Leaving California behind, and driving up the Oregon coast

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Wednesday, 17-June-2015

Another driving post – that’s the key to a good adventurous road trip. You’ve got balance the opposing ideals of exploration and movement.

Granted, you could say “Ohh, but driving IS exploring!” but… you’d be wrong. Even driving down small-town roads, through hamlets and past cafes, is still driving. You’re not stopping, and you’re not seeing what the place actually has to offer. And even if you stop into a cafe – you’re just another tourist. You’d have to explore a few places to get a feel… and then you’re not driving anymore, are you?

But anyways. Here’s the breakdown of the drive from Tree of Heaven, California to Fort Stevens, Oregon:

  • We left Tree of Heaven early – We had to do a pretty damn long drive in a single day… especially since we’re taking the scenic route, instead of the quick route. So up and out of camp early was the name of the game.
  • After a quick stop at the grocery for lunch materials, we’re off!
  • Driving is pretty – getting into Oregon is boring, but once we’ve moved off the main highway and onto the back roads that will take us out to the coast, it gets really amazing really quickly.
    The basic route that we took was I-5 North, then connecting to the 101 Northbound via… 303, I think? Either way, I-5 is boring as really boring things. The rest..
  • We passed through lots of small towns – but not the “this small town died years ago” places that I saw in other portions of my roadtrip. These towns have always been small… and they’re staying right as they are. It’s not a place that’s seen people running away; instead, they seem content to have their little gas station, town hall, and grocery store, and not much else.
    The biggest thing that I noticed: not many boarded up windows, thankfully.
  • We finally make the turn onto the coastal road (the 101 ), and… it’s not really on the coast. Booo…
    Ohh wait. Yep. That’s the coast. Holy crap. It’s amazing.
  • Seriously, so beautiful.
  • I don’t mean to rub it in, but… Super awesome.
  • We keep moving on, following switchbacks and curves and roads with sheer drops on the side. We make a stop at a national park called “The Dunes of Oregon” for a lunch break – I wasn’t aware that Oregon had dunes We head out from the cars, and… yep. These are Cape Cod level dunes. Legit stuff, with lots of sand. So we settled in, made sandwiches, ate, and enjoyed ourselves. I did some spinning and Mike waded out into the ocean because he’s a water elemental that needs to be in the ocean every so often. It was amazing and excellent.
  • Keep pushing through tons of beautiful small towns and neat places.
  • Each cove is more beautiful than the last… we’re seriously just moving deeper into an amazing wilderness of awesome.
  • We make a quick stop into the Tillamook outlet – a west-coast ice cream and cheese place. It’s super delicious, and the tour is delicious too. I mean, they also tell us stuff about things, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was eating free samples of cheese. And eating huge samplers of ice cream. Not at the same time though. But now I want to try that.
  • We do finally make it through to camp though – It was a long drive, but thankfully the end was pretty easy, since Fort Stephens has tons of signage, and we arrived before dusk had really settled in. We then found the campsite, signed in, got out stuff out of the cars and set up!

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