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Road Trip USA -Oregon Coast
One would hardly say, “I am going to travel to the USA so I can visit Oregon!”
After the great surprises of the California North Coast such as the Redwood National Park and the harbor town of Port Orford it was difficult to imagine anything better, but as we entered the 355miles of coastline between the Southern border of Oregon and Portland in the North we were again amazed by the beauty of this country with its variety of natural wonders. The coastline of Oregon is on the edge of the San Andreas Fault and you seem to be travelling along the edge of the world. The road winds along the side of the cliffs and dotting the sea is one rocky outcrop after another calling out to be photographed, or the beach wandered along. Agate Beach, Arizona Beach, Sunset State Park , South Beach Newport and so one goes on and on with one amazing view/beach following another. The tourist map/guide for the Central Oregon Coast numbers the Islands and rocky out crops as over 1500 and still counting! Around every corner there is another offshore island or cliff-sea cave with Seals or Sea Lions calling and birds perched on rocky ledges.
We would never in our wildest dreams have ever imagined that we would spend two nights at Humbug Mountain State Park or Sunset Beach State Park in Charleston, Oregon. Charleston/Coos Bay is the biggest Port on the Oregon Coastline and more trees /wood has been exported from here than from any other port in the world – hence “ Oregon Pine”.
At this time it is probably time to explain the rhythm of the State/National Parks tourist traffic in the USA summer. The Parks and RV Camps each have about 100 RV sites or campsites on average and during the day as people move out of the Park where they spent the last evening they move on and these become available for people arriving during the day. As everyone packs up at about 9 in the morning, the roads become very busy until about 7 in the evening when everyone has found a new place. Then it is time to start your camp fire and by 10 in the evening all is still!
One feature of all campgrounds and RV camps is that they are always right next to main high ways and so you are lulled to sleep by the sound of passing traffic. To find a State Park like the one at Sunset Beach in Charleston as we have tonight, is an unusual delight as it is off the highway and so we will not hear any trucks/cars passing tonight –will we be able to sleep?
People from the north are travelling south (the folks next to us tonight are from Seattle with Seattle Seahawk chairs and shade hut) and people from the south go north (us going to Seattle) –folks from the coast go inland (the people from Crescent Bay who we met at Whiskeytown State Park near Redding) and people from inland go to the coast, and so the summer migration takes place. Camping is actually very reasonable with sites varying from $14 - $20 in State parks and $18 - $28 in private camp grounds. With 6-8 allowed on a camp site (with two vehicles) this actually is very cheap in comparison to SA places where you are often charged per person
We have, in fact, decided to stay a few more nights in Charleston, not because the camp site is right next to the showers/toilets (it is), not because it lived up to its name, Sunset Beach State Park (it did have one of the most amazing sunsets imaginable last night), not because there is a Sea Food Fest on Saturday, but simply because we needed a few days to relax and catch up with our selves. A visit to the local Wal- mart resulted in us stocking up with general groceries, a warm inner sleeping bag each and a bag full offruit to share. This is a great area for fruit growing and so we bought strawberries at $1.25 a pound (cheapest so far) and our first Blue Berries as well as the usual nectarines, cherries and peaches and our first apricots. What a pleasure to enjoy a supper of fresh French bread, cheese and fruit. Today I bought a jersey, an extra blanket and a warm long sleeved shirt at the local Goodwill Store and also a Trivial Pursuit. This probably tells you something about the temperatures as we travel further north and summer is beginning to wane.
Yesterday evening the State Park arranged a demonstration/talk by a local bird rehabilitation centre on raptors and so we were introduced to three of their birds, an Owl, a Turkey Buzzard named Jerry and a Peregrine Falcon. It was a most interesting hour! Almost every evening during the summer something is arranged along educational lines at State and National Parks. Tomorrow we plan to do some serious birding and also visit the Botanical Gardens here, where amongst other things they have over 550 rose bushes. This area is very green and beautiful with a mixture of trees , and where ferns grow in great numbers. It has a rainfall of over 100 inches per annum and is cooled by the cold Pacific Ocean.
On Friday, a presentation by a group called “The Old Time Fiddlers”, entertained us at the camp and when they finished off with Amazing Grace I was quite overcome by the moment and found tears running down my cheeks as I thought what God has done for me in accepting me as His child.
We finally managed to get the document posted to the pension department to prove that Audrey is still alive! After that we visited the Seal Colony at Simpsons Point to listen and look at the 1000+ Seals there – it was another amazing sight.
The Oregon State Parks have introduced a unique accommodation concept called ‘Yurts’, tented rondavels (Moroccan Style),that they hire out for different rates according to their size and facilities. Here at Sunset Beach they only have basic ones and they go for $27 in comparison to tenting that is $16. They also have Teepees and covered Wagons at some of their Parks and these are very popular as an alternative to tenting or dragging an RV.
We have collected a heap of colorful semi-precious stones on our daily walks along the beach and Audrey has found a couple of Agates and Pansy Shells. We have been sorting them and wondering what we will do with them!
We are staying the weekend to worship here and on Saturday also attend the weekend long annual ‘Sea Food Festival’ that takes place along the pier at Charleston near our camp ground.