We’ve been “Back Home Again, in Indiana” for a few months now, and I’m just now finishing our posts from our big trip out west. When we arrived home, our busy life took over and then Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went. Now it’s time to finish describing our trip, before we start another one in a couple of weeks!

We drove north from Bend, Oregon after seeing Crater Lake National Park, as our destination was a visit to Bob’s sister Marianne in Vancouver, Washington. She and her family welcomed us with a delicious meal of Armenian food. On our way to her house, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous peak of Mt. Hood. But for all the days we were in the area, cloud cover kept it hidden. I kept saying I don’t really believe Mt. Hood exists…because I’ve still never seen it!

Mt. Hood — hahaha!
No mountain to be seen, although it’s right there behind the clouds.

Marianne and her daughter Holly even visited our campsite

Armenian cheoreg bread

As we firmed up our plans to visit Oregon/Washington, I made a call to Battleground Lake State Park about availability. The ranger assured me we didn’t need reservations, as a spot would definitely be open when we arrived. WRONG. The whole joint was sold out, so we resorted to our second option, Paradise Point State Park just 1/2 hour up the interstate. It was lovely! I took a couple of hikes back into the dry camping area of the park, which was closed for the season, and enjoyed how green and mossy everything was. Washington was turning out to be as beautiful as I had imagined.

Mossy trees, deep in the woods

We chose a campsite with some wide open space, because it was imperative we have satellite signal for football and baseball games. PRIORITIES, PEOPLE!

Yes, that’s our satellite out in the grass at Paradise Point State Park

After our brief visit with family, we were able to finally drive to the coast and see our primary destination for this trip: The gorgeous Pacific coast of Oregon. I’m telling you, if you haven’t seen it, you should make the effort. It’s indescribably beautiful. Please scroll through and enjoy the scenery:

The Oregon State Parks have a great reputation, and we were quite happy with our experience. Our first spot was at Nehalem Bay State Park, where we were able to walk to the beach in about a minute. The campsites are arranged behind the dunes and the beach is dog friendly! Yay!

One of my favorite travel blogs mentioned picnicking on Tierra Del Mar beach, where you can spend the day (but not the night) directly on the beach. We had a picnic with the pups and enjoyed being almost completely alone at the water’s edge. If you choose to do this, be aware the sand is very, very soft and you have to be careful where you park your rig. We *almost* got stuck, but with Bob’s awesome towing skills, we made it out just fine.

Tierra Del Mar beach – day use only

Our original intent was to spend a lot of time hopping from one state park to another, but the weather took a terrible turn, and we had to adjust accordingly. There was some kind of cyclone out in the pacific and we got news that a huge storm would batter the coast in a matter of days. So we moved on to Beachside State Recreation Area. We had site number 72, which was right next to a short path to the beach. We could “sort of” see the ocean from our site, and the sheltering trees helped dampen the high winds that were beginning to move in.

Beachside State Recreation Area

Next stop…Bullards Beach State Park, campsite number A26. This is a lovely campground and the sites are nicely spaced for privacy. But the name is quite deceiving. The campsites are a LONG walk to the beach. I made the trek but by this time the weather was really taking a turn for the worst. I was pummeled with wind and horizontal rain! But I felt so determined to see the coast and watch the storm that I just pressed on, soaked to the bone. The view was worth it, although I only stayed long enough for a quick video of the storm. It was so windy and wet I thought I might ruin my camera.

Bob and I thought we were sheltered enough to sit out the storm, but the next morning our park ranger came along to evacuate the park. We asked where they suggested we go, and she just said, “Drive East!”.  The ranger also explained that it would not be safe for us to try to tow a vehicle in the high winds along the coast, so we headed inland.

Hunkered down at Bullards Beach

Oregon is well prepared for evacuation due to weather!

We were truly perplexed, so we got online and found a KOA campground a couple of hours east in Grants Pass, Oregon, where we hunkered down for three nights of battering wind and rain.

Cabin fever set in after a couple of nights, but we just had to wait it out. And walking the dogs was no picnic, let me tell ya!

Before and After the storm

Lucky for us, the Dodgers and Cubs were both in the baseball playoffs and we got to see the games. House Divided!


Bend, Oregon and Crater Lake
Route 66 Podcast Story Board
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