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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Monday, 19 Oct 2009

Location: Oregon, USA

MapStarting and ending the days with walks along the beach

Yesterday I was talking with J as we strolled along the beach in the morning, we had started our day by walking through the National treasure Ecola State Park and then gone down to look at a beautiful big rock on the foreshore of Cannon Beach. Imagine doing this every day and barely having a care in the world. The most we have to worry about these days is making sure we make the right turnoff to see the perfect line of coast. Lucky us.
Jís ďswine fluĒ that he has caught kept him up all night last night, nasal congestion and now the coughing has started. It hasnít really worsened at all, but I can tell its going away. Its never nice to be sick around me, there is very little sympathy. He has had enough of me calling it swine flu and worries we are going to get kicked out of restaurants or camping places because of the nasty lung cough he has going (or that Im calling it Swine Flu). Get better soon J.

Ok, so today. Like I said, it was time to cover a bit of ground and with the weather still misty with showers every so often today was as good-of-a-day as any to get a few miles under our belts. Along the Central and South Oregon coast we stopped at various lookouts to see the gorgeous coastline. The first stop had pelicans flying over, Iím not sure if they migrate, but they were moving in big groups and all heading South to where it seems to be getting warmer. As we stood there a big spurt of water came out a few miles off the coast. The back of a grey whale came to the surface and down again. Another spurt and this time the back arched and the tail came up and he dived down deep, it was a few minutes before he came up again for air. It was so lucky to just pull up and see a big whale and I made the most of it before I jumped back in the car.

The second major stop was near Sea Lion Caves and although the sea lions had chosen to stay out of the cave today they had all settled up the coast a little way, in HUGE numbers. The sound echoed all over as they shuffled and fought for some space on the small patch of sand. Quite a few of them were happy swimming, playing, splashing and looking for food down below us as the waves crashed on the cliff rocks around them. All the other stops we made were mostly scenic, lots of birds along the way and some great bridges which allow us to cross the many rivers which make their way out to the sea. Oregon put out a magazine information booklet which basically takes you mile by mile along the coast. It tells you all the places to stop and also the history of many places and who created what town, what bridge, the founder of each place. All along the highway are the markers in miles which corresponde with the information book. Its so wonderful and has allowed us to not waste any time today and see only the things we really want to see.

We passed through Sand Dunes State Park, which actually covered a large portion of this part of the Pacific Hwy. They were really big and some plunged right into the sea. Other parts just seemed to go on forever and all the trails from the motorbikes did the same. It would be amazing at sunset to see this area as it glows orange and red from the setting sun, but alas, we wanted to make it to a specific camp by sunset.
Harris State Park is the camping spot tonight, its wonderful as we move further south the sun is staying up later at night. We seem to follow the light and dark with our sleep, so when it was dark at 6pm it made it hard to get the body clock just right. We arrived at the park at 5, quickly parked the van and then took off down to the beach with the cameras. Wandering all over the sand, watching the waves come in and looking at all the other people making their way onto the beach to also witness tonightís sunset. I thought the best vantage point was on a big rock, so up on top of it I perched watching the sky change colour. It was the first sunset I have seen in a long time and it was lovely.
So we have made it almost to the California/Oregon border line. I have been really surprised at the astonishing beauty of Oregon. I guess the images I had of the U.S before I came here were dry desert, Californian palms and the grandest canyon of them all. To see this thriving rainforest, colourful fall trees, rugged coastlines, sweet little coastal towns, whales, sea lions and birdlife has actually surprised me. Iím so glad that I didnít allow stereotypes dictate my travel as I would have never seen the beauty of the Oregon coast. So as I leave here, thanks Oregon.

So Iím about to find out what the Californian girls are really like and the destination is San Francisco to wear some flowers in my hair. Over the next few days, San Fran, Alcatraz, the biggest/best aquarium in Monterey Bay, Yellowstone & Kings Canyon National Parks and onto Nevada & Utah. X