Saturday we were woken up by some crows that thought our site was a good place to have a convention. Damn things were loud. We packed up camp and started out on the long drive north, and home. Sadly, the weather turned on us for the first time.
We had actually driven south for a couple of miles to the Simpson Reef viewpoint where you can see a huge sea lion haul out. There must be thousands of them, and they make a considerable racket. A couple miles further south was the end of the road, and another viewpoint. At this one, we actually saw a couple of grey whales out in the ocean. Very cool, but short lived as the rain started at that point so we had to run for the car.
The rest of the day the rain was on and off, with huge stretches of fog, some sunny spots and lots of rain and cloud. We made it way back up the coast, stoping at various beaches, State Parks and lookouts along the way. We stopped quickly in Coos Bay, which was a very odd little town. But again the rain started and on we went.
This stretch of the drive took us through the Oregon Dunes State Park, a series of huge sand dunes along the shore. We stopped at a couple of spots to explore, and stretch our legs.
We stopped for lunch in the town of Florence, and nice little town, and had some great fish and chips. I had been through this part of the coast a few years back, and vaguely remembered an interesting piece of the Oregon Dunes that I wanted Justine to see. The waitress helped us find the spot, so we went back to explore the sand dunes. This area, while just outside of Florence, feels completely isolated. The dunes rise up just meters from the ocean, and the beach stretches on for what feels like forever. It's a cool spot.
We had a book that gave mile-by-mile suggestions for interesting things to see. One of them noted the location of a tiny park that was set-up to protect a pocket of unique plants - carnivorous pitcher plants. You see these every once in a while in nurseries as unusual gifts, but this was their natural habitat, and it was amazing to see how many of them were growing in this one spot. And how big they are. I can only guess at how many insects it takes to feed that many plants.
We continued up the coast, stopping at a couple of spots to take pictures and check out the views. We stopped at a lookout overlooking a couple of lighthouses, and made a stop at a spot called the Devil's Chasm, where water comes in hard at high tide, creating massive up spouts. While we were there at the right time of day, the high tide was pretty low, so the show wasn't very interesting.
From there, we headed north a couple of more hours until we arrived at our last campsite, at Beverly Beach State Park. Strangely, I had stayed at this campsite on my last trip, but it also ended up being our least favourite camp group on the trip.
The campground is just north of the town of Newport, which was where I had come across the piece of dock that had washed over from the Japanese tsunami a couple of years back. After getting camp setup we wandered down to the beach, but it was packed with people so we headed into town. We decide have dinner in town so as not to have to unpack all the gear for making dinner. Neither of us really felt like washing up or dealing with the BBQ.
We found a cool little Irish pub at Nye Beach in Newport, and had a good dinner, then wandered down to the beach to watch the sunset. It disappeared very quickly in the clouds and fog, and didn't do a lot. From there we headed back to camp, where we got a great fire going, opened a bottle of wine and enjoyed our last night camping. For the record, Justine kicked my ass at Gin Rummy. It was pretty bad.
Sunday morning was very misty and grey as we had breakfast and packed up camp for the last time. Sunday night we were staying at a hotel in Portland, so this ended our camping for the trip.