Our first day on the road with both dogs went well. No major meltdowns in the car (for people or dogs). No major dog freakouts about the jarring change to their normal routine (you know how dogs LOVE their normal routines). And of course, having lots of treats smoothed over any potential rough spots.
As I said yesterday our ultimate destination is Santa Barbara, CA, which is where my wife Randy grew up. We’re taking it easy on the way down by breaking up the trip into 3-4 hour days to avoid keeping the dogs cooped up in the car too much.
The drive from Seattle to Cannon Beach was an easy 4 hours. We stopped just outside Astoria, OR at Gnat Creek Campground on Highway 30 to let the dogs take a bathroom break and get some exercise.
As soon as we turned off the highway the scenery immediately turned green and lush, and the only sound we heard was the stream rushing through the park. The dogs had sensory overload exploring all the new sounds and smells that bombarded them when they got out of the stale car air. I wish we could have stayed longer but we knew what waited for us at Cannon Beach and were anxious to get there.
We weren’t disappointed.
As soon as we arrived in Cannon Beach we saw dogs and people everywhere. The town is famous for the Haystack Rock, a prehistoric, Jurassic Park-sized rock that looms over the beach just offshore. It also has avoided the tourist trappings of other coastal towns like Seaside – lots of local artists, no chain restaurants, stores that sell local crafts.
But for dog lovers, the beach is the main attraction – it’s is a long, flat, expanse of pure dog delight. About 2-3 miles long, it’s the perfect place for dogs to romp, run, sniff, chase, and play. It also appears to have some magical power that turns dogs into whirlwinds of happy energy.
We stayed at the dog friendly Hallmark Resort, and we all felt welcomed as soon as we walked in the front door and found a big shell full of dog treats by the front desk.
We also got a goody bag for each dog containing treats, poop bags, small towels for wiping off sand, and a water bottle.
Our room wasn’t luxurious, but it was comfortable, especially the bed, and it had free internet access plus a gas fireplace.
Besides, we weren’t paying for luxury, we were paying for immediate access to one of the best dog friendly beaches in the country!
The cost of the room was $179 plus $20 for each dog.
As you can imagine the dogs were balls of pent up energy after a long day in the car, so they became whirling dervishes as soon as we hit the beach, not caring about anything other than exploring every inch of the beach, picking up every stick, and smelling every piece of seaweed.
We all eventually settled down and walked for about 2 miles, and our mission of completely wearing out the dogs was accomplished.
After cleaning up we had a solid meal of good, basic bar food at Bill’s Tavern and Brewhouse. If you’re looking for fine dining this isn’t your place, but if you want a burger and fries in a relaxed atmosphere, you should drop in. We aren’t big drinkers but they brew their own beer and other people there liked it.
After dinner we went back to our room where everyone immediately collapsed into a big pile of tired – a perfect end to our initial day on the road.
Our first job in the morning, of course, was to find coffee. Sleeping Monk Coffee Roasters is a great little organic coffee place just down the street from the hotel. The coffee was excellent, and we bought some cat-shaped biscuits for the dogs. They also have a nice front porch/yard with benches where you can relax with your dog.
After another walk on the beach to tire out the dogs (hopefully), we left for Florence, OR, our next stop.
To be continued….