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Published: July 25th 2016
After a nice night of sleep, I got up and drank coffee while watching two birds play in the bushes near my tent, I tried to focus on them and not think about the great unknown that lay in front of me. I had spent several weeks before my trip looking through tourist guides and internet forums, cataloging potential places to stay and things to see, starting with the northern-most section and working south. I had planned through Honeyman Park, and then simply run out of time. The entirety of my plan for the rest of Oregon was "head south". Before I did that though, I needed to head north.
Rather than head for the next town, I backtracked to Florence under a misting rain. The first task of the day, as with so many mornings before, was to find wifi. I spotted a building labeled "Uptown Coffee", almost completely hidden by a 7-11. I parked, headed inside, and tried to make a plan while munching on a scone. The next town of note was Reedsport, followed by Winchester Bay. Neither had any AirBnBs available, nor were there any state parks nearby. To complicate matters, it was Friday, which meant
I would be competing with both the retired crowd, and city folks heading to the coast for the weekend. Rather than over think the situation, I hopped in the car and pointed it south.
I was uneasy. It's a strange feeling having no idea where you will be sleeping that night. The weather matched my mood. Big dark clouds hung low, hiding the road ahead. I got reacquainted with my old friend Procrastination. The 20 minute drive to Reedsport took me an hour and a half. I stopped to take a picture of cabins on a lake. I stopped for a particularly interesting rail bridge. I stopped for a couple of statues that seemed to be pointing at a couple of Corvettes in a parking lot. After rolling across a long bridge straddling the Umpqua River, I was in Reedsport. I had wasted enough time, it was time for a plan. I drove past several cheap motels; the promise of a dry room and free wifi pulled at me like a magnet. Before giving in, I pulled into the parking lot of a little diner. I ate slow and typed fast. Finally a decision was made. I would try
to camp in a park near Coos Bay, and then try to find a bnb or hotel so I could do some laundry. This was very much a gamble. Coos Bay is the largest city on the coast and it was likely the park was already full. If that happened, I would have to try to find a motel. I celebrated having a plan by ordering pie, and it was delicious. I decided this was a good omen.
Coos Bay doesn't feel like the other coastal towns I'd been in. It is a legitimately large town that happened to be on the coast. It took me a half hour to get across town to the road that would take me to the park. I wondered if the park would be surrounded by apartment buildings and strip malls but I worried for nothing, as the feeder road soon twisted it's way into a lush forest right near the water. As I passed a popular little stretch of beach I spotted the sign to Sunset Bay State Park. I pulled in, prepared for the worst. I passed dozens of occupied or reserved spots. I started to sweat as I turned onto
the last loop. I looked to the right and there it was, a lovely camp spot inexplicably devoid of campers. I pulled in and checked the post. No "Reserved Tonight" note was posted. I looked around the area, sure that it must of blown off. When I didn't find it, I walked back to the gate and checked the posted list of reserved spaces. Mine wasn't listed. Success! I quickly filled out the registration slip and dropped my $20 in the "Iron Ranger" fee station. I had a home for the night. As it turns out, it was the largest spot I would stay in the whole trip. I could of setup 10 of my tents and still had room for my improvised kitchen.
After setting up and getting the fire started, I cooked a nice stuffed chicken breast, accompanied by a simple batch of chopped vegetables. I ate and sat around the fire, waiting for it to burn out. Rather than trying to find a path to the beach as I had originally planned, I just felt like getting some sleep. My inconsiderate hipster neighbors made it difficult but eventually I drifted off. It was an exhausting day,
but still way better than being in the office.
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