So this is going to make it painfully obvious how far behind I am, but we were in Oregon when Canada Day, and the Fourth of July long weekend kicked off. We knew this was probably going to make it hard for us to find camping, but we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. It didn’t help that we were in a popular area – the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. After checking with many campgrounds we finally found one with a camp host from B.C. who let us set-up in a spot that they had reserved (not sure who or what for). We were grateful and our faces showed it. As we were setting up we couldn’t help but overhear the loud (i.e. yelling) conversation in the campsite next to us. 10 minutes in we knew that we were camped beside a mother and her children traveling with her mother (the grandmother), and that this was not a happy family. Why you would choose to spend a long weekend together when you can’t spend 5 minutes without arguing, I will never understand. I was near tears just listening to it. The children were young and near tears or crying themselves. Half an hour in and I’d put on the softest prettiest music I could find in my iTunes and had my earphones in for the rest of the night. Steve had his in as well.
The campground we stayed at was just outside of Florence, right near the dunes. These dunes are the longest coastal dunes in North America and go on for miles and miles and are quite high (150 meters above sea level) in some points. Because of this, ATVs are a big thing there and people go flying over the dunes in those things. We were more interested in hiking and found a trail where the ATVs aren’t allowed to go.
The trail starts off with an easy well-marked path that loops around and comes back. But you have the choice halfway of heading off into the dunes, with pole markers few and far between guiding the way. Feeling adventurous and well stocked with water, we decided on the latter.
I think we saw two or three pole markers along the way, and really just by chance. So we just wandered the dunes, each time climbing a peak and seeing more and more laid out in front of us. It was just like the movies when they show scenes in the desert with people walking along ridges of sand for miles and miles.
There was even a little oasis!
We stopped there and had a rest and a snack.
I hate wearing shoes and had mine off the second we hit sand, and this put me in the mood for frolicking. I was skipping, and singing, and other silly things…
Adding to the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, there was not a single other soul in sight, not even their footsteps. Even our own footsteps disappeared minutes after we left them, carried off by the wind.
Steve had half-jokingly set our location at the beginning in a GPS app he had for his iPhone. As we tried to make our way back, this proved to be a very good idea. I’m sure we would have muddled our way through it without the technology, but it was clear when we referred to it that our inner compasses were thrown off by how similar one dune looks to the next (I should note that my inner compass has long been on hiatus and I would have wasted away and starved or dehydrated to death if I didn’t have Steve – give me a compass and a map, though, and I’ll take you anywhere!).
Actually it was Steve that might have been swallowed up by the dunes. Pretty literally. We were walking along (me frolicking), and suddenly Steve was up to his waist in the sand! He stumbled upon a hidden hole, long ago covered up by the wind, and plunged right in. I checked for treasures but it was just a regular hole filled of sand.
This is what happens when you decide to wear shoes in the sand:
Even his socks were full.
After the dunes we continued up the coast and made it as far as Lincoln City, which isn’t very far. We had started calling campgrounds all up the coast and all of them sounded surprised and sympathetic – and full. So then we started calling all the bed and breakfasts and found an inn in Lincoln City that had an ok price on Priceline. And an ocean view…
After dinner we headed down to the beach to catch the sunset. We had a romantic stroll along the water and took in the gorgeous view.
That’s some other couple. It’s hard to get a picture of yourself strolling along a beach at sunset! Here’s us:
The next day we thought we might fly a kite together. I haven’t flown one since I was a kid and neither had Steve. But instead we went to an outlet mall and bought some clothes to replace the ones that we shrunk in the Great Washing Fiasco of Austin. We did look at kites, but none of them spoke to us. So if you’re ever on the coast of Oregon, fly a kite for us ok?
We left Lincoln City thinking we were going to drive the whole rest of the way up the coast but ended up taking a surprise detour at the last-minute to Portland. Why? Because we needed (ahem, wanted) a new camera lens and a quick Google search showed us that there was not a single camera store along the coast after Lincoln City. We had made the mistake of going in a camera store in Lincoln City – under the pretense of needing our camera cleaned – and looking at some lenses, but they didn’t have the one we wanted. Oregon has no sales tax and the U.S. has cheaper prices than Canada and we were fast approaching the border. So off to Portland we went. The camera store was closed early, it being the Fourth of July and all, but had their holiday hours posted and were going to be open the next day. So we camped overnight just outside of Portland and heard and saw firecrackers going off in the distance for hours into the night.
Look how happy he is:
That man loves his new technology.
From Portland, we drove straight through Washington and crossed the border back into Canada. Along the way we saw some strange things. We always see strange things, but these I’m going to share because we got pictures. People in the Seattle area, what is the meaning of this?:
While we’re at it, this has been bugging me for awhile. We’ve only seen these in the U.S. and I am befuddled by them – little drive up machines with tubes attached to them:
But back to our drive through Washington. We were driving along the interstate and realized we needed to make a gas stop. Steve got on the off-ramp and then we realized there wasn’t a gas station in sight. So we wanted to get back on the interstate. Well this particular off-ramp on-ramp set-up was ridiculous and we ended up having to do a four-leaf clover pattern in order to get back on:
It was something right out of The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland.
So we made it back to Canadian soil and crossed the border without a hitch, yay! We camped overnight in a campground near the town (Tsawwassen, B.C.) where we were going to take the ferry the next day to Salt Spring Island.
We haven’t left B.C. since. Presently we’re stuck in Abbotsford with a broken-down Amelia. More on that later! Keep your fingers crossed for us that they’re able to fix her up tomorrow morning!