Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July on Coast

After an exhausting and hot hike up Elks and Kings Mountains in the Tillamook Forest of the Coast Range Emily and I were absolutely starving so we were super excited to get to Tillamook and find the Old Oregon Smokehouse along 101 just north of the city.  We had a great dinner of clam chowder and an oyster po’boy sandwich.  The owners even closed up and left for drinks while we were still there!  From there it was an hour drive down the coast to our secret beach location where we would camp for the next two wonderful nights.  Read on…

Emily and I have a secret spot on the south Oregon Coast where we know we can camp on the beach without problem but since moving to Portland we didn’t know of a good one on the North Coast.  Thankfully, a co-worker clued us in to a great location and, sure enough, when we got there on Friday night there were no signs prohibiting camping.  Leo was a bit sluggish following us down the beach as one of his paws was a bit raw and I don’t think the sand felt too good but once we found a good campsite underneath a big cliff and out of view of local houses he plopped down in the sand and happily fell asleep.

We had wheeled in a cooler full of snacks, and beers as well as big comfy camp chairs so after we got the tent set up we crawled into our sleeping bags like worms and sat with beers just in time for the sunset.   Pacific sunsets are simply the best.  Yes, the sunset on Martha’s Vineyard a month ago lit up the sky with color but there is nothing like watching the glowing orb of the sun sink peacefully into the Pacific.  That night we could see Venus and Saturn bright on the horizon and listened to distant fireworks echoing along the cliffs above us from a town far to the south.

On Saturday we headed into Pacific City for some lunch and to download some books and magazines to our devices with the available cellular connection in town.  Then it was back to the beach for an afternoon of relaxing in the sun.  We had considered going on more hikes but with Leo’s sore paws and our laziness on the sunny day we decided to just make it a beach day.  Once the sun cleared the cliff above us it got pretty hot so we moved out to the water’s edge to read.  We got a little too close as a big wave rushed us and if hadn’t been for the 3” of inflation on my new sleeping pad it would have washed our iPad away.  As it was, it took my sandals and nearly swept my brand new sunglasses away!

The night before Emily had woken up in the middle of the night to noises nearby and swore that someone had stolen our camp chairs.  Without my contacts in I couldn’t see a thing and assured her that no one had come by.  Well, she was right… 4 people had set up two tents about 50 feet from us and were out looking for firewood at about 1am the night before.  They had stumbled upon our tent in shock because it had perfectly blended into the cliff behind us and was invisible at night.  Even in the daylight it was hard to spot it.  One of the girls came up to us and sincerely apologized for possibly disturbing us by arriving so late.  She was really nice and it hadn’t bothered us at all.  We also all agreed to keep this place secret!

That night we headed back into town and got dinner at the Oar House Bar & Grill which surprisingly wasn’t that busy when we showed up.  I got a big Prime Rib for dinner which I’m sure would hold me over till we headed home on Sunday.  We also shared a large pitcher of a local stout and were thoroughly stuffed before heading back to the beach for our final night.  We had considered leaving because we were worried about fireworks scaring Leo but were told at dinner that the town had done the fireworks the previous night, which is what we had heard as well.  

Unfortunately, we didn’t consider all the people on the beach with their own fireworks, some of them very big.  As soon as it got dark people started setting off mortars and other very loud explosions.  Leo was very scared and either hid in the tent or nestled up very close to us.  Eventually I just unzipped my sleeping bag and pulled him in very close next to me which seemed to make him feel better.  Eventually, the fireworks stopped and we enjoyed some wine, chocolate pretzels and more beer before heading to bed under yet another starry night sky.

On Sunday we packed up in the morning in a rush because a local woman mentioned something about a tow truck.  Fortunately, it had nothing to do with us and was aimed towards our neighbors whom had parked on the main street and were blocking a fire lane.  Hopefully, these kinds of mistakes don’t close down the beach for camping… We snacked on a bag of cherries and stopped for some coffee on our way back to Portland where we had a relaxing afternoon, back in the heat.  Our AC had broken and it wouldn’t be until Tuesday until we got it fixed again.

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