"I Used To Own An Austin-Healey" Part 3
By Loreen Wilhelmy
[...continued from last month]

Friday morning six cars in caravan departed Shilo Inn, Ocean Shores, WA in light rain. The clouds lingered, but the air was drier as we drove into Oregon. A few of the scenic towns in northern Oregon that we passed on our southward journey along Hwy. 101 were Hoquium, an old mill town with cute houses, Raymond ñ on the Willapa, and South Bend with lots of seafood processing plants. All before we reached Astoria! South of Astoria, we saw, but did not stop at, Outlet Stores and a Live Butterfly Garden in Seaside, Ecola State Beach Park, Nehalem, Nehalem River, and Nehalem Bay Winery. Wheeler, with a population of 300, Rockaway Beach, population 1000, with a Cyber Café, and Garibaldi, a cute town that was having some sort of festival. Bazzioís restaurant is supposed to be a good place to eat in Garibalidi, according to the gas station attendant. And their parking lot is friendly to Healey mufflers, but in light of it being Friday and the beginning of the Town Fair, it wasnít available to us. Lunch would be in Tillamook.

Tillamook has the most relaxed looking cows weíve ever seen. It also has The Locomotion Restaurant, filled with ìClass of ë58î memorabilia. We were served huge platters of hamburgers, fries, salads, etc. Our leisurely lunch was followed by a not-so-leisurely WAIT to get out of their parking lot.

ìPhoto opsî were everywhere on this trip. For example, the viewpoint at Twin Rocks between Barview and Garibaldi, OR is scenic; just before you get to the Little Netsucca River turn-off, heading south, the north-facing hillís topography and foliage are spectacular in late July; the lighthouse between Agate Beach and Yaquina Head, would be quite picturesque on a clear day. The beach between Cummins Creek and Cape Perpetua is typically spectacular with morning sun on it. Some road signs are different in Oregon and make for interesting photos ñ warnings of ìCONGESTIONî were everywhere Ö an oxymoron? I think they were trying to warn us of merging traffic, but it was not a problem! The unique names of shops, too, were entertaining, such as ìHail Maryís Espressoî.

Our overnight stop, southward as well as northward, was the Shilo Inn, Newport, OR. As we learned on our northbound stay, the service was friendly but early morning beginnings were a bit ragged at the Shilo, Newport. We were standing at the door of the restaurant or café for 10 minutes after ìopening timeî when the first employees arrived rushing in with their coffee mug or apron in hand. Then it took several minutes to set up the coffee and wake up the kitchen equipment. Needless to say, we left Newport a little later than planned.

Steve Cloyes arrived in Gold Beach ahead of the rest of us so while we were filling up our gas tanks and visiting the restrooms, he drove through town and looked like part of the parade in his ìPrimroseî yellow Healey. Because the Curry County Fair was in progress, we decided against having lunch in Gold Beach at the same restaurant we visited on our trip northward, The Chowderhead.  We were sad to miss their ìhouse dressingî made with smoked salmon with a distinctly smokey flavor. Instead, we had lunch at a little coffee shop called the Flying Gull adjoining a Best Western in Brookings. It was better than ìfast foodî!

At 2:40 p.m., on July 29, we crossed the border back into California. If you missed the border sign, you could tell by looking at the price of fuel: every grade was at least $0.15/gallon higher.

The drive to Eureka was scenic and pleasant. The deer were out of the forests and standing in the middle of the road at one point. As we approached them, Roger honked at them and one of the deer turned and bolted right toward our car.  (We were driving behind Roger.) If it had not been for Rolandís excellent reflexes and our good brakes, we and the deer would have been all over the road! Warren was driving behind us and could see the situation and slowed down. The second deer then ran across the road in front of his car and made it safely to the other side of the road. Whew! We were all very grateful for split second decision-making and reliable brakes and tires, if not a little shook up. Later that morning, we passed several herds of elk while driving through northern California forests.

This was our last day as a 5 car caravan. Jan and Steve Lehman had left the group earlier to visit friends in WA. So we celebrated by having dinner together in the Red Lionís dining room.

Sunday morning, July 30, we and Warren left Eureka at 7:30. The weather in Ukiah was perfect driving temperature!  We wanted to drive down Hwy. 1 from Santa Cruz. We knew that southbound traffic toward San Francisco on a Monday morning would take more time, patience and fuel than we wanted to spend. Our plan was to drive straight through San Francisco on Sunday instead of stopping in Petaluma as we did northbound. I looked in the Auto. Club Tour Book and found a motel in Palo Alto (not one of my prouder moments as a travel consultant!) We figured that by the time we were that far south, we would miss the early morning rush hour commuter traffic in Silicon Valley.

Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge on a Sunday afternoon, while a Walk for Breast Cancer Research was underway, made for REAL congestion. But everyone was friendly and we got to honk at groups of marchers/walkers, and wave. It was rather festive and fun for me, if a bit hard on Roland, the driver!

While driving through Palo Alto trying to locate our motel, we saw The Fish Market Restaurant. There are several around California and Arizona ñ one about 3 miles from our house so we knew that we would have an excellent, if noisy, dinner even if we had a restless night. And we were right.

The Sky Ranch Inn looked O.K. from the street, and even from the parking lot. But the rooms did not rate 2 diamonds from the Auto Club! We lived through the night, but we were not well rested or very happy. At 6:30, Monday morning, we drove out of the motel parking lot to Dennyís about ½ block away. Now that was unique, too! There was a statue of the virgin Mary standing in the flower bed at Dennyís. Overall, our visit to Palo Alto was too memorable.

 [Next month: the last leg...]