Road Trip Hot Spots – Part II

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In Part I, I talked about the first two days of this five-day road trip which ended up at about 1,200 miles.   We traveled from Portland to Lassen Volcanic National Park and then west through the beautiful Trinity Alps to Eureka and up the coast on Highway 101 through the Redwoods with overnight stays in Arcata, CA and Bandon, OR.

  Of course, we hit a few good breweries and bars along the way.

1,200 miles through beautiful and varied scenery

After the road trip, we spent the final three days at the beach in Lincoln City on the Central Oregon Coast before returning home.   We reveled in the scenery of Northern California and the Oregon Coast while also visiting and revisiting some excellent watering holes.

Although we usually listen to music on road trips except for the fascinating Serial Podcast (“The Case Against Adnan Syed”) on a road trip in the Southwest three years ago, we greatly enjoyed listening to Rachel Held Evans’ audio book – “Searching for Sunday Loving Leaving & Finding the Church”. 

It’s an excellent non-fiction choice recommended by Lisa, our older daughter, which made the New York Times bestseller non-fiction paperback list.  

Evans was an American Christian columnist, blogger and author, who tragically died in 2019 at the age of 39 after an allergic reaction to a medication for an infection.   Her book was thought-provoking and worthwhile.   Her legacy, as stated by a contributor to The Atlantic is:

“…..part of a vanguard of progressive-Christian women who fought to change the way Christianity is taught and perceived in the United States….(based on) her unwillingness to cede ownership of Christianity to its traditional conservative-male stewards’ and that her ‘very public, vulnerable exploration of a faith forged in doubt empowered a ragtag band of writers, pastors, and teachers to claim their rightful place as Christians.”  (Wikipedia)

# (External photo attribution at end of the post  #1 – #2)

From Lassen National Park to Eureka

After a wonderful stay at Highlands Ranch Resort just outside the Park which I relate in Part I, we drove west to Red Bluff, CA and then followed a winding and steep, albeit beautiful, highway (CA-36) through the Trinity Alps to Eureka on the California Coast.

On a future trip we hope to visit this expansive Wilderness – at 525,627-acres, the second largest in California, with over fifty alpine lakes – when the impacts of recent wildfires are not of the same magnitude.  From August to mid-November, 2021, it was one of the California Wildernesses closed to the public because of multiple wildfires.  (#3 – #5)

Driving Up the Coast

In the summer of 2017, we drove down the Oregon Coast to the Redwoods and stayed one night in Arcata, California.   It was a hopping little berg – established in 1860 with a current population of about 20,000. 

We walked around Cal Poly – Humboldt.  It’s a lovely campus.  We vowed to come back and stay at the historic Arcata Hotel – in the center of town right across from the impressive Town Plaza.

Well, the pandemic has evidently and understandably been rough – the same is true of Portland.  And perhaps our memories were a little bit rosy, but Arcata was not really the same.  The Plaza was not very clean and there was a lot of loitering. The shops were non-descript and the downtown area lacked “energy.”

While the Hotel Arcata, (shown below) opened in 1915, was interesting, it did not compare favorably to similar vintage hotels where I stayed in Montana   (#6 – #7)

That said, we returned to the Redwood Curtain Brewery – still a “hot spot” five years later – and Janet and I each had a pint of their wonderful Sticky Fingers IPA.  Later, just walking around town, we discovered a slightly unusual place to have dinner and a beer – but Slice of Humboldt Pie was a marvelous choice.

When Janet suggested it, I shuddered – harkening back to memories of Swanson’s Chicken Pot Pies when we were kids; however, the chicken pot pie  ($7.50) was the best meal on the trip – and a Trinity County Brewing Golden Smash Ale to accompany it was perfect. 

But wait — I haven’t told you about desert.   The apple pie alamode ($10.00) made me beg Janet to return for breakfast or at least argue that “Slice” can be pluralized. Instead, we had breakfast the next morning at the quaint Big Blue Cafe where the staff was friendly and the pancakes to savor. 

Dinner and breakfast made us leave Arcata with better feelings than the afternoon before. (#8 – #9) 

Through the Redwoods

Our time was somewhat limited, but we wanted to take a short hike through at least part of majestic trees, so we stopped at the Visitors’ Center in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and they were very helpful.

As a result, we took a fairly rough seven-mile gravel road where we were glad that we had our Subaru Cross-trek – the destination Fern Canyon.  The Ranger told us that during the summer one has to apply for a permit to make the trip up to eight weeks in advance.

“A level trail of about one mile follows Home Creek as it courses through the forest. This modest stream has over the eons carved a 50 to 80 foot deep canyon through the rich sedimentary soils. The canyon walls sprout an amazing variety of luxuriant ferns and other moisture-loving plants. On a sunny day, thousands of tiny drops of moisture make the canyon walls sparkle.

We definitely got our shoes wet, but it was a stunningly beautiful canyon. 

We followed the experience by leaving 101 for a diversion up the ten-mile Newton B Drury Scenic Parkway.  While a guy named “Newton” may not have been popular with the A-crowd in high school, he had vision and he:

“……was instrumental in the 20th century for securing hundreds of thousands of acres as parklands.”

Fortunately, we did not come across any aggressive elk – either the largest species in the deer family or members of the fraternal order who had been drinking and were rowdy.

Photo Oct 05 2022, 11 39 24 AM

A Bandon Hope…..

On our 2017 Coast trip, we really enjoyed our stay in Bandon (population 3,100) on the Oregon Coast near the California border (90 miles).

We stayed at the Bandon Inn, a classic older motel, but well-maintained, has a great breakfast and where virtually every room overlooks the Coquille River reaching into the Pacific.  We watched whales surfacing from our balcony.  The Inn overlooks Old Town.

On that visit we also discovered a wonderful bar – the Broken Anchor Bar and Grill and had a long conversation with Jessica Neal, the personable and entrepreneurial owner.  We then had a beer at the Bandon Brewing Company, which had opened the day before.  We could walk to both from our room at the Bandon Inn. ( (#10 – #11)

 
jessica-e1510535254794

Hoping to be able to see her again, I told her by phone when we were going to be in town.  She was leaving the next day for a week in Mexico, but she kindly took a break from packing and came in.  It was obvious when catching up with her over drinks that she has used her work ethic and business instincts to adapt and work through the challenges of the pandemic.

Jessica took a risk a little over six years ago, opening the Broken Anchor after the former bar failed.  We found out chatting in 2017 that she is a Minnesotan, who after college and getting her teaching certification, started working in restaurants and bars after moving to Oregon.  (According to the reviews, she knows how to make an outstanding cocktail).

She had worked at two great Portland bars previously reviewed by Thebeerchaser – Crackerjacks Pub and the Dixie Tavern.  We were sorry to hear that shortly after our first visit, she ran into a few strokes of bad luck with both a fire which destroyed her liquor inventory and her walk-in freezer malfunctioning – the latter resulting in a significant loss not covered by insurance.

She has since changed her menu and entertainment options, developed a loyal Bandon clientele and hired and retained good staff.   We were there at a weekday Happy Hour and the place was filled with an energetic crowd. 

And Rylee, pictured above, the Anchor’s “mixologist,” made the best Bloody Mary I’ve had in years.  The social media reviews are overwhelmingly positive as exemplified by these two excerpts:

3/5/22 Yelp“This is apparently THE place to be in Bandon after 8pm (and in reality one of the few places open “late”). We got into town around 6:30 and spent about an hour getting settled at Bandon Inn….We’re in town for 4 more nights so we may just end up back here before heading back home.”

2/7/22 YelpNice clean restaurant with friendly staff.  The food was fantastic and came in good portions.  They have a great drink selection too!  Definitely on my list of places to eat when in town!” 

Cheers to Jessica for her perseverance and a toast to her continued success.

We walked down the block – returning to Bandon Brewing Company and had dinner – we each had a great burger and scrumptious fries accompanied by a pint of their Everything is Awesome Pale Ale” – which although not awesome, was smooth and drinkable.   We had enough food left over from dinner for lunch in the car the next day.

Photo Oct 05 2022, 6 55 17 PM

The Final Day of Travel

We often travel up and down the North and Central Oregon Coast, but hadn’t seen the spectacular southern part since 2017, so were looking forward to breathtaking scenery and a few short walks in the many Oregon State Parks along the remaining three-hour 150 mile route.

Well our views were not awesome either and we drove through pea soup fog all the way to our place in Lincoln City and for two of the three days we were there before returning to Portland. 

That said, we loved this trip!

Cheers!

External Photo Attribution

#1.  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rachel_Held_Evans.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Dan Evans – circa 2009-10.

#2.  E-bay – Searching for Sunday (https://www.ebay.com/itm/254525497591?chn=ps&_trkparms=ispr%3D1&amdata=enc%3A1Ycw0sflNSourRZmA0JhUPA19&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-.

#3.  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trinity_Alps_Wilderness_(140359867).jpeg L censed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Source: Imported from 500px (archived version) by the Archive Team.  12 August 2011.

#4. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pinus_balfouriana_Trinity_Alps_01.jpg) L censed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Source:  Tom Hilton 4 July 2009.

#5.  Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pinus_balfouriana_Trinity_Alps.jpg)  L icensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Source:  Miguel Vieira from Walnut Creek, CA, 22 August 2010.

#6.  Wikimedia Commons:  (File:ArcataHotel.jpg – Wikimedia Commons) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Cacophony 24 June 2008

#7. Wikimedia Commons (File:Arcata Plaza.jpg – Wikimedia Commons) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Terrence McNally   6 October 2005.

#8.  Slice of Humboldt Pie Facebook Page (Facebook)

#9.  The Big Blue Cafe | Facebook

#10 – #11. Bandon Inn (1) Facebook

Beerchasing on the South Oregon Coast and through the Redwoods – Part I

The fall is a great time to see Oregon and Janet and I decided to hit the road for a few days driving down the coast through Redwood National Park as far as Eureka.   Along the way, we enjoyed a few superb hikes and marveled at the coastal scenery.  And, of course, in furtherance of Thebeerchasers Tour of Bars, Taverns and Pubs, we visited twelve breweries, one bar and one bottle shop along the way – all of which were either on Highway 101 or close by. 

And we were thankful for the efforts of the late Governor Tom McCall and his foresight in preserving the Oregon Coast and the numerous outstanding Oregon State Parks along the way he championed.

The breweries we visited included Yachats Brewing, Defeat River Brewing in Reedsport, Seven Devils Brewing in Coos Bay, and Bandon Brewing, the Beverage Barn (bottle shop) and the Broken Anchor Bar and Grill in Bandon, Arch Rock Brewing and in North Bend Chetco Brewing in Brookings.

Into California, we hit  Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake, Six Rivers Brewing and Humboldt Regeneration in McKinleyville, Redwood Curtain Brewing in Arcata and finally, Lost Coast Brewing Co. in Eureka.  (See the links over the names for more info.)

We tasted some good beer and by always sitting at the bars, met great people.  While it is hard to compare, our favorite brewery was Mad River Brewing closely followed by Yachats Brewing and Farmstore as will be explained below.  And we loved the one bar visited – the Broken Anchor in Bandon.

We started on a positive note with the first stop being Yachats Brewing.  The quaint building right on Highway 101 with a great view, uses historic building materials in this reconditioned bank and at Tuesday lunch it was bustling.   A number of people were enjoying the patio, while choosing one of the thirty beers on tap. 

Jeremiah, our bartender and server, was a great guy, explaining the roots of this young enterprise going back to 2013.  Janet liked her Camp One IPA (an American IPA) while I downed a Thor’s Well India Pale Ale as we listened to Crosby Stills and Nash on their play list.  The food was great with a combo of quinoa soup and the barbecued chicken sandwich rating an A+.

My choice of beers was appropriate, because we then stopped to see the Thors Well sink hole, the Spouting Horn and the Devils Churn at Cape Perpetua on the highway, which was worth the stop.     

The Spouting Horn

 

We had read an article by Oregonian reporter, Jamie Hale on hikes along the southern Oregon Coast which was a great reference.  We stopped to see the beautiful Cape Blanco Lighthouse and then pushed on to Harris Beach and Cape Sebastian State Parks.

 

 

At Defeat River Brewing near Reedsport, our bartender, Jared, poured us  The Bravest, a pilsner inspired IPA, and we learned about another home-brewing effort by two partners which culminated in Reedsport’s first commercial brewery in 2016 in another reconditioned historic building.

Jared, a friendly and informative bartender

 

 

 

 

 

 A few more miles to a short stop at Arch Rock Brewing in Gold Beach – this time to a four-year old partnership after the co-owners converted their cabinet shop into a brewery. 

The brewer formerly worked at one of our favorite out-of-state breweries at which we tasted great beer – Grand Teton Brewing, which is actually in Idaho.  Arch River currently brews only three beers, is not fancy and has no real taproom, but the owner was very friendly and helpful.

 

The best hike of the trip – even better than the beautiful several mile stroll through the Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwoods National Park was our three-mile loop along the cliffs at Cape Sebastian – the highest point on the southern Oregon Coast.

Stunning views both north and south thrilled us as we walked through the waist high grass .  Make this an absolute must if you hit this part of the coast on a nice day. 

Coos Bay, is an interesting city that shows signs of having weathered some tough times in the new economy.   lt was interesting to see the full-size posters of Steve Prefontaine, the City’s most famous individual decorate the sides of two adjacent buildings harkening back to his high school days at Marshfield High School before he set records at the U of O.

Seven Devils Brewing in Coos Bay

Another Oregon grad who has helped the community is Annie Pollard, who did both undergrad and graduate work there before eventually partnering with Carmen Mathews to open the Seven Devils Brewing Co. in 2013.  They are now an important part of the community.

Only a block or two off 101, they have a very nice open patio and a quality taproom with a nice menu featuring locally-sourced food.  It is a family-friendly venue and they have free live music concerts every week featuring local and touring artists. 

A glass door reveals the sparkling brewing equipment, which is a nice touch.  The ambiance is also heightened by the hand-made furniture and fixtures and the paintings, which make the barrel room and tap house quaint and comfortable. 

An overnight stay in Bandon, – at first disappointing because the Bandon Brewery’s grand opening was delayed until the next day, but as a result, we met a wonderful person, Jessica, the young entrepreneur, who opened the Broken Anchor Bar and Grill almost next door, a little over a year ago.  

The place was packed on a weekday evening and she and her staff including a friendly waitress named Loofa, showed great customer service and their unique sauerkraut pizza was one of the hits of the trip.  They have an expansive menu including both pub food and seafood.  Their live music on weekends draws good crowds.

Friendly enterprenauer, Jessica

 

In spite of the full house, Jessica found time to chat while she was tending bar (and doing management stuff) and I found that she had worked at both Cracker Jack’s Pub and the Dixie Tavern in Portland -both prior stops on Thebeerchaser’s Tour of Bar, Taverns and Pubs. 

 Her bar’s social media reviews are very good on food, drinks and service.  Typical is this one from Yelp from July 18, 2017:

“Great place in Bandon. The fish tacos are breaded, plentiful and the aioli is perfect. If you like hot their jalapeños are fresh and hit the spot. My husband’s burger was great. Waitress was awesome and they have a great selection of local beers”

Crackerjack’s is one of the favorite neighborhood bars I’ve been to in the six years of this journey and Jessica even called the former manager, a charismatic lady named, Sam, while we were there and told her Thebeerchaser was in the house. 

Jessica, a Minnesotan, who after college and getting her teaching certification, started working in restaurants and bars (and according to the reviews, she knows how to make an outstanding cocktail) and is typical of the personable and enterprising people I have met since starting this hobby in 2011.

Another interesting stop in Bandon was the Beverage Barn, essentially a bottle shop and tobacco family business opened in 2015.  You can find forty beers on tap and four ciders as explained by Amy who helped us.  

Bandon Brewing – open for business!

 

Coming back through Bandon (this time on the return trip), we hit the Bandon Brewery on its second day of operation – for lunch.   Their wood-fired pizza was solid as was their grilled cheese sandwich and the friendly staff was ready for their first weekend.   

With a stay at the Bandon Inn, a nice motel with a great view of the town and the harbor, ended our first day on the road on this trip – a great combination of brews, bistros, beaches and …..coffee! 

Stay tuned for the rest of the Oregon and California part of this journey.