There's been significant driving since my last post. I emerged from Death Valley with a craving to see the Pacific Ocean. But logistically, the California coast appeared like it might be a headache for a camper-van to explore. I had driven the California coast once before, so I decided to skip it and head directly to Oregon, via Interstate 5. This corridor runs medially up California. Everything on it below Sacramento is nasty and industrial, but north of that, its quite pleasant and pastoral.
The Pacific Northwest comes on very suddenly. I went from this:
... in what seemed like a relatively short time. Rain, cold, swamps, and trees, trees, trees. I was a little discouraged at first by just how swampy and drab the southern Oregon coast is. Houses seem to be melting before your eyes. There's no beach - only a marsh-like disintegration of land into saltwater. The towns appeared impoverished and empty. It was depressing.
But as I inched northward along 101, the landscape improved. I spent 3 nights at the campsite pictured ABOVE. I don't recall the name. It was a state park. I was driving by and I saw it had a vacancy sign, so I pulled in just to see. It turns out that this is still considered the off-season by Oregon State Parks so the rates were lower. And although the park system uses the abomination
that is ReserveAmerica for booking campsites, if you just show up, there are some sites you can claim in person without paying the reservation fee. This campsite was $12 a night. That included electricity and water, and access to a dump station and hot showers. And these were REAL showers, with scalding hot water - not those bullshit Nevada showers which mist you with lukewarm water and charge 25 cents a minute. So all around it was a good deal.
This campground had a recreational lake, pictured ABOVE. I went for some pleasant walks around it.
As I continued north on 101, I still hadn't seen any real shoreline. It was still swamp. Then, all of a sudden, I turned a corner, and...
That's the van in the bottom center. Just over that guard rail loomed the Pacific shoreline I'd been hoping to see. Feeling refreshed, I continued up the coast and camped at some different sites. I've included some Oregon beach pictures below. The best campground was Beachside State Park. I was within 30 feet of the beach and could look at the ocean from the window of my van.
Rainier, the second time
3 weeks ago