June 2 – June 3
June 2, 2014 – TODAY IS BRAD’S 25TH BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a way to celebrate a quarter of a century by finding yourself in the middle of one of your greatest journeys.
I woke up birthday boy in Orgeon’s Sunset Bay State Park campground with a kiss and homemade banana pancakes – which he said were perfect and the best he’d ever had! We followed breakfast with a couple showers (which were fabulous – and FREE!) and headed out to explore!
We followed Cape Arago Highway down to the cape itself which led us to some seriously incredible lookouts. Cape Arago State Park is basically a cluster of cliffs posted high above the sea with wildflowers everywhere growing absolutely WILD! Panoramic views of forest, flowers, and sea surrounded us as we quietly and peacefully traversed the cape. We hiked down the jagged cliffside to the sandy, rocky beaches of South Cove. As we ventured out onto the stepping stones and into the cove, the sun came out for the first time that day – and damn, it felt good. I watched as the waves methodically crashed into Oregon’s coast in the distance and observed the gentle ripples of such waves calmly rolling in to the protected cove where we stood. Brad’s phone started blowing up with birthday love and we realized this was the first time we actually had cell service in quite some time. He took a moment to call and check-in with family and friends, and I wandered away and perched myself on a small stepping stone to take in the view.
Impossible to capture in a photo – But this was a pretty good try 🙂
The cove was gorgeous and the view down the coast seemed limitless. My disposition was calm & reflective as the blue waters washed in. I gazed longingly down the coast at the massive walls of cliff and stone, standing strong against the ever-crashing motion of the waves. Orgeon’s coast, a constant tussle of land and sea, resilient and unyielding as far as the eye could see. Eventually I stood up and continued venturing across the bay, exploring all the lively tide pools around me – Some of the most active and colorful tide pools I’ve ever seen! Tiny, perfectly camouflaged fish swimming and feeding, sea anemones of all shapes and colors, even pink, spiny looking ones – and starfish! Those were my favorite. The laughter and voice of my love carried over across the bay as I lost myself in these little microcosmic worlds, enjoying the light ocean breeze in the protected little cove of Cape Aragon.
When we climbed back up out of the cove, we were instantly blasted with the ferocious wind and noise of barking sea lions on an island across the way. There were about 50 sea lions in site, barking and yelping so loud, moving in such funny, floppy ways. It was very cute to watch them play and splash around in the water. We were told by a park ranger that all the offshore reefs and islands are protected by the state of Oregon just so these silly sea lion communities can feel comfortable and safe, which I think is just the sweetest thing.
Rocks & Sea Lions galore!
From there we headed about a mile or so up the cape to Shore Acres State Park, where Mr. Simpson’s house used to be in the early 1920’s. Mr. Simpson had built the seaside home for his beloved wife, which unfortunately burned down to the ground shortly after. Then, he built an even bigger, better home for his wife at the same site, and that one burned down too! Then his wife became ill and died, and he never got a chance to wow her again. Poor guy, what luck. After her death, he bashfully dedicated the property & the surrounding lovely gardens (which were not affected by the fire) to the state to preserve them for the public to enjoy. What remains is a small concrete structure where the house used to reside right on the cliff overlooking the sea, accompanied by the most PHENOMENAL gardens!!!! Roses of pink, red, orange and white, with japanese/zen/lily pad gardens and ponds, all sea side and all absolutely thriving. I’d like to think of it as a tribute to the undying love of the couple that used to own it, still very much alive and present to this day.
Whose birthday is it really though . . .
What a dream ~
After our peaceful, colorful, flowery birthday morning, we headed into town to refuel with cappuccinos and snacks. Throughout our Oregon travels, we kept finding these cute, quirky little espresso booths all over the place in the most unexpected locations and all a different variation of another. What a great idea – & totally appreciated by these travelers passing through! They consisted of simple little portable huts and offered your basic coffee fixings with a little side assortment of snacks. Some were kind enough to serve their coffee with a little chocolate covered espresso bean on the lid. Brad & I immediately started scheming and planning our own coffee shack takeover on the East coast which is poorly lacking such great little huts sprinkled around, and figured we would call ours “Expresso!” We have yet to take that idea any further (but someone should.)
Fueled and fired up for the afternoon ahead, we headed slightly inland to Coos Bay, a downtown area with shops, pubs, and restaurants. We had a couple birthday beers (& got kind of drunk) and then I thought it’d be a good idea to call my Mom and tell her I would be moving to Oregon as soon as I returned to FL after our trip. She gave me the typical, “Okay, Karlene, whatever you say…”, as I had told her the same story about every other place we had been. We then stumbled across the street and into a Japanese restaurant to have birthday bentos for Bradley boy’s big day – his choice! The bentos were delicious and really did us in – so we headed back to the campsite full of food and drink and were in bed by 9 Pm. What a way to celebrate a birthday!
That evening (and the one before), we were mystified by a distant whistling sound that wasn’t consistent nor was it obvious what it could be. I’ll never forget falling asleep in our tent dreaming up explanations and giggling over what it could possibly be… We asked the park ranger on our way out the next morning and he told us they were buoys out in the ocean that help determine the direction and strength of the wind and sea for sailors. Who’d uh thunk?!
On June 3rd, we woke up and headed North. It was on this day that I could finally say from my own experience how beautiful Oregon truly is. Natural, untouched and overgrown, it is a nature lovers dream. The trippy trees of the forest and the natural foliage are so raw and rich with life. We both had an overwhelming sensation that Oregon was where we needed to spend all our days. It feels like the coast is undiscovered! – That, or unappreciated, I’m not sure which. We explored some really quaint and charming seaside towns and picked out homes that seemed to call out to us. We stopped in Newport for food and had the best clam chowder – Mmmmm… @ The Chowder Bowl. If you are in or around – Go there!!! We also stumbled into a wine shop where we found the biggest wine snob we’ve ever encountered. After a 20 minute run down of why this wine is better than that wine and a “people think they know good wine but they have no idea” spiel, we bought a bottle from his “$10 and under” box by the door and hit the road laughing.
Baby Kia packed to the brim!!! (And this was after we organized everything!)
Good morning Oregon!
*Our future home*
. . . & then there was a desert . . . ?
That afternoon we kept heading North and ran across Devils Punch Bowl State Natural Area. Nestled along increasingly gorgeous sandy and rocky beaches was this huge rock formation in the shape of a bowl, and as the ocean poured into the bowl it churned and foamed and roared – yes, it is definitely just as freaky as it sounds. Brad gawked over the surf as we continued up the coast and we both decided we could stay here for a very long time and be very, very happy.
~ ~ ~ Oceans for days ~ ~ ~
Enjoying a lazy, hazy, dreamy afternoon
As daylight started to dim, we found ourselves at Fort Stevens State Park, right near Astoria which is the top NW corner of the state of Oregon. We decided to upgrade our life in a tent status to life in a YURT!!!!!!!! for the next couple days – And loved every second of it! Yurt life is absolutely the life for us. Feeling spoiled living our life of luxury, we opened our $10 bottle of Ayres Pinot Noir that was delectable and settled in. Brad lit up a fire as well as a cigar for himself, and we made friends with our Canadian neighbors (after watching them secretly and creepily peek at us through the window while we unloaded) in the next yurt over. We ended the night with showers and a cozy bed (a real one!), feeling content and satisfied as can be.
After exploring the entire coast of Oregon in just a few days, we felt more than comfortable to make some serious life decisions that involved completely uprooting our lives and moving clear across the country. Maybe it was the salty ocean breeze from atop the cliffs, maybe it was the clam chowder… I can tell you the yurt was definitely icing on the cake. Even now, as I write this almost 2 years later, a life on the Orgeon Coast sounds just as sweet as it did then…
Til next time dreamers….
xoxo, Tent Girl