Thursday, June 15, 2017

Moving thru the Murk

Neskowin.

Some tiny community just a few blocks off the ocean.  Far enough that I couldn't see the water, but not so far that I couldn't hear or smell it.

I was awake early.  Not because I wasn't tired - I was actually quite comfortable.  It had started to rain lightly sometime during the early hours of the morning, tapping on the roof of the Jeep, the ambient noise lulling me back to sleep... off and on... intermixed with the anxiety and uncertainty of whether where I'd decided to park the evening before was actually legal.  😕  When I'd arrived, there was another parked in the small lot where I'd parked - a pick-up with a horse trailer attached.  I didn't see any evidence of occupants in either truck or trailer, but thought... if he can park there, I probably can too.  So I did, and I slept.  But upon waking up, I'd come to realize that the truck/trailer combo looked like maybe it was being stored there (the front of the trailer was on blocks), and I had actually parked in what appeared to be a turn around area for the regional commuter bus route.  Oops!  Not always knowing how local law enforcement views car campers, I'd decided it was a good time to go!

Continuing south, I'd stopped in Lincoln City - quite a bit larger than Neskowin - for breakfast.  From there, I'd seen signs for Devil's Lake Recreation Area... and not knowing what that was, I chose to go that way.  The road feeding into the park had a large parking area with beach access.  I stopped there, thinking I could walk part of that beach since I felt better than I did the night before.  It was still raining, but still lightly, so I grabbed my raincoat and headed out.  I didn't bring much with me as I didn't intend to be out too long.

Sidebar:  In ALL of my preparations for this trip - how to keep the items in my bag dry, how to keep my food dry, how to keep me dry in the notoriously wet Pacific Northwest weather... do you think I actually thought about bringing rain gear for my camera equipment?!  Nope.  😑  Needless to say... it didn't come out of the Jeep too much unless it wasn't raining...

On this short beach walk, the weather continued to get worse and worse - the rain got heavier and the wind got gusty, blowing the sand around.  I didn't stay out long.  I returned to the Jeep, shed the rain gear, changed shoes, and continued yesterday's meander down the coast... looking for cool sights, in search of calmer weather.

The weather didn't improve.  It got worse.  The alerts on my phone and the NOAA weather reports on the radio didn't not bode well.  Apparently this system was something bad, something with the intensity that the coastal area hadn't seen since the winter months.  Heavy rain and eventual wind gusts well over 50 mph.  While I was thankful that I wasn't hiking in it (that may have caused an unintended zero day), I was still driving in it.  Sometimes I was just parked in it, letting the wind rock my vehicle.  On the rare occasion when I'd gotten into a pocket with no rain, I'd brave getting out with the camera to get a couple of photos... and even then, I'd have to brace on my vehicle or on a fence or on anything.  It's windy when you have to get into somewhat of a lunge to hold your position.  😦

I'd consulted my weather app again, this time looking for the end of the weather system - how far would I have to go to get out of this before I'd be able to get back outside again?  Waldport was the answer.  That was a little bit of a haul from where I was, but entirely doable. I'd also decided that since I was stuck inside my vehicle, that I was still going to track the hiking route, to the best of my ability, and stay as close as possible to that... again, as a preview for my next hike attempt.

In the meantime, I would be headed through Newport - I'd been through there twice in the past.  I'd considered hitting the aquarium there, depending on time.  And Rogue Brewery was also there, so I thought maybe I'd check with Aaron to see if he wanted me to stop in and grab some tasty beverage for him while I was in town.  But first, as my hike guidebook delegated, I took the road that led to the South Jetty... as that's where I'd have to go on foot.  I stayed out there for a while - watching the birds and the water.  There were no boats that I could see, which made sense as the weather reports on the radio advised to keep the craft out of the water unless highly skilled in that type of weather.  I eventually chose not to stop at the aquarium (I'd really wanted to get past this weather system and back outside), but I did stop in at Rogue and got some bottles for The Boy.  😊

I carried on down the coast.  The weather never let up.  Even past Waldport.  Sometimes the wind would die down, but it would keep raining... or vice versa.  But never enough that I felt okay with getting down on the beach with blowing sand and water.  So I kept driving... and kept driving.  I still followed the hike route, but always in the vehicle.  I covered a lot of ground, looking for a break in the weather... but was denied.  I stopped that evening to sleep, nearly 200 miles later, in Port Orford, Oregon.

Mobile photos from the day: