Life at the Running Y

Life at the Running Y
Life at the Running Y

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It is Rhodie time on the Oregon Coast!

Current Location: Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon Sunny and 60 degrees F

Harris Beach_042If you try to plan a trip to the Oregon Coast to catch the rhodies in bloom, the season will almost always surprise you.  Either it will be too late or too early, with lots of buds and no flowers, or lots of dried up blooms.  With no plans for seeing the famous flowers, or even a thought of the magnificent rhododendrons on our minds, we decided it was time to get “home” again to our favorite Oregon Coast beach.

The four hour drive from home in Rocky Point, through Grants Pass, and west on the winding Highway 199 along the Smith River is magnificent any time of year.  This time, however, the closer we got to the coast, the more the steep hillsides were cloaked in gorgeous wildflowers.  We have traveled this route many times, but I don’t remember seeing quite the profusion of flowers that greeted us yesterday morning on our trip west.

Oregon boxwood shrubs were tipped in right red foliage that looked just like flowers, and the rocky cliffs were covered with blue penstemon and carpets of low yellow native iris. The closer we got to the Jedediah Smith redwoods, the more flowers we found.  Mo was driving, the camera was buried in its case and Jeremy was hugging my shoulder as he likes to do when the road is rough and curvy.  No photos of the brilliant clouds of pink flowers on wild rhododendrons that were sometimes more than 20 feet tall.

Harris Beach_018Neither of us could believe that it has been more than five months since we settled in to Harris Beach, with our last short trip back in early December before we left for the winter for warmer? southern climes.  The beaches were gorgeous in Texas and Florida, but as anyone who has seen it knows, the Oregon Coast is unmatched for wild rugged beauty, at least in the US.  For us, even the famous coast at Big Sur along Highway 1 in California isn’t as seductive, and definitely not as accessible as our beloved Oregon Coast.

We left Rocky Point in the rain, and were greeted with a mixture of hard rain, sleet, hail and snow as we drove over the pass toward Medford.  It was cloudy most of the way west, and with rain predicted for our few days at the beach, we were fully prepared to hole up in the MoHo and listen to the rain, play cards and do mostly nothing.  We purposely didn’t bring the bikes or the kayaks with plans for some real R and R, and a respite from house and yard work that has dominated the last month.

Harris Beach_041Surprise!  Not only are the rhodies blooming, but there hasn’t yet been a sign of a cloud in the sky.  The ocean is blue and gorgeous, the temperatures are in the low sixties during the day and high 40’s at night. 

With the view sites along the front row completely full, we settled into spot A30 and paid for four nights.  Didn’t seem too bad, although it was a fairly open site and the playground was right behind us.  We were also on a main walking route to the restrooms and the laundry and both last night and this morning were well entertained by the various kinds of people walking past.

Harris Beach_045For supper, the Chetco Seafood Company was our local fish and chips choice, and it didn’t disappoint.  In fact, I talked to the owner and snagged some fresh cod and California halibut filets which he vacuum sealed and flash froze for us to take home to Rocky Point.  Yum!

It was good to sleep in the MoHo again, after a month of lots of space and a big bedroom and a bath more than 10 feet away, it was fun to be in the cozy space with just two steps to the bath.  Funny. As we settled in for the evening, a very tall class A parked next to us, with a clear open view of our huge yard and the firepit.  Hmmmm.

Harris Beach_031This morning we went for a park walk, oohing and ahhing over the rhododendrons in the park and the surrounding neighborhoods, and found a nice space open along Row A, but toward the quiet back corner of the park.  It looked inviting enough that we talked to the camp host about moving, and in a matter of moments we were slide in, jacks up, awning in and moved to the new spot.  We can still see the ocean, just a tiny bit, but things here are much quieter and more private.

Interesting, as we were moving, a front row ocean view site came open and we declined.  In spite of the view that we have enjoyed many times, the front row now has a lot more exposure since the park has cleared brush around the sites, and there is traffic from both the park entrance road and the main road through the campground.

Harris Beach_050Mo spent a few days last week getting our new VuCube working at home, and even though we had cable here at the site, she thought it might be fun to practice setting it up.  Fun wasn’t the word, with all sorts of strange glitches that we still haven’t quite managed to figure out keeping the thing from working correctly. There were too many variables, and that became our statement for the day.  In the end, it almost worked, but then we realized that the signal was getting interference and that was probably the main issue.  Trees.  For now, it is packed away again and we will fiddle with it out in the desert somewhere to limit some of the variables.  It did keep us at home for the day, which was the original goal. 

Harris Beach_017After a great chicken stir fry supper, we are relaxing a bit before heading for the beach for a sunset stroll.  Unlike Florida beaches, getting to the beach here requires a bit of hiking down and then back up the steep paths that lead down to water level.  Last night we walked to the overlook and watched the beach walkers below.  Plenty of time to hike to the beach ahead in the next few days.  A trip to Loeb Azalea Gardens, and who knows what else will keep us occupied. 

Of course, I do hope that we manage more sitting, reading, and napping than we usually manage on a trip to the coast.  Maybe if it rains in the next few days it will encourage us to actually lie around and do nothing except watch the sky.Harris Beach_051