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Humbug Mountain State Park, Port Orford OR

[There was no Internet access when I wrote this, so I’m posting it at my first opportunity with the date and time of when I wrote it.]

It’s good to be moving on, especially here on the Oregon coast where it is uncrowded and scenic. When we started this trip we figured we’d settle into a spot for 2-3 weeks, but so far the only placed we’ve stayed more than five days was Denver. For some reason, after a week in a spot, we usually have the itch to explore some more.

So this morning we hitched up and headed south on Rt 101, the coastal road. Our goal was “no place in particular,” the sun was shining, and for the first time in weeks, we have no schedule at all. It’s a nice feeling. We are free.

Our travels today took us past several lighthouses among the dunes, and I couldn’t resist the photo opportunities. Lighthouses are just too easy.


Then a dramatic bridge, a still lake reflecting the pines trees, a historic house … We let the whole day go like that, covering less than 100 miles but stopping so often that it took until 3 pm to arrive here, at Humbug Mountain State Park.

After parking the Airstream, we still had some light so we took a road less traveled: an unmarked one-lane dirt trail that wound its way up Humbug Mountain from the campground. With absolutely no idea where we were going, we climbed the switchbacks for half an hour, never exceeding 15 MPH. To our left, precipitous drops of 50-500 feet. To our road, a deeply scalloped edge along the crumbling mountainside.

china mtn view.jpg

This went on for several miles, until we finally intersected China Mountain Road, arbitrarily chose to go left, and eventually (a few miles down) found a paved road back to 101. It was a fun detour. Eleanor was white-knuckled half the trip, but Emma was only wondering when we would get to the hike we had promised. I was only disappointed I never needed to engage the 4WD.

Although we are right by the coast, there are few places one can get to the beach because of tall sandy cliffs. During high tide, there is no beach at all. We found some scenic viewpoints but never figured out how the surfers managed to get down from their cars parked by the highway to the thunderous waves below. Then we saw this intrepid fellow cruising on the soft sand in his truck.

Beach driving.jpg

Finally, we found a bit of beach access by the town of Port Orford and did a little sunset exploration.

port orford beach.jpg

What a bonanza of sea life! We found sea caves everywhere, colorful orange and red starfish, green sea anemones, and other creatures. We found a sunflower sea star, too -- a creature that looks sort of like a large starfish but it has something like 15 arms. We ran out of daylight before we ran out of energy, so we headed home (soaked to the knees, all of us) and agreed we’d look again in the morning.

sea stars.jpg

With the long cold evenings this time of year, we are trying to find ways to keep ourselves entertained after dark. Tonight we decided since we were all in wet clothes, we’d get right into our pajamas and have “Pajama Fun Night.” We watched an old campy movie, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” (a musical, with Jim Backus!), I made popcorn, and Eleanor and Emma baked up some cookies. (By the way, if you are wondering where we get these movies: We subscribe to Netflix, but the really bad old movies like this one come from the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.)

Emma discovered that she has a loose tooth in front, which has thrilled her to the point of bouncing around the trailer like a superball. We can clearly see a replacement coming in behind. Her six-year molars are also showing up. She has pledged to tell everyone she meets about these things.

One other thing: our good friends Adam and Susan called today, just to say they’re following the blog and to send us good tidings. That phone call gave me a huge boost, and reminded me to say to all of you that the support we’ve gotten from you is a huge part of what makes this trip fun. It gives us a greater sense of purpose to share the experience with you, and so almost every day I’m eager to write down our impressions of the day. It’s not work to keep up the blog, with you along for the ride. Keep writing and commenting – we love to hear from you. Thanks!

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