West Coast Drive: Northern California & Oregon + video

Before we continued our drive up the coast, we spent one more day in the San Francisco area and drove down to San Jose to go on a tour of the Winchester Mystery house.  We did the main tour and the new extended one that takes you through “never before seen” areas of the house.  If you don’t know, this is the house of Sarah Winchester, who was told by a medium that in order to protect herself from the spirits of the dead victims of her husbands rifles, she had to continuously build this house so the constant hammering would keep the spirits away.  And she added lots of crazy things to confuse them as well, like stairways to the ceiling and doors that open to a wall.  Both tours were fun, but the extended one was my favorite because they took us out onto the roof balcony and we could see the area where the tower used to stand (it was destroyed in an earthquake when Sarah was living there).

We left San Francisco on the sixth day of the drive, and continued up the California coast line.  We had a little rain storm and lots of mist and fog for the beginning of the day, which I loved.  It was so pretty with the rocky coast line.  From this point on in the trip, we made very few stops, just enjoying the drive.  This day the only real stop we made was in Fort Bragg at the sea glass beach.  Apparently they used to dump the glass bottles into the ocean here, so it created this pretty little beach.  This day also had Vu’s favorite part of the whole trip.  There is a 22 mile section at the very end of Highway 1 that leaves the coast and eventually meets up with the 101 and before it does it winds back and forth in forested hills.  It was 22 miles of Vu’s perfect curvy roads, the kind that was sort of the point of this whole trip.  He was so happy.  But it is really too bad that this section of road is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  Not very easy to get back too.  We also ended in the Redwoods area and drove through the “Avenue of the Giants” which is a road that runs along the freeway but actually takes you through the redwood areas.  That was really pretty.

On the seventh day we stopped to walk through one of the Redwood parks.  I love these trees.  They are so amazing to see in person.  We went camping in this area a couple of times when I was growing up and I remember having so much fun climbing on all of the fallen trees.  We also made a quick stop in Bandon, Oregon and visited the beach and lighthouse.

The eighth day was my favorite section.  I love the Oregon coast.  We stopped at the Heceta Head lighthouse, which is one of my favorites.  I wish I could live there.  It is on the cliff in this cove that has a little beach and I just think it is one of the most beautiful spots in the world.  I also love the cliff top viewpoint on the other side of the cove from the lighthouse.  The lighting was just so perfect that morning too, and there was a light mist.  It was beautiful.  We also stopped at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse that day, another favorite, and there were some grey whales just off the coast that we caught some glimpses of as they were spouting.  We ended the day just north of Tillamook, and we were planning on doing a cheese factory tour, but it is under construction at the moment, so we just got some ice cream instead.  Vu was really disappointed that he didn’t get to take a picture with the cow, you know the ones that have a hole for you to put your face in.  It almost ruined the trip for him.  😉  And then the next day we just drove the rest of the way home.  I really love the west coast so much, and I love that you can drive along so much of it.

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