An epic journey along Oregon’s pacific coast. A somehow inconsistent mix of georgeous, well protected seashores and crowded beach resorts with all (in)conveniences of American way life.
Astoria, 24th July
We’re still near Mount St. Helens. Enjoying warm weather. Temperatures towards 35°. The place an opportunity for some further exploration of this local tribe.
We all know most of them have at least 1 dog. And they like them immensely. They love them more than their all-beloved partners. Even more than their mother-in-law – imagine that.
Of course there’s a logical reason for having dogs in America: who else would eat all this stuff which is put in the so called doggy box at the end of each meal in the restaurant.
Strangely, they take their all-beloved pets wherever they go: cars, bikes, ATVs, RVs, cycles – whatever they can imagine transporting their dogs. Contrary to any other place in the world (except Korea) the proud owners mostly dress these cute doggies appropriately for the weather and accordingly to the transport they use.
Thus, American dogs sit’n’sleep on the car seat, dog friendly cycle seats, on the armchairs in pet friendly motels and probably in the owner’s bed. To avoid the poor dogs getting dirty they protect them by using blankets or special dog-friendly bedding (organic, gluten free, not imported from Mexico or North Korea, enriched with vitamin D5 and chloride).
These blankets have to be washed regularly. During a long summer holiday preferably in pet friendly laundries. But visibly not all laundries are really smart towards these dog addicted guys.
Surely politics will change this unacceptable situation in certain establishments soon.
Enough of dogs. We like dogs – just maybe not the American way.
After Mount St. Helens we drive to the great Pacific coast. Along the estuary of Columbia River …
… to the Long Beach Peninsula. It’s pretty cool – 15°C – windy, slightly foggy. Well, that’s normal when cold sea water meets a hot’n’arid land mass. But why is it that crowded with tourists? No idea what the hell all these guys search at a beach where you can’t go for a swim, it’s too cold for sunbathing and every morning it’s completely foggy. Looks nice, but fog gazing for 2 weeks? Maybe they just like munching snacks the whole day at the beach dressed in their warmest windproofed clothes. Who knows.
To nearby Cape Disappointment State Park. Wonderful landscape, a historic lighthouse, beaches, …
… a pity, quite some guys seem to be too weak to walk a few 100m to the beach. So they have to use their cars. Hopefully, the saltwater will not convert their hallmark into a rust bucket.
On to Astoria in Oregon State. To reach we have to cross the 10km long bridge over Columbia River.
Astoria: America’s 1st settlement at the Pacific. Still with a lot of well-preserved historic houses.
And a famous watering hole.
Reedsport, 26th July
The next morning further southwards. All along the coast. A mix of dense fog and brilliant sunshine. Strong icy wind and temperatures around 12°.
A visit to awesome Ecola State Park. A few km south of Astoria. A viewpoint high up, then down to Indian Beach.
On to Cannon Beach. Oregon’s most famous and most crowded beach resort. No idea why.
Well, there’s the Haystack Rock.
Heading to Cape Meares. 1 of the most famous spots of the Oregon coast. Well, there’s a lighthouse and it’s pretty wet’n’very foggy.
So no idea how gorgeous it is in reality. A few km further we’re out of the fog, …
… just to get back to it.
Thru the tourist hotspot Cape Kiwanda – seems to be mainly a beach parking for the visitor’s beautiful cars.
A night in cool’n’windy Lincoln City. Then further southwards thru sun and …
A visit to Cape Foulweather and …
… the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
Then the Yaquina Head State Park. Probably to most gorgeous place at the coast.
Next: Cape Perpetua with its tide pools – all kind of marine veggies and meaties to admire in the shallow waters of the pools.
On along the coast, …
South of the village of Florence a complete change of landscape: now sand dunes. Initially we’ve planned to stay there. Unfortunately too crowded, no vacancies at all. It seems this time of the year all Americans need to drive their ATV on the beach dunes.
A visit to the nearby Oregon Dunes Recreation Area. Here of course, ATVs are not really allowed. So only a few 1s. And a few crab fishers taking their chance.
Then on to Reedsport. We don’t choose this place because it’s so beautiful, of excellent quality or a lively place. No, it’s simply because not everything is fully booked. And there’s supposedly a reason why. We stay in a motel – forgot the name. They’re kind enough to have us their last double room. And it’s a real double room – even the room is doubled.
To balance a little this rather strange accommodation we head for a splurge in the town’s best eatery. A family diner to enjoy the free glass of water with some industrially pre-processed food.
Medford, 28th July
We drive a little further southwards. Along the coast. Some more beaches to admire, …
… some sea lions at Cape Arago, hardly visible in the dense fog.
In Bandon we turn eastwards. Towards Crater Lake National Park. There would be another 1000 beautiful places to admire along this cost. But for the moment it’s ok. We need a change.
Some 300 km. A pretty long journey on winding roads, thru absolutely dry landscape.
Approaching the national park we discover the cloud of a huge wildfire. Not located within the park. But surely reducing considerably visibility.
The sky gets darker, on the rim the landscape turns into a reddish colour.
Visibility in the crater is definitely not perfect, …
… but it looks pretty dramatic.
The next morning: the smoke seems to be quite far away, …
… Crater Lake even looks too blue. Later we learn that it will be again hazy’n’smocky by early afternoon.
By noon the crowd starts to maximise its activities. And the crater starts getting hazy again. Smoke is back. Time for us to head on. Southwards. To the town of Klamath Falls. Optimistic that there will be no smoke.
Despite all optimism, the further we drive the more smoke is in the air. Near Klamath Falls we start to think about alternatives to our next destination Lassen National Park. The cellphone runs hot showing all pics of Lassen’s webcams with completely hazy landscapes. A map shows the active wildfires: everywhere, especially towards Lassen.Soon later we’re again on the way towards the cost. Trying to escape the smoke. A night in smoky, hazy Medfort – nothing to remember – …
… well, may except the unique experience of McDonald’s Full Breakfast.
Crescent City, 30th July
And we’re definitely on the way to Crescent City – just north of the Redwood National Park.
Cross into California and …
… a few km further we reach the Pacific coast. Still this yellow light from thick layers of smoke, but no longer the intense smell of all this burning wood.
We’re in Crescent City. The town not really a beauty. No wonder, in 1964 it was largely destroyed by a Tsunami. After that it seems everybody was so pessimistic that they even avoided any costs for architects. This of course resulting in a model on how not to build any municipality. Nowadays it’s just ugly, decaying and leaves a rather abandoned impression.
The next day to the Redwood National Park. To marvel some of the biggest trees in North America.
A drive thru misty landscapes and some hikes thru dense forest.
We head for the National Park’s famous Fern Canyon. A slightly bumpy gravel road – still much better than 99% of the gravel roads Prado has driven. We arrive at the toll both. Have to queue up for passing our valuable dollars to the smart park employee. Of course, we stop the engine.
Finally the guys in front of us have finished their arduous’n’complicated payment ritual. We can move on. Only Prado refuses categorically. What the hell. The starter engine does even not make the slightest noise. Whatever we try nothing happens. We push the car aside. We try to push start Prado. Even with the help of the friendly cashier of the park the car is too heavy to get the speed on this gravel road. Finally a car stops. Offers some help. And the tow rope does it. And after a few meters towing Prado comes back to life. Thanx guys for saving our trip to Ushuaia!
Quickly we drive back to Crescent City. Visit a car doctor. After some in-depth analyses they announce us that Prado doesn’t start because there’s a problem with the starter. Ok, good to know this important truism. Then they declare that the starter engine definitely has to be replaced. And of course, that they don’t have 1 and they don’t know where to find 1 in America. But they may do some search on internet should we stay in Crescent City for a few weeks. Not that good news.
Finally we develop the option to leave the car with them overnight (because they have enough people to push start it next morning) and to drive tomorrow to the Toyota dealer in Eureka. They might have a nice idea.
Well, that’s it for this post. A certain uncertainty during overlanding is part of the life on the road. Let’s see how it develops in the next post. Soon.