Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
Friday July 18th, we awoke to morning clouds at Sutton Campground in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. By 10 AM ,the sun was out and we had the joy of sunshine through the sky lights at our sunny campsite. We decided that it was a good day to go to town for errands and a bit of library WiFi, so we set off to Fred Meyer in Florence. When we first moved into the Airstream 2 months ago, I put down a couple of off-white rugs that we had in the house. They were fine when we were staying in private RV parks with lots of pavement but they’ve been a real challenge to deal with camping in the woods. So today we bought some nice multi-colored rugs that shouldn’t show the dirt so much. They may not be EXACTLY what I’d have bought if I’d had lots of places to shop but they go with the color scheme well and make my eyes happy.

New rugs in Airstream trailer

From Freddies we went on down to the library. The replacement for our broken hot spot had arrived at our mail box in Monroe so we needed to figure out where we’d be next week so we could have it sent to us. After checking the weather, we decided that we’d spend at least the first part of next week in the Cascades near Sisters, OR. So for the first time I got to ask that our mail be sent from our UPS mailbox in Monroe to General Delivery Sisters, OR. We’ll see how that works! In June, we kept circling back through Seattle for one thing or another and we always picked up our mail. Having it sent to us is another sign we’re actually ‘on the road’.

After the library, we decided we’d follow a sign we’d seen on Hwy 101 that said “To the Beach”. It wound around through residential areas—both gated and otherwise—and finally led to the North Jetty which is basically a breakwater facing a channel with the South Jetty on the other side.

View from North Jetty Florence OR

And surprise surprise there were nice paths leading out into the dunes.

Path into Oregon Dunes

It was windy and cold even with the sun out. If there’s an actual beach out there, past the dunes, I don’t think it would be much fun to walk on it. There were folks out flying kites and we could see a parasail across on the other side of the South Jetty. It may have just been a big kite since it didn’t seem to change locations much. This is a perfect place for kite flying.

From there we drove on back to the trailer to have lunch and run the generator. When it was done, we got to change the oil in the generator for the first time. It really wasn’t a big deal which is a relief, though it is a two-man job. This was the oil change after the break-in period. From now on we need to change it every 50 run-hours. We run it about 3 hours a day when we’re dry camping, so we’ve got 16-17 more days of dry camping before we need to do it again which is 3 or 4 weeks at our current rate.

On Saturday morning we awoke to blue skies and sunshine. We took a walk up the trail from the campground to the dunes just to see what we could see. The trail just peters out into sand and there you are in the dunes. I climbed up the first rise and turned back to take this photo of Walter as he started up.

Walter Cooke walking up a sand dune

There was a rope swing for kids to play on and a family with snow saucers and 2 little boys making runs down the next highest dune. We stood and watched for a while and then turned around and went back to the rig. I was twitchy so we didn’t stay home long. Instead, we packed our lunch and took a drive up Hwy 101 towards Hecata Head again. This time there was no fog. On Tuesday you couldn’t see a thing from this overlook. Today, it was lovely and clear.

Hecata Head OR

And I got a shot of the lighthouse.

Hecata Head Light House

We drove on further north and found a little parking lot with a nice view of a beach where we could have lunch. There were picnic tables but it was too windy to enjoy them so we ate in the truck.

Day Use Area north of Hecata Head OR

Then we took the path down onto the beach.

Day Use beach north of Hecata Head OR

There were mimulus in bloom on the face of the cliff where there were seeps.

Mimulus growing in seep at beach

And it was WINDY. Here’s a great photo of Walter standing with his pant legs flapping and his hat standing on end.

Walter Cooke on windy beach in Oregon

Further down the beach I found these really pretty flowers in bloom on the cliff side. They turn out to be Cow’s clover (Trifoluim wormskioldii).

Cow’s clover (Trifoluim wormskioldii)

There were also a lot of pretty yellow flowers that I think are Pacific silverweed (Argentina egedii subsp egedii).

Pacific silverweed (Argentina egedii subsp egedii)

After our beach walk, we drove on up to Cape Perpetua. I had picked it because it was federal so we had a parking pass already. But it turns out to be a place we visited back in June 1999 when we explored the Oregon Coast on our way back from visiting the California Redwoods. Walter got his Golden Age Pass here so we have fond memories of it. We got a parking spot okay and I took this photo from the deck of the very nice Visitor’s Center. This is looking northwest.

View from Visitor Center Cape Perpetua OR

I stopped and asked the ranger there about the mysterious ferns growing in the shore pines. She dug out a well-loved plant ID book for the Oregon Coast and as far as we could ascertain, they are licorice ferns.

There are a number of cool hikes that start at this Visitor’s Center and it would be fun to come back sometime and do one or two of them. The campground at Cape Perpetua has a 20 ft limit so the Airstream is too big for it. Ah well. We’ve got plenty of places to visit yet.

On the way back south, I pulled off to take a photo of the shoreline. The fog bank had retreated a long ways and I thought it was downright gorgeous.

Oregon Coast south of Cape Perpetua

It was partly cloudy when we awoke on Monday morning. We packed up the trailer and hit the road east towards Eugene and then on up into the Cascades on Hwy 126. We stopped for the night at Holiday Farm RV Park outside of Blue River. It’s a great place with widely spaced spots so that it almost feels like a Forest Service campground but it has water and power and cable TV.

They have WiFi that works most of the time and that’s a good thing. Our plan had been to head over the mountains to Camp Sherman and the Metolious River. That’s a no go. All the campgrounds in that area are closed due to a forest fire. With a little research, we’ve decided to just motor up Hwy 126 a little ways and check out the campgrounds on the way. The weather is supposed to be pleasant though we may have a little rain. What a novelty!