Posts Tagged With: scenic drive


From Newport to Pacific City, another 60 miles of scenic beauty; misty headlands, rocky shores, ocean waves, pine and fir covered hillsides made a pleasant drive as we push north.

We passed Defoe Bay river marina a colorful spot,  one of three small communities nestled into this almost deserted section of coast. Pacific City is a small community of about 900 people located on the Pacific where two rivers dump into the ocean. While some people consider it remote, others consider it their best kept secret. They come for the quiet, the whale watching and cool weather.

We found Pacific City Thousand Trails full of bunnies. They scoot when you try to catch a picture, but they are everywhere. We saw one giant black rabbit as big as a full sized dachshund. There are bear warning signs posted. The park is huge and roomy with access to the beach.

Steep and wooded, the beach trail is a pleasant hike. We smelled animal musk in a two spots along the trail leaving us to wonder if we might encounter a bear.

Our little cove had this rock point on our left-

…and this one on our right. A great climbing rock.

The bluff we hiked to the beach behind us had many small rocks at its base. This is agate country and we looked for agates  but didn’t find any. Its expected to rain a good bit while we are here. We have a decent signal with our cell phone/internet amplifier. Without it we wouldn’t be able to blog or make a phone call. We  enjoy the quiet retreat, but we like to have the ability to get on the computer and phone when needed.  We’ll be here for three days at this very enjoyable park.

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The narrow canyon above is just past the Devils Spine and is the gateway to the Rocky Mountain Crossing on Highway 34.
From Evans, Colorado to Steamboat Springs on Highway 34 and 36 West is a reasonable day’s drive. I drove about 13 miles and I could see Jim was getting nervous so I pulled over short of Estes Park, another 22 miles up the road.  Jim reasoned that the highest road in America, at 12,183 foot elevation,  was not the place for a beginner. And, he was right. I drove the last hour to give him some rest. We stopped short of our goal, both of us tired, at the small town of Kremmling, Colorado.

Estes Park is a tourist destination, a skiing mecca in winter, it attracts backpackers,  mountain stream anglers and bikers. Many rustic and fancy cabins entice people to get-away to the fresh air and fragrant woods. It sits on the edge of the Eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

We have a destination with ‘miles to go before we sleep’ so most of my pictures were taken from the motor home window. This rock formation was beautiful whether the pictures give it credit or not.

The pines have suffered from bark beetle infestation. In fact the park campground on the western slope is completely treeless because all of the trees died and had to be removed. Here you see the many dying, still standing trees. The grey ones are completely dead, the brown ones are on the way.

As you climb higher, the trees become smaller, stunted. In the visitor center it showed trees 100 years old bent and twisted by winds; small from barely sufficient nutrition. They were only two feet tall.

Suddenly you realize you are above tree level, looking down into moonscape canyons. The narrow roads and twists and turns made for some tense driving with a motor home pulling a 4,000 pound “toad”.

This vertical cut right through the rock gave our motors passage and has a beauty of its own.

The park is one of two places in the U.S. that has tuffa.

The road just traveled high on the right. The road we will travel in the center, without the twists as we seem to sit on top of the world.

Now we encounter pockets of snow that do not melt during the summer. We learned from the visitors center those pockets are filled with pure ice and are therefore  mini-glaciers.

Valleys like this, full of color and beauty provide forage and water for wildlife. Antelope, a smaller growing moose than the Canadian and Alaskan herds, deer, weasels, fox, big horned sheep, marmots, chickerees, and other small animals and birds make their home here. Plenty of signs show where to view antelope, but we didn’t see any wildlife as we drove by.

This spot marks the Continental Divide where river water now flows toward the west. It is significant, but, not that you could tell from this spot.

On the way down the Western slope, we had several miles of gravel road and roadwork. Signs promised no wait would exceed 60 minutes.

And, none did. But we sat in this parking lot and another for a lengthy time; enough time to turn off the engine and get out and walk around. Thus, I got pictures of some flora and fauna from the roadside woods. No one seemed upset. The air was fresh, the place restful and beautiful. But, at one point we were so close to a huge paving machine we slid by it within a few inches. I had my head out the window as we crawled by with my window beads clinging to my face, laughing all the way.

Don’t know what these plants are called.

The aspens are just turning color.

Its a beautiful drive. As usual, I took many pictures. If you would like to see them, click the link:

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