Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rain, rain, go away...

If not tomorrow, at least in time for the wedding?!?! Thomas and I departed from Grants Pass early - somewhat early - on Wednesday morning headed for the Redwood Highway! I was excited for Thomas to see the redwoods, and the morning was dry and sunny. We loaded up and hit the road. Thomas drove us into our seventh state - California! Back to pumping our own gas, except that we didn't have to get gas down there. The redwoods were amazing! Needless to say, the rain started not long out of Grants Pass. We got out at Jedediah Smith State Park and the Stout Grove. I have great pictures, but forgot the cord to upload them. It was really exciting, despite getting a bit soggy. Thomas and I also saw some crazy looking slugs! From there our journey up the Oregon Coast along Highway 101 began. The winding coastal roads, the ocean always near by, towns every ten miles, and the rain...all constants of the last couple of days. We stopped at a light house, had a fishy lunch, and looked out rain streaked windows at the tumultuous ocean. We desperately hoped a yurt would be available at one of the state parks, but such luck. We did have the luck to have enough dry weather to set up our indoor "tent" again, shifting the contents of the truck around, including tarping and covering the mead from rain. As we walked the fee up to the station from our campsite, the mist began. It was kind of romantic, though, right? We walked on to the Umpqua Lighthouse, as the mist shifted into a drizzle. It was neat looking out into the ocean, and I secretly hoped for an unprecedented whale sighting. But then the drizzle turned into a solid rain. My rain jacket no longer served me well, as the water streamed solidly off the jacket and down my backside...wet pants, yuck! Everything was soaked, but gratefully we had already set up camp. Wet pants, wet shoes, and no place to go but the sleeping bag to get toasty and dry. We still had good spirits, and we had reason to suspect the weather might change for us. I don't remember who told us, but someone said sun was coming. After a few (losing - for me) games of Backgammon, we called it a night. The rain pounded the roof like a herd of elephants, and I could only hope that this was the cloud's last efforts to drain the rain. I had all sorts of wonderful and complicated dreams, and I wasn't eager to wake up, especially as the sky out of the camper looked gray. A little longer, a little longer, and then I actually saw blue! Thomas and I began to stir and shift gears. We set about to heating water for oatmeal and cocoa, and - don't tell - a few blue jays with their pointy profile squacked for oatmeal, too. One came in, and two other dive dombed for their share. Silly birds! The dry spell literally lasted long enough for us to get everything loaded, the trailer hooked up, and the truck rolling back towards the highway. Seriously! We felt blessed to have been granted a dry morning of breaking camp, but had hoped the rain would stay away a little longer. Today we set about to visiting the Rogue Brewery and the Oregon Aquarium in Newport. We had many visits to "waysides", the little pull-offs of ocean vistas. One such vista included the sea lions swimming and basking in their fame. Another included the water breaking over outlying rocks and creating a beautiful spray. It was all so gorgeous, but the best was an accident. Not an accident accident, but a wonderfully unanticipated oasis in the sand. I won't pretend that we have been been on a luxury vacation. We are trying to balance frugality and fun, as we are both unemployed and about to tie the big knot! So as we cruised into Lincoln City, we were on the prowl for seafood dinner. We were trying to be judicious, when "seafood grill" appeared on the left side of the road. Getting across the street was tricky, but we made it, parked, and set ourselves on course for dinner. We knew we were in trouble when we walked in the door, but what sealed the deal was "dinner won't be served for half an hour, but we would suggest some wine and a few appetizers". The appetizers were each about $20. We let the waitress know we would "take a walk until dinner was served" and slipped out the door to seek dinner elsewhere. Tillamook was the furthest we wanted to drive, but there were still some towns in between. We jumped off 101 for the scenic route through Pacific City, and the grace of God led us yet again to where we wanted to go. Pelican Brewery was right on the beach with a beautiful view, delicious beer, and non-fried seafood options! Yummy! We shared a seafood quesadilla and a bowl of seafood bouillabase, and we left smiling! I highly recommend it. So the other blessing was the rain let up after dinner. We were so close to the beach, and even though we had stopped yesterday to just walk down onto the beach to say we'd been there, we still hadn't gotten our toes wet. We removed our socks, donned our sandals, cuffed our pants, and headed out about 7 pm tonight to dip our toes into the Pacific! It has been years since I have been able to swim in the ocean, so I was giddy, to say the least. We collected some heart shaped stones (five of them) and snapped a few pics for proof. I felt so young! Again, like clockwork, the rain started within five minutes of getting back into the truck. We opted tonight to stay cozy inside instead of camping our last night. It kind of seems ridiculous to pay $20 - $30 for a camping site in the rain at the state parks, especially when we've been so spoiled to live in states where you can find places to pull of the road without paying anything. Ah well, the hot shower felt great and melted away the rain showers! And I control the thermostat, so I am warm and dry!

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