Night 15: The Fourth of July

Trip Start Jun 20, 2012
Trip End Jul 18, 2012

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Where I stayed
KOA - Bandon / Port Orford
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Oregon
Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today we drove 160 miles. Weather was cold in the morning, but the sunny day warmed things up to about 62 defrees as the day progressed. An afternoon wind developed.

Today we began the day at Beverly Beach and had a slow, home-cooked breakfast at our beautiful campsite. The woods make one feel small like a mouse. After breaking camp, we bought a kite and continued south past Newport and Waldport along US-101.

Between these towns we stopped at one of our favorite beaches: Seal Rock. Here we tried out the kite, which did what it continued to do all day. It flew high and strong then started veering back and forth in the wind until crashing onto the sand. Usually Seal Rock has fascinating tide pools, but the tide was in so we settled for kite flying. This is the beach where two years ago Andrew's arm went out of socket. We went to the ER in Newport where they had to ask us if we were child abusers. On this trip to Seal Rock, Andrew somehow managed not to injure himself. Not that ge didn't gave the opportunity. To even get to the beach one must pass steep crmbling cliffs, angry gull rookeries, and survive a 15% grade over slippery rocks and driftwood.

We passed Waldport, having had enough of it during yesterday's Fourth celebrations and visited Yachats, a humble fishing town turned summer home for the Willamette's wealthy. The town was in a good mood following their "La De Da Parade" and were riverside preparing to launch 2000+ rubber duckies into the river fir a race. Locals paid $5 a pop to sponsor a duck, proceeds going to a children's charity. The top ducks would receive a prize and since the tide was rolling out the water was moving fast. The ducks were NOT launched from the Yachats bridge in dramatic fashion, as many of us thought, but were launched via a shoddy wooden contraption. Obstacles were placed in the enclosed course, which was about 25 yards long. As stupid as it seemed to many of us adults, I saw that the charm had not been lost on Andrew. As the ducks dropped Andrew grinned widely. He cheered on the hapless rubber duckies amd laughed as they got stuck behind rocks and wandered off course. His genuine joy made the stupidity of the whole duck race idea into the genius of the whole duck race idea.

We left Yachats to figure out the winners and drove on past the rocks and picturesque seastacks toward the south. In Florence's Old Town we stopped for lunch at Mo's where I again ordered nothing but clams and took another pound of steamed clams to go as road food. Florence Old Town sits along a river which locals pull crab traps out of. It is fun to watch them pull up traps counting the crabs and measuring each one. The town also has unique ice cream shops which shouldn't be missed.

Across the river from Florence the beach changes shape and, instead of rocky towers, it us dominated by endless sand dunes. These are very exciting features to mist people, but being from Chicago and so close to the Warren Dunes and Indiana Dunes, they aren't very exotic to me. What us exotic is the size and scope if the Oregon Dunes. They stretch for miles and miles and are full if little blue lakes. People ride buggies and horses all over. The dunes attract a different, more gear-headed, and much smaller crowd than those diverse crowds that flock to  
the rocky, dramatic Northern coast of Oregon.

We stopped at the southern end of the dunes at Horsfall for some more unsuccessful kite flying and general sand madness with "all the Andrews and all the Sandrews."

We moved on past the dunes where the rockstacks reappear, but the crowds do not reappear. Oregon's southern coast is much less crowded, but just as full if beautiful tide pools and dramatic scenes as the coast from Cannon Beach to Flirence up north. The Bandon area is home to a lot of hidden gems.

We marvelled at vista after vista along the scenic totes off 101. We decided to camp at the Bandon KOA, which is actually closer to the town if Port Orford. This was a stellar operation off 101, near Cape Blanco. The place had a heated pool and a hot tub, quiet and private areas for tents under old growth firs, and a little train for the kids to ride in. I tried very hard to make our tent fit in the tiny site we were assigned as Jessica and Andrew prepared for the hot tub.

I met them there, but Amdrew was growing sleepy and wary if the fireworks being blown off in the neighborhood's. He would not unplug his ears for anything.

The hot tub was.... Ahhhhh.... So relaxing after a day of driving and action. In the 50 degree air, it felt especially comforting. In the hot tub, we talked to a couple cyclists who had come from the south and were heading home to Boise. They asked about our trouble with our teaching contract negotiations and we discussed the perils of camping across the country.

Soon off to bed we went, refreshed from our evening at the KOA of all places and ready to take on tomorrow.
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