Posted by: bkivey | 29 March 2015

Oregon Coast

I recently had a job in Depoe Bay, OR. This wouldn’t normally be cause for comment, let alone a post entire, but there were some interesting circumstances in that after the job we had a chance to play tourist.

Depoe Bay is located about a third of the way down the Oregon coast, and is roughly equidistant between Lincoln City and Newport. It’s a straight-up coastal tourist town, and a popular spot for whale-watching. There is an observatory downtown for the express purpose of viewing whale migrations (note: no whales seen). There are also any number of shops to separate tourists from their money.  In that regard, the town is little different from any other coastal tourist spot. Other than whale watching, the town also claims to have The World’s Smallest Harbor:

Depoe Bay


The panorama covers about 180º, with Hwy 101 on the left. You can judge for yourself whether that’s the smallest harbor in your experience. The total surface area of the harbor is given as about six acres. Curiously, the Wikipedia entry for the town states that the all of the town’s area is land, causing me to wonder whether the harbor is actually part of the town.

Of more immediate note is the fact that if one arrives in town between 1500 and 1600, many of the restaurants are shut down. There are a few eateries open, but try to get parking, or service. Depoe Bay appears to have banned national chain restaurants, so good luck getting something to eat mid-afternoon. We had to go to Newport 12 miles to the South to find sustenance. Depoe Bay isn’t all that big. As far as I could tell, there’s only one gas station, and no grocery stores. I’m tempted to park a food truck on the strip, keep it open all day, and make all the money.

Not that driving along the Oregon coast on a sunny early Spring day is any great hardship. The coastline between San Francisco and the Washington peninsula is one of my favorite places in the world. The mountains and forests come right down to the sea, creating an interesting and spectacular dynamic that I never tire of. A good example is Boiler Bay between Depoe Bay and Lincoln City:

Boiler Bay


I don’t know why it’s called Boiler Bay. There is a good-sized State park here, with picnic tables, restrooms, and a grassy sward, but no informational signs that I could find. It is pretty.

Further up the coast is the mouth of the Siletz River with these interesting formations:

Siletz River mouth 1

There is an overlook here, with informational signs. These formations ( the highest is about 40 feet) appear to be formed by the last great earthquake and tsunami to hit the Oregon coast in 1700. A wider view:

Siletz River mouth 2


The estuary in the foreground is prime shellfish ground, and the beach on the right background is covered with huge pieces of driftwood (tree trunks, actually). There are people cooking their shellfish on beach fires in the middle distance. A real Oregon activity, that. While looking at this, I flashed on the propaganda angle:

“Americans must scrounge for food; cook over wood fires”

But no, just some folks enjoying a day out on a Northwest beach.

As much as I may disagree with the prevailing political climate in the urban parts of the Northwest, I still wouldn’t live anywhere else. The flora, fauna, geography, and climate are endlessly fascinating. I like living here. Not to say that other parts of the world aren’t equally appealing, but I’ve yet to see them.

Race to the Bottom

While at the coast, we saw the World’s Smallest Harbor at Depoe Bay, and the World’s Shortest River at Lincoln City. Normally, municipalities vie for the biggest and best, not the smallest and the worst. I wondered that we didn’t find a sign in Lincoln City advertising the world’s Smallest Penis. “Next left: Joe Blow, holder of the World’s Smallest Dong”. Yes, every man is really 13 at heart,

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