Thursday, April 09, 2015

Non Alphabetical Listing---The Trip

Yes, off I went, really super early yesterday morning, off with two cats, not the two intended, mind you.

I meant to take Alexi and Sassy to the affordable clinic way up in NW Oregon for dental care.  But could I find Sassy at 3:30 a.m.?  No.

So I settled for Stiletto instead.  Stiletto is another of the Business Nine, all of whom have had the bad teeth, at least so far.


I knew Alexi's teeth would be bad.  She had all the signs.  A slipping front fang.  Drainage.  The look!   Unkempt fur.  Weight loss.

But Stiletto I was fairly sure didn't have as severe an issue.

Off we went and even though I left ten minutes late, we arrived on time.  I set a time to leave, but then lollygag around as the time approaches, almost like I don't want to go at the very last moment.  Or something.

It's a three hour drive from here to there.  I give myself a half hour leeway.  So if I leave at 4:30 a.m. and have to check in at 8:00 a.m., well, it's always worked out.

Alexi would be done first.  After I left her at the clinic, I headed out to Fort Stevens State Park with Stiletto in the big metal cage in the back.  I intended to camp there the night, between the girls appointment days.

I drove through the entire huge state campground.  I was in awe of the size.  But also of the vehicles "camping" there.  These were like 30 to 40 foot trailers and fifth wheelers, all looked shiny and new and the vehicles parked that had towed them there, were also huge.  Many pickups had dual rear wheels.

Lines snaked out from behind the shiny white trailers and 5th wheelers to near the road and attached to the ends of those lines---satellite dishes were pointed to the sky.

This was camping?   My eyes were popping out.  What has happened to Oregon state parks?

Apparently, they have become a Mecca for plush luxury campers.

 I wasn't going to fit in here.

Nonetheless I got a list of empty camp sites that might work for me, sites that offered a little privacy, although none offered much, because these sites are developed for big rigs, I could see.

The check in station was not a little ranger booth.  It was a huge fancy building, that had stalls like for bank tellers or at a post office, only much nicer than a post office or a bank.  Only one employee's station was open.  I was already floored to see the excess.

Then came the deal killer.  I tell the young man I want to rent a tent site.  He says "Oh, we don't really do tents anymore.  We only have six tent sites and they're taken."

My mouth drops open and I begin to stutter.  There must be 200 campsites or more in the park and only six for tents?

 I repeat, over and over, like it should be enough for him to know everything I'm thinking, "But this is Oregon...." I am kind of shaking my head as I say it, like he should know exactly what I mean and be ashamed to be part of this, this new thing, this betrayal.

Oregon, where we camp in tents, in the rain, with tarps and camp fires and not in those monstrous expensive luxurious and fuel guzzling traveling apartments lined up there white and dazzling in rows, all looking just the same, gleaming in the fading sun.

 "I can charge you for an RV site, but it will cost more,", the young ranger offers.  I'm still in shock and still protesting, "But this is Oregon....we camp in tents.....and".  I'm still muttering as I turn and wander away.

There's no way in hell I'll pay out RV fees and camp amidst the great white monsters.  Oregon used to care about the environment.  Now they cater even our state parks to the most offensive of the gas guzzlers.

I'll sleep in a parking lot first, I thought to myself, rebellion overwhelming me.

I guess what got to me was that camping at least used to be affordable.  Not so much anymore.  Glitz and glamour and money and perfection and luxury have taken over Oregon state parks.  There are still the BLM and Forest Service campgrounds, at least.  They're a little cheaper and little more rugged.  Most of those close for the winter.   I passed some country parks too, on 47, that were much more my style.

Reality soon whapped me in the face.  Where would I settle in, with a cat in the back and camping gear crowding my car, could get mighty unpleasant.  Well, maybe this was a sign, I reasoned, to take it easy for once.  I found a cheap motel.

I spent a relaxing afternoon snoozing.  They even allowed pets.  I got so much sleep I think I must be worn out from cats waking me here.   I slept the night through too after picking up poor little Alexi and being told she had to have 14 teeth pulled.  My poor baby.

Next morning, I took Stiletto in and after checking out of the motel, I spent the day with Alexi in the car.  She came out of the trap, that was to be for her bed, to lay atop it, in the big metal cage, so she could watch out the front of the car as I drove.  These girls are well traveled kitties!

From Del Rey Beach

Clam digger

Del Rey beach signs

This tangle of old fishing lines was in the parking lot at Del Rey.  I don't know if it was hauled off the beach or a high tide dumped it there.

Seaside Hotels and beach

Darn, this Seaside thrift shop was closed on Wednesdays.

The old fishing ropes and lines again, in the Del Rey Beach parking lot.

These multi person bikes were everywhere in Seaside.  Families rent them and they were having lots of fun!

Alexi watches from atop the trap.

Finally it was time to pick up Stiletto, so I headed back across the Youngs' Bay Bridge to the clinic.  She'd only had to have one tooth pulled, thankfully and was already very awake.  I got her settled in the cage with Alexi, who was very happy to see her, then headed off, intent on returning the same way I'd come, via 101 down past Seaside, then highway 26 back to Portland.
I immediately became snarled in a traffic jam.  There had just been a wreck on the bridge.  I turned around.  Time for something new.  This time, I'd take highway 30, along the Columbia River, back to Portland then down the freeway to Albany.

However, on a whim, I veered off of highway 30, and headed south on highway 47.  I had never been on highway 47, through Vernonia before.  About time I did!

Wasn't much more than a windy logging road, albeit paved, much of the way.  Lots of clear cuts!

I finally reached Vernonia and thought it was a very cute little town.

Lots of very green fields and farms.

 I stopped to watch some deer along the road.
I stopped in to check out LL Stub Stewart State Park and again was not impressed with the campgrounds.  It's a large park and would be fun for day use and hiking, or if you had horses.  There is a horse camp.  The places where you might tent camp are a field, where there is no protection from weather (wind, rain or sun) or any privacy.  Or regular campsites coated in pea gravel.   What in the world or rather who in the world plans out these campgrounds?  I don't think they've ever tent camped in their lives.
Want to camp in a soggy open field?  No privacy?  No cover?

Or you can pitch your tent on pea gravel.  Fun stuff.

However, if you have the money to rent a cabin there, do it!  Looks lovely, especially the three or four, that look out over the mountains.  Awesome!

Renting a cabin at a state park is super spendy.  Let's just say it costs more than my motel room did to rent.
Cabins at Stub Stewart state park

Cabins overlooking the mountains at Stub Stewart
Like I said, the day use parking lot even is spectacular!

So, made it home, and about now, finally, am going to bed.   The girls are sleeping off their high adventure!


  1. Glamour camping or glamping is increasingly becoming the norm here too. Satelitte dishes, electricity, hot water. A far cry from the camping I remember.
    Yay for getting two more cats dental issues fixed.
    Loved the deer. The clear cut sites are a bit sad though. Do they get replanted? And with what?

    1. Glamping, what a great new word! Love it! It's such a far cry. Sad! Yes they're supposed to replant (with Douglas Fir seedlings) but some of those hillsides are totally barren, and so steep and right by the road, inviting severe run off and slides, in my opinion. I"d never drive that road in extremely wet weather or after a spell of very wet weather.

  2. Sounds like very big caravans....enjoyed your photos, was great to see the sea...

  3. I think camping still happens here in public caravan parks. What has gone here is on site caravans, caravans you can cheaply rent at the parks. Instead we have cabins, much like yours but of course they are more expensive than the old caravan. They are usually our preferred option and you do save some money over a motel by being able to cook in them.

    The clear tree felling would be a concern if happening in native forests, but I guess these are plantation trees.

    Quite an adventure for you, as you went about your altruistic travel.

    1. I can't recall ever hearing about on site rentals of RV's, as we call them here. But the cabins, yes, both private and publicly owned ones. The motel I got included breakfast, but if a person was staying for more than a day, I can see how if a cabin had a kitchen, it would be a cheaper option than a motel.