Sorry about the delay in finishing this trip report. Don't know why it has taken me so long.
Day 3 began with a sort of refresher skill retraining. Since I discovered Roadfood and Moon guidebooks it has almost never happened that i find myself in a community without a notion of where I am going to eat. But our day 3 breakfast was one of those rare times. I used to pride myself on my ability to find good restaurants and I wondered if I could still do it.
Trudy and I looked over the restaurant flyers at our hotel and a place called The Little Brown Hen caught our eye. It promised farm fresh eggs and noted that the place had won best breakfast place in Florence two years running. A short drive up the road showed us a place with a cutesy animal on the roof( a sign jane and michael Stern say often indicates great food.
The call was a good one. owner Ron was there himself serving breakfast, resplendent in his clean but very paint splattered white smock. He apologized for the outfit but said he was short handed that morning. Trudy had an order of french toast, I had two eggs over toast layered with homemade chile called Ron's special. Portions were large, the food well presented with great flavor. The eggs were good, the food fresh, the coffee good. It was a great roadfood worthy meal,; the crowd a good combination of locals and tourists, the prices reasonable. We lingered, enjoying the vibe and the Eugene Register Guard. Had a nice conversation with owner Ron who explained something that perplexed me; a lot of restaurants on the coast are open 7a.m. till 2 p.m, he explained that tourists don't usually go out for dinner to his place so it remains unprofitable to stay open. Also many people have 2 or 3 jobs on the coast and it is often not wise to rely too much on just one occupation. Restaurants in Florence and Waldport reviewed in the Stern's 500 things book had closed before we got there and this was as good an explanation as we could think of for this phenomenon.
Following breakfast we took a leisurely drive from Florence to Yachats(pronounced ya-hots). There are no real towns here but a lot of beachfront properties, small motels and small beaches. The area is part of the Siuslaw National Forest and much of highway 101 follows the ocean. There was a wonderful area called Stone Beach where I was able to walk along and hear the wonderful sounds of the ocean without having to worry about unsteady ground.
Our favorite stop was the visitor center at Cape Perpetua. Located about 1000 feet above the ocean, there is a large picture window which on a clear day allowed us a marvelous view of ocean and a formation called Devil's Churn. We spent a short time viewing the ocean then took a drive up the mountain to an overlook where we could see the cape, the Devil's Churn and an immense distance of the sea. It was truly spectacular and reminded me once again of the scenic splendors of my home state.
Six miles further and we reached Yachats. Yachats is a village of under 1000 people on the ocean and a bay. Lots of beach and lots of wonderful houses and views. and the location of the roadfood reviewed Green Salmon Coffee House. The Green Salmon Coffee House is a place that is every bit as colorful and interesting as the coffeehouses of Portland, Seattle and Berkley. Live music permeated the place and the front counter had the Sterns" 500 Things book open to the pages of the Sterns' review. I loved the openness of the place and indulged myself in the vibe. I ordered a Matcha tea smoothie which had the color, texture and appearance of peat moss in a cup. it scared off Trudy and a retired couple from Seattle who had been the owners of a coffee import company in a previous life. it also tasted good and I felt a healthy glow for the rest of the day after consuming it. Yachats is a very relaxing place and we will stay there if we journey to this part of the coast again.
Another 20 miles and we reached Waldport. Our destination here was a visitors center with displays about the McCullough bridges along the Oregon coast. Mr McCulloough was the chief engineer of the Oregon Highway department when Highway 101 was completed. He designed bridges over 10 streams, bays and creeks that completed the highway and ended the ferries that had been part of the journey since white settlement. Trudy's uncle had been his assistant and the bridge over Alsea Bay in Waldport had been the first of his bridges. There is a museum in Waldport explaining the history of the bridges and their design and we spent a fascinating time there learning about the designs and the history of transportation along the Oregon coast. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Neither Trudy nor I had ever taken Highway 34 from Waldport to Corvallis so we decided this was the time. It was a sunny clear day and we drove along the Alsea river along a twisting narrow road. The river was scenic, the trees dappled with sunlight. At one point we stopped to drive and walk across a covered bridge near Alsea and just marvel at the combination of trees, farmland and second growth timber that make up rural Benton county
Our final stop of the day was a return visit to Novack's in Albany. This time we ate a cheese plate and again marveled at how versatile Novack's is. Whether you want a snack, baked goods, or any of the 3 meals, you get great food. This place is a roadfood treasure and again you should stop there anytime you are near Albany.
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