rented the Livermore house about six miles south, and I was determined to get down to the beach there this time. The last time I stayed there my knee was aching and I listened to my body. This time my hip was just going to have to deal with it. Winter storms had washed away the first public access point I found so I drove down to the next one, where I found gratitude for the new stairs.

^^^Tempting, but nope.





The house is nestled in a temperate rainforest on a sea cliff. I wished that I could have one rainy day all day to spend there. What a restful place.

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art retreats, Cannon Beach, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Pam Patrie’s Creative Retreat, May 2016

Later that afternoon, we arrived at Pam’s cabin where Jeanne and Jenny and Glen had already arrived. It was so great to see them and meet Glen. He and Sandy spent most of Saturday together exploring Lewis and Clark National Park, Fort Stevens and Cannon Beach while the women played with dyes and silk yarns. I painted a second weft to try again at home.

As usual, Pam pampered us with incredible meals. On the first night this lemon pasta dish blew me away. That reminds me, I need to put lemons on my grocery list.

I didn’t take a lot of photos here, but that is a sign of a good retreat for me. I was too caught up in the present moment to pick up the camera, and the hours whizzed by. For more photos of Pam’s retreats from 2014 and 2015, please see these links:

A winding path to the sea

So fresh was the air, like a breath taken from the stars

What beholds a given day, an hour, a moment

Tapestry retreat with Susan Maffei and Archie Brennan at Pam’s Cabin Part I, Part II, and Part III.

The June 2015 Trip to Oregon – Pam’s Place

Astoria, critters, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Astoria, Oregon, May 19-20, 2016


Sandy and I arrived at the Commodore Hotel in downtown Astoria in the early evening. The Commodore is a restored hotel with tiny rooms and (in our case) bathrooms on the hallway, but big on style and absolutely clean as a whistle. The staff was great. We were offered a glass of local beer before we headed to our room on the second floor, where we had the street view.

Astoria is a big tourist place but it is also one of the oldest towns on the west coast. The Lewis and Clark expedition reached the Pacific Ocean here at the mouth of the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark National Park as well as several historic sites and state parks surround it. There are lots of interesting shops and artists and several breweries here. Our first stop was at Fort George Brewery. I ordered the Plaid Scotch Ale and the Quick Wit. Not my favorites. But we ate dinner at the bar and I pronounced both the Wallapa Bay oysters and the “Buddy Rich” beet and arugula salad the best I ever ate.

The next morning we walked along the harbor. There were a lot of murals. We shopped in a good thrift store and Sandy bought me a beautiful batik tunic from La Luna Loca. We ate lunch on the waterfront at Bridgewater Bistro, where I had the salmon.


Before we left Astoria, we had to go see the sea lions. I was surprised at how big and loud they were. We saw some of the boats that were the subjects of the paintings in the restaurant.

Cannon Beach, hiking, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Ecola State Park


Susanne said, “What an unfortunate name – sounds like a combination of E coli and ebola.” But it is one of the prettiest beaches on the planet, on the north side of Cannon Beach. We only went to part of it, because it was midday on Saturday and everybody was trying to get in. We didn’t mind waiting in a long line of cars in the cool shade of the woods, but when we heard it was another hour wait to get to Indian Beach, we stopped in this part and hiked down a trail that went to the edge of the sea cliffs and looked down on the beauty below and beyond. Later I learned that Indian Beach is where people go swimming.

Looking back at Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.




See the fisherman near the bottom of that big rock?


Yeah, it got a bit too steep at this point so we sat and enjoyed the view.


As we were leaving we noticed the fisherman was scampering around that huge boulder near the top like a mountain goat. I took this photo of him at the halfway point down. We waited to make sure that he didn’t kill himself, and he sort of slid down with that pole still in his hand.


We tried to go into Cannon Beach for a late lunch but the traffic and parking situation was so insane I nearly had a panic attack. So we headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway with its stunning views over the ocean and found Big Wave Cafe in Manzanita, where we split a fried seafood platter and I drank a Moose Drool ale, which was much better than it sounds. We loved it!