• Melisa Smith

Oregon Coast Dune Buggy Adventure


Oregon Coast

Dune Buggy Adventure

Road trip! Oregon Coast here we come!

Fall can be one if the best times to visit the beach in Oregon. We hope this will be one of those times. The weather report looks good and the Snowy Plover habitat restrictions have ended for the season.

Our mission: to take our vintage Dune Buggy for a ride on Horsfall Beach in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.


The first leg of our journey is west through the Columbia River Gorge.

It's salmon season and the Columbia River is really busy. We recently purchased some beautiful line caught Chinook from a local tribe. It looks like fantastic fishing this year.


I took these pictures near the mouth of the Deschutes River.


What a beautiful drive this is! Even with the fire damage near the west end it's truly breathtaking.

Can you see that bit of smoke rising from the center of the cliff in the picture below? That's a bit of the Eagle Creek fire that's still not entirely contained. We are so lucky that many of the historical and iconic places in the Columbia Gorge were spared damage from the Eagle Creek fire this year. Many trails were damaged but the forest will recover and some say the Salmon should actually thrive post fire.


It was a little cloudy when we left home but the skies are beginning to clear!




Bonneville Dam


Washington State across the the Columbia River at Bonneville Dam.

After leaving the Columbia River Gorge we drove south on Interstate 5 through Portland and eventually stopped for lunch here at Frankie's


Frankie's is a great place in Albany, OR to stop for a bite. We loved the truffle fries! There are lots of interesting things on this farm to table style restaurants menu to choose from. You can check out their website by clicking here.

After lunch we grabbed a coffee to go at Starbucks nearby and headed back out on the highway.

We turned off Interstate 5 at Highway 38 toward the coast. This is known as the Jason Boe Corridor and I think it's one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the state. It passes through the towns of Drain, Elkton and Scottsburg finally ending in Reedsport, Or, at highway 101.


This is the bridge crossing Elk Creek at the small town of Elkton.


Elk Creek

Shortly before you get to Elkton there's this great tunnel! I'm sure it's one of the longest in Oregon.


The Elk Creek tunnel is one of the most beautifully lit tunnels in Oregon and it's over 1,000 feet long!

Click on this for more info about Elk Creek Tunnel.

The town of Elkton really has quite a bit going on for it's size. Vineyards, outdoor recreation and fishing on the lower Umpqua River and a large botanical garden complete with butterflies!



The River's Edge Winery and tasting room





Near Scottsburg, Oregon at Wells Creek there is a popular restaurant, a market, a few RV parks and camp grounds.


Highway 38 is long and winding with a crazy canopy of trees that's really spectacular. Of course it rains a lot here so we are particularly pleased to see the sun shining through.


Looks like we just missed a good rain shower here!


Crossing the lower Umpqua River at Scottsburg, Oregon.






Passing the Dean Creek Elk Viewing area. If you look closely you can see the large herd of Elk in the field. They are almost always seen somewhere in this area although they are wild and roam freely.


The Umpqua River approaching Reedsport, Oregon.


At Hwy 101 we head south to a little place called Winchester Bay and it's Salmon Harbor.

There's an exceptional Sourdough bakery here and in the distance you can just see the King Neptune Drive-in. I've been camping in Winchester Bay and eating at King Neptune since I was a toddler and still love it! Check it out here on Yelp!



There are a couple of markets and several interesting and fun restaurants in this tiny harbor town that are well worth visiting. The area is known for it's charter fishing, camping and recreational opportunities. It's extremely popular with ATV riders and there are places here where you can rent them if you don't have your own.

Click here to link to some information about the Oregon Dunes in this area. It is one of the main reasons why we're here.

But it's not the only reason we're here...

The most important part of this trip is not really the dunes but to visit our home town and family in North Bend, OR.


Go Bulldogs! TGWB!


After some great family time at Mom's with my brother and nieces for dinner last night, we're setting out this morning for the Dunes National Recreation Area at Horsfall for a drive on the beach!

First stop, a visit with our friends at Bug Germanators. Look this place up if you need any Bug advice or repairs. They do great work here!


Leaving the beach we turn east and travel through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.


At Saunders Lake we catch Highway 101 and turn North back toward Winchester Bay.

Time for a great lunch at Griff's On the Bay.


This restaurant serves amazing appetizers. Meals are good too but I would suggest the best value and most fun way to order here is tapas style so you can sample several wonderful things.

Above all, get the crab cocktail! It's pure shelled goodness and a great portion for $9.00. The calamari order is also very substantial. The calamari comes in strips that are cut from calamari steak. Awesome!

Nice view here too, don't you think? They also have some outdoor seating.


We're making our way leisurely back to Mom's again for dinner by way of the Umpqua Lighthouse.

And then a quick trip through Ferry Road Park in North Bend.


We are having the best weather we could possibly hope for and a great visit with family!

Of course a trip to the Coos Bay North Bend area would never be complete without a visit to Cranberry Sweets. It's always a treat to taste my way through this candy shop. They truly have a unique take on things with offerings like chocolate covered wine pates and cheddar cheese fudge. It's not to be missed!


On our way home to the Columbia River Gorge we encounter the Elk again at Deans Creek It's a beautiful river valley don't you think?



As we approach Scottsburg the fog is really starting to roll in over the river. A beautiful mist is rising off the Lower Umpqua too!


An old barn in the mist.


Rivers Edge Winery, Elkton OR heading east on hwy 38

Did I mention Dad graduated from Elkton High School?


Arlene was Dad's best buddies Mom! This is still a great place to stop. Amazing local atmosphere good food, groceries and serious ice cream! Yum!

Elk Creek



Drain is another great town from my childhood, My grandparents owned a ranch near here when I was a little girl. Did I mention my Mom graduated from Yoncalla, OR nearby?

Yep, The cheerleader from Yoncalla married a star athelete from Elkton!


One of the last standing Beehive burner's is on the way out of Drain toward interstate 5. These were also known as "wigwam's" or "tepee's in Oregon and they were used to burn wood waste from the lumber mills.

This is by far the best new find on this road trip! You need to visit the Creswell Bakery. Click on the name to visit their website.

What a wonderful place! Great food, nice people, locally farmed meats, Oregon wines and some of the best bakery items I've seen anywhere. I bought a loaf of bread and that's sayin' something! We are so spoiled by my home made sourdough that we really don't buy bread anywhere but I thought this was truly worth it.

Check out the recipe I created for Stuffed Sourdough Pizza Rolls. I was truly inspired by this bakery.

I hope you've enjoyed this Oregon road trip and my trip down memory lane. There are of course so many things I haven't covered about this area that will just have to wait for another road trip.

Will you be heading to the southern Oregon coast soon? I hope so!

Cheers!

~Melisa

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