Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oregon Coast

Sorry It's taken so long to post this - No internet service in 2 weeks, no cell phone most of the time. I'm posting this from a Starbucks. I've got 3-4 more posts to do - Depending on the service I can get - I'll try to do one a day.

Glad I finally figured out how to post more photos and place them within the blog!!!

I left Chico about 2 p.m. on a day registering over 100. (I only had to return to the house once to get forgotton items – in this case, all the food I left in the refrigerator) In Redding, Madame got overheated. I stopped and let her cool down, and kept a careful watch on her – as the next good bit of road was mountainous – Madame made it through all the twisty, turning, curvy, hairpin turns, switchbacks, up and downy places, and we finally made it through. As soon as we hit hwy 101, I saw the fog bank – and the temperature dropped appreciatively.

I took the old stage coach road from Trinidad to Patrick’s Point that Carol had told me about – it was a fun drive, one lane road, all twisty-turny-uppy-downy and huge potholes. Then I couldn’t get Jack to recognize Patrick’s Point park, so I was kind of driving blind – but I finally found it.

I had only a total of about 225 miles to drive that day – and made it to the Patrick’s Point campground at about 7:30 pm.

What a nice campsite – big enough to put 2 more tents up – picnic table, fire pit, and bear locker!!!!! The campground was set up so you couldn’t see into anyone else’s campsite. I got set up and settled in, and dug out my flannel PJs, and all available blankets, as the fog started rolling in for the evening.

In the morning, I decided to take a walk along one of the trails. First time I’ve ever climbed dirt stairs – and the bottom one had washed away, so I had to climb on my hands and knees to get up the cut.

I was determined to find another way back to the tent. It’s foggy this morning – but mostly in the tree-tops. .

I walked to Patrick’s Point, but it was hard to see out over the ocean because of the fog. I learned a new term. These are not big rocks in the water – they are sea stacks. Travel IS educational!!! Wedding rock is right next to Patrick’s point, I didn’t attempt the climb. I finally found my way back to my tent – my PJs covered in mud. I dismantled my camp and headed for the Redwoods!

The sun finally came out – blue skies – I guess I was just far enough inland to avoid the fog standing off shore.

I stopped at a wayside in the Redwoods, and walked in to see a “big one” The ranger said it was an easy walk, and a large tree – 24’ in diameter. Humph, I remember Holly saying the one that fell on her porch during Hurricane Isabel was about that size. When I finally saw the tree, I realized there is a tad bit of difference between diameter and circumference. Wow! And it was over 300’ high.

I was mesmerized, and decided to follow a trail, snapping photos along the way.

I had read that not all Redwoods come from seeds! Some sprout from the root system of the parent tree, and feed on the parent’s nutrients. Well, not sure what happened here – no roots – looks like someone just pulled it up – it is connected to the parent tree, fresh green growth on the upper branches, but about 30 ‘ up, the tree just ends!!!! Or, rather, it just starts – full grown, but no roots.

From there, I took off on a small “coastal road” gravel, dirt, one lane, potholes-- large enough to sleep in, and one very rude woman from Oregon, who stopped dead in the middle of the road, and expected me to figure out how to make enough room for us to pass each other. I worked at it, she had at least 18” to the edge of the lane on her side, but wouldn’t move over even an inch. She actually brushed my bumper as she drove by, giving me an angry stare! Hmph! Some people!

As I was driving along, around a corner, I saw cars pulled to the side of the road – wondering what was going on – I looked over to my left, and there on someone’s front lawn were 6-8 Elk bulls.

Well, of course I pulled over – I had to get a photo for you guys, didn’t I? I crossed the road (I was not the only one – Parents with little kids trying to get a better look – I was bad enough, but people, these are wild animals - take care of your children) and started taking photos, and after about 3 minutes, another big bull joined the crowd, and he didn’t like one of the other bulls, and started running across the yard and charged – at that point, I realized he was a lot bigger than I am, and faster too – so I braved the traffic, and got back into my car.

I stopped at “Trees of Mystery” tourist stop.

I took a couple photos, then saw a couple coming out of the building with ice cream cones. I went inside, walked passed the fudge counter and got a “small” (about ½ pint size) cone, and ate it with relish.

Oh, got to not do that again, approaching the California/Oregon line, I started praying for a welcome center – major sugar crash!!!! I was so sleepy and still had 3-4 hours to drive to get to the campsite. Luckily, there was a welcome center, and I curled up and took a nap in the car before proceeding.

As I drove up the Oregon coast, I started seeing Tsunami Evacuation Route signs, and Tsunami Hazard area signs. Gee, how comforting!

When I left the welcome center, the fog bank was standing out to sea. By the time I got to Coos Bay, it started drifting inland, and I still had about an hour of driving before getting to the campground.

I arrived at the campground, once again at about 7:30 p.m. – I think I drove about 200 miles again today – but through the mountains, and round the twists and turns, and taking into consideration I could only drive about 40 mph, it took all day.

I set up camp, and dived in for a good nights sleep – still cold at night, needed flannel pjs, and all blankets – and even then woke up at night cold.

Got started in the morning. Stopped at Oregon Dunes State Park. This is one massive dune!

Look at all the ATVs – or as they term them here – OHV (Off Highway Vehicles) One of the rules is that they have to have a red flag on a 9’ pole – which I wondered at for a few minutes, until I saw a group of riders come tearing over the top of the dune – I guess if you are taking a run at the top, you want to make sure no-one is approaching the top from the other side!!!
It looked like such fun! Oh, my gosh, if I were only 30 years younger – or better still 40 years younger! Maybe 50 years younger is more like it!!!

I then drove to the end of the park – and saw the old dunes that are covered with vegetation, and stopped at one parking area to walk up the path to the top of a dune – the path was pure sand - and steep. At a couple points, I nearly had to use my hands on the path to keep my balance – as I lost balance and was in danger of tumbling head over teakettle back down the path!

I the top, I stopped to view the beach – took a couple photos, and decided to return back down the path I had climbed – otherwise, to get down to the beach – I would have had to go down just as steeply as I had climbed up, then climb it up again to get back to the car. The sand was very deep, but it was just warm, not hot like in VA Beach.

Ken (Chico Ken) I followed a “mini” down the road cause it had 2 kayaks on top, and I wanted to get a photo for you so you could see you could have both! But it got away from me – the road ended, and the mini was no where to be seen.

I’m was recording this as I drove out of the park. If it’s against the law to talk on a cell phone while driving, I’m sure it’s frowned upon to be speaking into a recorder while driving, so I pulled over to finish.

I just saw something fun – I wish I had been able to get a photo – a perfectly restored old (like 1955) tourquoise chevy coupe pulling a tear-drop camper – what a site!

I stopped in down-town historic Florence Oregon. There is a farmers market / craft fair going on along the board-walk. I wandered through it, and then headed down the row of shops.

I saw my second Road Trek – it was a 190 Versatile on a Chevy Chassis. The one I saw in Chico was on a Mercedes Chassis. The fellow driving it, assured me that even though it was expensive, you could finance it for 20 years at $500 a month. My response??? Oh, yeah, let me have two of them!!!

I stopped in a shop and got a couple bottles of wine – one for the San Juan Islands, and one for Tommy and Susan!!!!

It’s lunch time, so I stopped to get a bowl of clam chowder and glass of ice tea (unsweetened) for lunch. I was seated out on the dining deck – overlooking the harbor! Oh, oh, my fresh brewed tea tastes a lot like instant Nestea, but that’s ok – its cold and refreshing!

I talked to a lady in one of the shops down town, and she told me where the two quilt shops in the little town were. My downfall. I stopped and looked around both shops – Yes, I made some purchases. I’m planning ahead for when I meet up with my sewing machines again!
One small piece of fabric I couldn’t resist is a print of all kinds of campers, RV’s and tents. I’m sure I’ll find something fun to do with that.

I stopped along the way to walk to the Lighthouse (Oops, can't remember the name - I'll add it later) I walked along the beach before heading up the trail, and picked up a shiny stone, and took photos of this old bridge.
The keepers house is now a bed and breakfast!

I arrived at Cape Lookout campground, but they were full, and I had no reservations. I had to drive quite a way into the campground area before finding out they were full, and I caught a glimpse of the site - I’m glad I wasn’t staying there – no trees – looked like all the campsites were on the beach.

I asked Jack if he knew of any campgrounds in the area – and he took me on a drive out into the valley to a county campground. It cost only $15 for the night, but it had no water, and the “convenience” was a modern outhouse with no light. I could hear the Trask River gurgling along from my tent. While I was putting up my tent, I was surrounded by mosquitos – but they came to a stop about 12” from my body – not a single bite. I must not have smelled very good to them!!!!

I wanted to get down to the river, but the path was too steep – I could have made it down by sliding on my butt, but how would I get up again. As I left the campground, I hoped to find a pull-off so I could get a picture, but no opportunities offered themselves. The river was shallow, and filled with rocks with ripples and rills foaming around them. There were adequate fishing holes, though. Last night I greeted a group of fishermen (fisherpersons??? What’s correct?) and the young lady of the group told me she had caught 8 fish!!!

The camphost had recommended a couple quilt shops “not to miss”, but guess what? It’s Sunday morning, and I’m up early – too early to stop at a quilt shop!!! I’ve got to stop going to quilt shops – it’s replacing my chocolate addiction.

I drove back to Tillamook, turned back onto Hwy 101 and headed north.

First stop (I made a u-turn for this one) Blue Heron French Cheese and wine tasting. I got some brie and crackers, and wanted some coffee, or something – but wanting something sweet. The gal at the coffee bar suggested their fresh brewed tea with her brand of stevia! It’s called Nu-stevia by Nu-Natural. It just so happened, there was a Fred Myer stores a couple blocks away, and they carried it. No bitter taste. (Fred Myer – affiliated with Kroger, a mini Wal-mart type store)

I also stopped at Tillamook Cheese - I bravely by-passed the 38 flavors of Ice Cream and the fudge counter, and got a bag of squeaky cheese! I didn’t have to wait til I got to Wisconsin after all! I love squeaky cheese!!!

I stopped at a park to get a look at “Terrible Tilly” (Tillamook Lighthouse) It was a very dangerous job constructing it – storms would wash away the materials – men had to swing from freighters to the rock on slings.

I finally arrived at Ft. Stevens – to another full campground. But, right across the road from the entrance was a big KOA – never my first choice, but I was so tired. The long days of driving finally caught up to me.

They had free WI-FI, and for a little more, I even got a campsite in their “tent Village” which had electricity – that’s where I did my last posts. I got there at about 4 p.m., set up camp and crawled into bed, and the next morning, I went back to the office, and paid for a second night. I went back to bed and slept til after 2PM – I guess I really needed the rest. I froze the first nite, but the second nite, I borrowed a heater from the office. Now, that’s really roughing it! Internet service, electricity and a heater in my tent – it took til about 1 a.m. to get warm. It really wasn’t that cold out, I think I was just exhausted, and I’m losing my natural thermal covering! (fat)

During one of my visits to the office, the subject of eating came up, and I mentioned the Belly fat cure. Two of the camp hosts jumped on the idea – I loaned them my book for the day, and they decided to run into Costco that evening to get their own copies of the book. One of the camp hosts, Jane, stopped by my site to share lots of info for a woman rving on her own. She told me I’d be surprised to see how many older single women are travelling alone – some she has met are in their 80’s and still handling their own rigs. I can do this!

Ok, refreshed and ready to hit the road, I once again headed north. I had to cross the Columbia River at Astoria. I could see the bridge coming. It was a B-i-g-g-g-g bridge, a High bridge, about 4 ½ miles long. By the time I got to the on-ramp, my stomach was doing flip-flops, my knuckles were white, my heart was pounding, but by holding my breath, I finally made it across. I just don’t understand where this fear of bridges came from. It’s a fairly recent event.

Anyway – as I arrived on the other side of the bridge – in Washington – the sun came out and the sky turned blue – after all these days of overcast skies and fog, it was so welcoming.

Until next time,

Bear Hugs,

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous posts, Boots! I feel like I'm touring these beautiful places right along with you. What a marvelous adventure - you've become a real inspiration to the rest of us stay-at-home gals.... Love it! Love it! Sybil