Day three started at 6:30 when we were awoken by little feet pattering across the camper floor and into our room. Maybe some day we will all sleep in again as a family..for now, it is understandable. Zo’s whole world has been turned topsy turvey and her sleep schedule completely erratic. We went about making coffee and a salmon scramble (using the last of Spud’s catch). The wind was howling outside and soon rain began to fall lightly. By mid-morning it was a full-on storm! I loved the weather, but the tiny trailer is not idea for being cooped up for long periods. I had been in touch with my old friend Katie who now lives in the neighboring town of Waldport, OR. She has a little girl as well, just a few months younger than Zo, so we were excited to get the two of them together for a little play date. They came over around 9 and we got to meet little miss Melita. They played with some of Zo’s toys (we were only able to keep a few due to space, so the ones she has are really special to her). They shared as well as can be expected for two spirited toddlers, but it was sooo stinkin’ adorable to see them together. We even braved the storm and walked down to the harbor where they threw rocks into the water and Shep’s tennis ball. It was a lovely time. Due to the poor weather, we knew that the drive to our next destination, Florence, would be slow-going and wanted to leave by 11ish. We bid farewell to our friends. Zo got a kiss on the cheek from sweet Mellie.
Ever the trooper, William hitched up the trailer in torrential wind and rain while we waited in the truck. This stretch down the 101 was completely stunning. The drive was also the most treacherous so far, because of the weather, but also the curvy hwy and steep cliffs to one side. It reminded us a lot of the drive to Big Sur, however it was even more wild-looking, lush and just more Oregon-like. Needless to say we took it really slow, pulling over often to let other cars pass. I despaired as we passed some of the places I had really wanted to see, such as Thor’s Well and Heceta Head LIghthouse. It just wasn’t realistic to stop in this weather or maneuver the parking areas in a rig of our size. We reached Florence after about two hours of driving. We got a voicemail from the camp hosts informing us that they were out at lunch so we pulled up and waited for them…kind of funny. They arrived soon and the gentleman (who had a great Cockney accent) gave us a quick tour of the rec room, complete with pool table, coffee, tv and showers. We had site 47 which was pleasantly level, paved and a pull-through. We are getting to know the way of these parks and which kind of sites to seek out or request. This was probably the easiest parking job yet. We decided to stay for another night as well which will be our first chance to kind of relax and put the trailer in livability mode: cluttering the counters, not worrying about things flying around and maybe trying out the awning.
The wind and rain were relentless, but we weren’t about to let it stop us from exploring. We decided to check out Old Town, the historic, walkable riverfront area with lots of charming shops and restaurant. We all piled back into the truck and headed out. To our shock, Zoe fell asleep five minutes in to the 10 minute drive. Whaaat!!?? This can’t be our Toot! The action-packed last several days and lack of sleep finally got to her and she succumbed cozily in the carseat. I even took a picture as proof.
We parked by the marina and sat, slightly baffled. I decided to take Shep on a little rain walk around Old Town while she snoozed. After a few minutes I realized that, while indeed charming, it wasn’t worth waking her. Zoe really isn’t one for window-shopping and the weather was still quite wet. We reconvened in the truck and decided to head back up the 101 to Heceta Head Lighthouse! She could continue to sleep in the car for the 30 min drive and we would have a chance to take in more lovely views. As soon as we left the city of Florence, the clouds began to clear. There was a lovely haze over the pacific and everything has that glorious after-rain glow. Small waterfalls, moss, and ferns hugged the rock wall to our right and below the cliff to the left, the waves crashed and frothed on the rocks. After going through a neat rock tunnel and crossing the bridge, we immediately found ourselves at the trail head for the lighthouse walk. We gently woke Zo up and transferred her to her stroller and made our way up the 1/2 mile trail.
I love lighthouses. They seem so majestic and are also charged with a sense of mystery. I once read that it’s thought that all lighthouses are haunted….due to their extreme isolation and sometimes the dangerous aspect of the job, most lightkeepers took the position for life and brought their families with them. There were pictures of the keeper’s children riding their horses around the cliff and on the beach below. Just below the cliff that the lighthouse stands on, two giant rock formations jutted out of the water. One was called Parrot Rock, the other Pinnacle Rock. Standing on the cliff was refreshing.
Some were mossy and dripping and others just smooth rock. To the other side of the beach was a good-sized creek that poured out of the woods and into the sea. I was so tempted to follow it inland into that rich forest.
Shep got to swim around in it and chase sticks (one of his favorite pastimes). We spent a good 2 hours taking in the magic of this place. I am so grateful that we were able to come back up and see it. Both Zoe and Shep were soaked and pooped out at this point so it was time to head home. The sun was shining by the time we left. You couldn’t even tell that it had been raining that day….we have observed many times how quickly the weather changes in the Pacific Northwest. We passed a sign called Darlingtonia Botanical Area just outside Florence and decided to check it out in the morning.
When we got back I began on dinner and Zoe hit the showers with her Dad. I want to take this time to rave about my Instant Pot. William surprised me with it right before we moved into the trailer. It is first and foremost a pressure cooker, but does the job of about 5 other cooking appliances. It can cook grains and meat, make chili, broth and soup and even make yogurt with incredible efficiency. I tried out cooking pasta in it for the first time for dinner. It saves so much on time, dishes and doesn’t waste any water since you cook it directly in the sauce, no straining. I made jumbo shells stuffed with ricotta cheese and smothered in marinara. It turned out great and now I have the confidence to try more pastas in it. I want to make one pot mac & cheese next. Thanks hunnybun for the awesome home-warming gift! It is truly perfect for a tiny kitchen.
After her shower, Zo was too sleepy to even sit down for a real dinner, so she snacked a bit instead and then we began her bedtime routine. After several books it was lights out. She played her game of peekaboo again but was fast asleep by 7:30 so it was a vast improvement on yesterday. She is definitely getting there. I am so proud of my little moonbeam! She has kept a great attitude about everything and seems to thrive on all the new experiences. We like to talk about our day after she gets in bed and to relive our favorite moments. Today she remember the “baby” (Melita), the harbor boats and the bridge we saw from the beach.
I am looking forward to having all day tomorrow to see the rest of what Florence has to offer. I just found out that this weekend is the 5th annual Wine Walk & Chowder Festival. Ummm….was this event created just for me? You really shouldn’t have! Well goodnight for now and thank you for following our journey. It is a joy to record our experiences, but even more of one to know that people are interested in our family and support us in what we do.
Sweet dreams from Florence,