Monday, September 3 (Labor Day)
As I drive the curvy, twisty Highway 126 from McKenzie Bridge to the coast, I picture in my mind the special moment I see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I climb to the crest of a dune to the accompaniement of a full symphony orchestra. Seagulls circle against a blue sky and the sea breeze tosses my hair. Bridget and Spike excitedly dash up the dune with me. The music reaches a crescendo and there she is! The Pacific! White sand glistens in the warm sunshine. Frothy white waves flutter onto the beach. We scamper down to the water’s edge. I stand and gaze at the horizon in wonder . . . Okay, okay . . . Stop the music!
Reality is an entirely different experience.
We get situated in a campsite at Sutton Campground, north of Florence ($22 regular, $11 with Senior Pass plus $4 for electric). I put a check for $15 in the self-pay box.
The crew and I walk around to get our bearings. Then together we board the Perfect Tow Vehicle.
My first view of the Pacific Ocean will be at sunset from Holman’s Viewing Platform!
I’m dressed warmly, expecting some cold and wind.
The three of us walk up the board walkway that twists through windsnarled trees and thick holly bushes.
The further we walk, the windier it gets. By the time we reach the viewing area, our eyes are burning and watery from the wind.
But who cares! It’s the Pacific! I can hear the waves!
I look out and I see dunes and fog. Okay. Maybe tomorrow will be better.
Tuesday, September 4
It’s eleven o’clock and the crew and I pull into the parking area for Heceta Beach. Workmen hammer away at a condominium next door. We hurry down the beach access lane.
NOW I’m going to see the Pacific Ocean!
If not for the hammers of the workmen, we might not have found our way back to the PTV!
We explore famous Highway 101.
A stop at Goodwill in Florence results in this $5 purchase!
South of Florence we visit the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area.
The first stop reveals a parking lot at a big dune with sand board marks on it. The second stop reveals a parking lot in front of dunes with wide tracks all over them. It’s a staging area for OHVs — Off Highway Vehicles are scattered about. Our third stop is a parking lot at a dune that promises access to the beach. Yippee!
The crew and I get out of the PTV and approach the break in dune grasses.
A big sign warns us that this is the snow plovers’ nesting area and dogs are not being allowed north of the estuary or south of the beach trail or east of the dunes or . . . . I can’t figure out what area is for dogs and what isn’t. One thing I do understand clearly: If you make a mistake reading these directions, you will be fined $5,000.
The crew goes back into the PTV.
I climb the dune and at the top I look out over the beach and finally see the Pacific!
Next we drive north of Florence. The fog lifts for a while enabling us to see the Heceta Lighthouse area.
The crew is overwhelmed by the sights, smells, and sounds of the beach. The waves totally confuse Spike!
Also great views from turn-outs along the highway.
I recognize landscapes and seascapes from photographs in coffee table books and calenders.
We finally made it to the Pacific coast! It’s been quite a journey: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon . . .
Once I have a collection of good photos, I’ll put together a slideshow.
Update on Rusty and Timber:
Rusty calls me last night. He says he’s camped behind a casino somewhere off Interstate 40 near Grants, New Mexico. Timber slept most of the day with his head on Rusty’s leg as Rusty maneuvered his truck from Colorado into New Mexico, and through Albuquerque, the latter no small feat. Last night Timber slept with his head on Rusty’s chest. All is well.
I hope you enjoy the beach and you have great weather. Me…… I am working my way to AZ and then the Gulf of Mexico.
Great pics…….and I like Bridget’s new wheels, but what did Spike get?
I wish you no hurricanes and no fog. Happy travels, Pat!
What did Spike get? Spike got excused from the humiliation of riding in a baby stroller.
To Spike: a stroller, A STROLLER!!!! What a con artist (at least we hope so). hound herd…….
To Sue: ditto above. Congrats on reaching the Pacific Ocean along some of the most beautiful shoreline in the world!!! Great pics, ! NOW; get used to the fog, dress in layers and keep the layers handy, the fog eases in and out all day and nite. When we spent 2 weeks in Oceano(just below Pismo Beach in CA), Geri was freezing the whole time!!!In july no less. You are in a great wx time, enjoy! layers, remember, layers handy!!!! Chuck
We had a great day, even with the fog! I would have driven further north but it seemed the more north we went, the thicker the fog. At least the wind died down.
Bridget looks so funny sitting in her little buggy, rolling around the campground. rvsue and her canine crew get laughs wherever they go!
You just make me laugh and laugh and laugh!
Our first visit to the Pacific landed us on a dog beach at Del Ray. I bet it was the only dog beach for MILES and we happened upon it totally by chance. We were in shorts and tshirts, enjoying the February Day like any Midwesterner would… while the natives were bundled up in fleece hoodies, sweats and gloves??? Hmmmmmm
People were letting their dogs off-leash at the Heceta Lighthouse area. I let Spike and Bridget off for a few minutes and they looked around like “doh.” You remind me of the tourists I used to see when I lived in Florida.
I love the Oregon coast, and, having lived here all my life, it’s almost like my second home. I love to visit it, but really love hearing how much someone who’s never seen it is enjoying it! Even with the famous (and often pervasive) fog!
Today’s post may not reveal it much, but I really enjoyed today. I can’t believe I waited until the age of 63 to see the Pacific for the first time. I went to Mexico once but I was on the Gulf side.
What a great post today. Who knew finding the beach would be such a chore. The pic of Bridget: priceless.
BTW, I added a small update at the end of this post on Rusty’s trip back to Arizona with Timber.
Ahhhhh. The great American spirit of westering! Not quite like the wagon trains but almost! You’ve come a long way, baby (as the saying goes). Thanks for bringing your readers along with you!
You’re welcome, Donna. There’s something about going west . . . It’s like an unfinished American life if you never make it to the west coast.
I’m so excited for you, Sue! Yes, I was hearing an orchestra!
Poor Bridget! I feel terrible to say it, but I was giggling out loud at the pic of her in the stroller all the way from the Poconos in Pennsylvania – my first campground!
Trying to figure out how to post pic of van and trailer…
Lisa and Trotters
Hooray for Lisa in the Poconos! Just like seeing the Pacific for the first time… you’ll always remember your first campground. I’m happy for you both.
My favorite spot was Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast.
I’ll look it up on the map.
I went whale watching in a Zodiac boat with Jack. A young woman, Captain Carrie Newell didn’t mind if I brought him. He loved every moment as does her dog. What a thrill going out of that harbor (smallest harbor in the world). Not expensive, either, but a thrill of a lifetime. http://oregonwhales.com If I ever get out once more I’m going out with her, again. So interesting!
What time of year did you go?
I totally agree! Fell in love with Depoe Bay! Had a delicious breakfast of Pancakes, fresh Oregon Marionberries & Whipped Cream at the Sea Hag restaraunt. Enjoy the coast!
Mmm. . . sounds delicious, Robin!
You are fortunate to find the $5 ride for the Bridge. Does she really like riding in it? My Cocoa or Ebony… either one I’m sure would not stand errr I mean ‘sit’ in it for a minute…Well cocoa might he is lazy… but Ebony on the other hand is just such a nervous nillie… I can only imagine she would probably get motion sickness 🙂 (for real) . But, glad you got a ride for the ole girl.
Most of all sure glad you are enjoying the Oregon coast. It is beautiful… can hardly wait til I can get to see it again… cause next time my wonderful Joe will be with me.
I think it was reader Elizabeth who suggested I get Bridget a stroller. At first I balked at the idea, knowing how Bridget gets habits and she loves pampering! But trying to give Spike the exercise he needs with Bridget gimping along… It wasn’t working. This evening I ran that stroller around this parking lot, with Spike trotting alongside. Bridget seems to like it. We came upon a man walking his two normal dogs and I said, “Don’t laugh!” Of course, he did.
Glad you enjoyed the post.
Poor Bridget…you get her all comfie and someone laughs!! Is she aware that they are laughing at her you think?? I am so glad you got a stroller for her!! I hope it will help her heal…and as you say, it lets Spike get his exercise too!! Good plan!! I hope you will get to see more UNfoggy days on the ocean…you can probably understand why we have not been impressed at all with the Atlantic…it is very anticlimatic after seeing the Pacific during our earlier lives!! And the roar of the waves…isn’t that just something?? We stayed once up in Hoqium, WA…or a tad north of there I think it was…any rate, on a cliff overlooking the ocean…and the ROAR all those 3 days of the waves made me feel just like I did in high school after a game in the gym!! I felt somewhat deaf!! I think my hubby loved that trip about more than anything we have ever done though…well, he was in the Navy for 6 years…so I guess the water is important to him. I love the beachcombing…and once we went camping during the season for clams and we got the diggers and all…got so many we never have eaten any since…heh!! We ate them for lunch and dinner in all kinds of ways…gave our camping friends the rest of them to take home!!
When we got up this morning (the morning after the above post), I noticed Bridget tentatively placing her foot on the ground a few times. Then she went back to walking on three legs. So she can extend the leg to the ground. Apparently she doesn’t want to put weight on it. She isn’t holding the bad leg as high, so maybe there’s progress.
I did the beachcombing, clam digging, crab catching (chicken parts on a string) when I lived in Florida (Gulf), and the water quality wasn’t as questionable as some say it is now.
Poor baby….well, I hope this will all soon be a thing of the past and no more pain for Bridget…most dogs are so excited in new territory you can hardly contain them!!
Sue: If you get the chance, go to Yachats (I think I spelled that correctly) – very beautiful!! Love the stroller – I need one for Becker who refuses to walk more than down the street!
Okay, Kellee, I’ll check that place on my map.
rvsue, you don’t seem to be using your solar panels. Not just now, in the fog, but for weeks. I am not experienced in this at all but I thought they would provide you with the electricity you would need. No? Enjoy your blog since the start. thanks.
I’ve been using my solar panel every day since I had it installed! I’m paying for hookups for the two days I’m at Sutton Campground because the campsites are totally shaded and I want to make sure all batteries get a full charge. Driving around is usually sufficient to charge them, but for four extra dollars, why not. Sorry if my behavior mislead you about the solar panel… It works great and I’m happy with it.
Thanks for reading my blog since the start!
How exciting for you and the crew! I remember the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean. It was down in the LA County area, I was visiting a friend from college, and there were large cliffs (ok, maybe not that large, but it was not the flat beach area I was used to on the Texas Gulf Coast). I was surprised at how cold the water was in June (again, the Gulf being my point of reference). I hope the weather cooperates and you can spend some quality time with your crew on the beach.
Some moments you always remember… The first time you see the Pacific! I’ll always remember climbing that dune and looking over the crest at FOG!
Yeahhhhh! You’re on the Oregon coast! I hope you go all the way up to Astoria and work your way back down. See the Columbia River Gorge! Oh, how I wish I were there! You’ll get foggy days, but oh, when it clears…it’s paradise. You can mozy back south on the coast–pullouts will be easier. There are so many things to see. If you get over to the coast near Tillamook on a weekend you can watch the doryboats come sliding up onto the beach, and wander the beaches in the area. There’s is more beauty at every turn in the road on the coast, and the Columbia River Gorge and its waterfalls are not to be missed! Enjoy!
Bridget, dear, you play your “injury” for all its worth. Sue is so good to you. Maybe she will buy a double stroller so Spike can ride, too! 🙂
I don’t remember running into any beaches that didn’t welcome dogs. Have fun!
I don’t think I have time for the Columbia River Gorge this trip. I would have to rush too much… I’d overdose on beauty. I may make a summer trip up through the Oregon coast again to the Gorge and the falls and over to Glacier and south again . . . Wouldn’t that make for a great summer?
Remember I still have mountains to cross before the freak snow flies, and I also want to visit Klamath Falls . . . If I get a fairly clear day I’d like to explore further north along the coast.
And excellent idea. Don’t neglect eastern Washington. A land of hills and rivers and lakes, especially up near the Canadian border. In fact, Washington alone could be a full summer.
The way I like to stop in one place and get to know a person and listen to their ‘story,’ I could easily spend a summer anywhere!
I know that you want to visit Klamath Falls but as you are planning your trip south take a look at my route from Florance, OR by using this link http://edwardfrey.com/biketrips/trip6.html and scrolling down to August 8. You could modify the route to take in Klamath Falls and then get back on my route to see Mt Lassen and Lake Tahoe. You could leave my route then at Lake Tahoe and go south on US395, one of the more scenic roads in the West along the Sierra east slope.
Please consider it, I am pained every time that I read your are driving the Interstate when there are such scenic roadways that can take you to the same destination; a little longer, a little slower but so much more enjoyable.
Believe me, Ed… It pains me, too, when I’m on the interstate. Remember I spent two days simply driving away from smoke, and two weeks waiting for vehicle registrations. If I took scenic routes to go from southern Arizona to South Dakota and eventually to Oregon, I’d be somewhere in eastern Wyoming right now! This summer is a “survey course,” future summers will be slower, meandering trips in smaller areas, now that I have an idea of what the west looks and feels like. I feel your pain!
Thank you for the link and suggestions. I’ve been asking folks and studying maps trying to decide which route is best.
Please tell us that you did not skip “Sea Lion Caves”. They are a little north of Florence . A whole cave full of Sea Lions. Lived in North Bend/ Coos Bay a big part of my life and visited the caves every time I could.
I was waiting for someone to mention the sea lion caves. There was nothing to see. The fog was as thick as a wool blanket right up to the deck. People were standing on the deck looking out into nothing. I hope to get a chance another day.
I had the same experience as you with the sea lion caves. Not to worry. Proceed on down to California. You’ll see mounds of them basking on the beach, in season. Right along the road. Keep the dogs away. Some of those guys are monsters, and surprisingly fast when sufficiently annoyed. They seem to largely ignore people, though.
So glad you spent some time at Heceta Head – one of my all-time favorite Oregon places.
Don’t forget to get a blue mirror hanger for the stroller!
Um… what’s a blue mirror hanger?
The temporary handicap permit.
I thought so… just checkin’… I probably should get one of those flags on a pole like OHVs have.
Looks beautiful! I love the northwest pa icicle coast.
Welcome to the Pacific Ocean from me in California! I live one mile from the terminus of Route 66 at the St. Monica Pier. The Pacific is like a beautiful, loyal friend — always there for me, looking’ good. “Oh, good Lord,” I said when I saw Bridget in the stroller. Work it, girl, work it! Any pix of Florence would be nice. It’s THE BOMB for retired folks (with RVs), like Wohalink (sp?) Lake RV Park. Vintage downtown, farmers market at the wharf. What is your impression of Florence? I felt the same joy and accomplishment as you did when I drove from Key West to Maine up the East coast. I think it is our BIRTHRIGHT to see our country (and what a country it is!). God, please bring us the best possible leadership.
I took some photos of Florence yesterday which I’ll share at some point. The bridge over the Stanislaus River is very Old World. It’s a picturesque town with a boulevard of commerce running through it. I do not sense the retirees much. There are a lot of people of all ages on foot with bedrolls on their backs or on bikes that carry them and their gear.
I can’t include everything I see and do in my blog, and tell a story at the same time . It would become another travelogue, and there’s plenty of those on the internet.
I’ve done Maine to Key West . . . quite a different experience from the one we’re on now! Our country is a marvel . . .
So glad you made it to the ocean. The pictures are beautiful. Great idea to get a stroller for Bridget. I bet she is loving it!!
I think Bridget likes her stroller. She turns on the sad face when she knows I’m looking at her, but she sits and watches the view go by . . . like she did in the boat on the river.
The Pacific ocean and fresh sea food…. the fog creeping in on silent cats feet….. the smell of the salt air… The extremely cold Pacific waters… brings back memories from growing up in the San Francisco bay area.
I always like looking out at the ocean from a high vista and seeing the curvature of the earth on the far horizon.
Um . . .I’d be happy to SEE the horizon.
Ah hah…you’ve made it to the coast. Born and raised near SF ocean beach…I grew up with the sound of fog horns and seal lions.
Bridget looks comfy in her stroller…great purchase. Cute parked in the handicap zone.
Don’t laugh at Bridget’s new ride….this contraption makes it easier for your mom to take you on walks. If mom has to carry Bridget on her hip for a long distance…this may end up hurting her hip and then YOU won’t be able to go on walks. This way…Bridget’s injury won’t slow you down and she gets to go too! If Bridge moves over just a bit…I’m sure there is room for you. If not..there is a contraption stroller for “twins”.
Spike was happy trotting around the campground alongside Bridget on her wheels. He hasn’t gotten that kind of exercise since The Tragic Incident.
I don’t which way you are going/have gone from Florence. And lord knows there are many fine beaches in Oregon. But one of my favorites is just a little south of you, Cape Blanco State Park. It is on a bluff above the beach, protected by trees, with easy access to the beach down the hill, a lighthouse, the mouths of two rivers, lots of beach to walk around on. Spike may be interested to know a dog once caught a Chinook Salmon there, though I don’t believe he was allowed to keep it.
There’s excellent seafood in Sixes. Or was.
I’ve heard from several people that Cape Blanco is a great place. In fact some friends camp host there. The state parks are pricier than I’m used to, but I would like to see the area.
Spike isn’t interested in catching a salmon or anything else alive. He catches up with a chipmunk, squirrel, rabbit, whatever and then stands, wagging his tail, wanting a friend. Besides, Spike’s the kind of guy who’s become used to being served his food. Interesting story though.
The State Parks are expensive up and down the west coast. Wait till you get to California. But some are actually worth it, and Cape Blanco is one. It is very easy to find a state park that is little more than a parking place and is every bit as expensive. There are several like that in Colorado, and in southern California. Oregon has done a wonderful job of preserving the coastline for the use of the public. It’s a miserable cold damp rainy stretch in the winter, but summer is glorious, as you would expect from a temperate rain forest stretching from Northern California to Alaska. It’s the same climate all the way up, the summer just gets shorter.
Bad news? You are only about a month away from the rainy season. Or less. And once it starts raining, it doesn’t really stop for maybe half a year. Enjoy it while you can.
O yeah. My memory is that Cape Blanco goes half price right about now, and for the rest of the winter. But that memory is 9 years old. Inquire.
Good tip, Bob. I appreciate all this info. I should be gone by the time the rains come.
Congratulations on reaching the Pacific Ocean; a body of water suitably large for Spike to soak in… Bridget looks so cute in her stroller. Does she still remember which leg is sore?
Thanks again for sharing Sue. I appreciate your writing style.
All the best,
I don’t think Spike realizes all that noisy, white, foamy stuff is water. He’s a soaker, not a surfer!
WOW, what a difference some miles can make. You are sure getting to experience so many landscapes, temps and beauty! PS That’s one sweet baby doll you got riding alone…great idea!
Bridget appreciates the stroller. She walks a little bit and then she’s ready to ride.
Great photos the Pacific is awesome! Took my kids there, it was in June, we thought we could swim wrong!!!
Poor little girl, Bridget, I am surprised it is still so tender after 5 days. Have you tried to massaging her leg, if it’s a muscle this should help? You might have to bring her to a vet. She could have a hairline break.
I know it sounds strange but I had this little Terrier, Gyspy , a few years back and she jumped off the front seat in the car to the front floorboard (12 to 14 inches) and let out a howl. She had hairline break in her front leg, which required a cast on her leg.
Enjoy the Pacific Coast.
I’m giving it some time. A lady here at the campground has a dog who tore a ligament (or maybe it was a sprain.. don’t remember) and the dog limped around for a month. She took the dog to the vet, there was nothing that could be done, and in another month the dog started walking on it again.
Ah, the PNW coast in its usual glory, foggy. I think you’ve been reading too many romance novels. Expectations will get you every time. But at least you saw the ocean. And there’s so much coastline to explore. Agree about Yachats. Yet I can’t believe your stroller purchase, just too funny.
I absolutely HATE romance novels! I LOVE historical fiction. Right now I’m reading one about the Mexican revolution. Yes, the stroller is funny, but it’s a big success. Spike was driving me nuts wanting more exercise, now he gets to trot around and wear himself down.
Ok Sue, I have to admit I burst out laughing seeing Bridget in the stroller……you could have had perfect pictures of the Pacific but all was lost after that pic…..such a pitiful, poor me look. I’m not laughing at you Bridget, just love your princess attitude! Classic! Latte
Wait ’til you see the slideshow I’m about to post!
Question: Does anyone have any information on camping at Walker Lake on 95 in Nevada. I am headed that way tomorrow and was thinking about staying there. Any info would be great.
Walker Lake – What a Deal! (I copied this from rvliving.net.)
Heading north or south on US 95 through Nevada and need a spot to camp for the night, two nights, a week? Then head to Sportsman’s Beach on Walker Lake. Approximately 38,000 acres in size, Walker Lake, just north of Hawthrone Nevada, is the most prominent natural feature in the region and the primary point for recreation in the area. Sportsman’s Beach provides thirty one individual camp sites plus two primitive camping areas. Facilities in the developed campground include vault toilets, covered picnic tables, grills, pull through and back-in camp sites, paved access and a public boat ramp area.
The primitive camping areas are pretty much camp where you please, first come first served. With the lake receding, there are numerous opportunities to camp right on the beach.
While it is not quite what I would consider true boondocking, other than the fee, it is awfully close. At $4 per night and just off our route, I would be hard pressed to drive elsewhere to boondock and not spend $4 in fuel getting there. For those honored Golden Age pass holders the fee is only $2 / night to primitive camp. But wait, it gets better if you stay for a week it’s only $11 for Golden Age pass holders. $11 / week for a lake front camp spot, how can you go wrong? Shoreline camping for next to nothing, now that is an adventure in RVing for me!
Developed Camp Site:
Primitive Camp Area:
Golden Age & Golden Access Passports are honored. 50% off posted rates.
Please note: There is no potable water available at Sportsman’s Beach.
Thanks, I am going to check it out tomorrow. I am headed south to AZ for a few days.
Hope you’re planning to stay high – it’s still HOT in the valley.
I am going to Tucson for a few days and then headed east. Going to the Gulf of Mexico for at least a month. I hope it cools off a little before I get there.
I think you should trade that stroller in for a model used for twins. That way Spikie and Bridget could both be pushed at the same time. LOL! Glad you finally got to see the ocean.
The Oregon Coast is beautiful but to me it looks so Atlantic Coast like. If you want to see the Pacific the Beach Boys sang about, and Annette and Frankie sang and danced on, you have to come to So. Cal. Now that is the Pacific Ocean!
I love your stories about the Fur Children. My husband and I laugh and laugh. BTW I think the stroller is a great idea.