My original post is farther down the page. I am in Oregon and I have a few minutes with my feet up before going out for dinner. Since you folks were so helpful, I figure I should tell you how it's going.
Seattle was 57 and rainy when I landed at SeaTac early yesterday afternoon. Following your suggestion, we drove the scenic route close to the coast and due south to Astoria instead of continuing on I-5 toward Portland. Once we left I-5, the road was mostly 2-lane with hardly any other cars on the road and lots and lots of trees, then across the mouth of the mighty Columbia on the Megler-Astoria Bridge. We're staying at the Comfort Suites with a river view - we can see the bridge from the room (and pretty much everywhere in Astoria :-). There's a colony of barking seals so we closed the window before bed last night. We had a very good dinner at the Silver Salmon (best sweet potato fries I've ever had). We would have gone to Buoy Brewing but they close too early (7 pm on Sunday).
We started our day at Fort Clatsop. The reconstructed fort and the museum were interesting but the best part was hiking in the woods along the river. We went back to Astoria, checked out Josephson's Smokehouse for salmon jerky and then had lunch at the Bridgewater Bistro (another great view of the bridge) and berry cider on tap. We still had time to see the Astoria Column, the Columbia River Maritime Museum and Safeway. Now we're headed to the Blaylock Whiskey Bar for dinner.
Tomorrow: Tillamook and points south to Depoe Bay.
I will continue to post here (as space permits). We passed Nehalem Winery. I considered stopping but I had my heart set on Blue Heron French Cheese in Tillamook and it was more than expected. We had 2 cheese tasting plates, one was all bries, the other was a mix of local cheeses (we ate about 1/2 and took the rest for later, though with all the restaurant recommendations I don't know when later will be). Tillamook Creamery was a disappointment. The line for ice cream was long and extemely slow. The flavors on hand didn't appeal to either of us, we settled for others that were "meh." Haagen Dazs and B&J are better and none comes close to decent gelato. We went to Gracie's Sea Hag tonight for dinner. Thanks for the recommendation. Elly loved the clam chowder and my Caesar salad with a large helping of cold smoked salmon was excellent. Watched the sun set over the Pacific at 9 pm.
The saga continues in a reply on June 11. (I've reached the maximum allowed for a single post)
Original post. My friend will pick me up at SeaTac airport around noon on Sunday, June 6 and will drop me at Portland airport around 4 pm the following Sunday. We haven't seen each other for 3 years (thank you Covid) so the main goal of the trip is to spend time together. We are budget-conscious but not miserly. We enjoy most stuff, nature, scenery, museums, easy hiking, I like wine and she's a foodie. I have a national parks pass and we especially like to visit state and national parks. In the past I drove through Oregon with an AAA guide book and a cell phone, often finding motel rooms more or less last minute.
My first question is whether we can wing it or if we really need to book rooms in advance for a series of 1-2 nighters? We're okay with 2-4 hours driving a day.
The second question is what is or will be open - restaurants, sights.
My nebulous idea is to spend our first night near/on the Columbia River and then loop through Oregon and maybe southern Washington, skipping Portland itself.
Must have - smoked salmon jerky!
Thanks for any advice, information and random thoughts.