Originally, we were going to leave on Friday, picking up TBear on our way. However, his duties at the county fair would keep him occupied with his mother through Saturday at noon, and delaying the trip that long would be pointless. Instead we left a day early, planning to stay the night at Uncle Ben’s house. Thursday was the beginning of a ‘heat wave’ in Oregon, and my A/C couldn’t quite keep up. Travelling for 9 hours and 17 minutes with 3 little kids in an oven, towing a trailer over the Blue Mountains was…. unpleasant.
However, once that ordeal was over, we were greeted by family, friends! Uncle Ben had a pool and BBQ ready for us, and we had a great late night catching up. They all had work the next day, so I really appreciate the hospitality!
Usually, we plan trips like this in great detail, reserving a destination far in advance. We were going to visit the Enchanted Forest for MrCheeze’s Birthday, but with the heat wave, the Willamette Valley looked less appealing than the coast. With less than 2 weeks notice, there was only 1 retainable spot within 150 miles, and it was a dirt lot at the marina (no thanks). Instead, we headed for the Carl Washburne Memorial State Park campground, which is 1st-come-1st-serve only. As a backup, I had phone #’s for everywhere else, so I could check for cancelations.
This place was AWESOME! I showed up Friday morning, and there was 1 space left, but as folks left, they would shout their space # out, so incoming folks could fill it. I didn’t have to wait, but I saw a couple rigs do a lap or two before landing somewhere. The shrubbery was dense, providing lots of privacy, & it had hook-ups, showers, and smooth asphalt. I’d never had hook-ups before. While they were as convenient as I expected, my favorite side-effect was the silence. (No generators running! Also, no cell service.) As a bonus, we were at the edge of the Tsunami zone, so my prepper-brain slept easier. We were setup and on to our first adventure by 11 am.
Just down the road (1.5 miles) is the Hobbit Trail, but the parking was tiny & full, so we continued on to the Heceta Head Day Use Beach/B&B/Lighthouse. We paid for $5 day-use, but it turned out our camping fee already covered it. First, we headed up the trail and saw some whales surfacing & spouting! We swung by the gift shop for our magnet souvenir, and admired the caretaker’s grounds. They operate a B&B there, and it looked like a wedding reception was planned soon.
Next, we continued on up to the lighthouse, nibbling some blackberries on the way. It was closed for renovation, but one of the utility buildings had displays and a video slideshow running, which was interesting. We enjoyed the view, then headed up the trail. According to the park brochure, this trail led from the lighthouse 1.5 miles down to the “Hobbit Trail” and on to the beach. However, there was more than one head to go over, and the elevation changes of going up-over-and-back-down was significant, and I was tuckered by the other side. It’s totally worth it though, as it goes through dense forests, and provides magnificent views! Plus, I got cell phone service on top, and posted an update on Facebook for anyone that may wish to join us.
Finally, it left us at the “Hobbit Trail,” which is a 1/2 mile walk down to the beach. This trail is really neat, too. There are series of small, tunnel-like trails weaving in and amongst the main trail. These are really short (Hobbit-sized) and provided lots of entertainment for the wee ones. Even Birdy crouched and explored, but I refrained & stayed upright.
Once at the beach, we all rested, then explored & played in the creek/surf. Crab parts seem to wash up here, and folks apparently adorn the trail with them. At one point, Birdy found a pair of good arms and started chasing the kids around, chomping at them. It was very refreshing, but we still had a hard trek back, so we brushed off our feet and headed back up the hill. It took a little over an hour each time, for our family to traverse from beach to beach. LilPill fell asleep being carried back by Birdy, as I had taken our pack of supplies.
We had intended to eat seafood out that night, which was a good thing, because we were utterly exhausted and not in the mood to cook! We headed into town (Yachats), and stopped at the Luna Sea Fish House. They have their own seafood market and boat for crab, which we were sad to hear had just gone out of season. We picked up some salt water taffy next door, and some marshmallows at the grocery store, before heading back to camp. Thanks to some practice, and the smooth roads, MrCheeze felt brave enough to ride without his training wheels. This time he was successful and enjoyed getting practice throughout the remainder of the trip.
Stay tuned for another installment, coming soon!