The sun was setting as we got to the Oregon coast. After booking hard for eleven hours, we had made ‘it’ to the edge of the country again. I could smell sea air. It was humid and salty, yet musty from the earthen forests still surrounding us.
It wasn’t in the original plan to take a left at the northern part of Montana, but that’s what I did. Lusting to see some beaches, I headed down to the southern part of the Oregon Coast and booked straight only stopping for bio breaks and snacks. I couldn’t cross up over the boarder into the north without seeing more of the US and I was jonezin for coastal action. Last summer, we went up the Pacific 1 from San Francisco to the Avenue of Giants in Humbolt. The question for me was, what was further ahead? What was to be seen on the 101 into Oregon. This left turn ensured I’d get to find out.
Unlike the California coast, or any other coast I had visited before, Oregon’s coastal land was preserved by the state. Saved by public lands, I got to experience it the way it has always been, where vibrant flourishing forests meet the ocean’s lapping waves. Chilly and windy, there wasn’t much swimming going on, but I was able to wander along beaches and hike in the trails alongside the coasts.
Like a happy tourist, I didn’t stop myself from enjoying the funny things like Sea Lion Caves and wandering the shops of Depoe Bay.
As I wandered up the coast, I found myself slowing it all down, breathing in more intently. What was the rush? I don’t have anything else to do but see and experience all of this. Random stops along the way to kick off my Keens and feel the surf kiss my toes, while Scoob nipped at the waves with his snout and happily claimed bits of driftwood for play.
Where my heart was deflated, the salty sea air filled me up, the quiet walks alone on the beaches gave me moments to be at ease and practice mindfulness. It was the first time I saw forest and sand meet in this way.
All of my senses were satisfied, especially my tastebuds. Oregon is full of great foods and drink. My favorite meal this trip so far was at South Beach Fish Market, where I had Dungeness crab for the first time and was invited to dine with fellow #vanlifer Megan on Insta @wherethewildthingsrun and her family. People ask if I get lonely, and the answer is simply NO when there are so many kind and open hearted humans out there willing to break bread with me and share stories about our adventures.
Other things I adored about the Oregon Coast was the preservation of the past, the charm, the Victorian architecture, the dedication to keeping the coastal lands available for the public to enjoy and the colorful good vibes.
Just as I physically shifted time zones and moved from rugged mountains, through expansive farmlands, my mindset adjusted and altered. Oregon coastal travels opened up quieter moments, a sense of true adventure and excitement. I found calmness and inner peace wandering with my shoes off on the wet sand. It was getting easier to sleep at night, and relish more of the day. Slowing down ensured more time for exploration.
This was the start of the detour that would inevitably lead to me never making it to Alaska, this trip anyway.
If mermaids are real, they definitely love spending time here.