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A summer road trip along Oregon's historic Highway 101

June 22, 2021

Bethany Stivers (@adventuresof_b) is a gear tester for Backcountry.com, an outdoor educator and trip leader, and an all-around outdoor badass. Along with photographer Sam Starr and friends, Bethany used a Canyon Adventure Grant to help fund a road trip from her home in Park City to the Oregon coast. Read on to share her adventure.

We were standing on the edge of Tillicum Beach, Oregon, and the sun was starting to set. We rushed back to our campsite to prepare for a fire on the beach. We grabbed the cooler, firewood, camera, guitar, and camp chairs - the essentials. As we watched the sun disappear below the blue horizon, we laughed, threw back beers, took sunset pictures, sang campfire songs, and reminisced about the first half of our journey up Highway 101. I think we can all agree this was one of the most memorable nights of the trip, but our adventure did not start here.

Starting a campfire

campfire lit

camping on the oregon coast

On our way to the coast, the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah was a must-see and quickly proved to be the ultimate backdrop and moto playground for Ruby- Sam’s beloved red motorcycle. We took turns zooming her around the sprawling landscape, and with the majestic mountains in the distance, it was a ride to remember. The wide-open salt flats gave us our first taste of freedom, and this feeling continued to grow as we continued cruised closer to the coast with our sights set on touching the ocean.

canyon at the salt flats

sharing beers at the flats

doggos at the salt flats

After a long stretch of driving through the night on winding canyon roads, our first campsite on the coast did not disappoint. We were welcomed by soaring Redwood trees and lush vegetation all around us- our home for the next few days. After a hearty breakfast, we were anxious to see the ocean, so we packed up the truck and headed to the beach. We hiked through the forest and down the cliffside, where we spent time scrambling up the rocks, playing beach soccer, riding the skimboard, collecting shells, relaxing in the sunshine, and watching the waves crash against the cliffs.

breakfast beers

breakfast beers

breakfast beers

From here, life was incredibly simplified. We had no plan other than to “GO NORTH” each day and explore what the coast had to offer. Our days along the coast brought even more adventures- mountain biking, surfing, more skimboarding, and to top it all off, the best seafood we have ever had! And every campsite later proved to be even better than the last- more immaculate Redwoods, more pristine beaches, more coastal cliffs.

cutting board

too much temptation

camp charcuterie

Our surfing experience in Oregon was genuinely unforgettable. Despite being head to toe covered in neoprene, the ocean water was still frigid. With each wave I got up on, I gained more and more confidence- instantly encouraged to run back in for more. Smiles and laughter were all around as we cheered for one another from the shore with each small victory. Paddling back out to join the rest of the surfers scoping out their perfect wave, I couldn’t help but feel humbled by this sport. We left the beach exhausted with sandy feet and salty hair and wondered how the locals do this every day. It truly is an art form that takes a lifetime to master.

We were standing on the edge of Cannon Beach, our Northernmost destination watching the sunset paint the sky. The silence of thought filled our group as we reminisced about all our adventures. We did not want to come to the reality that our trip was coming to an end. I think we all agreed that we would find ourselves back in the PNW sooner than we think.

Cheers to an incredible journey with even greater friends!

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