Thanksgiving on the Oregon Coast

On Monday, we left Eugene and headed west to Florence, Oregon.  Just south of there was an old favorite from years past – Honeyman State Park. Since by then it was already 2:00, we decided to stay.  We set up in the RV area so we’d have power and then took a nice long walk around the campground and one of the dunes trails to get a look at the sand dunes.  Since it was getting dark and we were without the proper shoes, we opted not to walk far out onto the dunes.  The thing that totally amazed us here was the number of ATV riders.  Campers come from miles around to camp in this area to ride their ATVs on the dunes.  Licence plates told us they came mostly from Oregon, California, Washington and Idaho, but I can imagine that during the summer they would come from anywhere in the western US.  Looks like a fun, but very expensive family sport.

On Tuesday morning we broke camp and headed south again on Highway 101.  We stopped at a few scenic spots for photos and in chatting with a couple visiting from Idaho, learned about a nice area near Coos Bay called Charleston.  We checked the map and found there was a couple Campgrounds there, so we headed out and found both the Sunset State Park and Bastendorff County Park.  We opted for the county park since they had cell phone coverage and the other didn’t.  It was also almost empty, so after the noise of the ATV riders yesterday, this was a very pleasant and quiet surprise.  A plus is that we’re parked within view of the ocean, so you’ll see some early morning photos in the gallery below.

The next morning we headed south towards Bandon.  We opted to camp at Bullards Beach State Park, and although there were quite a few campers there already, there was plenty of space and we quickly set up a nice camp.  But by the time we were done, it was dark and we hadn’t had a chance to head out to the ocean, so we talked about the possibility of staying there two nights if the weather looked good the next day, which was Thanksgiving.

The morning dawned sunny and we decided to stay put for one more day.  We planned to head into old town Bandon and also to check out the ocean, but things changed when the weather had made a complete turnaround by about noon.  It started to rain and it poured all day and all night with quite high winds as well.  We were basically trapped inside the Westy for the complete day.  We read for awhile and then watched our movie from Red Box.  The wind and rain was so strong that I couldn’t cook outside so we were forced to use the inside stove.  With not much room to prepare a nice meal, we opted for ham and cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup – not much of a Thanksgiving dinner, but we could at least be thankful we were safe and dry.

By Friday the rains had stopped so we broke camp and took that drive out to the ocean and into Bandon.  It looks like a cute little town but it was too cold to make us want to get out and walk, so we mentally put it on our list to explore next time we come this way.

Now for the complete change of plans.  We had noticed on Wednesday as we made our way towards Bandon that the van was making a strange noise.  Dale was concerned that maybe there was something wrong with the engine and we talked about whether we should continue the 750 or so more miles to the Westy shop in California or should we drive it back home.  I think it was a combination of things – the engine noise, the cats getting restless, and the cold wet weather that helped us make the decision to head home.

As it turned out, we did the right thing to head home.  Friday we drove north on Highway 101 to Beverly Beach State Park were we rented a very nice yurt for $30.  It was nice to have a little more space for a change.  We had a covered porch were we set up the camp stove and ate inside while watching another movie.  These yurts will sleep 5 adults, so there was definitely lots of room.  I think I had my best sleep of the whole trip there.

On Saturday morning we quickly packed up our gear and started the push for home.  The car continued to make noises, but by now Dale had determined it wasn’t the engine, but likely a wheel bearing going out in the left rear wheel or maybe the half shaft.  Either way, we were nervous as to whether it would make the distance.  It seemed to do much better on straight, flat road, so we cut away from the ocean route at Tillamook to take Highway 6 back over to Interstate 5.  Going over the coast mountains was a little iffy, but once we made the freeway, we never heard the sound again.  By 4:30  we were back home in Olympia and decided we deserved a nice dinner out!

Click here to see all the photos in this slideshow.

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