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Pacific Northwest travels Sept-Oct 2007

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A landscape photographer’s tour

Keith’s travels in the Pacific Northwest – September-October 2007

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Starting from Seattle I’m heading down the Oregon coast, inland and back up to Seattle.

The area is a great place for a driving tour, and it’s my fourth visit to some areas, however this time I’m travelling with Karen, who has never been to the US before.

The photos are there to give a feel for the area – there are many photos in the Print Gallery on this site.

This article updated in 2016 as a combination of all the individual day’s blog posts.

sunset at Bandon

London to Seattle

Flying out to Seattle at the start of a driving tour of the Pacific Northwest.

Although the ‘real’ pictures start in following day’s pages, I was struck by the quality of the photos I was able to get from the plane window as we flew over Greenland and parts of the US.

The weather isn’t at its best this time of the year, but I do enjoy driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, and particularly the Oregon coast. These pages will have a few of my pictures along the way. I’m not on my own this time so I’ll probably not be keeping quite the detailed notes I usually do… :-)

Karen shoppingOk, just travelling today…

Flying out to Seattle via Chicago, so the first leg of the trip went over the tip of Greenland

However, before even getting on the the plane I discovered new parts of the Heathrow departure lounge

Here’s Karen (who I’m travelling with this time) checking out the duty free…

Anyway, having stocked up with Malt Whisky for the trip, off we went…

What you can see of Greenland, looks pretty mountainous.

greenland ice fieldsgreenland fjords

This from 40,000 feet

While there was plenty of room on the flight to Chicago, the one to Seattle was pretty packed

crowded plane

However, it was clear most of the way across the States, and we managed to get photos of one of my favourite mountain ranges (from 38,000 feet).

teton overview

The mountains to the right of Jackson lake are the Tetons.

Why one of my favourite mountain chains? From the ground they look like this

teton glimpse

I was going to use a less cloudy example, but since I’ve only got the pictures on my laptop, this will have to do ;-)

tetons, bend in river

Here’s a slightly better view, giving a feel for the topography of the area

tetons and jackson lake

Finally there’s this view of the ‘back’ of the Tetons for my friend Vicky, who’s only seen them from the front (the side with the pointy bits)

tetons - rear view

So on to Seattle, crossing numerous hilly bits, and these two river valleys, that could be straight out of a geomorphology textbook.

mature river valleyyoung river valley

Near to Seattle, there’s this rather excellent volcano.

Mt. Rainier at ~14,000 feet is impressive. Note the other volcanoes in the distance (Mt. St Helens to the right)

Mt rainier

A quick flight over Seattle

seattle from the air

And a look down towards Tacoma, with that huge volcano in the background (it will make a big mess of this area when it goes off)

puget sound

That’s it for today, since it’s been a long one

Just to finish off, here’s the car parked outside the motel…

mustang convertable

Crossing the Columbia river into Oregon

Driving south from Seattle to the Oregon Coast

This trip isn’t quite my normal drive since I’m not on my own this time, and won’t be spending quite so much time putting together the travel blog, but I’ll try and put a selection of images up each day anyway…

This morning we left Seattle and headed south along I-5 before turning off towards the coast and then into Oregon, ending up at Cannon beach – which happens to be somewhere I like staying :-)

First a bridge – the in-car shots on this trip are taken by Karen, and this one is for her sister who has this thing about bridges (no, I’ve no idea either)

road bridge in Washington state

Stopping off briefly in South Bend (WA) for a snack

Rain in South Bend WA

As you can see it’s raining, so our visit to the “Oyster Capital of the world” was a short one.

Fortunately the weather brightened up as we headed south.

Columbia river view

The Columbia River near the crossing to Astoria (a huge bridge)

In fact the weather brightened enough to open up the car :-)

This is me – driving across the bridge

Keith Cooper driving in the USA

a very long bridge…

bridge over columbia river to Astoria

At the other side if you follow Highway 101, you find a very unusual feature in the US – a roundabout.

Common in the UK, they are almost unknown over here (I think I saw one in Aspen CO)

And so on to Seaside, which Karen rather aptly described as ‘Skegness, done by Disney’

street in Seaside, oregon

A nice beach however

Seaside, Oregon

Centre left in the picture above, you can see a flagpole. It’s a monument to the point where Lewis and Clark stopped by the Pacific, on their grand expedition to explore the Pacific northwest at the start of the nineteenth century.

No roads, forrests and mountains… it must have been quite a trip.

Let’s see the modern American way :-)

Lewis and clark roundabout

There is a road that comes up to the monument and a loop round it. As you watch, a steady series of SUVs and cars (with the odd RV) drive up, stop for a quick view, and drive off without getting out of the car…

Anyway, Seaside was not the place to stay for us, so on to Cannon Beach, where we’ll be for a couple of days

here’s a few shots just to give you a feel for it…

afternoon sun - haystack rock, cannon beach, oregon

and sunset (not one of the best I’ve seen here)

Sunset sands - cannon beach, OR

sunset reflection - cannon beach OR

Staying at Cannon Beach.

Starting off with a good breakfast is one thing I always like in the US :-)

Eggs Benedict and hash browns, while Karen has managed to obtain a pot of tea…

eggs benedict

It’s been raining on and off today so only a quick trip round the area, stopping off here at Oswald West state park

oswald west state park, Oregonlogs on an oregon beach

Driving on through Nehalem, this shop caused a brief stop, since Karen designs jewellery…

bead shop - nehalem, oregon

text message

That and the fact she receives text messages from friends in the UK, even while we’re driving along in the forest…

Back at Cannon beach, the wind is blowing the sand a few inches above the surface and giving these constantly changing patterns

Cannon Beach - sand blowing

Looks as if there won’t be a decent sunset tonight…

and the gulls looked cold too…

birds on cannon beach in the wind

However a good cup of coffee is at hand here at the Lands End Motel, where you get fresh ground coffee waiting for you in the fridge

coffee maker

Compare this with the more standard Motel fayre from the place we stayed near Seattle


Somewhat better than the ‘blender’s choice’ I had before, but if this is their flagship blend, I’d rather not try an economy version.

flagship blend coffee

Anyway, time to find somewhere to eat this evening…

South to Cape Kiwanda

A rainy day on the Oregon coast. Not a good start weather wise…

It’s been tipping it down much of the day, and we’d decided to go a bit further down the coast to Cape Kiwanda. If you’ve read any of my previous travel blogs then you’ll know I like it here, in particular the ever changing views of Haystack Rock

Monet went to a field to paint his haystacks, I’ll stick with a nice beach and a place to eat that does excellent beer as well :-)

Unfortunately it was like this when we got there :-(

rain at cape kiwanda, Oregon

So after telling Karen that it was really much more impressive in the sunshine, we headed off to the wonders of Lincoln City.

Indeed an outlet mall is perhaps not somewhere I’d normally visit, but since I was assured that many of the shops were well known brands, I relented.

Lincoln city outlet mall

While Karen was acquiring a most excellent (and cheap good value) cardigan, I spotted a Christian discount store…

Amongst the bargains in the window, a full set of armour

bargain at the outlet mall

Yes – it’s the ‘Full Armour of God’

Learn to “quench the fiery darts of the wicked one” (ages 3 and up)

christian armour in Lincoln city

I leave finding an ‘explanation’ for some of what’s written on the box as an exercise for the reader… :-)

Suffice to say, this is not what I could see being sanctioned by the good old Church of England:
“Oh hello Vicar, is that a new set of armour you’ve got?”

Anyway, enough of that, back to the sea at Lincoln City – It was still pouring with rain

surf at Lincoln city, oregon

And so we returned to Cape Kiwanda, where after a while the rain eased and I caught this shot between showers.

cloudy day at Cape Kiwanda

I’m now at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda, typing this, watching the sun briefly come out and wondering if we’ll get a good sunset (see here for some other shots at Cape K)

At least I’ve got a cup of tea to drink, since Karen insisted on bringing some PG Tips…

Cape Meares – staying at Cape Kiwanda for a while.

A trip up round the the three capes route.

This first shot looks back towards the thick cloud atop Cape Lookout.

cape lookout

At Oceanside – looking south

oceanside beach

On the road to cape Meares

three capes route - on the way to Cape meares

Cape Meares lighthouse (I didn’t take this one ;-)

Cape Meares lighthouse

Inside the lighthouse…

inside the lighthousecape meares lighthouse mechanism

The view looking south towards Oceanside (round the headland), from cape Meares

A roofless car is so much better to spot potential picture locations…

…and more fun to drive (when not raining)

tillamook bay

The bay leading up to Tillamook

tillamook bay view

The sky cleared a bit, back at Cape Kiwanda

haystyack rock

from a walk along the beach

birds in flight - ocean waves

What happens when you take a front wheel drive van on to a sandy beach

Unfortunately well above the high tide line, so not not really the sense of urgency that would have drawn a big crowd…

car stuck on beach

Why just travel around in a big car, when you can attach a truck like thing to the front of it…


Karen was bored and someone persuaded her to have a go at paragliding


Not a great sunset tonight, but at least it wasn’t raining

Driving down the Pacific highway (Hwy 101) to Florence, Oregon

A drive down the coast to Florence today. The weather is pretty poor, but at least it’s not as wet as in Seattle, where a friend tells me it’s been raining for days…

It was raining the other day I visited Lincoln City, so I didn’t notice the Bear Emporium.

lincoln city - bears

And since you can’t see the footprints in the shot above…

bear prints

Further down the road is the ‘D’ river aka “the world’s shortest river”

d river, lincoln city

If you travel much in America, you’ll realise just how much of the world’s biggest/tallest/shortest/smallest can be found there.

Cape Foulweather was named by Captain Cook and today lived up to its name, although the rain eased off a bit after a visit to the gift shop…

oregon myrtlewood

Along the coast they are big on Myrtlewood – you see shops and factories everywhere where they make things out of the wood…

cape foulweather

And near the Devil’s Punchbowl

The black and white image below has had some pretty vigourous curves applies to bring out detail from the mist and rain.

from near the devil's punchbowl, oregon

Here’s another of Karen’s bridge pics for her sister…

newport bridge

That’s at Newport, where there are a lot of noisy sea lions in the harbour.

I was just taking the picture below, when Karen noticed that there were loads of them sleeping under the jetty we were on…

sea lions at Newport Oregon

cute sea lion at Newport Oregon

Trying to win the cutest sleeping sea lion award…

As I pointed out the other day, there’s no shortage of people travelling round in truck like vehicles


This supreme example of tackiness is a Winnebago towing a Dodge pickup (Dodge only seem to employ people bereft of any semblance of taste or decency in this part of their design department)

Is that a bike I see in the back?

Yup, just when you thought the yuk factor couldn’t get any worse…

winnebago and dodge pickup and hog

One more shot of the coast, taken between rain showers…

neptune beach

Of course, coming into Florence, there is a huge bead shop…

florence bead warehouse

In and around Florence, Oregon

Just a quiet day today, so a bit of a drive, a bit of a shop and not a lot else in Florence :-)

Since Karen has never been to the US before, we went to the local Safeway to get something for lunch

supermarket at florence oregon

lots of huge packs of stuff – and lots cheaper than the UK too

Such a wide range of snacks… althought here Karen suspects the packs look too much like walkers crisps from the UK

packets of crisps in Florence

And as a fan of Oreos (not easy to get in the UK), she is spoilt for choice…

shelves of oreos in oregon

However the range of ice cream is impressive…

oregon ice cream

Back outside the Motel, in the river, there are cormorants sunning themselves

cormorant siuslaw river oregon

and this long legged white bird looking for fish

heron siuslaw river oregon

Lastly a picture of the bridge at Florence (30 second exposure)

Note – I’ve been instructed to mention that oreos, crisps and ice cream were -not- actually purchased at Safeway :-)

Driving south along the Pacific Highway from Florence to Bandon

At last the weather looks a bit better!

In the search for a few days nice weather we decided to carry on south to Bandon (it looks as if we will head inland and start north on Saturday now.

south on highway 101

Definite signs of better weather…

Sunset bay

sheltered cove - oregon coast

Here’s a view from Cape Arago showing that while nice weather is appreciated, it makes it more difficult to get good black and white shots :-)

cape Arago

Off the coast are hundreds of Sea Lions at Simpson Reef, making a lot of noise, even several hundred yards away

sea lions at Simpson reef

Anyway here’s the car, now with roof down again. Note Karen for scale – this car would look huge parked outside my house in the UK – the tires are more the size I’d expect on a Transit van :-) Mind you, a 4.6L V8 does pull past RVs very effectively ;-)

mustang convertible

In Bandon, it’s starting to look as if I might get to see a nice sunset

The view South…

Bandon beach

And looking North

Bandon beach looking North

This being Bandon, there’s no shortage of Cranberry related resources in the local shops…

the joy of cranberries

I went up to Face Rock to watch the sunset, but this is just before it started to rain heavily

face rock rain storm

This the view as the rain passed

clouds over the carpark - face rock, bandon oregon

And lastly a couple of views of the sunset, and the last few rays of sun…

sunset at Face rock bandon oregon

face rock sunset, bandon, oregon

sunset rays over the Pacific

Staying at Bandon, we drive down the Oregon coast to look at some of the sights

The blog’s been delayed a bit on the grounds it takes a while to do, so the next few days will be mostly photos…

Bandon beach

The beach at Bandon

Some interesting coloured rocks on the beach

Bandon beach - rocks

Out for a drive, there’s a very small Expresso shop, along with a confused bystander

coffee hut

As ever, lots of Myrtlewood on Highway 101 in Oregon

oregon myrtlewood sales

And even Jam, that they will ship all over the world

oregon jam sales

Back to Bandon for a rather plain sunset

sunset at Bandon

I did actually see a brief green flash as the last bit of the sun set, but I’ll need a better raw converter than is currently on my laptop to show it….

This is a few moments after the sun went down

pacific sunset

From Bandon on the coast to Bend, via Crater lake.

Heading inland from Bandon we stop off at Crater lake in the snow. then northwards to Bend.

Crossing the coastal range, here’s another nice bridge.

oregon road bridge

A river in the Cascades


and a roadside view of another river – the colours are quite pronounced, although the damp overcast weather doesn’t do much for them

cascades river, oregon

A bit of sun works a treat though

cascade fall colours

Near the shot above there was this -wooden- pipe for transporting water to a hydroelectric scheme

Note the leak – I used it to clean the car (well, at least one side of it)

high pressure wooden pipe

The pipe is made from redwood planking, with a lot of steel banding added.

On the way to Crater lake there were the first signs of some snow at altitude

road to crater lake

The pummice desert lost some of its interest, when covered with snow

pummice desert, crater lake, Oregon

All kinds of people were out for the day.

The dog has its own (heated) bag on the back of the bike to travel in

dog on motorbike

Here’s Karen ( right) taking a picture of a snowman

snowman at crater lake national park, oregon

The cloud cleared for a short while, giving this view of the lake and Wizard Island

snowman at crater lake, oregon

Note the rainbow (it’s for real!)

rainbow over wizard Island, crater lake oregon

Meanwhile a lot of visitors congregated at Rim Village…

rim village, crater lake oregon

Afterward we made for Bend – no more pics since it had been a long drive…

We also decided not to wait up and visit the grill and sports pub next to our motel in Bend.

pub and grill in bend oregon

Travelling from Bend, Oregon to Seattle Washington

Heading north from Bend, we cross the Columbia river, stop off at Stonehenge and continue on to Seattle.

Here’s the motel, as we make an early getaway…

leaving motel at Bend, Oregon

As you head north up US97, there is a wide plateau, where there really isn’t a lot to see, although not a bad drive

open space - driving north on US97 in Oregon

big skies…

big oregon sky

and the odd tree (you can see it from the in car shot above)

wind pump and tree

crossing the Columbia river (another big bridge)

bridge over columbia river

Just over the bridge is a large fruit stand – so we stocked up with plums and peaches

columbia river fruit stand

This view gives the context for the bridge- note the rather long train (certainly over half a mile long)

columbia river

The photo above was taken at Stonehenge, or at least the war memorial built as a copy

stonehenge, washington state, by the columbia river

The view from inside

stonehenge, washington

They do a lot of fruit in this part of Washington – and frequently sell it alongside antiques

fruit and antiques, thorp, washington

Anyway, we got to Kirkland. We’re staying at a friend of mine’s for a few days, so here’s a view of Seattle in the distance, or at least the glow it throws up onto the clouds.

seattle sky glow

Since there hasn’t been so many food shots, here’s the ribs I sampled that evening in Bellvue (with Al in the background)

ribs - dining in bellvue, washington

And the range of Cheesecake available for deserts

cheesecake, bellvue, washington

Stopping off at Seattle

Staying with a friend in Seattle gives us a chance to look at the city.

Not something I tend to do much when travelling on my own – visit a big city, in this case Seattle…

tall building in seattle

Seattle, and not raining…

Still the great market

Pikes place market

all kinds of ‘stuff’

market, seattlechillis

Then a trip to the Space Needle, by monorail


It’s a long way up…

space needle

On the way in to the lifts

entrance to space needle

An excellent view from the top – note the big 14,000 feet volcano trying to hide in the background

seattle and rainier

I took several images to stitch into a high resolution panoramic shot, but don’t have the image stitching software I use, on my laptop

This is after Karen was glad to get to ground level again :-)

space needle and Karen

On the way back, we grabbed seets at the front…

monorail pilot

inside monorail

monorail track

seattle street from the monorail

monorail route

Afterwards, a walk through town…

This in the Steinway shop

green steinway piano

This interesting narrow building is the Mariners shop (baseball) where Karen wanted to do some shopping

The tower next to it is one of the Westin towers

mariners shop

I was using a shift lens (hand held) to correct perspective, as in the shot below

street corner in seattle

In the evening we went to Bellvue, for another excellent meal – the town has new large buildings going up all over the place.

The view is from where we went to eat…

bellvue at night

And, just for folks back home who think the LG has a big bar collection…

bar - bellvue

Seattle and returning to the UK

A few days in Seattle finishes of this particular journey. If you’re visiting, I can particularly recommend the underground tour.

Probably the last days pics today – unless I get some more good ones on the flight home

Another day in Seattle – this is the view from Al’s place in Kirkland, as the first dawn light catches the Seattle skyline.

dawn at seattle

A few shots around the city.

touch of fall colour in seattle

escalator in seattle

The basement cafe which inspired the cafe in ‘Frasier’

Cafe in seattle

Quite steeply sloping streets (the Smith Tower)

Smith tower, Seattle

If you are spending any time here, it’s well worth going on the underground tour

seattle underground tour

To the left is the original ground floor of a building, to the right, a retaining wall where the road level was built up, above is the current sidewalk (pavement). What you see as the ground floors in buildings in this area are actually the first floors (or second floor as it is known in the US)

A really good 90 minute tour, where you learn just how avaricious and unscrupulous the people who created Seattle were :-)

That’s it for general touring now, so I hope people have enjoyed the pictures!


On the 10th we went shopping and I didn’t even take a camera with me :-)

On the 11th we flew back – I’ve added a couple of shots here, but it was mostly cloudy. The plane had fuel problems so the flight from Chicago to London was diverted to New York for repairs. Due to bad weather we were delayed and had to fly round the most spectacular thunderstorms I’ve ever seen from the air (over Boston) – unfortunately no pics :-(

Seattle from the air

Coming in to Chicago, I noticed the shadow of the plane on the clouds, surrounded by rainbows of coloured rings from light reflected from within water droplets in the clouds. The centre of the rings shows where I was sitting in the plane…

Airplane shadow on clouds and rainbow halo

END of TRIP :-(

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