Storms have hammered Southern Oregon for months, but the furies took a break early last week for two entire days. We heard the forecast, locked eyes, and said, Let's go!
So PK released the Roadtrek from its antifreeze-induced coma, I put together a quick camp menu, and we motored 80 happy miles to the Southern Oregon coast.
We are fortunate to live near the Pacific Ocean — such a power-source. It never fails to energize, inspire, and, during these surreal political times, calm. The crashing waves, the salty scent of sea air, the glint of slanted sun on the water, the glowering clouds meeting the horizon. It all dissolves poisonous anxiety and opens the mind to focus on what really matters. Family, friends, relationships is what it boils down to.
Aside from its stunning beauty, the Southern Oregon coast in the off season is more or less deserted.
A view from the Cape Sebastian trail. We hiked about 90 min-
utes round trip from the top almost to the beach and back
and didn't see a soul.
On our lovely lonely beaches we can pretend that the world is still all natural and pristine, population density is under control, our country is not in a period of political discord, and that maniacs around the world are not constantly committing crimes against humanity and nature.
Here the only aggression arises from a winter sea riled by natural forces rather than from ego-ridden flawed humans riled by each other and driven by pride and greed.
|Another view from the Thunder Rock Cove trail, which is part of the|
Pacific Coast Trail through the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.
If you visit this part of the world, stop at as many pullouts as you can manage along the 26-mile Samuel H. Boardman corridor. Every single stop has a gem to turn over in your vision and your mind.
|PK at Thunder Rock Cove. Part of the trail follows|
a creek with a waterfall or two. Ho hum.
About that boondocking thing. I admit that until early last year, I thought boondocking had to do with living in the boondocks, which we pretty much already do in rural Southern Oregon.
Boondocking, in camping terms, means parking your RV, or pitching your tent, someplace where you don't have to pay. And, of course, the trade off is you also don't have electricity or water hookups, restrooms, laundry, or any of the amenities that can dock you $30 to $60 a night. (We once paid $86 at a KOA on the East Coast near Acadia National Park but that's another story.)
Boondocking has become, I believe, something of a badge of honor. I learned this after we bought our Roadtrek Agile van in February 2016 and joined the Roadtreking Facebook group, aimed at travelers with small Class B RVs but open to all. If you have an RV of any size, or are thinking about buying one, check it out.
If you're rolling in a small RV, such as our van, you are self contained with water, heat, generator, and the all-important flush toilet. Why should you pay for camping?
Too many commercial RV parks look like sales lots, just a bunch of big rigs lined up in a metallic row with a tree or two here and there. Or not. Little privacy. Gravel. Sad little plants. Sometimes clean restrooms/showers, sometimes not.
During our two-day coastal getaway, we scored a wonderful boondocking spot quite by accident. I glimpsed a car climbing a steep gravel drive on the ocean side of the highway as we were passing by. We returned to the area later and discovered a perfect hideaway.
Here we are leveled up with Lego thingies, our plastic rug on forest duff and mud, deluding ourselves about keeping the van tidy. It never hurts to try.
If you have a self-contained RV, you can join, for $20 to $25 a year, a group called Welcome Boondockers.
For $25, you can park your RV on a member's property. For $20 you can park on others' property and open yours to fellow travelers. The website shows hundreds, maybe thousands, of available driveways, fields, and whatever to park for the night, all over the USA and Canada and some in Mexico and other foreign lands.
We used Welcome Boondockers several times during our seven-week cross-country road trip last fall. It was great, and we met some fine folks.
And while I'm at it, the ALLSTAYS Camp and RV app helps you find campgrounds and parks and dozens of other things RVers might look for, including "dispersed" camping areas, and Wal Mart and other businesses that allow overnight parking.
Dispersed camping, usually available on BLM or Forest Service lands, is free camping without amenities, the same as boondocking.
|Sky, land and sea from Otter Point north of Gold Beach, OR.|
On the road there, we saw a large semi-hidden RV boondocking.
OK. Here's a confession: We were at the coast for just two nights, and we spent one of them at a hotel in Gold Beach. A hotel! Even when we had the private spot with a million $$$$ view.
I know. It's embarrassing.
But hear me out. It was Valentine's Day and we had reservations at a quirky gourmet restaurant in Gold Beach, Oregon, Anna's by the Sea. Recommended!
The combination of Valentine's Day and dinner reservations propelled us to the hotel, where our dinner and our bed were just a few blocks apart. You make concessions when you're over a certain age and are no longer living paycheck to paycheck.
We'll get our fill of boondocking this spring as we travel to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Parting shots from the Southern Oregon coast
|Standing in the surf can make anybody feel like Master of the Universe.|
|One of my favorite Oregon coast memories is of this mid-December day when the temperature climbed to 70F and we spent hours hiking and relaxing on Lone Ranch Beach. Back home in the Rogue Valley, cold fog hid the sun and it was around 35F.|
Guide to the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
If you plan to visit the Southern Oregon Coast, this guide is invaluable.
Three earlier posts, two about camping on the Southern Oregon Coast and one about a fantastic beach camp in Northern California. Pick and choose.