Do you have a favorite highway or road? One of my favorites (and conveniently close to home) is Highway 6, also known as the Wilson River Highway, that traverses the Oregon Coast Range from the Portland metro area out to Tillamook and the beautiful central Oregon Coast. A gorgeous section of the Pacific Northwest that includes Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City, the Three Capes scenic bike route, Rockaway to the north and Neskowin to the south.
I love how the road twists and turns around huge Douglas Firs dripping with rain. And to my right a river runs. Trucks are parked at every wide spot in the road – it’s fishing season in the Oregon Coast Range. I briefly think of one of my favorite books, “The River Why” by David James Duncan – the title river is based on this exact area.
The rainforest here is lush and green but fall colors still shine now and then where a vine maple or alder has found its ground among the evergreens. If you want to experience western Oregon – logging, history, fishing, homesteading, and our famous rain – Highway 6 from Banks to Tillamook is a great way to experience our state. Pull over at the Smith Homestead park where history and hiking come together, learn about the history of highway building at the Charles Straub Wayside.
I am startled out of my fly fishing day dream – coming around a curve in the road to enter the vast expanse of the huge Wilson River and Trask River flood plains. Mountain river dreams are replaced with the visions of baby loafs of Tillamook cheddar cheese. Pastures spread out far and wide – in Oregon we are very proud of our cheese making legacy. Born from these farms that lie before me.
One other note about Tillamook – it is home to one of the largest wooden structures in the world – a former WW II blimp hangar. There were once two of these beauties that you could see from miles away – sadly a fire destroyed one of the hangar twins and only one remains. The remaining structure is now an Air Museum. The hangar encompasses an area of 7 acres!
And no road trip in Oregon is complete without beer.