Land of the Bearded Oregonians (aka Oregon)

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::our first new state of the trip! woohoo!::

On our quest to find the campsite worthy of two nights, we first stopped to check out Cape Blanco. Remote as can be, we saw the cutest little doe on the drive in, who was truly a deer in headlights. I almost said literally, and then I remembered reading somewhere that the non-literal definition of literally has now beed added to the definition. Literally. So how would you know? 😉 To get to the Cape Blanco campground you have to drive a ways off the highway, past the westernmost lighthouse in the US, and into this neat homey feeling circle. Each site had electricity and water. There were also showers, a fair bit of privacy between sites, and it was near the water! We decided to continue North to make a bit more progress up the winding roads and get to an area where there was more to do for a few days (basically, cover more ground, and get up to the sand dunes). Also it was crazy windy which didn’t sound super relaxing.

We made it to Eel Creek campground, but there was no ranger or anyone to talk to, no showers, and no place nearby to pick up groceries so we kept on going.

Finally we arrived at Honeyman State Park, and while far far less remote and special feeling than Cape Blanco or Eel Creek (think 400 camp sites, kids EVERYWHERE, campsites more or less on top of eachother), it had access to a lake we could swim in, was close to the sand dunes, and only 3 miles from the town of Florence which boasted a Safeway and a Starbucks (wifi!! We can blog! Except the Starbucks is in the Safeway and it doesn’t have wifi. BOO [hence all these posts coming to you from the great coffee shop of Calypsos in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho!]). We pitched our tent, having arrived too late for a spot with electric hookup, drove to Safeway for food and more firewood, came back and cooked some BBQ grilled chicken sammies with corn on the cob. The cutest little boy and girl at the campground next to us came over with fresh s’mores and offered them up. So, OK, I guess a campground crawling with kids isn’t that bad. The bathrooms there are pretty clean, flush! and have soap and paper towels! What luxury.

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::we’ve entered gun country::

I finished my book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night” while at Honeyman. Very interesting read, it’s written from the point of view of a young boy with autism.  Highly recommend as it’s a fascinating insight to the way the mind works.

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We spent the better part of our full day in Florence at the Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters enjoying the free wifi (along with coffee and a banana chocolate chip bread). To be honest, I don’t know if “enjoy” is the proper word, as we spent 6 hours planning out rest of trip through Big Sky with Internet that wasn’t working properly at first. I think we were going to tear our hair out. The internet productivity finally picked up, and ours along with it, and we booked lots of spots (Eugene, OR Wine Country, Portland, Walla Walla and Idaho). Felt so accomplished after that!

Back at our campsite we ate some salami and crackers and (local!) Tillamook smoked cheddar, then headed out to the Sand Dunes. HOW COOL! I absolutely love the sand dunes. You’re in this giant forest and then boom, you’re in the desert… so neat. Totally unlike anything I’ve seen before. We watched a bunch of motorbike and 4 wheeler type vehicles tear by, some people also rented sand boards and boarded the hills. We just went on foot, which is tough going uphill! I avoided death by sand spiders, those little buggers are creepy though. Alan went swimming in Cleawox lake, which was nice, like a little beach since its surrounded in sand dunes. Quick drop off, decent temperature.

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::sand dunes! yippee!::
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::if you look closely there are some sand-boarders up top there::
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::selfie in the sand dunes::

Afterwards we headed back to camp and made BBQ chicken sammies for dinner again. I read by the fire and Alan worked on his computer. During the course of the afternoon and evening I read the Alchemist in its entirety. My former boss gave this to me as a gift when I left work, and it was so fitting. I won’t go on about it, as it seems like everyone and their mother has already read this, but I definitely recommend it to those who haven’t yet! It’s a bit fantastical which is normally out of my comfort zone, but it works in this case, and its totally inspiring, especially having read it at the exact right time in my life 🙂 Thanks Sanije!

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::macbook, the essential camping accessory::

Waking up to thunder while you’re in a tent and have to stuff everything into a convertible is a bit disconcerting. I’d stayed up late finishing the Alchemist and Alan had a bit of a cold, so we somehow slept in til 8, waking only after I finally admitted to myself that the continual rumblings I’d been hearing were not just cars passing by, but threats of an imminent rainstorm. We packed quickly as we could, deciding that since it wasn’t prudent to hang out and try to boil water for our oatmeal that we’d stop at McDonald’s in Florence and consummate this road trip with some proper fast food. Mmmm, McDonald’s breakfast. 😉 From there we continued up the coast, stopping at some vista points, and checking out the Sea Lion Caves about 11 miles north of Florence. There were no sea lions out so we got in for the discounted price of $8 a person (down from $14). Steep price, but very cool, especially given that we actually saw zero sea lions. Claims to be the largest sea cave in the world. Can also sometimes sight gray whales off the coast, but no luck for us today. Decent views of the lighthouse when the fog wore off for a bit.

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::lighthouse at the sea lion caves::

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Oregonian coastlines are nothing to snuff at.

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::running out of room there::

I’ll leave this post with one observation about the Oregonians. They are really into regulations. Every bathroom I entered had detailed information on how to wash your hands (twice), and the beaches are rife with notes, warnings and instructions. Not too mention the hundreds of “entering tsunami zone” and “exiting tsunami zone” signs as you go up and down the hilly coastlines.

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