We visited the Sea Lion Cave on Oregon's coast, enjoyed spectacular breaking waves and then traveled inland to visit my Uncle Bill and his wife, Gen in Salem.
03.21.2008 - 03.21.2008 65 °F
The campground we stayed at last night was only about 20 miles south of the Oregon Sea Lion Cave. This is a large coastal grotto that Sea Lions use, sometimes with as many as 200 sea lions in it. I didn't count how many were there today, but there were a lot. The cave is privately owned and is the largest sea cave in the America, and one of the largest in the world. The floor covers about 2 acres (flooded) and the ceiling is about 125 high.
You start at a gift shop at the top. Out back is a nice statue of, what else, Stellar sea lions!
From the overlook behind the statue, I could see sea lions swimming in the surf below. I guess sometimes they like to rest inside and sometimes they like to play outside - just like us.
From there, you hike down to the top of an elevator that takes you down to the cave. Here is the trail between the gift shop and top of the elevator.
When you get to the bottom, you are in the cave. They ask you not to use Flash photography so you don't disturb the animals. It's pretty dark inside, but this gives you an idea of what it's like (it is a cave afterall). The first shot is a 'full view'. You can also see the opening at the far end of a smaller tunnel that also leads into the cave.
This is a slightly closer shot of the rock pile at the back of the cave.
And finally, a closeup of a bull sea lion on a rock on the near side (which is as close as I could get with my zoom).
I stayed in the cave quite a while taking pictures, tried to take some video also, but mostly just enjoying the sea lions.
Also before leaving the overlook outside the gift shop, I took a long distance shot of the lighthouse at Heceta Head. It's probably a good thing I did because when we drove by it later, the road out to the lighthouse was closed, so this is as close as I was going to get today.
I also planned to try to make it to my Uncle Bill's near Salem and wasn't sure how long it would take, so tried not to stop too often (it was also quite cold and sometimes rainy, so Mom really didn't want to stop too often if it meant she had to get out). However, a little farther north from Sea Lion Cave, we stopped at a place called Seal Rocks. We didn't see any seals while we were there, but we did see a couple of other interesting things. First was in the parking lot was another couple who had come out to collect rocks on the beach (maybe I'm not the only one with rocks in my head?). The wife went back out to the beach to look for agates while her husband and I compared 'treasures'.
Perhaps more interesting is what was going on in the surf. The rain had blown away and the wind was celebrating. The surf was hitting the rocks so hard it seemed to be exploding. I took a lot of pictures and video, it might be hard to tell from this but this rock is probably 15 to 20 feet tall.
In Newport, we turned east to head to Salem. Newport is the home of the Oregon Aquarium - we've visited this before and it's probably worth the look, but since I was trying to make tracks we just drove through today (May come back this way after leaving Salem however, we'll see). Mom was able to get a picture of the bridge while I drove - several of the Oregon bridges we've crossed are rather scenic but have no pullouts for taking pictures before you cross them!
The drive across Hwy 20 between Newport & Salem was lovely and wasn't difficult in the RV (wasn't sure what to expect, some of the routes across the Oregon coastal mountains can be quite rough). We got to my Uncles house faster then I'd expected, so had plenty of time to visit this afternoon. Uncle Bill is Mom's younger brother and they love getting together and cracking jokes and telling stories about their childhood, some of which might be true.
Aunt Gen came home from work a little later and took us all out to eat at McGrath's Fish House. This is a local establishment, but was quite large and very good. We are just eating way too good on this trip!
Not sure how long we'll be in Salem, probably until Monday morning - then head back over to the coast and continue our journey north from there. Mom isn't sure why we just don't take a more northern route back to the coast from Salem, but I'm thinking we drove up the coast all the way from Border Field SP in SW California, why not continue from where we left off so we can see the entire coast route from Border Field SP in CA to Cape Flattery, WA?
Miles Driven - 146, Cumulative - 19,158
Camped at My Uncle Bill's house in Salem, Oregon (Live is rough, no?)
Provisions - Gas $40.00 for 12.015 at 128,906