Newport is less than two hours from Eugene, and we invited our friend Kathleen and her granddaughter, Madison, to come join us for the weekend. Kathleen has been our Eugene neighbor for 26 years, and our very good friend. We raised our kids together, and now she is raising her granddaughter, Madison. We saw them twice earlier on our journey (Disneyland and Minnesota), and they have been eagerly awaiting our return. I think Maddie grew several inches in our absence.
Whaler’s Rest Campground
We got to this Thousand Trails campground a night before they did and got a spot near the playground and not far from the trail to the beach. We walked the fur kids to the beach the first night, but it was very windy and although Gypsy will follow us anywhere, we decided to spare her another visit. Kathleen and Maddie arrived our second night, in time for a campground-hosted marshmallow roast and a quick walk on the beach.
This was always a favorite place to take kids, and it was the initial refuge home for Keiko (the whale in “Free Willy”) after he was retired and before he was released to the sea. So we spent several hours there with Kathleen and Maddie on Saturday. I think it’s one of the best aquariums around. Not huge, but so nicely done. They’ve got natural habitats for sea otters, puffins, and seals. A tide-pool touch-tank, great jelly-fish and fish tanks, and wonderful exhibits. It started as a research facility, not a tourist attraction, and most if not all of its mammals and birds are rescued, not acquired.
Lunch in Newport
Newport is a fun fishing and tourist town. We had lunch on a dock overlooking the bay where we could watch fishing boats come and go. We strolled along Bayview Street and while Kathleen and Maddie toured Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Kate and I hung out at the pier and watched sea lions vie for sunning positions on the floating docks below the pier. The weather had turned beautiful and it felt great to just hang out in the sunshine.
We’ve been to a lot of beaches on this trip. Florida, Maine, South Carolina, Texas, California… But none of them compare to our home state of Oregon. It was exhilarating to drive down the Oregon coast again, seeing some of our favorite spots. As fantastic as this trip has been, we’re both so thrilled to be back in home territory.