We spent little time in the USA at the beginning of our road trip down the PanAm. Have camped extensively in Oregon, and traveled quite often to California, we didn’t want the expense of stateside living to destroy our budget going forward. And, hey, the sunny beaches of Baja were beckoning!
Tillicum State Park – Waldport, Oregon
Our first night on the road, we opted for a short drive to a familiar spot. We have camped at Tillicum several times, always appreciating the miles of endless beach and some ocean view campsites, a rarity in Oregon. $27/ night with picnic tables, flushing toilets and water/electric but little else in way of amenities.
I held tight to her collar, repeating “drop it” over and over while every minute or two Porter chose to start barking, giving his opinion of Aspen’s hold on HIS squeaky toy. Channeling my inner dog whisperer I didn’t pull on the toy itself, instead merely holding her in place by her collar, all while striving for patience.
During what has been a rather hectic summer for us, our camping plans diminished to almost nothing. Unlike our normal two-three trips per month, we were approaching mid summer with only our anniversary trip to Timothy Lake to talk about. But in spite of selling our house and family concerns, we were booked for a long weekend at the lake for the 4th of July, and we were NOT missing it!
Time is always surprising; It seems like just yesterday, not nearly 27 years ago, that I first locked eyes with Jim, in Ken’s living room. Jim, full-bearded and scruffy, just off the boat from Alaska. Myself, fully focused on going to school for international law and moving to Paris. An unlikely pair? Apparently not~ Six days after our first date Jim asked me to marry him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Astonishingly, June 2nd we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. 25 years… it seems unreal, and presents a very literal example of how fast time moves by.
The forecast said 50-70% chance of rain. Perhaps high winds. It didn’t matter. We were going to the beach. Some are drawn to the vast, dramatic vistas of the desert. Some feel more attuned to lush mountains. While we love being out in nature in general, the ocean has a special place in our souls. I long ago realized that, while I love the contrast of the desert, the presence of water is what feeds my soul. Time in the mountains is always treasured, but needs to include water in form of lakes or streams for me to be fully happy. But the ocean, I am so drawn to the ocean, a curious enigma considering I get sea sick and am terrified of big waves and strong currents. I suspect growing up in the Midwest has scarred me for life! After a fantastic weekend camping with friends the week before, we packed up our little foursome and headed off into the weather to get our fix.
We spend a lot of time exploring Oregon’s many state parks. A LOT. So we were beyond thrilled to finally make our way to experience Cottonwood Canyon, Oregon’s newest state park, and check it out for ourselves. Opened in 2014, Cottonwood is a mere 30minute drive off of the mighty Columbia Gorge Highway, sitting scenically next to the John Day river.
We have, quite simply, been really busy lately. Busy at work, busy at the house, busy with friends. Simply busy. While this keeps us, somewhat, out of trouble, it also means we have been able to indulge less often than we prefer in our favorite activity ~ camping and convening with nature.
The waves sloshed onto the shore, as the sun warmed us. Having walked a couple of miles from camp down the beach, we stopped for a rest on a downed log, luxuriating in the absolute solitude. Not another soul disturbed our peace, other than a few pesky sea gulls, but even they seemed more subdued than normal. Aspen took a break from exploring to come in for pets, as Porter leaned back against me, raising his head to the sun, eyes mere slits, the picture of complete contentment. On this uncharacteristically warm, non-windy day, at the Oregon coast in FEBRUARY, life was good.
Rather than write a long narrative on the year that was, I wanted to simply look back on the photos. Reminisce on the thousands of memories, and countless adventures that emerged on this past trip around the sun.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite moments of 2014.
“Oh crap, she did it again!” Jim hastily rolled down the windows for a refreshing breath of fresh air, intent on dissipating the overwhelming scent of Aspens seemingly never ending gaseous emissions from the back seat. Our little family was heading to the beach for a fantastic three night getaway, taking advantage of a long Thanksgiving weekend. We’d started the day by enjoying a festive family dinner, leaving Aspen and Porter at his parents during dinner. We returned for them only to discover several pieces of drooled upon bits of something. Opps.