Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Oregon coast with. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Oregon coast with. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Oregon Coast Getaway with Four Wheel Camper

This is what you don't want to see when you visit the Oregon coast—a band of
thick fog sitting on Highway 101. It bodes ill.
Because when you see that fog bank ahead, here's what the
usually stunning scenery looks like. 
PK and I are always ready to charge off in our little Four Wheel pop-up camper, if even for a few days. Since the Four Wheel is the self-proclaimed "only true off-road camper," and we chose it so we could go places people driving boxcar-sized RV units can't, we usually shun massive campgrounds and opt for Forest Service camps, or we tuck into undeveloped pull-outs, cliff overhangs and shorelines. We weren't entirely successful in crowd avoidance during our recent two-night trek to Oregon's southern coast, however. More on that below.

When we left for the coast a couple weeks ago, we were fleeing the heat. We'd endured triple-digit temps alternating with high-nineties for what seemed like forever, but was really only most of July.  (Now we're living in smoke from numerous forest fires. See previous post if you like depressing stuff.)
This beach is in Northern California just a few miles from the Oregon border. We considered camping in the deserted nearby parking area in the spirit of our dear little camper, but dang, it was chilly, windy, and smelled of rotting fish. Also, fog was rolling in. Sometimes we have to practice tough love with the camper.

The Southern Oregon/Northern California coast is famously cool when the inland valleys are roasting. We left the ranch sweltering in 100+ temps and two hours later were shivering on the beach (alone, of course) with stiff winds challenging the worthiness of our wind jackets. We wanted out of the valley heat, but not in to coastal chill, wind, and fog.

 We ended up about 12 miles inland on the Chetco River just outside of Brookings, Oregon, completely out of the fog and into perfect weather. This is a Forest Service camping area, but without formal sites. There may have been as many as 50 people around, but we couldn't hear them.
We couldn't see them, either. We like this. (It looks like PK is
staring at the trees, but the Chetco River is the blackness beneath the trees.)
We weren't offended when a sweet little family used the swimming hole in front of our camp. 
Camping is a "special occasion" offering an excuse for drinking wine. I don't need much of an excuse, of course, but there are worse things. The slanted light did wonders for our plastic glasses. 

Easy dinner, mostly from the garden. Simple cucumber salad,
fried spuds with zucchini, onions, chard and basil, and Trader Joe's
hot Italian sausage.  
Next day we were ready for another go at the coast, but alas, the fog persisted and, for the most part, hid the Oregon coast's spectacular beauty.

This was the view from atop Cape Sebastian, which is usually mind-blowing. 
We stopped for lunch at the picturesque Griff's restaurant on the dock at Port Orford, having read positive reviews on Yelp! PK gave thumbs up to his fish and chips. My crab Louis ($17!!) was dinner-salad sized, came with a packet of Ritz crackers (!!) and left me hungry and crabby (hahaha). 

Here we are at the second-night camp, cheek to jowl with cold grumpy campers on both sides, at Bullard's Beach State Park. Oregon has a great state parks system, but our camper does not like super developed and crowded campgrounds.Bullard's Beach has more than 300 sites plus a bunch of yurts and an equestrian camp. Sites are neatly divided by vegetation, but it didn't work for us. 

The indignities! The Four Wheel camper (she needs a name!) gets embarrassed when out of her element. We can get by without power and water hook-ups for several days, but we use them when available, especially when we've paid for them. The white bucket catches sink water. Having campers directly across the way and on either side is, well, just not fun.
PK on the last steps of a mile+ trail from camp to the beach. 
Another beach to ourselves! At least 600 people, probably more like 1,000, were in the campground, but truthfully, this beautiful beach wasn't that inviting and I don't blame them for sticking close to their RVs. The temperature differential between camp and the beach was probably 20+ degrees, so people we saw along the trail were mostly underdressed. A tee shirt is not going to do the trick here. That's grey fog blowing in on a stiff ocean breeze. Sand is skittering across the beach, and I guess we gave it five minutes. Or less. The Oregon coast isn't like California with nearly naked people frolicking in the surf (Here you could die! And you would most assuredly need a wetsuit.) The Oregon coast in July .... unknown to tourists who have not visited during summer months.... is often chilly, windy, and foggy. My sister came all the way from Minnesota one summer, traveled the Oregon coastline from north to south, and didn't see the ocean for more than a few minutes. Best time to visit? Late August and September. Then you can get by with shorts and tee shirts and the Oregon coast will blow your mind and make your eyes and your heart ache at the beauty of it all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

First road trip 2017, Southern Oregon Coast — with a boondocking tip

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We'd been retreating to the Oregon coast between Brookings and Gold Beach for decades before someone recommended this prime real estate—Thunder Rock Cove. See PK on the rocks on right? How insignificant we are on the land, and the sea dwarfs us even more.
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. 
Like everyone else in Southern Oregon, we live a five-hour drive from major population centers. Lots of small towns here, and a minor city there, but Portland is five hours north and San Francisco is seven hours south. Hence our guarantee, at least during the off-season, of having regional natural wonders to ourselves. 

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. 
Boondocking Bonus

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.

But no.

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.
I love this. We're super close to Hwy. 1 but we couldn't see the road and drivers couldn't see us. There were no pay envelopes in sight. Also no other campers.

As the photo below shows, we did have a fine vista to enjoy while sipping wine before our  dinner of leftovers from home. 

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.
Before I leave the boondocking topic, here's a tip.
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.

My niece from Minnesota marveling at an Indian Sands trail vista a few years ago. 

Same niece, different year, and a typical sunset on the Southern Oregon coast.

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. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Winter Camping along N. California Coast with Four-Wheel Camper

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This huge Roosevelt  elk trotted past our camp along the Pacific Ocean in the Redwood National Park's Gold Bluffs campground. We saw hundreds of Roosevelt elk in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park area.
We guessed his rack was three- to-four-feet.
PK and I have lived in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon since the early 1970s. Through the decades, we mostly stuck close to home. Limited funds. Two kids. Two jobs. Two-week vacations. You know the no-thrill drill.

No complaints, though, as we had the Wild and Scenic Rogue River at our disposal and all the weekend rafting, kayaking, hiking, camping, we could handle. Now that we're retired, we've started the exotic explorations we've always fantasized about, and in the past two years are fortunate to have visited South Africa, Uganda, and Nepal.

But we haven't forgotten where we live, not just Oregon's Rogue Valley, but the State of Jefferson, a collection of rural counties in Southern Oregon and Northern California where folks don't necessarily cotton to the mostly urban dwellers who govern both states. Hence various attempts to form a separate state have been launched, only to fizzle. Statehood probably won't happen, but in the meantime, residents of this mythical state cherish the flora and fauna that define the region. 
Elk hoof prints are large and distinctive, and
surprising to find on the beach.
PK and I hear the local forecasts on NPR each morning, which include most of the State of Jefferson. Lately, our Rogue Valley forecast has been foggy and cold, while the Northern California coast has been sunny and warm, temps in the high 50s being considered comfy. Let's go there, we said on a recent unacceptable morning during which the sun was not expected to penetrate the low-hanging gloom.  We drove a couple hours to reach our destination, but it's still close enough to call "home." And we were reminded once again why we love where we live.

One of the gold bluffs that give the campground its name. 
PK readies kindling for a campfire at our beach camp in the Redwood National Park.
Our Four-Wheel camper is perfect for such places, where large RVs, or trailers of any type, are not allowed due to the four-mile narrow rutted access road. But what a gift! An oceanfront campsite!
An early January sunset as viewed bundled up in our camp chairs. 
White crowned sparrows hung around awaiting crumbs. They didn't get any.  Multiple messages from national and state parks beg visitors to NOT feed the wildlife anything, even crumbs.
The next morning a minor stream crossing was necessary to reach the Fern Canyon trailhead, one of the Redwood National Park's favorite trails. But the car in the background could have navigated it.
Fern Canyon wasn't up to its usual glory as the bedraggled maidenhairs appeared to have suffered from cold. Or maybe they always die and come back. It's winter! What did we expect?
The redwoods, however,  never fail to inspire awe. We explored several trails winding amidst the ancient giants. 
Sore neck time.
Young redwoods cozy up to a much older tree. In time, their trunks may merge.

On the way home, we meandered along the Redwood Highway to Grants Pass, which follows the Smith River for a time. The Smith's delicate turquoise and breathtakingly clarity thrill me every single time since I first saw the river more than 40 years ago. 
Being alone on the beach is not unusual along coastal areas in the State of Jefferson. We'll be back to take advantage before the hoards descend for the summer tourist season. As daily listeners to weather updates for the N. California coast,  we believe summer visitors may not find summer conditions much different from winter. Year-round, temperatures range from high 40s to lower 60s.
However, we DID get lucky. The annual average January rainfall in this area is 11 inches.



When we first graduated from tent camping to the Four-Wheel Camper, we were old, relatively, in our 60s. We about died of happiness. After decades of erecting our faithful Moss tent in wind and rain, crawling out at night to pee, enduring an occasional rock under a sleeping pad, struggling to read with a headlamp, and waking in the dark with no place to go, our new camper was thrilling.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Southern Oregon - tourist territory - Rogue River

First a disclaimer. I am an unapologetic southern Oregon booster.
How'd I get so lucky to accidentally land here? Staying put, however,  has been one conscious choice after another since 1971.
Rogue River High School kids painted this mural, which greets anybody who swings into Rogue River  off the freeway.
(Click on the pic for full view.)
My Minnesota sister and niece visited for a week in May. Niece Lisa, age 48, hadn't been here since puberty, and she arrived loaded with a pent-up desire for Oregon-scapes. I was on. We started in my backyard - Rogue River, then moved on to the Applegate Valley, Grants Pass, It's a Burl, the Redwoods and the Oregon coast. I'll get to those later. It was a great week of being a tourist and seeing this part of the world with fresh eyes.
PK and I have lived a mile outside this small town for 35 years. It has its charms. One of them is this mural, and also the local non profit formed to finance additional murals. Supporting public art is a good sign in any area, and particularly in a small rural town.
Sara at Rogue River's Soup Station
Jalapeno burger with cilantro mayo. Wow.
The Soup Station is another local gem. Honestly, its culinary offerings rival the best in the Rogue Valley. Maybe anywhere. Surely, it is a regional highlight. Chief (only?) waiter, Sara, announced during our dinner visit a few days ago that "she was having a heart attack." That was, of course, an exaggeration, but she was flying around there like crazy. Word is getting out about this small family operation that makes almost everything in-house from quality ingredients, and somebody in the kitchen has "the knack" resulting in  entrees that are cooking-show quality. I had a cream cheese-stuffed chicken breast topped with chipotle raspberry sauce. My sister had a jalapeno burger on a pepper cheese bun. Yummm. The place doesn't have a website. You'll just have to go there.
A Rogue River view from the Greenway.
Another local plus is the Rogue River Greenway, a trail that starts under the bridge a mile from our house and will eventually connect Grants Pass to Ashland, with numerous communities in between, a motorized-vehicle-free distance of about 50 miles.  PK is on the Greenway Foundation board, as is good friend, Gail Frank, and like many others, they're working their backsides off to create this huge benefit for locals and visitors alike. In the meantime, the Greenway provides a six-mile round trip from Rogue River to Valley of the Rogue State Park and back. Walk, run, or bike. Don't forget the camera. And if you're a road biker, consider Ride the Rogue on September 18, 2010. This is a quality event (with an unbelievable spread at the finish) attracting over 1,000 riders and many locals who choose the family walks and rides. Me? I'm going for 65 miles.
Other great stuff about Rogue River:
Main Building Supply . Yes, it's a hardware store. No, it isn't a tourist attraction per se. But if you ever want to meet retail staffers who apparently have Ph.Ds in customer service, go there. People travel from other area towns to shop for feed and seed, nails and paint etc. just because of these people. And it's just one block from the Soup Station.
Yoga teacher Denise Elzea doing one of her famous poses.
Yoga at the Community Center Annex, Mondays and Fridays @ 8 a.m.
$7 drop-in and $6 if you buy a punch card for 10 classes. The class is about 75 to 80 minutes long. Because I've done yoga for about 10 years, and the last six with Denise in Rogue River, I too can do the splits! And many other poses that strengthen and flex. Having this class a mile from home is a definite quality-of-life bonus.
The Rogue River Library is also a bonus, along with the hand-carved totem pole out front done by local carver Larry Johnson.
Next: Mother's Day at Rogue Valley Retirement, and a wine tour in the Applegate Valley.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Girlfriends' Getaway to the Oregon Coast

Sunshine at the gorgeous Oregon coast with women who have shared decades of friendship celebrate birthdays (3 turn 60 this year) and the joy of life. Left to right, Nancy Fleischman, Marcy Landis, Paula Stone, Joanne Costantino, Gail Frank, Mary Walgrave, Dawn Welch, Chris Costantino, Pat Bange. In case you're wondering, I was behind the camera. But happily!
Girlfriends can be the healing balm for life's cruel wounds. Sob. They can provide shoulders for weeping, hands for holding, and ears for floods of feelings and fears. They will listen to your bitching, commiserate when you have woes, and nod in agreement when you need holding up. We need each other.

On the other hand, girlfriends can also be fantastic, crazy, epic FUN! I am so blessed with friendships, many of 30, even 40 years, duration. Too many girlfriends are far far away: Susan(s), Grace, Bev, Laurie, Patty, Terry, Jeanne, JoAnn, Michele, Margo—but I wish they all could have been along for the friendship ride the past weekend. Below are a few of way-too-many photos. If you want more, links to albums follow.
Making our way from our fantastic oceanfront rental near Bandon to our private beach. Actually, there's  no such thing as a private beach in Oregon because some long-ago visionaries, to whom we are forever grateful, went to the trouble to make sure nobody can "own" one. But access to this beach is limited, hence it was ours alone. The 30-second video below tells the tale. I haven't learned to edit videos, but most of it is lovely.

The HuffPost ran a recent blog entitled Five Reasons Why Every Woman Needs a Girls' Weekend.  The woman who wrote it is a lot younger, apparently, than our group as she included "boy talk" as a reason. We don't need no stinkin' men to have a great time, and we don't need to talk about them, either. (Ironically, many of us became friends because of our husbands' annual men's trip, going now on for 30 years! The same 10 guys. Remarkable, I think. I am so happy for PK that he has these long-term lifeline friendships. Just like most women I know.)

Friendship and fun. That's the story for the female flock pictured above. We had a couple new faces and were missing several regulars. (Don't worry. We toasted you all. More than once, I'm sure.) Speaking of toasting, we drink a lot of wine. One friend told about girl trips she's taken where the mostly retired-teacher participants drink very little. Instead they smoke pot. Ha!

Historically, this groups heads over to Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Oregon, to ski for a few spring days. But over the years, skiing became less attractive to some, and we shook out into two groups: skiers and shoppers. A coast trip brought us together. And then some.
Paula enjoys a little solitude.

Patty, Mary and Nancy yuck it up.

The Rental. Even better than it looks, and with a stunning ocean view.
Shore Acres state park is just down the road . We enjoyed the formal gardens and
the wave-lashed cliffs.
It was a jungle gym with little girls cavorting. Little girls ages 50-something to almost 70.
Gail had the idea for us to catch some Dungeness crabs with hopes of having a great appetizer, but no such luck. Lucky, however, for the two crabs of legal size that we  ended up liberating. 
Waiting to pull up the crab pots on a pier in the port of Charleston. A little beer and some really terrible but tasty junk food—jalapeno cheese crunchy thingies—helped pass the time. 
Patty's eye beams penetrate her sunglasses as she clutches her beer
and calls forth the crabs.
The Stone sisters check out the latest crabby bunch hauled up from the bay bottom. 
Just one steep slippery patch required we accept assistance at the bottom of the trail to the beach. Alpha women do not like to accept assistance. But it seemed preferable to a red-dirt butt.

Tossing a baci ball onto the beach for our upcoming game.
Throwing into the wind on a beach sloping to the sea complicated baci ball accuracy.
About 10 minutes of relaxation before moving on to the next fun thing. I think it was shopping.
Yes, we are women and we do shop. A group feeding frenzy in a chic boutique made for a happy shop owner and heated-up credit cards. There's something about trying on a garment that costs way too much, then parading before your friends to a chorus of ooooohhhhs and aaaaahhhhhs. Anyway. I have three new tops. I think I need to revisit the year during which I bought nothing new, except, of course, for food and sanitary supplies.

We made a haul shopping on a blustery afternoon at Devon's Boutique 
in Bandon, a surprisingly classy shop for a tiny coastal burg.

Learning the electric slide, one more time.
Gourmet meals are part of the deal in a take-turns cooking plan where two-person teams each plan and make one meal. This is a French fish stew called bouride. Fabulous. Thanks, Dawn and Patty.
The birthday girls in a blurry shot. Only a few days, weeks, or months
remain for them to enjoy being 50-something. Someone else is enjoying her last
months of separation from being 70. Moi. 
Frenetic game of pass-the-paddle ping pong. 
Gail was one of three birthday girls during the "year of the horse." 
Group dance to Mustang Sally made for lots of trotting action to Wilson Pickett's beat.
Wanna see more pics? Here you go.  And more? They just keep going. One more?  Clearly, I was out of control.