Spider Bites and Underpants – Remembering Oregon Jul26

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Spider Bites and Underpants – Remembering Oregon

Today I’m wearing someone else’s underwear and I have an ice pack strapped to my stomach with an ace bandage. It’s somewhere near 90 degrees outside in the Badlands of South Dakota and not much cooler inside, so I don’t mind the ice so much, it’s the only thing that keeps the 4 giant spider bites above my belly button from hurting and itching. But the underwear don’t feel quite right.

images I have them courtesy of some camper at the Rapid City KOA who shares my preference for the Hanes brand, a similarly sized asset, and my affinity for hot pink. Ali saw them on the table in the laundry room the morning we left, clean, folded and alone. Since we’d done 3 loads the day before and they really did look like a pair I own, she grabbed ’em.

I knew they weren’t mine as soon as I put them on this morning, they’re the hipster cut and I wear bikini cut. I shared a laugh with Allison over it while giving her my best Brooke Shields in her Gloria Vanderbilt jeans butt waggle. I followed that with a big hair flip and then pulled on the rest of my morning outfit. Now I’m having coffee and writing about it – sitting in a stranger’s underpants. Is that weird? It is a little weird, isn’t it? Hold on a sec, I’ll be right back.

OK. So something with fangs crawled into my shirt a few nights ago and left behind 4 big welts. And just the other day my mom and I were discussing how I inherited whatever special sauce she has in her veins that the mosquitoes like so much. I’ve been covered in bites for over 2 weeks while Allison has escaped with just one or two. And now the spider.

bug All this to say that rig life isn’t so glorious today and I’m really missing the West Coast. Even the coast of Oregon with all its fog and rain didn’t have the bug volume we’ve been seeing in Canada and the Great Plains. And the flies! And the heat! And the thunderstorms! While pulling together photos for this post about our drive through Eugene, Yachats, and Cannon Beach, I felt a whole new appreciation for those cities. It was chilly at the time, and we had two solid days of drippy grey Oregon weather, but I’d trade that for where we are now in a hot minute.

Our first stop out of Portland was Eugene, the home of the University of Oregon Ducks who just happened to be hosting their graduation that weekend. Our RV campground was completely booked and we shared the downtown sidewalks with plenty of parents with their kids all decked out in Duck gear.

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The sun was playing sorta shy that day, but we took a lunch and our bikes down to the campus and rode all around. The Willamette river runs through Eugene, with a paved bike path and parks along both shores. Several bridges allowed crossing from side to the other.

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Most college towns do tend to be very bike-able, but Eugene really had it going on and EVERYONE was enjoying it. Rollerbladers, bikers, runners, walkers, dogs, babies in strollers, whole families and two big kids from California.

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From Eugene we shot straight out to the coast toward Florence until we saw the ocean – YAY OCEAN! We missed you! Then we made a right turn and headed north to a town called Yachats (ya – HOTS) home to the Sea Perch RV Park. Yes it’s name is 100% appropriate for its location. We really splurged on this campground paying close to $70/night for full-hook ups and an ocean view with beach access. (All of the campgrounds in Canada were pricey, but Sea Perch is still the most expensive campground we’ve used on the trip.)

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Since we planned to explore Yachats the following day, we decided to go back and hunt for the lighthouse we’d seen on the way in and maybe have an early dinner in Florence.

Heceta Head, pronounced “Ha – SEE – Ta” by most, “HECK – ah – Ta” by others, yet everyone agrees it is one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world. The Heceta Head Lighthouse and Light Keeper’s house are circa 1894. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse is a working lighthouse. From a height of 205 feet above the ocean, its “first order” Fresnel lens, casts its beams some 21 miles out to sea. It is the brightest light on the Oregon coast. It is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States. – Courtesy of http://hecetalighthouse.com/

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We wound our way back down the steep trail to our car and the beach, still early in the evening, we had plenty of time for a barefoot stroll in the sand. Even though I was fighting a cold I’d caught on the airplane, hence the goofy stocking cap, I was so happy to be back with my girl and walking along such a gorgeous beach.

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We found an AMAZING small local restaurant on the water, on the river front actually, not the ocean, but in downtown Florence, called the Waterfront Depot. We walked in, found two seats at the bar and began two hours of exciting cocktails, delicious seafood, presented by one of the best bartenders I’ve ever met, all while gazing at a misty, but beautiful view of the water. If you are anywhere near Florence, Oregon, visit the Waterfront Depot and sit at the bar with Tom. He’s very generous with free tastes and tells a really good blonde joke.

The next morning we wanted to take full advantage of our beach-front spot, so even though it was drizzly and cold, we went out for a walk after breakfast. My critical mistake was going barefoot, but we kept a brisk pace, more of a goofy shivering jog really and reveled in the moment.

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After another round of coffee and changing into some serious warm layers, we took the SUV up the coast to Devil’s Churn.

Devils Churn is a narrow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in Lincoln County, Oregon, United States, south of Yachats. It is located in the Siuslaw National Forest and is accessible via the Restless Waters trail from the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area visitor’s center or the U.S. Route 101 overlook. – Courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devils_Churn

There’s a long trail down with lots of switchbacks and stairs, but it drops you right onto the black rocky shore line. I might have been chicken to explore much on the wet mossy rocks, but the Ranger encouraged me. She told me I should walk my way back inland where the waves crash up and spray out of the tight crack. It was so cool!

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Up the coast a few more hours the next day was Cannon Beach, a very cute and very popular beach town. We camped on the other side of the freeway at the Cannon Beach RV Resort, but there was a super convenient underpass that allowed us to ride our bikes easily into the ocean side town. We rode up and down the shore enjoying the sun and the fancy houses, then turned into town and checked out all the shops and restaurants.

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On the list for Cannon Beach was this specialty restaurant called EVOO, where 11-15 people are treated to a cooking demonstration. You eat the 5 course prefix meal as it’s prepared right in front of you. Right up my Ali, right? Pun intended. Sadly, they were all booked up the night we were there. But when one refrigerator door closes, you just open the other one, cause fridges are big now with side by side doors. With some quick help from Yelp we landed for dinner at the Castaways Tini Tiki Hut. Once again we enjoyed exciting cocktails, delicious seafood and the bartender/owner even whipped up one of our favorite pear-tini’s for us. She had the pear brandy on the shelf, but said she didn’t know of any cocktails to make with it – so we taught her our recipe and she loved it. Smell us!

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Oh Oregon, beloved Oregon! You refreshed our eyes with your beautiful, grey ocean and green, green forests. You worked our legs with your steep cliff-side trails and soft sandy beaches. And last, but not least you filled our bellies with delectable treats, from your artistic beverages to your fine fishies. Oh Oregon one more time.