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The Glow of Garibaldi, Oregon: Nocturnal Wanderings of Tillamook Bay

Published 09/26/2012

The Glow of Garibaldi, Oregon: Nocturnal Wanderings of Tillamook Bay

(Garibaldi, Oregon) – It's not something you see everyday on the north Oregon coast. In fact, you don't see it during the day at all.

The little town of Garibaldi has a glow to it after the sun goes down – a host of curious shades and colors that quietly expand and smother this historic village by the bay. This tiny town becomes so otherworldly in this state. It can defy the logic of light that our brains have taught us throughout our lifetimes and cause the jaw to drop in wonder.

Yet the town is not wandered or utilized at night.


One of the highlights here, is of course, the giant smokestack – a leftover from a massive mill operation here that was abandoned decades ago. The other big landmark is the massive G set on the hillside that is lit up at night. It's not lit up all night, however. It's switched off about midnight.


Another main feature of the town is the ever-present antique railroad rides, given by Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. This happens most everyday during much of the summer, as the trains wander back and forth along Tillamook Bay between Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach. These sit in elderly, silent glory at night, also acquiring a unique, otherworldly glow that's captivating.

There are special dinner and brunch trains that run on certain holidays throughout the year as well, sometimes featuring live music on board. One of these passenger cars has outdoor seating.


Among the metallic antique beasts of burden to be found are a 1956 Model GP9 and a Model F7 from 1950, as well as others. One that you'll find is an ancient engine that tugs this magnificent ride around the north Oregon coast. It looks downright old west-style, and at night it and its station seem to whisper about the legions that wandered here over the generations.


Another rail passenger car is much sleeker and modern, but now in this classic retro manner that fires up the imagination in all kinds of ways.

One of the railcars stays lit at night, almost appearing to host actual phantoms and spiritual remnants of riders past.


The bay itself is a marvel and radiant wonder after dark. In the background here are the lights of Tillamook itself, making a particularly eerie but beautiful glow.


The massive fishing and crabbing pier in Garibaldi makes for a fascinating stroll at night, albeit a bit Halloweenish and spooky in flavor. But little can beat the beauty of the place even in the dimly lit conditions, as various light sources bounce off the water and that constant, lulling sound of the water lapping against the pilings beneath it create some stunning, atmospheric moments.

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