Maybe we were a bit optimistic when we thought we could just amble off to the Oregon Coast without worrying about planning ahead. After all, September and October are the best months of the year on the coast, and all those folks who know about the summer fogs have been waiting for the warm sunny skies predicted for this week.
When we left Rocky Point and traveled to Grants Pass before turning west on Highway 199 the skies were filled with smoke from fires nearby and far away. The temperature climbed as we dropped down into the valley, and as we passed the Valley of the Rogue State Park along I-5 the thermometer read a blistering 102 degrees. I thought of the Gypsy G-Mas, Connie and Tracy, as we managed to stay cool with the windows closed and the air conditioner going full blast. Last I heard, they were camping in this lovely park, although not quite so lovely on this incredibly hot September day.
The western route through the Illinois Valley is a familiar one to us. The winding curves that follow the Smith River in California to Highway 101 don’t seem at all scary any more. As the miles passed, we watched the temperature gauge drop steadily. Turning north toward Brookings, I could smell the ocean and the hot sun was gentled by a misty fog drifting from the ocean to the surrounding hills.
When we arrived at Harris Beach State Park, we were met by a sign stating that all electric sites were taken and the only available sites were for tents or rigs less than 20 feet. The attendant was a bit concerned, but she decided to let us try to slide into one of those sites. The MoHo fit just fine, with the Tracker parked sideways with ALL FOUR WHEELS ON THE PAVEMENT! Yes, those are the rules. The other rule is that no generators are allowed in the park, ever.
It was after 7 by the time we settled in, but supper wasn’t a problem because we had grilled chicken and cucumbers in vinaigrette while we drove down the road. Setting up the rig without hookups is an easy thing as well, and after a nice long walk through the campground we settled in for a cool moonlit night of reading and early to sleep.
The attendant was concerned that we were officially too long for the spot and told us to come in at 10 the next morning to see if there was anything available. Seems as though the park is almost completely filled every night this week. Waking to fog this morning wasn’t a surprise, and after tea we drove into town to get a few groceries, check out the potential storage place, and take a short drive up the Chetco River. There is another state park about 7 miles east away from the ocean and the sun was out. We both were in a beach mood however, and decided that if there wasn’t anything at Harris Beach we would go down to the Beachfront RV Park, right along the ocean, rigs lined up in a row on pavement, with a bit of dry grass, but full hookups.
After ten, back at Harris Beach, the new attendant at the window was skeptical about anything available for the next 3 days, but then as an afterthought decided to give us a site that is usually saved for last minute overflow. We got a site with electric, water, and great cable TV all the way through the weekend. Once again, everything worked out just fine.
The move across the park was a snap, and within minutes we were set up comfortably, and enjoying our space. I even opened up the awning and put up the chili pepper lights that I haven’t had a chance to use for a very long time! After lunch we took Abby for a long walk down the South Beach Trail to the ocean.
The fog was still drifting about, lifting a bit now and then, but never completely going away. In spite of the fog it was quite warm, and we could have worn shorts and skipped the jackets. It was surprising how much warmer it was down on the beach than is it a couple of hundred feet above the cliffs in the park. We had a great time with Abby, and for the first time she decided that going for her ball in the ocean waves wasn’t as scary as she thought. We found some brackish backwater for her to practice, and then Mo started throwing the ball toward the surf and Abby went right after it. Before our walk was finished, Abby was going right into the waves after her ball, and only once did a wave catch her and throw her around a little bit. It was great fun.
Tomorrow is wide open for relaxation, walks and one more special treat. Tracy and Connie are just north of us at Cape Blanco and plan to come down tomorrow afternoon for a meet and a visit. I’m tickled that we again have a chance to meet some fellow bloggers. Tracy and Connie have a great story, deciding to go full time and live a life outside the box. I have followed them for some time now and am looking forward to hearing some of their stories in person.
As early evening settles over the park, the skies are clearing and the sun is shining brilliantly. Tonight the moon is nearly full. Mo has a great big campfire going with wood we bought here at the campground. Crossing from Oregon to California with firewood is frowned upon so we paid the pricey 5 bucks a bundle to follow the rules and use local wood. I am so happy to be at the beach again.
A few more photos of our day at Harris Beach are linked here.