Our Rogue Trip: Best of Coastal, Redwoods & Crater Lake Highways

My friend Vickie arrived from North Carolina to accompany me on my first road trip since a) I replaced my beloved, but less than reliable 20-year-old Honda CRV (CuRVy) with a brand new Monarch Orange Nissan Rogue (Flutterbye); and b) since my mother died a year ago, allowing me to be comfortable being more than a few hours by plane or car away from home. Our route? South along the Oregon coastal highway 101, to the California Redwoods National Forest to camp for three nights, then east and back north to Crater Lake National Forest.

Here is our list of bests on our week-long adventure. With, of course, photos.


Best place to depart from

Three of Earth Farm, Centralia, WA

Best Airbnb

Coast Road Cottage, Seal Rock, OR

Best food in a local dive, also Gretchen’s best beer

Fish & Chips at the Flounder, Seal Rock, OR. And Rogue Dead-Guy beer.

Best sunset

Seal Rock, OR from Coast Road Cottage

Best beach

Cape Perpetua
Devil’s Churn at Cape Perpetua

Best visitor center

Cape Perpetua

Best advertisement

Coos Bay, OR

Best art

“Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” Bandon, OR. Learn more here.

Best scenic viewpoint

Arch Rock

Best photo from Google

Because the moving car photographer missed it.

Best wildlife sighting

Elk herd, Prairie Creek SP

Best night’s sleep

Little tent on the prairie

Best campground meal

Foil pouch dinner

Best peopley place

An oxymoron, but: Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek State Park

Best warning sign


Best beach photo shoot

Gold Bluffs Beach (no, it was not the only contender).

Best mural

Eureka, CA

Best first view (tie)

The Redwoods National Park, Elk Prairie SP (We continued to be wowed by the Redwoods.)

Best walk

Nature Trail, Prairie Creek State Park


Best tree home

Elk Prairie SP (could ancient peoples have once lived in these hollowed out trees, like cave dwellers?).

Best unnecessary signage

Elk Prairie SP

Best directional signage

Elk Prairie SP

Best wood sculpture (tie)



Best new vocabulary

Reiterated trunks: accessory trunks arising from the main trunk, other reiterated trunks, or limbs

Best sight with no photo: Beach and sea obscured by cloud blanket below road.

Best advice from a stranger: “Steve” (we made up his name), Luminari Arts shop, Astoria, OR, recommended we go to Stout Grove, though he couldn’t remember the name of it.

Best drive

The road to Stout Grove, Jedediah Smith State Park. No trees were harmed in the building of this road.


Best root ball


Best set for a movie scene

(Return of the Jedi.) Jedediah Smith SP (it wasn’t really filmed here, but Steve said it was, and it looks just like it. (Watch the scene here.)

Best roadside story

Read the story here.

Best river

The Rogue (of course)

Best river, also ran

Smith River

Best spontaneous stop

Natural Bridge, Rogue River

Best first view (tie)

Crater Lake and Wizard Island, west entrance. The rest of the rim drive didn’t compare.
Except maybe for Phantom Ship, that looks more like a castle to us.

Best geological formation

The Pinnacles, Crater Lake

Best ice cream: Huckleberry, some mini-mart at some speed trap on the highway between Crater Lake and Bend that also sold biscuits and gravy. How did we not get the photo?

Best shopping: that’s an oxymoron

Best small city: Bend, OR (P.S. it was too late to shop)

Best dinner out

Hail to the Kale salad (and pizza), Deschutes Brewery & Public House, Bend, OR

Best latte

Bluebird Coffee Company, Bend, OR

Best scone

Marionberry Chocolate Chip at Great Harvest Bread Co., Bend, OR.

Best snow-capped peak

The Sisters, near Bend, OR


Best tiny town

Sisters, OR (P.S. it was too early to shop)

Best road trip vehicle



Best photo from a moving car: none of them.

 Best large city: that’s an oxymoron

Best celebratory beverage

for successfully navigating around the only city, Portland, and arriving back in Washington

Best travel buddy

Gretchen: Vickie. Also Vickie’s best beer: Deshutes Marionberry lavender sour.


Vickie: Gretchen

Best tool: GTS “Google that shit.”

Best place to return to

Three of Earth Farm, Centralia, WA


Thank you Flutterbye!



9 thoughts on “Our Rogue Trip: Best of Coastal, Redwoods & Crater Lake Highways

  1. Oh my. What a great way to recap your week. I wondered how you would do it in a photo log and you nailed it. Nice job, ladies. 

    But I have questions .. 

    Like, what’s up with all those beverages in your photo ? Drinking your lunch ? Ha !

    And where is the “we got lost” story ? Isn’t that a crucial part of every adventure ?

    And you probably now realize that even hometown folks are gonna want you as their tour guide …

    So happy you had a great trip and some quality time, to boot. Life is good. 

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We joked that people would think that. But do note that we were out for 7 days, that’s 14 lunches and dinners, and there were only four beers each. Nope, didn’t get lost on the road (GPS) or on the trail (all were dedicated to the casual “hiker” and well marked).


  2. I just bought my adventure car. A Toyota RAV4 Adventure. And it’s metallic red (maroon). Now if I could persuade my friend to take a road trip. So far it’s me alone going through Arkansas to Louisville, Ky and around KY for a few days, then south to see an older cousin in Atlanta. And “the long way home” to Houston. Loved my drive down and back up the Oregon coast from Portland.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s excellent! You know I love solo ventures. It was nice to have a navigator though, and a sister hiker to show the massiveness of those trees! And someone to help with campground chores. And a companion. Had she not been able to come out and go with me, though, I would have been quite content as a solo. Enjoy, either way!


  3. Absolutely amazing & hilarious response report to those Best places I too have seen! Port Townsend jazz was o-so-wonderful…this all-nighter in PDX, not! My next PNW venture just might include Newport jazz fest 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

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