Toward the end of July, on the 22nd, we loaded up the MoHo and headed north once again toward the Oregon Coast at Cannon Beach. It is a long trip, and rather than tackle the coast route we simply drove north on the freeway, cut across the Willamette Valley at Salem, north on 47 to 26 and west to the ocean. Took us about 7 hours to get there, but it was a truly gorgeous day.
Part of the family, including Mo’s brothers and their wives were camping about 20 miles south near Nehalem, but Mo and I chose to stay at the Sea Ranch RV Park in Cannon Beach on Ecola Creek. Another branch of the family, including Mo’s sister and nieces, and their kids were staying at a hotel right in downtown Cannon Beach and it was more convenient to be closer to them.
Sea Ranch Resort is an interesting little park, quite small and tight. We only saw 1 big rig there, and lots of variety in smaller rigs, tents, and vans. During this most busy time of the year, the park was filled to the brim, and our site was tiny and tight. We had to park the car sideways with the nose touching the MoHo to fit in the small space.
Still, there was enough privacy with big shrubs on two sides and it was totally dark and quiet at night. We ended up paying just over $60. per night for this little piece of real estate about half a mile from the beach but certainly within walking distance of the town and the infamous Haystack Rock. It was expensive, and not at all fancy, but it was OK for what we needed for this trip, and we were only there for 3 nights.
That first evening we settled in, talked to family on the phone and found out where their hotel was located and what the plan was for the next day. We thought it might be nice to drive downtown, find the hotel and check out Tolovana Beach Recreation Site where the family was to gather the next morning for an extreme low tide.
We had no more walked a few hundred yards down the beach when we heard Susan calling us. The family was out walking for the evening and saw people with a cute little dog, and laughed out loud when they realized it was us with Mattie. We had a lovely walk before returning to our campsite and a much needed rest after a long day.
The next day dawned warm, sunny, and gorgeous, with no wind. Something unheard of on the Oregon Coast, at least for us. In fact the entire time we were at the beach the weather was very nearly perfect. Just the right temperature, sunny skies, windless. I don’t think I have ever experienced an Oregon Coastal beach as thick with people. It was rather amazing to see. Even the long time Oregon natives in Mo’s family couldn’t remember seeing this beach this crowded.
The low tide was wonderful, making it possible to walk directly out to Haystack Rock and view the birds and sea animals up close. There were signs and ropes limiting some areas of access to protect the nesting birds, and other information signs about the types of mussels found on the exposed rocks.
The kids loved the experience, as did the dogs. Even though leashes are required on Cannon Beach, there were times when we were separate enough from the crowds that we could let the dogs run and play a bit. Dan and Chere have a new puppy and she was learning how to behave and doing a great job. Mattie, of course, was her little pushy self as she often is with big dogs, thinking they are all willing for her to jump on them and play rough. It is always better when they are off leash together, but that is assuming we know that the other dog won’t get upset with her, and that was the case with Dan’s dog, at least most of the time.
After our beautiful morning on the beach, Mo and I returned to the MoHo for lunch and a chance to rest up Mo’s knee which is still healing from the injury back in March when we were in Florida. I decided to walk to town to meet with some of the family for a bit of shopping.
Rachel and Susan have both lived in Oregon and their most favorite treat at the beach is the famous salt water taffy that is sold in the iconic Bruce’s Candy Kitchen. It was heaven for the kids and moms, but I only lasted a few minutes before retreating to the benches outside to escape the mayhem. I settled for a rather amazing ice cream treat instead, something with vanilla ice cream in a bowl with two shots of hot dark espresso poured over like a coffee float in a bowl. Wow! I’ll remember that one for awhile.
Returning home, we finished making the macaroni salad that we our contribution to the family dinner and headed south toward Nehalem and the Paradise Cove RV Park, where Brothers Dan and Don and their wives Chere and Wynn were camped. As always when the family gathers, there was lots of fun and laughter, and lots of little kids and dogs running around having a good time. The guys bar-be-qued a big batch of hot dogs and hamburgers to go with the assorted pot luck side dishes.
We had a great time, and the sun was setting as Mo and I piled back into the Tracker to travel the 20 miles or so back north. On the return trip we were treated by a gorgeous coastal sunset and stopped to catch a few photos before continuing home to our MoHo.
Our sweet little dog was waiting patiently. It is an amazing thing to be able to leave Mattie in the rig for extended periods of time without having to worry about her having an accident, getting into anything, or making a racket. She may be a bit of a pain when meeting other dogs, but this one trait of hers endears her to us in ways you can’t imagine.
Wednesday was a day for individual activities for different people, with some going crabbing, some shopping, some traveling farther south to the cheese factory at Tillamook. Mo and I opted for a new to us kayak at a new to us location. We had seen Cullaby Lake on Google Maps, saw that it had two county parks and three places to launch, and that it looked fairly protected with a bit of interesting shoreline. We definitely did NOT want to do anything even closely resembling a fast moving river with Mo’s painful rib still hurting from her injury on the Rogue.
On Google, the lake looked interesting, but surprisingly brown, and when we arrived, it was just as brown as it looked in the satellite photo. The launch was easy, however, and while brown, the water wasn’t really dirty, just stained from tannins from the thick organic matter beneath and around the small landlocked lake.
We first paddled north, away from the homes that lined the southwestern side of the lake, then meandered around the entire perimeter. We explored the small side bays, and as we returned along the western shoreline we enjoyed the views of the varied homes that overlooked the water. We were only out about 2 hours, a perfect mid day paddle.
My favorite part were the gorgeous pink water lilies nymphaea odorata that were in full bloom in some of the more remote coves along the eastern shoreline. It was like floating in a Monet painting. Gorgeous blue skies, green forests, pink lilies, all made up for the somewhat brownish water. After a bit, I didn’t even notice it except for the perfect reflections it made.
Home again for a bit of a rest before we gathered once again with family that evening for a farewell supper. We decided on the Pelican Brewery Cannon Beach, and incredibly, at 4:30 in the afternoon, Rachel managed to get a table for 15 people without even a wait. The food was delish, the service was great, but the food not so good that I have any idea of what I ate. No doubt we had fish and chips, since we were on the coast and that is what we usually love to eat when near the sea. It certainly wasn’t memorable, but the company was wonderful.
We said our goodbyes and made our way back home to the MoHo. On the north side of town, north of Ecola Creek, is a beautiful quiet beach, with far fewer people than the famous Cannon Beach just to the south. We took Mattie for a sunset walk, enjoying the sound of the ocean and watching the sun dip to the horizon, hoping perhaps for the famous green flash. No green flash, but the sunset was a perfect ending for a lovely short trip to the northern Oregon Coast.
The next day part of the family went crabbing and enjoyed a great evening crab feed. This is such a treat for Susan and her kids especially since they live in Colorado where fresh crab is nowhere to be found. Mo and I were unable to get 4 nights reservation at the late date we planned the trip, so we packed up and headed out by 8AM.
The trip home was basically uneventful, and this time we knew to simply travel east on 26, pick up 47 toward Salem, and took 99 all the way in to Corvallis, where we headed west toward the interstate. I had a small delivery to make, and after sharing my project with the family, it was time to deliver Melody’s birthday quilt. Melody works in Eugene, about 3 hours north of our home in Grants Pass, and we were passing right through Eugene on our way home.
I stopped in at Melody’s workplace, and was able to see her happy face when she saw her finished quilt. I spent a year doing it, and once again, sent the quilt to Montana for Janna from Montana to quilt. I was so lucky, since Janna says she is no longer quilting for others, so this was her last one to do. She did a fabulous job, as always. When Melody talked to me later, she said all the women in her office were so thrilled some had tears in their eyes, and most of them had quilt stories to share. Such a lovely tradition, I hope it stays around forever.
We continued south through the gorgeous sunny, and now windy hot day toward Grants Pass. As we approached Canyonville, I saw news of a newly started forest fire right along the freeway. The Milepost 97 fire had started the previous evening, and by the time we reached Canyonville had grown to a few hundred acres. We were lucky to get through because later the fire burned close to the interstate and closed the freeway for a time.
This year has been rather incredible for the lack of fires and this was the only major fire that affected us here in Grants Pass. The fire was about 30 miles north as the crow flies, and we had smoke for a few days, but the firefighters were on it so fast and furious that they managed to contain the fire fairly quickly, even in the steep inaccessible terrain, and the fire was stopped at just over 13,000 acres. The fire was caused by an illegal campfire. Rather amazing, and so grateful.
The rest of the summer since those days has been beyond incredible. Hot but not overly so, with temperatures in the low to high 90’s and no triple digit days to contend with. Last week we even got two days of soaking rains, almost unheard of in August in this part of Oregon where we can go 60 to 90 days without any measurable precipitation. The skies are fresh and blue and gorgeous. It is a summer to remember and I am glad that we have been around to enjoy it.