Sea of Lincoln

Most folks in the United States have heard of the Land of Lincoln, state motto of Illinois, where famed President Abe Lincoln had his roots.  But did you know there was a Sea of Lincoln?

Come Valentines Day, many guys find themselves in a quandary. If you have a wife or girlfriend, there is an expectation of dinner in a nice restaurant, or some other special treat that reflects your fealty and affection.  This may call for considerable advanced planning. Restaurants fill up their reservations weeks in advance. You might suggest cooking a fine repast for your honey instead, but chances are if you have that talent you’re already doing it on a semi-regular basis – what then would make Valentines Day special?

This year, when that couple-week-in-advance planning came around and a discussion of potential restaurants that still had reasonable reservation hours ensued, our excitement and anticipation reached a not so rousing level of “meh”.  It was time to consider alternatives.

My wife came up with the idea.  A trip to the coast! We do have a rather nice one, and the thought of a slightly longer trip with an overnight stay at some lovely venue punched all the romantic buttons. We picked our town, and a bit of research on Air B&B sites revealed a promising location.  The only caveat: at least two nights stay were required.

Darn.  Don’t ya just hate it when life forces you to do what you should be doing in the first place? Double the pleasure, two nights it was.

And the destination?  The Sea of Lincoln.  Or maybe it was the C of Lincoln.  Wait. I got it, it was Lincoln City, with an ocean on its doorstep.

_72D4158 Pano-600
Siletz Bay

Lincoln City is on the north-central Oregon coast. Long and skinny, it follows the coastline for 6-7 miles, with open beach nearly the entire span.  Oregon law mandates the ocean beaches are public, private development cannot close off sections.  If you were so minded you could walk the entire span, until you ran into the cliffs of headlands.

We opted to do our strolling in two sections, one on the north end near “Roads End” and one on the south end near Siletz Bay.


February weather on an Oregon beach is not an occasion for a bikini or speedo. While not frigid, that first afternoon the breeze was enough to wear a coat, zipped firmly.  Even the seagulls respected the rule, all wore a coat of feathers, none wore a bikini.

_72D4106-600There were a few hotshots speeding around, practicing levitation and racing their reflections. But the cool temperatures prevailed, it was a dead heat.

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 😉 )

An ocean view that’s strictly water and sand is monotonous.  I’m always partial to a foreground subject, something for the waves to meet up with to rock-and-roll._72D4116-600There’s something about walking along the surf line. Perhaps it’s that white noise roar, cranked up by nature’s amplifier. Maybe it’s the game of tag, as the waves try to sneak in to soak your feet when you’re ogling a bird or a rock, making you jump and run. It could be all that fresh air and open space, freeing your mind from the claustrophobia of the city.  Whatever it is, I like it.

And as you wander down the beach, the winter sun looking brightly down on the waves and glassy beach from its southern vantage point, it pays from time to time to look to the north.


The glare is gone. Colors, once overcome by the strength of the sun’s stare reemerge. Our return hike, back up the coast featured the more subtle earth tones native to the Pacific Northwest.

Having absorbed enough wind for one hike, we returned to our lodgings for a break. Later, I tried to make something of the sunset.

Much of Lincoln City, including our digs sits atop cliffs overlooking the beach. We had good access via stairs and I got a sunburst halfway down.

_72D4123-600But that was it. By the time I got to the beach and found a section with foreground structure, the sun had fallen behind a bank of clouds that foreshadowed the weather to come.  Any hint of dramatic color was but a dream.

As long as we’re dreaming…

_72D4137-600Even if the sky was ho-hum, the rocks and evening surf played a misty tune.

Rejoining my bride, we picked a restaurant somewhat at random and enjoyed a nice Valentines meal. And we didn’t even need a reservation.

The following day we stuck to the south end. Hiking down to the spit at the entrance of Siletz Bay, we found a haul out for a gang of seals.


Seals weren’t the only critters congregating.

_72D4148v1-600A driftwood log showed evidence of a long swim – a colony of acorn barnacles gave it a serious case of ocean acne.

And with the surf like this, why wouldn’t a log go surfing?_72D4194-600

Doesn’t this just make you want to make you go out there, surfboard in hand, to ride the waves?

_72D4201-600Yeah.  Me neither.

Surf like that would chew me up and spit me out like low rent bubble gum. That water isn’t tropical either. It’s maybe upper 40’s F (7-8 C).

The rest of our time by the Sea of Lincoln was unremarkable – standard tourist stuff. Visiting glass shops, and a museum. Being served dinner by a fellow from Nepal. Watching Olympics.

But even with the standard tourist fare, the trip was much more memorable than yet another Valentines dinner at yet another Portland restaurant.  And isn’t that what counts?


40 thoughts on “Sea of Lincoln

  1. Your lovely post on Lincoln City rekindled romantic memories of the year 1983, when my wife and I traveled down the Oregon Coast all the way to Florence. Then we travelled again in 2011 and 12 and stopped at Lincoln City, where we found comfortable accommodation. L C is not overrun by tourists even in August. Glad to read that you had a good time. Have a great week! Peter

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “…spit me out like low rent bubble gum” must be from a Sam Spade movie, great line!
    All the photos are excellent, as always, and actually kind of relieved none of the seagulls were in bikinis, that would just be weird – – but the “as long as we’re dreaming” shot is very cool, it would make a great poster. We East Coast types don’t hear as much about the Oregon coast as California’s, but this looks like my kind of vacation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great pics as always, Dave. I don’t know of the area at all, but your seascapes are marvellous. As a rider, we always go out for a meal a few days after Valentines Day, since most restaurants seem to hike up the prices for the special day!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. J.D. Riso

    I’ve heard that the worst day of the year (service and vibe wise) to go to a restaurant is Valentine’s Day. So, your wife’s solution was brilliant and it looks and sounds like it worked out wonderfully. Love the photos, as usual. Especially the barnacles. Makes me want to run my hand over that texture.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suspect that apart from the tips, the waitstaff probably dreads it. I never thought about feeling the texture of barnacles. I tend to think of what they look like underwater, when they pop little fans out for filter feeding.


    1. Thanks, M.B. I converted the barnacle shot to black and white – I wonder how many folks even noticed? There’s something special about ocean surf. It’s almost primal, with the sea calling us back.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Inspirational. If it wasn’t so chill, wet, and windy right now I’d go out for a coastal walk. And I’m glad to hear that Oregon keeps its coast clear, so to speak. The idea of anyone claiming a private stretch of beach makes me grumpy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great way to spend Valentine’s day! And I’m going to make my husband read your post, not for Valentine’s day (it’s too far from St. Louis for that), but because we really want to come to Oregon this July and find somewhere to stay near the coast. I’m sure it will be peak tourist season, but we’ll brave the crowds and try to find some beaches that aren’t quite so popular. Is Lincoln Sea one of the better known ones?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ann, nice to hear you’re interested in the Oregon coast. Lincoln City is one of the better known beach towns, but on the other hand there’s a fair amount of lodging, especially if you’re not particular about a beach view. Nearly the whole coast is worth seeing. A strategy might be to pick a region, find a place or places to stay based on convenience, and be prepared to drive to different destinations then explore on foot. Here’s a website that looks like it might have some good ideas:


      1. Thanks’s Dave! That is really helpful, and I think that is the strategy we will use. I don’t mind if our hotel doesn’t have a beach view, as long as I can get to the beach. We want to explore as much as we can.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Were you driving a Lincoln?
    Loved the humour and pictures! In fairness I’ve seen people going surfing in a sea like that, but I’ve always seriously wondered what kind of problems they have to go risking their necks like that. Answers on a postcard!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, but I did See a Lincoln.
      I’ve actually have seen folks surfing off Oregon’s coast, but even if I scuba in NW waters I don’t consider myself a strong enough swimmer to surf. (Not to mention I doubt I could stand up on a surfboard even if there wasn’t a big wave on it’s tail.)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We will soon be married 49 years and in the first, my wife said “do you know what you can give me?”
    “No, what?”
    “Don’t ask me to give you anything.”
    That has not been a hard and fast rule, but our Valentine’s gifts have been few. But we both would jump on this idea in a heart beat.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It sounds really nice, Dave, I’m glad you two got away. I loved the photos of the beach – the misty one especially – and the barnacles. And you humorous asides, yes, who can resist? Did I mention that I’m planning an Oregon – Cali trip? To Portland, maybe a little farther down 5, then to the coast, a few nights at an airbnb in Newport. Then on to meet Gunta in Gold Beach (sounds good right?). Then to California redwood country, and probably returning by a more inland route. Mid April. Have you done something similar?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You obviously chose the right times for your photos as the light in each is marvellous! Particularly liked the one with the flying birds, the nearest obligingly dipping over that pool. Your upbeat commentary has an airy feel too.


    1. I don’t know about the right time so much as making the best of the time I was there and doing some fixing in an editing program. Pros would suggest early or late in the day, or when the light is soft. I may have gotten lucky with the bird flying through…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds like a great V-day!

    The photos as always are beautiful!

    When we went to Carmel by the Sea Vic asked me why I didn’t tell him to bring a swimsuit. My answer was, “You don’t want to jump in that water. Go dip your toes.” He didn’t know how cold the water is. He thought it would be as warm as our beaches in August.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember you dive. Should have told him it’s wet suit water over there. What’s the water temp in summer? We know someone who belongs to the polar bear club up the Hudson River. Personally, the idea of swimming in the Hudson freaks us out. It’s cleaner than before but still polluted.

        Liked by 1 person

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