Tuesday, September 26, 2017

9/25 Cape Lookout State Parak, Tillimook, OR

Got here on a very busy Saturday late afternoon, with a campground full of families.  Sunday, as usual, saw a lot of the families leave and replaced with quieter older folks and a few rental RVs with European travelers.  I chatted with one couple who was surprised at how hard it was to get a place to camp this time of year.  They had expected this to be pretty much off-season and had not made any reservations.  Actually, for the past month, almost every campground I have been in has been full by early afternoon.  This is a great time to travel because it is still sunny and relatively warm, but supposedly less crowded.  They were towards the end of a four-week loop around the northwest. 

The next day, I found this outside my door with a note from another European couple who were also headed home out of Seattle the next day.  The note asked me to take what I wanted and pass the rest on to someone else!

I had only about 40 miles to drive here from Nehalem Beach, so I stopped and picked up a few groceries.  I really have been carrying a lot of food that I need to eat, so I did not get much, but at least I won't have to go shopping for a while. 

I had a long line of cars behind me as I was getting close to the campground and really felt pressured.  I should know better to take my time by now, but my GPS told me to turn left and I did.  Oops.  Not the right road, to say the least.  This was a narrow logging road and it took driving a mile to find a place where I could turn around. 

Back on the right road, the place where I had had to turn around was the logged area about in the middle of this photo. 

Cape Lookout State Park is close to the beach.  The trees are all spindly and branches have grown on the sides where the wind does not blow as hard. 

The best spots do not have any hookups, but are closer to the beach.  Unfortunately, the dunes and vegetation prevents them having a view anyway.  My site was a couple of roads in with no view at all, but I was able to get a satellite signal.  It was also a full-hookup site, so I was able to flush my stinky black tank for the first time in about three weeks. 

Lots of warnings at the entrance of the beach.  One slightly unsettling thing along the Oregon and Washington coasts are all the sunami warning signs. 

The state has piled up a lot of rocks to protect the eroding dunes, but it really makes it hard to walk down to the beach.  I went for a long beach walk this day, even if it was a little tricky getting up and down without falling. 

Found this little stream at the south end of the park. 

 Heading back home, I had to scramble to get around this little rocky point.  It had been dry on the way, but the tide was coming in, so I had to watch the waves and do some wading.

Lots of little barnacles (?) on the rocks.  Would not be a comfortable place to sit. 
The next pictures were taken a day later when the fog was heavy.  I found a slightly easier place to get to the beach, but it ended up being just too foggy, so I came back home.  Will try again later. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

9/21 Nehalem Bay State Park

I arrived here on a Saturday evening just before dark, and it has rained every single day since!  Sunday through Tuesday was mostly non-stop rain, but we had a few brief periods of sunshine on Wednesday, but not long enough to make me want to go outdoors because it was still really cold and windy.  I was very hopeful for Thursday (today), so I got my bike out and after one false start, I managed to go for about an hour's ride.  I explored both parts of this very large campground, looking for sites for the future where I could get satellite coverage.  

But, after my ride, it started raining again, so I put the bike back on the bumper rack and covered it up.  Tomorrow, is really and truly supposed to be sunny, so I am going for a beach walk then.  Anyway, I have taken a few photos in the last few days that will give you an idea of what this place looks like.  Basically, it consists of two really big campgrounds along an entrance road.  And each campground contains at least 100 sites, which makes this one of the biggest campgrounds I have stayed at.  Sites and roads are paved and all sites have electric and water hookups. 

It was a pretty drive getting here, and sunny to boot!!!  

I always choose an open site so I can get satellite service. 

A lot of  state parks now provide rental yurts for people who do not want to tent.  They have electric, but no water, hence no kitchens or toilets.  Better than a tent in this weather, however, since it would have been hard to find a dry enough place to pitch a tent in the last few days. 

The beach is only about 400 feet from the nearest camping sites, but you have to hike up through the dunes so it is a bit strenuous. 

The beach was still pretty wet, so I did not go for a walk. 

Since I had to dump my tanks today, I took the opportunity to drive into the small town of Nehalem and walk around.  Found two nice spots I could park in, so I just parked along the main street. 

There is a public beach at the end of the town street with easy access. 

 And here is a link to a video I made:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGFg1lEKugA&feature=em-share_video_user

Sunday, September 17, 2017

9/13 Tillicum Campground, Yachats, OR

This campground has two big attractions--you can get a site directly overlooking the ocean and it is cheap for seniors because it is a federal facility.  A couple of negatives are the lack of a dump station and fairly tight roads and campsites because of a narrow road and overhanging branches.  

Some explanations about hookups.  I really prefer an electric hookup because my batteries will not run my TV, AC, or microwave, however, I will occasionally forego electric if the location is superb, like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where some sites are practically hanging over the rim with fantastic views and the little Kaibab squirrels running around.  Water hookups are nice, but since I can fill my fresh water tank with 60 gallons of water, I can manage very nicely without a water hookup at my site.  Sewer hookups are often not worth the bother since I can easily go 3-4 days without dumping my grey and black tanks.  (One of the big benefits of traveling alone means I don't fill my tanks very fast, even with taking a hot shower each day and doing a few dishes a couple of times a day.)  And, nearly always, dumping my tanks is something I combine with going out and visiting town or exploring.  Usually, dumping means driving a few hundred feet within the campground to a dump station, which is also nearly always easy to use and free to campers. 

I know this is getting boring to most of you, but it is part of my life and how I manage utilities.  Another issue related to this is that I am very close to my maximum weight limit, and when I have two full waste tanks, I am often over that limit, so I like to travel with empty tanks.  Driving to a nearby town and paying $10 to dump in a municipal facility makes me a little nervous, so not having a dump station is a real bother.  

However, life has trade-offs.  Having the beach access literally across the street from my campsite is the trade-off for this campground for not having a free dump station! 

How can you beat this being practically at your doorstep? 

The trees are low and wind-swept, but here is my campsite.  Overhanging branches were only a foot above my rig, so I had someone watch as I backed in.  Did not want to lose satellite dish (round bubble on top) or the AC unit behind it.    

To get to the beach, all I had to do is walk behind the truck camper on the left.  Best part was hearing the surf all day and night, and the wonderful breeze. 

In this campground, the sites with electric are mostly on the left of this road that goes along the beach, and the tent and no-hookup RV sites are on the right in parallel parking sites. 

Many other sites are tucked into the woods, like these. 

I am in site 27, near the middle beach access.  Note the warning at the bottom of this map about there being no showers or dump station.  This is typical of national forest campground.  Actually, it is highly unusual for national forest campground even having electricity, let along water hookups or bibs.

The rest of the photos are just pictures of the beach.  The first two were taken on a very foggy day.  The rest were taken a couple of days later, and with a very unusual sunny, blue sky. 

Note the lack of smoke here!  The white stuff in the distance is fog.

These photos were taken at low tide.  This beach is very flat and the sand is extremely hard.  In fact, in a few places, I could barely see my own footprints. 

I could even walk in these areas that had only a couple of inches of water without sinking in.

You can see the campground in this photo.  There were only a couple of nearby houses, so this felt like a very private beach. 

On Saturday, I head to Nehalem Bay State Park, where I have never been.  I have stayed at a lot of the state and federal parks along the coast, but am always trying to explore new ones. 

9/11 Drive to Yachats, OR

I've been running a bit late in posting, mostly just because I have been lazy and taking some time off from other responsibilities.  But, I have rested up and relaxed as much as I needed to and am back to posting.  This post describes my drive from Emigrant Lake, CA, to the some of the prettiest places on the Oregon Coast!  

What makes this part of the Pacific coast so scenic is that you have mountains and big trees coming right to the ocean.  So, you will be sometimes driving through forested roads in the mountains....

And, then you round a corner and the ocean comes into view.  Lots of pullover areas along Highway 101. 

Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, this area also has been smoke-free and also has been wonderfully cool, with incredible non-stop ocean breezes!  There are hundreds of places where you can access public beaches. 

I just could not stop taking photos. 

I stopped at the Cape Pertpetua Visitor Center, part of the Siuslaw National Forest.  These are whale jawbones. 

View from the visitor center.  Lots of good parking for motorhomes, as well.  And some blackberry bushes full of ripe berries for a snack.  

Yachats is a very nice little town along the coast.  Not big enough to have any chain stores, which is nice, but it did have a small market.  Last time I was here three years ago, I arrived during one of their farmer's markets, but it was nicer today because it was a lot easier to find a parking spot along one of the side streets.  

After picking up a couple of things at the grocery store, I drove the couple of blocks to the little state park along the ocean and found a good place to park.  Nice place to watch for whales or just look at the ocean.  
 It was low tide with lots of tide pools. 

Like a lot of small towns on the coast, this one is located where a river empties into the ocean.  This one has created a large sandy beach.