…It does!!! I headed south a couple days ago into what I knew was going to be some nasty weather. My plan was to head for the coast mid way through Oregon since I’d done the northern coast a couple weeks ago. As luck would have it, as I was moving in that direction, the worst storm of the season was moving in with heavy rains and high winds. As previously mentioned, high winds and tall motor homes are not a good combination. My other option was heading straight south on Interstate 5, but with the storm setting in and the temperature dropping I knew getting over Siskiyou Pass could cause some anxiety at the very least. I opted to stick with my plan. My route took me out Hwy 38 along the Umpqua River, which was amazing even in the downpour! As usual I agonized over the lack of places to pull over at the most scenic spots. I take whatever opportunities I find, and get some pretty interesting looks as I’m hiking back up some highway or over a bridge in the pouring rain with camera in hand.
The weather intensified as I neared the coast at Reedsport, and from there I journeyed south to Coos Bay and out to Charleston, where I set up camp one sand dune away from the rolling surf. After a long day of driving there was no need to ask the Jazzy and Sadie if they’d care to go for a walk in the rain. We braved the storm and hiked quite a distance up the beach together. The girls were so thrilled to be on a beach again they didn’t even notice the rain. I wished I’d taken the time to find my rain pants, but was happy to be out there just the same. The cold, wet, wind and surf… if you get past the discomfort… it’s invigorating!
When the new day dawned to continued, although intermittent, stormy weather I had to make a choice… backtrack in my car to some of the amazing places I passed by yesterday or continue south. The sun peeked through the clouds a few times early morning… teasing and taunting me to follow the journey back up the Umpqua, and that’s what I did. After a quick morning walk on the beach we headed back up the coast. First stop was Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. The lighthouse is a quaint structure, but completely surrounded by Coast Guard housing AND closed to the public this time of year so, although documented, no pictures worth sharing. Right around the corner though we were lured in by Lake Marie. This quiet little lake is completely surrounded by dense evergreens with a dash of color sprinkled in, and the hiking trail beckoned me. Dogs are supposed to be on leash, but there was not a soul around. This brought to mind the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I always thought that was a really dumb question. Of course it does! But… if a dog walks off leash and no one is around to see it??? With their leashes in my pocket we set out walking the way we love to walk… with the two of them excitedly blazing the trail with noses to the ground. There is little I enjoy more than hiking through a dense “pine bed” forest. Year after year the pine needles fall to the ground and slowly decompose, leaving the trail so cushiony soft you can walk without a sound. Add to that the fresh, damp, earthy aroma… heavenly! The combination always stirs up memories of my childhood, and hiking with my brothers through the woods. Needless to say we enjoyed a good long walk before hopping back in the car and continuing our journey back up the Umpqua River, stopping at several of the spots that tugged at me as I passed them the day before.
One last stop along the Great Sand Dunes (we’re talking huge!) before hooking back up to The Beast and heading further south along the coast. Storms can provide some rather unpleasant weather, but they can also provide some stunning backgrounds for amazing images! Next stop… northern California!