Can you imagine the luck? Just a couple months after the North Oregon Coast Press Trip finished and my perma-smile began to dissipate, I had the honor of being invited back for the Central Oregon Coast trip. And it was a reunion of sorts. Once again Lucy Gibson, Public Relations Director for the Central Oregon Coast Association, was riding shotgun. Guide, Tracie Driver, from NorthWest EcoExcursions was back behind the wheel of the tour van. And I was very pleased to see Editor of Northwest Travel Magazine / Press Trip Poobah, Allen Cox, back as well. It was to be a much smaller group this time around though. In addition to Allen and me, the only other writer along for the journey was travel writer extraordinaire, Roy Stevenson. I had never had the privilege of making Roy’s acquaintance before, but did he ever announce his presence with authority. And it was far from a bad thing. Roy is a Kiwi with a larger-than-life personality and only one speed; a speed that manages to kick into overdrive with the addition of sugar and caffeine. Roy is capable of leading even the most pious individual down a path of press tour induced, middle-aged skullduggery. I love him. The “Code of the Road” prevents me from divulging too much, but I can assure you that nothing transpired that Mrs. Stevenson wouldn’t approve of, save for the sugar and caffeine intake.
Tracie, Allen, Roy, and I all met at the Shilo Inns Portland Airport Suites Hotel and headed south. We met Lucy in Depoe Bay at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center. We visited briefly with a pair of delightful volunteers, Fred & Betty Robison, before crossing the street for lunch. Roy Fact #1: Don’t get him started on World War 2. Roy writes about all sorts of non-travel related topics, and WW2 is one of them. When he found out that Fred was in the war, he was all over it.
We eventually got to the Spouting Horn Restaurant for lunch. The view of Depoe Bay was fantastic, as was my BLT and cup of chowder. Tracie and I frequently end up seated next to each other for meals. After just now working off the additional chin I garnered from the last trip, Tracie and I agreed to try and order “lighter” meals whenever possible this trip. The half sandwich and cup of soup was a great start. We’ll see how it goes.
After lunch we walked across the street to the Whale Watching Center. We actually saw whales! The center is under renovation, but there are still a number of great exhibits to peruse. Plus there are binoculars and a great vantage for spotting whales.
We watched whales for about a half an hour and then something odd happened. We had free time. On the last trip, our itinerary was packed to the gills. I don’t recall any complaints, however. It’s really hard to die from an overdose of awesome. That being said, I would typically pass out the second my head hit the pillow. On this day though, we were given an hour to just stroll about and visit the wonderful shops of Depoe Bay. It was great. I bought an ice cream cone and took a bunch of pictures.
Done with shopping, we headed for the stylishly refurbished Surftides Lincoln City, our lodging for the evening. Man was this place fantastic. And not just because of the bottles of wine and meat and cheese tray they had waiting for me in my room. They have outside fire pits, fresh baked cookies in the lobby, super comfy beds, and a killer bar and lounge attached to the restaurant, MIST. I had enough time to freshen up and drink some wine before making my way back down to the van to leave for dinner.
Dinner was at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort, in the Rogue River Steakehouse, and it was impressive. We where met by Teresa Simmons, Public Relations Assistant Manager for the Casino, who was excellent company. She detailed the role that the Casino plays in the community, as well as some of the finer points of the Resort itself. We were treated to several delicious appetizers and then I received one of the best tasting, best plated orders of scallops that have ever been placed in front of my face.
After dinner we headed back to the Surftides where I explored the grounds and went to take pictures of the bar. It’s important to cover all angles when you visit these places. Just don’t ask me for pictures of very many exercise rooms. All kidding aside though, the bar was cozy, and had a stunning view. I hung out for a drink or three, went back to the room, and called it a night. Breakfast was scheduled for 8:30 am.