From Cannon Beach, my brother and I continued our American roadtrip south, down Highway 101.
Highway 101 (or Route 101) is a huge stretch of road (approximately 2,300 kilometres or 1,400 miles) running almost the entirety of the west coast of America, through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
Of that distance, we drove about 1,090 kilometres (680 miles), from Cannon Beach in Oregon, down to San Francisco in California.
Oregon’s portion of Highway 101 is a truly magnificent drive, running the entire length of the Pacific Northwest state.
It takes a winding course, most often cut into the sides of steep, rugged cliffs, above coastal pine forests edging stony beaches and crashing surf.
The heavy storm we encountered on our night in Cannon Beach continued to influence the weather further south, as we drove through frequent downpours and high winds.
Sometimes the ocean was just a blurry grey-white expanse on our right-hand side, and isolated puffs of mist on the road would materialise out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly, like strange, swirling wraiths.
The extent of the rainfall became more apparent as we drove through the dairy farming country of Tillamook, with vast pastures completely flooded.
Our next overnight stop was Newport, home to Oregon’s largest commercial fishing fleet and a world-class aquarium.
We stayed at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a turquoise weatherboard figurehead directly overlooking a huge sandy expanse of beach. This book-themed hotel offers simple and classic rooms, each named after a famous author and decorated accordingly.
With its very own library, no televisions or wifi, it offers a cosy hideaway from hectic modern life and technology.
We stayed in the deluxe Mark Twain room, with a spectacular uninterrupted view of the storm-swept coast.
One of my favourite parts of our stay at the Sylvia Beach Hotel was Shelley, the hotel’s standing feline resident.
She came along and supervised our installment in our guest room, giving each suitcase a thorough inspection sniff. However, I think she was unimpressed with my fire-lighting skills (which kept fizzling out), and eventually went off to find guests whose fireplace stayed warm and toasty.
As dusk approached, I curled up in one of the generously cushioned chairs by the window of our room to regard the changing conditions of the tide and clouds.
From depths of a grey, stormy sky came a glimpse of the setting sun, briefly transforming the monochromatic horizon into an artist’s canvas.
The next day we paid a visit to the famed Oregon Coast Aquarium and I finally got see one of my favourite animals – sea otters!