Posted June 21, 2022 – Narrated by Carmen
“Alis volat propriis“
As we move north toward Alaska, we never know what we will be up against. Conditions are rarely what the guides project.
Currently, we are dealing with flooded campgrounds due to the early Spring melt. Entering southern Oregon in early March, we were prepared for harsh weather but not the thrashing we took.
The Oregon coast drew us in from California and spewed us out upon Washington, our bones stripped clean of any ideation that this wild, romantic land was ever intended for mere men.
From the moment we pulled into Brookings we felt miserably and ineffectually human. The gloomiest Spring since 1945 was a fine howdy-do.
Freezing temperatures, constant rain, hail, snow and deafening winds would continue for at least eight more weeks, pounding in the message on the old California/Oregon border, “Welcome to Oregon. Enjoy your visit” (Italics mine).
Like most Californians, we adore Oregon. Many of our dearest San Diego friends moved to The Beaver State to stake their claim to a different way of life.
All have fared well. Oregon welcomed them, enfolded them, steadied their anxious hearts and rewarded opportunity with abundance.
The State of Excitement blew our socks off too, and returned them sopping wet without so much as a sunbeam to dry them out.
It seemed we were always online ordering woolen this and rain-proof that .
Still, it wasn’t all a wash. Oregon is gorgeous, even when she sulks …
and storms …
Into The Redwoods
From Eureka, the rain never let up. Traveling the 101 …
we passed through the redwood forest to …
Trying to squeeze into a hillside nook beneath the pines at Harris Beach State Park made us feel like newbies. That sickening crunch sound we heard didn’t boost our confidence either. We stopped and investigated but never saw what hit her, so we actually gave it another go.
After giving our poor Beauty the old one-two, we abandoned that site and chose another.
Later, when our stomachs settled, we walked back to the scene of the crime. Looking high, low, and every inch in-between we spotted no sign of the offending branch.
This mysterious pounding just goes to show that even after six years of living in Beauty we are mere babes in the woods.
Jim called Vinnie Lamica to pre-order parts for repairs when we return from Alaska. Then we made a champagne-worthy dinner to console the bitterness of defeat.
“Cheers. It could have been worse,” served as our mantra on those precious walks between the endless succession of storms.
Since living in Beauty, we’ve learned that there is no ideal place to live, but we could spend more time in Brookings.
My Aquarian mama called me her little mermaid, and I guess she knew me well because most places I love are either nearly under water or in a Tsunami zone.
I think, I could never tire of this fascinating seashore which looks like a rock convention …
complete with bad toupees …
Watching the seagulls scrap for a living in the waves provides hours of riveting comedy and drama.
After the agony of the trailer damage, events in Brookings continued better than expected.
For our second week, we had The Beast’s diesel turbo replaced. We braced ourselves for bad news. Big jobs like this often reveal other jobs that need attention. Drawn by the rave reviews and sterling reputation of the team at the Brookings Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership, Jim made the appointment weeks ahead.
They handled The Beast with the utmost care and even gave us a fabulous loaner car to cruise the coastline over the weekend.
“Things were bad, now all is well,” is a pervasive theme of this magical tsunami ravaged landscape.
Brookings is the only place in the United States to sustain an arial bomb attack by a Japanese fighter in WW2. That was news to us. The library, which was undergoing renovations, allowed us to view the peace memorial.
It was a bit too early in the season to witness the full glory of Azalea Park …
but the weekend Farmer’s Market was a favorite haunt …
as well as Misty Mountain Brewery …
and the patio room at Chetco Brewing Company for those rare sunny afternoons …
when we had a hankerin’ for some fine vegan chow.
Chetco is a treasured neighborhood spot where locals buy each other beers and chalk it up to friendship.
Thanks Brookings. We needed that.
Pulling out of Brookings …
we drove the 101 …
to Coos Bay …
our second home on the Oregon Coast.
This gorgeous new campground, Bay Point Landing, built on the site of the old paper plant, was highly recommended by our kind neighbors at Dillon Beach.
The sites are as generous as any state park. Every facility and amenity is provided for a long comfortable stay, a weekend get-away, or a large-group meet-up.
As Accuweather predicted, it rained every day of our two-week stay, but not all day long. We kept an eye to the sky for opportunistic moments to kayak across the bay for a hike on The North Spit …
and to auto-tour the stunning coastline …
and stroll through the estuary …
play a little corn hole …
or bask in the sun …
We seized a spectacular day for a top-notch lunch at Tokyo Bistro …
and an afternoon at Mingus Park.
Our Airstream neighbors next door recommended we try Chuck’s Seafood for the freshest fish in town.
Rain or shine, the shops were always open in this most hospitable seaside town.
And if the rain got us down, Seven Devils was there to pick up our spirits.
Thanks Coos Bay!
With rain predicted for our travel day, we hitched up on our last night at Bay Point Landing Campground. Sure enough, we pulled out in the rain.
But the weather slowly cleared and we enjoyed the iconic bridges and views.
Blue Heron French Cheese Company
Blue Heron French Cheese Company, a Harvest Hosts location – where we stocked up on local wine, produce and brie – provided quiet overnight parking.
The rain predicted for the previous day caught up with us on the picturesque drive through Tillamook …
to our final Oregon destination …
Jim secured a hunting-permit reservation in advance. Our tag-team strategy to secure a quiet and private space in this a busy, suburban campground was a success.
Learning more about the Lewis and Clark expedition was the two-week plan.
These travels across the USA have awakened our interest in American history, and particularly in the life of Meriwether Lewis who’s somber death place we found, one rainy morning, on The Natchez Trace in 2017.
The outlet stores at Seaside were an added bonus.
The museums and shopping served us well as the weather turned exceptionally gnarly.
Hiking the scenic trails and kayaking the river didn’t pan out, but how often do you get to cast your eyes on a chocolate sea? The curious biological phenomena is perfectly healthy …
and reminded us of the strawberry milk river we saw in Granite Creek in Wyoming.
Seaside is an historic town with a focus on recreational tourism …
The indoor amusement park, arcade, restaurants and beach are the main attractions …
We enjoyed the hip coffee lounges and drive-thru’s
and the innovative breweries in a repurposed jail …
and in the old town cinema.
And what a pleasure to walk the promenade along the historic beach …
The icy chill in the air pointed out our aches and pains. Feeling old makes me ruminate (Beware! Old Person Ruminating. Proceed with extreme caution!)
What Lewis and Clark accomplished was extraordinary, but they are not ancient figures. And, as the world reconsiders the solvency of boundaries, conquest and treaties, their story seems current.
The Seaside History Center Museum
and Butterfield Cottage brought that squishy issue of age and the passage of time close to home.
The articles in the collection – call them obsolete, vintage or antique – were once a part of our activities, our daily lives, and are now being rediscovered by young people.
Discover is such a wide-ranging word. We substitute it for “learn,” “found,” “revelation” and “realize” – as in, “I discovered I was out of gas” and “Mittens helped me discover I am not a cat person.”
Discovery is both personal and generational. The word “over” inside the word “discover” is a clue that discovery is a repetitive exercise because knowledge is fleeting and often hidden.
Lewis and Clark did not discover Oregon. They knew Oregon was there the whole time, right at the end of the Oregon Trail which was also always there, by a different name. Their journey is the marvel, and how they opened the territory to western migration.
Dignity and respect have no boundaries. For those who will hearken and obey her wild and winged spirit, the wonder and mystery of Oregon is still open to fresh discovery.
(Due to lack of internet connectivity at our current location, this blog post does not have the usual links and documentation – apologies for the deficit.)
Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series
- Chapter 1 – San Diego to Malibu
- Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
- Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
- Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
- Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
- Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
- Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
- Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
- Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
- Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
- Chapter 11 – Yukon
- Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
- Chapter 13 – Tok to Valdez
- Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
- Chapter 15 – Kenai Peninsula
- Chapter 16 – Whittier to Talkeetna
- Chapter 17 – Denali
- Chapter 18 – North Pole to Chena Hot Springs – coming soon!
- Chapter 19 – Tok to Haines – coming soon!
- Chapter 20 – Haines Junction to the Lower 48 – coming soon!
- Chapter 21 – Lesson Learned – coming soon!
If you want to see our exact route, click here.
*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.