The first time I drove the spectacular Oregon coast was 1976, on the homeward bound leg of an adventure to experience the 200th anniversary of U.S. independence.
I recall the coast, and walking across the blowing-sand-covered parking lot of a restaurant, which created an impression of the Sahara rather than familiar North America.
Since that first visit, I’ve returned several times, and never has the awe of the crashing waves, the dunes, rocky headlands and spectacular beaches diminished.
So it was Sunday morning, as I looked out my motel window to the dunes on the cape that protects the village of Florence from the pounding of the surf.
I walked across the street, stood on a bridge over the Siuslaw River that flows into the sea, and marveled at the undulating, towering masses of sand that begin just north of the community and continue south in an unrelenting bridge between ocean and forest, virtually to the California border.
My plan was to drive north along winding Highway 101, a route that from its beginnings as El Camino Real in Southern California, continues more or less through to Lund on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast.
From Florence I travelled through quaint tourist traps such as Yachats, passed by the Sea Lion Caves, was again intrigued by Depoe Bay, and headed back inland at Lincoln City.
The weather was overcast, with only a smattering of rain and spin-drift off the combers when the road led along beachfronts.
While the scenery was a huge draw, I hadn’t the time to truly savour it.
The Oregon coast needs, deserves, a leisurely drive with at least a couple of overnight stops, shopping, sight-seeing, visits to the innumerable state parks, and long walks on the surf-tossed beaches.
I was returning from what was to be a 30-hour trip – not one I recommend.
Saturday morning I crossed at Sumas, rolled down the I-5 at allowed speeds frequently set at 70 mph and finally, 10 hours later after a constant buffeting by high winds and driving rain, reached my destination.
Overnight and it was back on the road to Abbotsford via the too-brief coastal tour.
I was on a mission, there for the single purpose of acquiring a puppy from a breeder in Florence.
The only efficient way to get him was to drive, and the financially prudent course was to spend only one night.
Besides, taking longer to return home would either over-stress the pup, or result in a rather odious crate propped behind the front seat.
Fortunately, the puppy is old enough to ‘hold it,’ and smart enough not to soil his temporary bed.
He was also co-operative, doing his business on brief, infrequent, sojourns at parks and freeway rest stops.
At least, on the long trip back, he didn’t keep asking, “Are we there yet?” though I did receive frequent telephone texts from home wondering, “Where are you? How’s the puppy?”
Even clearing the border was stress-free – where the polite, but very efficient officers were I’m sure, aghast at the accumulation of paper coffee cups and other discarded waste littering the floor of my truck when they inspected it.
At least they know I don’t toss my garbage out on the road!
As for the puppy, he’s sleeping in his crate beside me as I write this, having given in his wild morning run about the yard, new life to my other 12-year-old ‘pup.’