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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oregon Coast, OR, USA – 11/17-19, 2011

What a great ending to our longest drive day yet:  320 miles from Redding to the Oregon Coast, mostly on I-5, then cutting across Highway 138 to 38 to 101, ultimately finding our way to the campground at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.  (And, by the way, three cheers to the State of Oregon for putting out the easy to use and informative Oregon State Parks Guide - a must have for this area and free at ranger stations.)

Although I-5 through southern Oregon is undoubtedly the prettiest portion of that [usually horrid] Interstate, it simply does not compare to Highways 138 and 38.   Not only is the drive gorgeous but it also brings you through the lovely town of Elkton, which almost made my cut for Future Farm Land of The Bryants.   I say almost because, (as we have to keep reminding ourselves), this is the Pacific Northwest, the rain that feels so refreshing now feels equally as oppressive after nine months.  Ok, ten months.  Really, it is more like eleven months.  But I digress . . . 

The Umpqua Lighthouse Campground was almost completely empty our first night so we let the dogs run free.   They looked so happy running around we decided to hit the trail around Lake Marie (1 mile) to stretch our legs after that long drive.  Returning to Salt, we prepared the sun-downers, forgot where we were, and lit a campfire.  Just as the fire was getting really nice, the wind kicked up and the rain came down and we rushed inside.

True to form for this part of the country, it was raining the next morning as well but we didn’t let that stop us.  We had only one day to see the coast and, even though both of us lived in Seattle for many years, we had never visited the Oregon Dunes.  So we set off on the 5 mile John Dellencamp Trail across the magnificent dunes to the ocean’s edge.  (See the DITL on the Movies! page, coming soon.)

All alone out there the dogs were running around like crazy until the storm hit:  Not just rain, but hail coming down on us at the ocean’s edge!  So we dashed back into the woods for cover and wolfed down some PB&J’s for energy.

Also true to form for this part of the country, about 15 minutes later the sky cleared a bit and the sun came out.  Our hike back to the trailhead was delightfully warm and sunny and, even better, the dogs completely dried out before getting back into the car.

I wasn’t feeling well that afternoon so Alan went down to fish Lake Marie without me.  Have to admit, although I wasn’t feeling well, it felt marvelous to lie in bed and read a book for a few hours!  We thought we would have so much time on our hands during the Aventura but we never seem to have time to just sit around, one of the many odd things we have discovered so far.

Sadly, Alan returned fishless but he happily made dinner anyway; Chicken Posole which was perfect for a rainy night.   

The following day we headed up Highway 101 but not before a quick stop at the Windy Bay Bakery in Winchester Bay as we had been drooling over their "sourdough bread" sign for two days.  They did not disappoint!  Not only fantastic, fresh bread but they made a vegetarian pizza for us (wrapped to be baked later) on the spot.

It is a lovely drive, that part of Highway 101, and it will be posted on our Movies! page as a Scenic Drive soon.   We made a quick stop for some hiking at Cape Perpetua (in the rain, of course) before stopping for the night at the Lincoln City Premier RV Resort.  Unlike the Redding Premier Resort, this one had great WIFI and at $41/night for a pull-through full hook-up, it was a good deal.