7. Spring road trip….April/May/June.2019 

Day 28 5.19
I left my spot at 5:30 & drove back into Florence.  I found an open Starbucks & some ice.  I was tired, but the weather was much better & I wanted to take advantage of it.  Last time I was through this area, I passed hiking a trail I wanted to go on called the Hobbit trail.  It was just a wide spot in the road & someone had told me about it, but I didnt know how long it was or even exactly where the trailhead was located.  And, its kind of sketchy just barely pulling off 101 on the highway…it’s a highway without shoulders.  But, this time, I’d done some research, so this morning I went looking for the wide spot in the road.  However, since I was here last time, there is actually a paved parking area & a trailhead sign complete with mileage.  It’s short but downhill to a secluded beach & no one was there this morning.  It’s a trail filled with flowers, lots of gnarly twisted moss hanging drippy trees & natural tree tunnels & so many colors of green.  It was a wonderful way to start the day!

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Then I went looking for Thors Well & Spouting Rock….which I always seem to do at low tide.  The views were pretty, but I didn’t really find either attraction.

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Then I went to Rogue Brewery for a beer & lunch.  Another cool bridge sits outside the brewpub.  I had a Rolling Thunder stout—aged in Dead Guy Whiskey barrels & a sandwich..

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My last stop today, before camp, was Beverly Beach State Park.  It has this cool purple/green sparkly sand.

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Right down the road is the Devils Punchbowl.  It was while I was here, I overheard someone say Whale!.  I stopped & looked out to find the spouting & sure enough there were a few swimming north.  They were pretty far out, so you could see them breach, but just a little.  But I stood there for quite awhile following the spouting…always a good day when you see a whale!

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I had decided I was going to pay for another state park tonight so I chose Cape Lookout.  They had a spot away from any RV’s & it was private & nice & I was super tired.  It was only late afternoon, & I wished I was a person that could nap, but I’m not. My campsite was a 3 minute walk to the beach…it was great!  I spent a little time on the beach, just sitting a huge rock, watching the waves & the sky & the sun!!!

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I had cell service, so I caught up with Jill on FaceTime & Claire & Emma & Danny too.  Then I talked to my sister-in-law & did a few things around my 4Runner.  Then I took another walk back to the beach, where I joined several other people in watching the sunset.  Its my first on the west coast this trip.so grateful it quit raining!  As soon as the sunset, I went & crawled in Camper, finished a book & fell asleep.

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Day 29 5.20
WowI slept so great last night! I enjoyed morning in camp, making coffee & cooking some steel cut oatsIve only made them cold overnight before & enjoyed a hot breakfast this morning.  But, the sun was out for now & I didnt want to miss clear weather on todays hike.

When I was here before, I started on the Cape Lookout trail just as the fog rolled in.  I went about 1/2 mile on the trail & then couldnt see but about 5-10 feet all around me.  It was eerie.  I could hear the ocean, but couldn’t even see the trees, or the trail or anything much in the distance.  So, I had turned around. 

So, today, I’m hiking that trail to the end.  It’s 5 miles round trip, with a few steep sections & a fair number of unfenced drop offs (really glad after I todays hike, that I turned around the last time).

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The views were amazing!

And the differences in colors in the water

And the edges….eek!

The clouds that had threatened earlier in the morning, blew away & let the sun shine!  It turned out to be the perfect day for this hike!

I headed back a bit south towards Pacific City & one of my favorite breweries…not especially for the beer, although it’s good, but for the scenery…it sits right on the beach facing a large rock formation called Haystack Rock (one of two so named in northern coastal Oregon).

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There’s a short but super steep hike you can do on the Dunes to the top of Kiwanda Cape…the large tan rock formations that sit on the edge of the cove.

By the way, I think you should get bonus points or miles for climbing up Dunes. (Trail to the right side of the pic.)

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It was super windy!  Glad I had a hood on & sunglasses or I’d be picking out sand from my hair & my eyes for the next few days.

The views from the top.

My pano pic

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This area is known for the Dory boats they use to fish here. It’s a small, shallow boat that’s lightweight with high sides, a flat bottom & sharp bows.  They have a double set of oars for rowing.  Theres a big informational board here about these special boats.  They have a big safety history & have been frequently used for life saving boats.  But I don’t know how they launch here; the waves are crazy!

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I headed north to Munson Falls…a short drive off the highway to a pretty cool waterfall.

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After the falls, I was soon in Tillamook.  The big tourist attraction here is the Creamery.  Last time I took the self guided tour & bought cheese.  They’ve remodeled the whole place since I was here last & it’s really nice.  Today I just wanted some 1/2 & 1/2 & some ice cream.  Struck out on the 1/2 1/2…evidently they don’t sell it but enjoyed a blood orange cream kids scoop of ice cream.

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I’ve had long conversations with Danny today; his Mom started back in chemo treatment & he is juggling a lot of balls & dealing with all the medical stuff & his work.  But, his Mom is feeling great & expects to fight this round of cancer as well as she did last time.

So, it was time for me to look for camping so I drove out Wilson River Road where I’d read some dispersed camping was.  I found a place in the Tillamook State Forest that allowed camping & backed in & popped open the hatch & set up my computer to get caught up on the website.  It rained on & off & I only saw a couple of deer running around.  Soon the temps dropped & I closed the hatch, then eventually closed up the laptop & tucked in for the night.

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Day 30 5.21
I still had about an hours worth of work to do on the website & needed wifi to publish it & I wanted coffee.  So, I headed back into town to the Five Rivers Coffee houseso cute & nice!

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I got caught up on phone calls, published & caffeinated myself & was ready to do.  The drive north out of Tillamook up the 101 is beautiful!  I drove to Hug Point State Park to find a cave & a waterfall.  But, once again, I arrived at the wrong tide-time.  You’re supposed to get here at low tide & be quick about your hike because evidently it doesn’t take long before you’re cut off to the way back to the beach.  So, I settled for a nice walk on what beach was available.  (Cave & waterfall around to the left of that big rock.)

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The rain would pitter patter on & off & the sky continued to be gray…as are my photos it always seems.  Next up the road was the cute little town of Cannon Beach.  It looks like a place a lot of tourists come to & stay in quaint little inns & B&B’s & eat in nice restaurants & do a lot….a whole lot of shopping.  The town was full of shoppers!  I popped in & out of about 5 shops, buying my postcard for Claire.  The town is definitely cute!

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I had read about the Cannon Beach Hardware store that also has beer on tap…locally known as the Screw & Brew.  So, I went to see what beer they had, but wasn’t tempted by their selection.  I was hungry, but none of the places were calling to me, so after a couple of hours, I continued north, to my next stop Seaside.

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I’ve been to the Seaside Brewery once before.  It’s housed in an old jail & was quiet & only had a few people in it this mid afternoon.  Which I loved, because Cannon Beach had seemed over run with so many people & stuff.  The bartender was so friendly & I ordered their yummy Impassable RSI stout & a brisket sandwich.  This was one of the best meals I’ve eaten so far on this trip…delicious.  Served with a side of baked beans (several different kinds of beans & bacon) & mac & cheese…also with bacon.  So much food, I took half of it with for me later.

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One of the flower’s I’ve fallen in love with when I was in Oregon & it’s also all over Washington, is the Scotch Broom bush.  This seems to grow wild everywhere…on the dunes, on the edge of the forest, fills mountainsides & all along the roads.  It’s the best color of yellow/gold & shines brightly on on these gloomy days.  

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I found my way to Ft. Stevens Park to see the Peter Iredale Shipwreck.  I’ve been here before with my friend Kindle (she used to live in Astoria…the next town to the north), but I wanted to see it again.  So. Very. Cool.

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This was more of a brew tour day, than a hiking day, but I was still trying to walk & get some activity in other than drinking.  I drove into the wonderful little town of Astoria.  What a very awesome place!  It has the magnificent & fierce Columbia River & so much history with the founding of this town.  It has the house that was in the movie Goonies.  The homes are so quaint but wonderful & the yards are filled with so many flowers.  The streets are mini-SanFrancisco like steep.  And, they have a lot of good beer in this town.  Sadly, they don’t have my friend Kindle here anymore, but she’s moved back to Kansas City, so I get to see her more often…so that’s good for me.  But, last time I was here, she was a number one tour guide & we had a blast together.

I went to Ft. George brewery.  I was in search of one of their barrel aged stouts called Matryoshka Imperial Russian Stout.  They didn’t have it on tap, but did have it bottled.  That was really better for me, since I can take it home & share it with Danny.  While I was paying for it, a guy at the bar told me of some other places to go.  I went to Buoy brewing, but they had no stouts on tap.  Then I went to the Bridge & Tunnel bottle shop.  They didn’t have any big stouts on tap either, but had the brand new just released Dogfish Head World Wide Stout…yay!  So, while I hadn’t gotten to drink any beer yet in Astoria, I was filling up the tiny space in Camper with beer to take home. Across the street was Beach Break brewing…stopped in but didn’t drink anything there either.

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Another cool landmark thing Astoria has is the Column.  It’s sits on the highest place in town & has 185 stairs to the top with a 365 degree view!  You pay $5 to buy a parking pass, but it’s good for the whole year.  The outside of the Column is wonderfully decorated with what looks like drawings of the history of the town.  You can stare at it for the longest time.  Then, it’s time to pant & breath as you make your way up the inside up the spiral staircase to the top!

the detail….

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and the views!

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the amazing bridge that goes over the Columbia River into Washington & you can see it all from the top of the Column

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I hadn’t planned on going to the Rogue Brewery, but it was early evening & this is a pretty cool place to visit.  I actually became a Rogue member here last time, taking some kind of silly pledge & I think I wore a pirate hat while repeating the pledge…but, that was last time.  You drive out this rather rickety wood bridge & park in a tiny lot & the bar sits out in the water…pretty cool as long as that bridge holds up!

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I’m not a Kölsch drinker (Danny most definitely is!), but this is the ONE Kolsch I like…Rogues Honey Kolsch.  They had it on tap, so that’s what I ordered.  And, they have a special glass for it too…love it!  I’ve banned myself from buying anymore beer glasses while I’m on a trip, since we have like 100 at home, but we do not have a Kolsch glass…Happy Father’s Day Danny! 

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It was such a nice evening, so I took myself out on the deck, & since no one else was out there, FaceTimed with Danny.  A hundred times during this trip, I wished he was with me…missing him extra tonight.  After our call, I just listened to the seals bark…love that sound.  This river is so magical, crazy big, full of history & can be treacherous.  I’m going to make it one of my winter projects to learn more about it.

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Hello Washington!
I crossed the bridge heading to a rest area just on the other side.  I backed in Camper, cleaned her up & sat at a picnic table & ate my leftovers from lunch.

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I’d just finished eating & was staring out to the river, when a young girl walked near.  We started visiting & both realized we were staying the night here.  Her name is Baylee, but goes by Bay.  From Alaska & on her first solo trip…she turns 21 next week.  She invited me to park Camper by her van, then she pulled out her cooler for me sit on & we visited the rest of the night.  She’d bought the van while visiting her sister, 5 weeks ago, in Phoenix & is making her way back to Alaska.  She’s traveling around, visiting National Parks & other places she’s wanted to see. We talked about solo travel, being women on the road, boondocking & the breathtaking price of gas!  She plans to sell the van (which is pretty sweet with a build out when she bought it) in Alaska & travel to Europe for the summer, then back to find a community college to attend in California in the fall.  It was so interesting visiting with her.  I have so much admiration for her sense of adventure at 21.  I felt both young & old at the same time while talking with her.  I have much more experience at this solo travel thing & it was interesting to answer some of the questions she asked me.  But, I too learned from her.  And, there doesn’t seem to be an age difference when you both love nature, the outdoor beauty of amazing places & the freedom that travel gives you.  We’ve connected on IG, so I hope to follow her travels.  Wow, 21.  Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock….to like, maybe 45?

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Day 31 5.22
In the morning Bay & shared the picnic table & both made coffee.  She was headed back into Astoria today to look around, then would be heading north on a similar path as I am.  When I realized she was going back into Astoria, I dug in the trash & retrieved my Column parking pass & handed it off to her.  I hope she loved the views from the top!  I really enjoyed meeting this brave young woman & hope our paths cross again someday.

Cape Disappointment State Park is just a stones throw away from the border, so I headed there first.  Washington does something unique with it’s Pass system.  Whenever you park in a lot for a lighthouse or a trail, you’ll read a sign saying “Discover Pass Required”.  Most places have a little machine making it easy for you to purchase said pass.  However, it’s $10 for a day pass, but it’s a bargain for a year at $30.  Plus, the annual pass includes a ton of free camping.  This doesn’t work for State or National Parks or their National Forests (I’ve never heard of anywhere but Oregon & Washington requiring a pass to be in the forest, but they call it a Northwest Forest Pass…so far I’ve never been anywhere that’s required it.  I’ve driven by the signs, but it wasn’t anywhere I was stopping…weird.)  But, I was stoked to learn about the camping part.  Anyway, I hoped on the trail that took me to a couple of different lighthouses here & was not disappointed at all!

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I drove & drove today, stopping here & there, but never anywhere for too long.  Then I was headed to one of the free DNR (Dept of Natural Resources—Discovery Pass!) campgrounds.  This one was W A Y off the beaten path at 12 miles up into the forest.  There’s a lot of clear cut in Oregon & Washington & it’s disgusting to see.  During my 12 mile drive I drove through beautiful forests, wonderful clear rivers & nasty clear cuts.  Then I made it to a sweet, but super remote campground called Copper Bottom.  It even had firewood at every site.  There were a couple of tents in the far sites, but I never heard or saw anyone while I was there. A little river flowed beside the campground, so I took a short walk a couple of different times next to the river. I struggled to build a fire, but eventually got it going.  Then I made dinner & afterwards, just read until past dark. 

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