Back on our rock after coasting down Oregon’s gorgeous seashore

P1280237.JPGYou never know who you’ll run into on an RV trip down the Oregon Coast. Here, T-Rex confronts Barbara outside Prehistoric Gardens, a roadside attraction near Humbug Mountain.

IMG_7955ABSENCE MAKES THE ROCK GROW FONDER. Or makes us fonder of our rock. Or something…

We’re glad to be back on Center Island after a week in a rented 25-foot motorhome roving the Oregon Coast, cats and all. This was a reprise of a trip we did almost 10 years ago for a Seattle Times story, sampling the pleasures of the “shoulder season” when rental costs were lower, an RV let us care not about occasional rain, and crowd-free campgrounds made a coastal tour a carefree treat.

That all remained true except for the “crowd-free” part. In the ensuing decade, lots of new folks have moved to the Northwest and many retiring Baby Boomers have added to the ranks of RVers, along with a friendly new crowd of techno-geek younger folks pulling self-contained, solar-powered pod trailers that resemble tiny spacecraft on wheels. This time, reserved campsites were advisable.

Nonetheless, our week of rolling down the coast was fun and adventurous, and bringing the whiskered friends — ill-advised as it might have seemed to anyone familiar with the term “herding cats” — turned out a fine idea. They were good travelers, fuzzy bed-warmers on cold nights, and cozy company. Happily, the rental outfit we used, CruiseAmerica, welcomes pets at no extra cost.


P1280510.JPGGalley Cat perches in one of her favorite viewpoints, on the dashboard of our rental motorhome, at Oregon’s South Beach State Park campground, at Newport.

We spent several hours most days driving from one campground to another along the beautiful coast highway, except for one treasured layover day at our favorite Oregon park, Beachside State Recreation Site, where we snagged a campsite with an in-your-face view of ocean waves framed by a few windblown spruces. As much as we have been true-blue tent campers most of our lives, we had to admit it was pretty nice to sit in our cozy dinette on a cold October morning looking out our RV’s big window at the Pacific surf.

P1280393.JPGSea stacks like gigantic shark fins dot the Oregon Coast along Highway 101 south of Port Orford.

We stretched this coastal trip from wild Cape Lookout, west of Tillamook, southward to Harris Beach, not far from the California border, where the sand is jumbled with chiseled, house-high rocks resembling a bunch of toys left scattered by unruly giant children.

Barbara added nicely to her lifetime quota of beach walks, her all-time favorite leisure activity, and I took a lot of photos and interviewed other campers for an upcoming piece for Journey, the glossy magazine published by AAA of Washington. (My dear wife generously recognizes that I’m constitutionally incapable of traveling without writing about it.)

P1280443.JPGBarbara looks out from a viewing deck at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, south of Florence.

Driving a gas-guzzling RV was a guilty pleasure that we really enjoyed for a week. Now we’re very happy to stay home for a good while in our cozy cabin in the San Juans. With our new electric-powered ductless heat pump, installed last spring, we rely less on firewood for heating on these cool autumn days. So these guilty pleasure-lovers feel a little less guilty about our carbon footprints in the sand.

Meanwhile, with winds and rain, autumn is getting serious here. My next trip to the city will be for my sister-in-law’s annual Halloween party. We’re working on our costumes, with a planned trip to the Take It or Leave It recycled-clothing warehouse at the Lopez Dump this weekend. Ah, the fine traditions of October. 1-anchor

P1280186.JPGCape Blanco Lighthouse, built in 1870, was one of our Oregon Coast stops, where we enjoyed a tour led by volunteer docents.

4 thoughts on “Back on our rock after coasting down Oregon’s gorgeous seashore

  1. Always a joy to read your missives on the road . Reminds me of Travels with charley . Tales by another wandering gadfly . Glad to see you and yours are ensconced in your Brigadoon . Happy Trails till we meet again .


  2. I have been amazed at the number of RV’s still set up in the campground in Chelan. I realize Crush and hydroplane races brought many last weekend, but the traveling public has discovered RV life it seems. We also note that September in our area of Greece is the time of the ‘caravans’ (RV’s are called that there) and the numbers of tourists who navigate our tiny roads with hair-pin turns and set up anywhere they find a wide enough shoulder to park. Some opt for the village parking lot . . .a rocky, concreted bordered spot that certainly doesn’t call out to me, but to each his own!! Looks like a beautiful journey!


  3. Brian-

    I loved this travelogue. We’re going to be heading that way the first week in December with our new (old, but new to us) camper, a Pleasure-Way from Canada, a small step up from the VW camper with pop-top. And what you say about so much more company on the roads! Yikes, SO true. We never used to need reservations anywhere. And fortunately we can “boondock” with our rig, i.e., no hook-ups, so that gives us a few more options. Thanks for your great postings that take us adventuring and bring us home with you through your magic way with words.


    From: Cantwell’s Reef Reply-To: Cantwell’s Reef Date: Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 4:12 PM To: Subject: [New post] Back on our rock after coasting down Oregon’s gorgeous seashore

    Brian J. Cantwell posted: “You never know who you’ll run into on an RV trip down the Oregon Coast. Here, T-Rex confronts Barbara outside Prehistoric Gardens, a roadside attraction near Humbug Mountain. ABSENCE MAKES THE ROCK GROW FONDER. Or makes us fonder of our rock. Or somethin”


    1. You shouldn’t have any problem with camping crowds in December, Hilary. The owner of a popular restaurant on Hwy. 101 in Port Orford told us it would be busy for another couple weeks and then she was closing up for a week’s vacation on Kauai. After that, it would be “the Doldrums,” she said. (The Crazy Norwegian, with great fish and chips, or chowder served in a bread bowl, worth a lunch stop. Good pie, too!) Have fun!


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