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Rugged to Historic to Goofy Around Lincoln City, Depoe Bay: Oregon Coast Adventures

Published 12/13/21 at 6:22 PM PST
By Andre' GW Hagestedt

Rugged to Historic to Goofy Around Lincoln City, Depoe Bay: Oregon Coast Adventures

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(Lincoln City, Oregon) - Those long lost days before COVID, and I'm dinging around the central Oregon coast on a kind of “book promotions” tour: I had just released my fourth book, a deep guide to Depoe Bay. It's also cause for plenty of exploration and video-making, and an excellent opportunity to find myself in the midst of some wacky adventure or another.

There's a lot of silly and surprising stuff that goes on behind the scenes at Oregon Coast Beach Connection. It's a mix of wonder and humor, sometimes inadvertently so.

All of it begins with a seriously stressful attempt at getting down to Lincoln City on the eve before my history talk. I-5 is an unusual trainwreck of traffic, with some massive accident causing me to use up over an hour just to get from 217 to just north of Wilsonville. It's a serious nightmare, but I manage to turn around, head back into Ptown and let everyone know I'm running late.

Lesson learned: I-5 is kind'a undependable. Always have a backup route. On my second try I head down via Yamhill Wine Country.

Finally, about 8 or 9 p.m. I get down to the central Oregon coast and my fave little motel: Whistling Winds. Staff is exceptionally cool and let me in a bit late.

Waiting a few doors down are my friends from Portland: Keely, Becky and her husband Abe. Yes, I've actually got Oregon Coast Beach Connection groupies – they're here to watch me talk the following day. Theirs is larger room at the historic little motor lodge, one that comes with much more stained glass than the smaller ones. It's a serious charmer.

By this time, my trio of pals has already been at the casino for a bit and they're, well, a little toasty. Becky and Keely are bartenders down the road from my Portland pad and regularly get to watch me get goofy. Now, I'm watching with endless amusement as they drunkenly giggle and toss convenience store food bits at each other, stumble about, and say the most outlandish things.

As they head off to bed, I do a little writing and publication work in these woody surroundings of the Whistling Wind's rather atmospheric walls. It's a 1930s motor lodge, originally, which means it was among the first of its kind as that new form of lodging took the place of tents and little cabins you'd park your car in front of. Remodeled and refined, it keeps a deeply historic vibe, and it's hard to imagine it has changed much in those decades, except maybe they'd polished the wood and replaced the floors.

Yet Whistling Winds has changed its interiors quite a bit: I stayed here once in the ‘90s long before the current owners got hold of it and it wasn't so hot. Now, it's gleaming and rustic all at once – quite an interior design feat. 866-384-9346 3264 NW Jetty Ave, Lincoln City, Oregon.

The next morning, I discover a new coffee shop (new for me, anyway) with resplendent brew. Their iced coffees are eyes-rolling-to-the-back-of-your-head good. Nyla's Cup of Jo is the name of this gem, a tiny place that's one of those indie shops that's an exceptionally pleasant surprise. I see they survived the pandemic and am pleased.

About noon, I wander the beach close to Whistling Winds at the Grace Hammond access. There, even though it's February, it's one of those rather warm, springlike days February can surprise you with (there's a whole science behind this semi-regular occurrence in February). Skies are deeply blue, the ocean is calm and the winds are rather light. In fact, it's almost warm. It's one of those Oregon coast days that make your heart soar.

My talk at the library is about Oregon coast history, and it's a hit. Some 30 or 40 people are there, and I'm having a blast making kooky jokes that get plenty of laughs. At one point I have to keep from laughing myself that one gentleman has fallen asleep during my history lesson. My pals Becky, Abe and Keely are there, sometimes distracting me and forcing me to make fun of them in public, and they return the barbs, getting more laughs. We're like an insult comedy team at times. It's a kick.

I make bank on selling copies of my four books (the Ultimate Oregon Coast Travel series), which each covering a different town: Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Cannon Beach and Seaside. Becky manages to sell a copy or two to a local bar while they're out day drinking before my gig.

Capping off this awesome sauce day is a photo trip to the SW 33rd St. access of Lincoln City, where sunset provides some exceptional colors and textures, and a bright moon puts on a show to the east of the beach.

It's here where some young couple approaches me and tells me they were at my talk, apologizing for “bothering me” on the beach. Hell, no you're not bothering me. I ain't no rock star. We had a great chat about local beaches. My audience is pretty cool.

Later at night, with my pals gone back to Portland, I head to the Chinook Winds Casino where an old, old friend is playing. Beth Willis and Todd Chatalas are doing their duo thing, churning out heaps of catchy cover tunes and coaxing plenty to the dance floor. They are just now seeing a return to the live music world as pandemic restrictions simmer down.

Beth I originally met here in Lincoln City nearly two decades ago, where I was wowed by her energetic and powerful vocals. I hadn't seen her in perhaps almost ten years. I witnessed Beth's eyes widen as she recognized me, still in the middle of a song. Fun times and a lovely reunion.

After the gig, the three of us did my favorite thing: hit the beach late at night. There was some liquor involved by this time, which made it that much more fun and interesting. With tripod and full camera gear in tow, I snapped a few ethereal, ghost-like shots of them bouncing around the beach.

The following day the Oregon coast lived up to its cloudy reputation again, which always makes photographing and video a lot more challenging. This time, I head to Depoe Bay with the sun poking in and out and sometimes, creating an eye-catching silver surf. Mostly hanging out at the North Point secret spot, it's rough and dramatic there. But the bay itself is still and sometimes almost crystalline.

As I'm walking around downtown, I head to a gallery there that was once part of the Depoe Bay Aquarium building, which I wrote about in my book. I went to see the oddly-shaped window that's still there at the back of the business, gawking at the fact that loads of finery, glittery stuff and a nice carpet now inhabit the spot where the seals once lived. It's a trippy little trip back in time. Funny, how the smallest things can transport you somewhere else, even some-when else.

Hotels in Lincoln City - Where to eat - Lincoln City Maps and Virtual Tours

Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours

Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees nearly 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.


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