My return trip home driving their Honda instead of taking the plane trip back was still up in the air when I left Seattle. All I really knew for sure when I took off from Seattle was that I was heading to the Oregon coast to Cannon Beach. In the past week or so, Mollie (one of Ted’s ICU nurses) had texted me that she had purchased her desired car -4 Runner – from a dealership in Portland, Or and was flying out and picking it up the day I was leaving. Being too coincidental to be so close in proximity, we knew we needed to meet up. In our texts of possible options and directions to head after meeting up, we settled upon meeting at Cannon Beach.
I drove south on I5 and crossed the Columbia River where there was the largest logging port yard I had ever layed eyes on. I wondered where all of the logs could have even come from. That question was answered as I ended following a different road than previously intended and going through major logging areas instead of following the river as I had thought I would do. I was not upset about the mistep in directions as the foresting, deforesting and afforesting was fascinating. I made it to the coast and since I was ahead of Mollie, I first went up to Seaside and checked out their beaches first.
Mollie arrived shortly after I had traversed down to Cannon Beach and we spent the next several hours walking the beach and catching up on what had been happening with both of us since we had last seen one another. We then walked to a nearby brewery where we enjoyed their fares as well as a few more hours of chit chat. She relayed her timetable for needing to get back to Denver, and I divulged the overwhelming feeling that now that I had made it to the Oregon coast, I absolutely wanted to drive the length of it and would go all the way to San Francisco before heading home. We decided we would look for a spot to camp in our respective cars for the night and part ways in the morning. She called an RV park that was nearby and said she had spoken to the guy and he had spots for us. My Seattle peeps were wanting to know where I was and what was decided. We exchanged the following text.
We headed back to the beach for the sunset and there on the beach was something I would never have guessed we would see there. It was a herd of elk on the beach. Besides, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, I had not seen elk in any other spot, let alone on the sand at a beach!
We then headed to the RV park where we parked along their entrance road – by the river and next a picnic table – and headed off to find the man named Peggy – in the third RV to the left. It was a wooded area to one side and the river to the other and a dark night, so there were stories brewing between us about what we would find at Peggy’s trailer. Turns out that Peggy was not a pudgy old man chewing tobacco and sitting on his porch with torn cut off sweats and his one legged dog, but a kindly older woman who had maybe smoked enough Marlboro’s back in her day to fill up enough Marlboro rewards books to furnish her RV and giver her the raspy voice of a retired cowboy. We signed in, got the pass code to obtain entrance to the bathroom and showers and I knew we were in the right spot. The 4 digit code to get in was one that Ted always used. It figured correctly that he would be watching and laughing at us on this current adventure.
The next morning, I got up to a beautiful sunrise and started the pot for either Turkish coffee or tea. According to Devin and one of the gals he works with who makes her coffee this way, turkish coffee is when you put the grounds into the cup/mug/yeti and then add the boiling water. When the coffee grounds sink to the bottom of the vessel, the coffee is ready. I will attest to the accuracy of the method. As long as you don’t swoosh things around, you get a good cup of coffee and no grounds in your mouth – until the very end if you are not careful. I had the coffee, Mols had tea and we hugged hard as we said our goodbyes as we drove off with her heading east as I ventured south.
I rejoined the 101 coastal highway and jumped off whenever the fancy struck me. I was in love with the Oregon coast. The ruggedness of much of the shorelines, the huge rocks jutting out through waves close and far from shore, the power of the waves. It all made me wonder how any ship had once landed safely upon these shores. I stopped at an overlook just past a town that heavily advertised it’s whale watching adventures. I was thankful that I had remembered to pack my binoculars for the trip and pulled them out now to see if I could locate any of the huge beasts. I could see a few of the charted boats cruising around looking for whales, but no one was excitedly pointing and they seemed to be just scouting around. I began to wonder if I would even recognize a whale from my cliff side perch. Just after having the thought, two large masses rose out of the ocean. I could see them even without the binoculars, so, it was fantastic with them. I soon learned to scan for the blowing of air that was proceeding each rise through the waves. I kinda felt sorry for the paid customers on the boats, as the whales were never quite where they were and here I was enjoying them all without spending a dime. I am a lucky gal. Not one or two stops away from the whales, I pulled over at a turn off and was thrilled to see sea lions playing in the surf. Then, I noticed the brown rocks below me were not just rocks, there were hundreds of Sea Lions hanging out and resting on the rocks. Soon after, I passed where you could take an elevator down to where Sea Lions hang out, but again, I was feeling like my free tour likely showed more that could be stashed away in the caves. I stopped at many spots such as Thors Well and a lighthouse view and others I cannot even recall names of on my way to the Redwood National Park which was my destination for the night. I was burning daylight and hoping to get to a camp spot at the lower end of the park before dark, so while I very much enjoyed the drive, I did not stop much in the park until the campground. My camp spot was just a few hundred feet from the cliffs edge and path down to the beach. A beautiful spot, even if it was starting to rain.
I awoke to a beautiful morning, made my coffee and took a walk along the beach. I had it much to myself until surfers began to arrive to catch the morning waves. I had hit the Redwood National Park at dusk, and dawn had not long passed when I left, but light was not needed to feel the majesty of the place. I set out next for the Avenue of the Giants. There were large trees in the Redwood National Park, but the trees set before me as I drove into this scenic byway were even more massive. I’ve been through Europe and checked out every cathedral I came across and while so many of those were far above anything I could imagine, these trees with the sun shining through their canopy that brought to mind those stained glass windows, were more holy and breathtaking than any of those structures. I was loving the decision to go down the coast. Between the redwoods and San Fran, I got to enjoy some pretty spectacular wine country. The skies were clear all day and I was looking forward to seeing San Francisco, but true to it’s reputation, the golden gate bridge was blanketed in fog even while all around it was clear.
This post is getting a bit long, so I guess I’ll try to finish up on a part 3.