Alan & Teri's Travels travel blog

Sea Lions

Heceta Head Lighthouse

South Beach State Park

X-trip August 3 2008 Sunday

Start mileage: 41,908 End Mileage: 42,043

We drove 135 miles today.

We followed OR126 from Veneta to Florence where we made a stop at the Sea Lion Caves en route to South Beach State Park near Newport.

A and I have never seen Sea Lions so this was an opportunity to observe them.

Matthew was with us for this trip between campgrounds and seemed to enjoy himself.

By the way, he sends his greetings to all the Happy Nomads.

The Sea Lion Caves are natural caves and quite dark. For some reason, sea lions like to congregate in this area. The folks who operate this tourist attraction have the parking situation well under control. Since we were towing the trailer, it was one of "those" places we would visit only if we found a convenient parking space. As we pulled into the parking lot, the attendant moved a cone so we could pull into a site in the second row. We were pleasantly surprised at the service.

T is a lighthouse freak. She just loves to visit them. From the observation deck at the Sea Lion Caves, we had a fantastic view of Heceta Head Lighthouse.

We spent a couple of hours then headed up US 101 to South Beach.

The campground was another Oregon State Park and had spacious sites with water and electric for $17/night. We made the reservations online in January and had to split our 6 night stay into 3 nights each at two different campsites. This campground is almost always full in summer.

The site for our first three nights was next to the beach access trail so there was steady foot and bicycle traffic (not to mention the ubiquitous dogs) in the area. There was a trio of ravens reminiscent of Edgar Alan Poe who greeted us early bright and early each morning (as well as numerous times during the day). We were thinking that sling shots with corn kernels were an appropriate means of dealing with the raucous critters. Since this is a State Park, we restrained ourselves however....

We took a walk out to the beach and were in awe. The Oregon Coast has miles of unspoiled beach. It feels like heaven to indulge in one of nature’s wonders. Walking the beach became a daily routine while we stayed at South Beach. Each day we’d choose another State Park to hike and explore.

The Oregon Coast weather explains why so few people venture into the water. The daytime temperature never exceeded 65 degrees F. It was damp and cold! Most mornings and evenings a misty rain fell. It was quite a shock to us coming out of the desert. We pulled out those winter clothes that we packed “in case we needed them on the return trip” and put them to good use.

Drew, Amy, and Natasha joined us later and set up their tent. Drew and Amy slept in the tent at South Beach; the children joined us in the camper where they would be warm and dry.

We have to admire Drew’s fortitude. Drew is NOT A CAMPER. He’d rather hang by his thumbs than sleep in a tent. He’s an amazing son-in-law though, who spent 12 nights camping with his IN-LAWS! Drew did make frequent comparisons between camping and HELL. He kept asking why anyone would want to do this for fun! He did however like the price of the accommodations...

We all remained vigilant while the pet owners walked past with their dogs to be certain that the dogs didn’t mark the tent.

Folks out here love their dogs. Many campers had more than one. We REALLY, REALLY enjoyed side-stepping the piles of dog shit on the trail to the beach. Since the park provided poop bags at the trail head, there was no excuse for these inconsiderate pet owners. Some were so considerate as to leave the blue plastic bags with their contents along the beach and boardwalks...

T was up by 6:30 most mornings and observed that most of the early dog walkers were men. She also noticed that over 3/4 of the men who walked dogs to the beach in the early morning neither took a bag with them nor returned with a bag containing their pets’ leavings (Perhaps they put the bags out of sight in their jacket or pants pockets so as not to offend non-dog owners.RIGHT!

After experiencing this phenomenon, we really are happy that New Jersey bans dogs from state parks.

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