Vacation … it does a developer good!

This past week was my first week back at work after spending sometime travelling on the coast of Oregon. I didn’t spend a particularly long time down there, but in 8 days I managed to find a bit of peace and relaxation. I took the laptop but didn’t bother even attempting to find a wifi connection… besides the one in the Portland Doubletree and the ones in rest stops along the I-5… once I got down to Oregon it was lights out for the laptop.

I’ll start off by saying that this was the first vacation I’ve taken in the past 1.5 years, and at ~8 days including a weekend, it wasn’t really enough. I’ve still got at least 3 weeks of vacation left to try and fit in this year.

We started off our travels from Vancouver, B.C. and headed down to Portland for the first night. We didn’t really stop along the way, except for the occassional energy drink but other than that not much. We did a bit of sight-seeing in Portland for a day before travelling through Salem and Eugene enroute to Coos Bay. It was a Sunday so pretty much everything was shutdown in Salem and Eugene. Stopped at the University of Oregon and walked around the Campus, including the old cemetary and took some pictures along the way.

At Coos Bay we stayed at Sunset Beach State Park. It was quite a nice park, we rolled in around dinner time and were pretty much fogged in for two days. A pretty bad accident on the highway along the way slowed traffic down a bit, but other than that, it was a good trip down.

From Coos Bay we travelled up the 101 to Honeyman State Park, near Florence. This was the highlight of the trip because of its proximity to the Oregon Sand Dunes (basically the state park backed out on to the dunes). We ended up doing a guided tour on the dunes in what amounted to a converted school bus with a roll cage on top. We also rented ATVs and drove around for an hour or two. It was awesome, except for the fact that I got stuck in what they call a witches eye and had to spend about 25% of my time pushing myself out. Everyone I talked to knew about ATV’ing on the dunes and it didn’t disappoint.

Honeyman was a nice and private park, it had a little lake in it that you could use kayaks or paddle boats on. Weather was good, probably the best of the trip. Down south it was cold & foggy with a bit of rain, and the northern coast made for some cold evenings.

After Florence, we continued up the coast to the Newport area where we camped at Beverley Beach State Park. This was a nice park that backed directly on to the beach, it had it’s own beach access that went under the highway. It wasn’t the most private of camp sites but it was getting close to the long weekend and had to do. Newport’s got a nice aquarium that we checked out for a few hours, I’d recommend it. It’s got Sea Lions, but you’ll no doubt have already seen them along the way in Sea Lion Cove or countless other coastal inlets.

We were pretty much done with Oregon after Newport. Last stop on the trip was in Long Beach, WA at some private campsite on the beach. We didn’t get in until around 10 at night and quickly setup camp for the night. All was well until about an hour later when a couple truckloads of kids rolled up into the two campsites beside us. Of course it was the long weekend so needless to say they started partying about 10ft from our tent and didn’t stop until they were kicked out at 7 or 8 the next morning. Luckily we didn’t end up having the pay for thenight but it was the worst nights sleep of the entire trip and probably my life. The name of the campsite was Lands End RV and you might want to stay clear of it. Park management seemed nice but it still wasn’t a very good experience. I’d recommend sticking to the state parks wherever possible.

It was an awesome trip and I’d recommend it to anyone that hasn’t seen the coast yet. Coos Bay -> Florence -> Newport -> Astoria seemed like a pretty nice progression and gave an opportunity to experience the different coastal environments (dunes, forests, coastal, inland, etc.). I’ve got 300-odd pictures up on Flickr.

Here’s a few shots of the ferry ride from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria Harbour.

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