Steven Ginn Photography

2007 Pacific Northwest Coast
Photography Road Trip

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In addition to my website you can also check out Rusty's. He is also posting roughly daily entries and photos. See

Day 1 (Thursday May 10, 2007)

Portland OR to Crescent City CA (via I-5 and Hwy 199, 317 miles)

This is the first day of a photography road trip that I am doing with Rusty, a friend I met on the Antarctic trip. The purpose of this trip is two fold, first, to enjoy a trip up the Oregon and Washington coasts taking photographs without being on a schedule and second, practice working together for a photography trip Rusty and I are going to take to Iceland starting June 21st.

Our goal for today was to get to our southern most point of the trip since we will spend the rest of the trip working north along Hwy 101. We are cheating a little bit on the theme of the Oregon and Washington coasts because we have decided to start with Redwood National Park with is technically on the northern most part of the California coast, hence why we are in Crescent City CA.

Coincidently Rusty’s lady friend, Pam, was in Oregon on a business trip so both Rusty and Pam spent Wednesday night at my place. We had a great dinner last night and John cooked some awesome waffles this morning, before he had to go to work. After Pam left for the airport to fly back home Rusty and I took a casual approach to leaving and finally got on the road about noon. Which meant that by time we made it to Tualatin we felt it was time to stop for lunch so we went to a wine bar I know of in Tualatin called Parallel 45 and we had a very nice meal.

After finally getting on the road for real we had an uneventful drive all the way to Crescent City and checked into the Hampton Inn with the Pacific Ocean no more than 100 feet from the window of our room. The front desk recommend eating at a little place next to the fishing fleet dock called Bistro Gardens. It turned out that it was a very small place, basically just a waitress, dishwasher and a cook. Part of the “charm” of the place was that the cook was something of a character himself. He had clearly eaten way too much of his own cooking (and believe me his cooking is very rich) and it was amusing to notice that he was having that particular issue that plumbers are usually accused of. Despite all this the food and wine were very good and others seemed to believe it as well since the place was packed while the rest of the town seemed to be completely dead.

Day 2 (Friday, May 11, 2007)

Crescent City CA to Bandon OR (Hwy 101 North with lots of side trips, 176 miles)

Today was a fun day despite the typical Oregon coast weather of grey overcast. We spent the morning touring and taking photos, or HD videos in Rusty’s case, through back roads in the Redwoods National Park. It was very enjoyable taking short hikes out into the forest and seeing clover and fern covered forest floors with giant Redwoods sticking up out of them. We worked our way north along Hwy 101 during the afternoon. We stopped at numerous waysides and took several side trips off of Hwy 101.

While the lighting conditions for the day were less than ideal for photography we did get to enjoy some of the stranger side of people in Oregon. The funniest of these events was when we stopped at one of the scenic waysides and ran into two old guys who seemed to be hauling scrape metal in the back of their antique pickup. Our observation was that they were more interested in drinking beer at the scenic viewpoint than actually getting their work done. It was amusing to listen to one of them talk about how when he was young his uncle owned the land around the spot we were standing and that he used to herd sheep there. Looking at the sorry state of these two old guys it was very hard to believe anything they said.

Other than in the Redwoods, which were very cool but very difficult to photograph, the place that I thought held the most photographic interest for me today was a place called Whales Head beach. It is a very short drive off of Hwy101 however the road is in very poor condition. I thought it had good potential as a photographically interesting representation of rugged Oregon coastline. I think Rusty has video of my trying to take a panoramic photo at the very edge of a 60 foot cliff.

Port Orford was interesting in that there is no dock, all the boats are immediately lifted out of the water and left on dry land.

We arrived in Bandon a bit late and found a room at the Face Rock Best Western a block or so from the beach. We asked around about a good place to eat and ended up with a recommendation from a pizza deliveryman for an Italian restaurant in Bandon’s old town section called Allora. It turned out to be a very good, and somewhat on the expensive side, meal. Based upon possibly biased options we heard for other customers at the restaurant it is considered the best restaurant for miles around. The place was very small and packed all night long with two different large parties. We were the last two walk-ins that were able to eat there this evening and at that we ate at their small bar.

Tomorrow it is expected to rain, but I want to explore the sand dunes area between Coos Bay and Florence looking for interesting scenes to photograph.

Day 3 (Saturday, May 12, 2007)

Bandon OR to Coos Bay OR (Headed north on side roads mostly west of Hwy 101, 93 miles)

After a late start this morning we very slowly headed north using mostly side roads that paralleled Hwy 101 on the ocean side. Bandon has a very interesting coastline of it’s own, so we spent a fair amount of time exploring it before finally making it out of town.

One of the more interesting photographic spots today was of Cape Arago lighthouse looking at it from the south.

Also worthy of mention was a little glassy pond in amongst some sand dunes that had a bunch of azaleas and rhododendrons blooming all around it.

We did spend some time today exploring the sand dunes just north of Coos Bay and found a few photographic possibilities but nothing really worth shooting in the light we had. Tomorrow we will explore more sand dunes farther north. One of my goals for this trip is to have a nice artistic sand dune shot.

We did spot the remains of the New Carissa just north of Coos Bay.

Dinner tonight was only just ok, we ate in the hotel’s dining room, however it did have some entertainment value. During our meal we could see a couple replicas of old sailing ships that were having a mock battle out in the bay. My guess is that one of them was the Lady Washington. Another amusing point happened at the end of the meal when I asked the waiter if by chance they had any port and he asked me what port was.

The forecast implies that the weather should improve so we are hoping for some sun over the next few days.

Day 4 (Sunday, May 13, 2007)

Coos Bay OR to Lincoln City OR (Headed north on Hwy 101 with side trips, 142 miles)

I’ll keep today’s entry short so that I can work on getting some photos posted soon. I just finished reviewing today’s photos and nothing stands out to me, but I do like some from the previous couple of days. However, we did finally have some sunshine, unfortunately it came with a stiff wind. I was amused at myself for using mirror lockup on the camera to avoid extra vibrations when at the same time I was holding the tripod down to keep it from blowing away! ☺

We finished exploring the sand dunes between Coos Bay and Florence and decided the best spot for sand dune photography was a spot just north of Coos Bay. Unfortunately when we were there the light was no good for any decent photographs but I know where to go back to now.

I have some interesting photos of the bridge in Waldport at low tide with rippled sand bars in the foreground. I also have some seal photos but one seal photo is pretty much like the next.

Our plan is to head north more aggressively at this point and maybe actually make it up into the west coast of Canada.

I’m embarrassed to say that Rusty is better organized for updating his website than I am so he now has some photos posted on his website, see If you click on his thumbnails they will load a larger image.

Day 5 (Monday, May 14, 2007)

Lincoln City OR to Astoria OR (North on Hwy 101 and other westerly routes, 142 miles)

Today was by far the warmest day so far on this trip. The highest temperature the car recorded was 73 degrees. It was a very enjoyable day but nothing really struck me as a good photographic opportunity. We left Lincoln City fairly early and worked our way north staying as close to the coast as we could. (BTW if you find yourself looking for a room in Lincoln City I highly recommend the Looking Glass Inn right on the water next to Mo’s. We had a very clean room with a view of the water for less than we have paid anywhere else so far.)

The major event for the day was a great hike out on Cape Lookout. Rusty took a lot of video and I took photographs.

Photo looking down off the cliff at the end of Cape Lookout.

Photo of our host on Cape Lookout.

One interesting event on the drive to Astoria was while we where driving through the outskirts of Tillamook was seeing a bunch of dairy cows all heading to the barn in a line for what we assumed was milking time.

After a quick visit to my parents we went to the Astoria Column for some photos and video and now we are enjoying the great hospitality of my sister and brother in-law, Diane and Jim, who are putting us up for the night.

Photo of our host at the Astoria Column.

Photo of Astoria from the Astoria Column.

Tomorrow, our plan is to do the Washington coast. Our motivation currently is to make it up to the west coast of Vancouver Island so I’m not sure how much time we’ll spend in Washington.

Day 6 (Tuesday, May 15, 2007)

Astoria OR to Lake Crescent Lodge WA (Hwy 101 north with a few side trips, 271 miles)

This morning was spent selecting, processing and posting photos on my web site. It was a great relief to get that done so I could satisfy the request of everyone who was pestering me about it.

I’ve been up the Oregon and Washington coasts several times in the last few years and I believe that the Oregon coast is more interesting. The Washington coast has it’s positive points as well, I like either the most southern portions or up around Olympic National Park.

Today was spent mostly driving, we stopped at Lake Quinault Lodge for lunch and we stopped for a short visit at Ruby beach and we drove into the Hoh Rain Forest and took a few photos and videos there.

A photo from the Hoh rain forest.

At Lake Crescent Lodge we just finished an fine dinner in the dinning room. As I write this I am sitting on the veranda drinking a glass of port. Of course, there is another story behind tonight’s wait service. To start with you have to understand that Lake Crescent Lodge just opened on May 11th and today is only May 15th. First, at dinner we ordered our meal with steamed clams as an appetizer and salads with our meal. Our waiter, who was trying hard, first took our order and then had to come back and ask if we wanted soup or salad. Our salads came first and after that our appetizer was served, opposite of the order it should have been. The actual dinner was good but not great I believe that the other times I have been here have been better food (I put this down to early season learning). Of course the funniest part of the evening was when after dinner we ordered some after dinner drinks from the bar. The first person to help did not know what port was and shortly after that the “real” bartender showed up and she did not know what glasses to serve our drinks in. So Rusty and I ended up pointing to the appropriate glasses on the shelf for Rusty’s Grand Mariner and my port. I think I should have pointed to a bigger glass! ☺

Our waiter was nice enough to give us a schedule for the ferries out of Port Angeles to Victoria for tomorrow. Our choices are 8:20am and 2:00pm, funny enough if we were a day later the schedule changes for the season and there is also a 12:45pm ferry. We have rejected the 8:20am ferry and will probably try to go up Hurricane ridge in the morning and take the 2:00pm ferry to Port Angles.

Day 7 (Wednesday, May 16, 2007)

Lake Crescent Lodge, WA USA to Port Alberni, B.C. Canada (Via Ferry (M.V. Coho) from Port Angeles to Victoria and then Hwy 1 north, 175 miles.)

Today was spent in getting onto Vancouver Island. We took the ferry out of Port Angeles but since we did not have a reservation (you can not make one less than 24 hours before the departure time and we had not done so) we had to get to the ferry dock two hours ahead of time. This along with the actual ferry ride which took around 90 minutes not counting loading, unloading and customs, pretty much used the entire day. We did drive a couple hours north into Vancouver Island and we are currently staying in Port Alberni.

This is a photo of Lake Crescent Lodge this morning.

This is a photo of our ferry, the M.V. Coho, arriving in Victoria Harbor.

Tomorrow we are planning a boat trip out to Bamfield on the west coast (check out a map of Vancouver Island for this to make sense).

Day 8 (Thursday, May 17, 2007)

Port Alberni, B.C. to Bamfield B.C. and back to Port Alberni B.C. (via M.V. Frances Barkley, 87 miles).

Today was probably better for Rusty’s video than photography, but none the less we had a very enjoyable time. We boarded a the M.V Frances Barkley just before 8am and sailed with her on a mail/delivery/tour boat run from Port Alberni all the way out to Bamfield on the west coast (for this to make sense you really need to look at a map of Vancouver Island B.C.). We arrived back in Port Alberni about 5pm.

The M.V. Frances Barkley was built in 1937 and currently does mail and delivery runs to various points between Port Alberni and Bamfield. It also carries day trip tourists and backpackers going to Bamfield to start a week long trip going south on the west coast trail down, funny enough, the west coast of Vancouver Island B.C.

One of the key places we stopped along the way was to deliver mail to the Kildonan post office. Kildonan is a peaceful place with a lot of floating cabins mostly used as summer vacation homes. Although our understanding is that about 30 people stay there year round.

We also delivered supplies at various points along the way including a large part of the supplies that we loaded onto the barge shown below. Notice the purpose built tugboat pushing the barge below. :-)

Tomorrow we are headed to Tofino, but due to a 3 day Canadian holiday we may not find a room, there is also some doubt as to if we can get a ferry off the island until after the weekend.

Day 9 (Friday, May 18, 2007)

Port Alberni, B.C. to Tofino B.C. (Via Hwy 4 and some side trips, 132 miles).

Today is the day that we drove as far north as we are going on this trip, Tofino B.C. Despite this weekend being a three-day weekend for Canadians we arrived in Tofino early enough to get a good room at one of the better places, Long Beach Lodge Resort.

About the time we reached Tofino it started to rain lightly and by the time I’m writing this entry, about 7:30pm, it’s raining hard outside. As we wait for our dinner reservation in the lodge’s restaurant I have been reviewing today’s photos and writing this entry while sitting in the bar next to the panoramic windows with an outstanding view of the pacific ocean. It turns out that Tofino is something of a destination spot for surfers, there are a lot of surfers outside surfing in the rain. But I suppose if you are surfing off of Vancouver island B.C. then a little rain is nothing. As you can imagine they are “all” wearing wet suites.

We took a hike to South Beach after checking into the hotel and they had a great boardwalk on the way down to the beach.

South Beach was a neat place to visit while it was raining.

This is the view from the balcony of our room.

Dinner tonight was actually very good, I had the duck, but for reason they never told us our entrees took a long time to get served. So they comp'd our desserts and after dinner drinks.

Tomorrow we start heading back to Portland. We have a reservation on a BC Ferry tomorrow at 7pm from Swartz Bay (near Victory) to Tsawwassen (near Vancouver). Before departing the island we hope to visit the expedition leader from our Antarctic trip who lives in Victoria. Once we're back on the mainland we will find a place to stay and will drive the rest of the way back to Portland on Sunday.

Day 10 – Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tofino B.C. to Bellingham, WA (Via Hwy 4 south, Hwy 1 south to Victoria then Hwy 17 north to Swartz Bay, Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen ferry, I-5 south, 305 miles)

Today started our drive home. It has been a fun trip but we need to get back to our respective homes and start preparing for our trip to Iceland in a month.

The following is the view early this morning from the balcony of our hotel room.

Before taking a ferry back to the mainland we had lunch in Victoria and briefly visited with Jaclyn who was the expedition leader on our Antarctic trip back in February. The following picture is the view of Victoria harbor from outside the building she works in.

Taking the BC Ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen was a lot of fun because it was the largest ferry I have ever been on. Due to the cargo box on top of my car we were just over 7 feet high and had to ride in the over height vehicle section. It was a cavernous space filled with extra high buses that surrounded us. The ferry had everything you could possibly want on it except a bar. ☺

The following is a photo of another similar, possibly identical, ferry that we passed in among the Gulf Islands. We were on the "Spirit of Vancouver Island".

Our stay in Tofino was by far the most expensive place we stayed. Our stay at a cheap roadside hotel in Bellingham was by far the least expensive place we stayed. The difference in hotel room cost alone was a factor of six!

Day 11 – Sunday, May 20, 2007 (Last Day!)

Bellingham, WA to Beaverton, OR (Via SR 11 south, SR 20 & 525 South, Clinton-Mukilteo ferry and I-5 south, 302 miles, Total Trip: 2142 miles)

Today was our last day on the road and apparently by staying were we did last night it almost exactly cut the return trip into two equal parts, 305 miles to 302 miles.

Between Bellingham and Seattle we managed to almost completely avoid using I-5 and to continue using the theme of a coastal trip. Out of Bellingham we had a very pleasant drive south along SR 11, also known as Chuckanut Drive. We then diverted over to SR 20 to go south through Whidbey Island. The main event for this was visiting Deception Pass. If you have never been to Deception Pass it is worth a stop, during ebb and flood tides the current flows faster through there than most boats can manage and it is always entertaining to watch a few try. The following is a photo from under the bridge at Deception Pass.

The following photo is a flower that caught my eye on the way back to the car at Deception Pass.

One interesting event happened while we were in a “long” line waiting to catch the ferry from Clinton on the south end of Whidbey Island to Mukilteo back on the mainland. After waiting for about a half hour in the ferry line, and still over half a mile from the terminal, someone took cuts in the line about three cars in front of us. After a few minutes of slow movement in the line it stopped again and it was entertaining to watch as both of the drivers from the cars in front and behind the fellow got out and had a short conversation with the guy. Shortly after that the guy turned around and left.

We stopped in Seattle and had a very pleasant lunch with Rusty’s sister before making the final, non-stop trip back to my house in Beaverton. I have never driven between Seattle and Portland before with so much rain. At times there was over an inch of standing water on the freeway because it just could not run off fast enough.

I hope that some of you have enjoyed the journal for this trip. As you know I am planning a trip with Rusty to Iceland starting June 21st. I will keep another journal but I do not know how many of the places we are staying will have internet access so the journal may come in batches or possible all at the end. I am considering another short trip before the Iceland trip, if I decide to do that trip I will post a journal entry here for that one as well.