I survived the night in the small cabin with the very few amenities and windows. There wasn't even a window to look out into the parking lot from the door which made the already small area feel even smaller. This was a little concerning for someone who was slightly claustrophobic, but I survived. The park was quiet and the sound of rain falling on the roof throughout the night brought serenity and calm to the cabin. Aria and I had done a lot of "dancing" as we maneuvered around to try and get to the things we wanted, the bathroom was the most fun.
Somehow she knew when I had to go and chose that time to jump off of the bed and lie down in the middle of my path to the bathroom. Then was somehow able to put on this show that I had disturbed her from her deep and comfortable sleep. Once she was out of the way I was shocked into full-on awake as the bathroom was 10 degrees colder than the rest of the cabin and that included the toilet. I tried to quickly leave so I could get back under the warm covers only to find someone had claimed the spot for herself.
Several minutes later and she was still acting like she was "dead asleep". Finally, I had to pick her up and place her at the other end of the bed with no assistance from her. Once done I whispered in her ear, "You are so difficult! I know you are faking it!"
There was no movement from her but as I turned to get back into bed she let out a long, deep sigh. I rolled my eyes, re-arranged the bedding, and laid down, only to have her crawl up next to me where we slept next to each other for most of the night. I guess you could say, we made it work.
The night was filled with rain, at times, a heavy downpour and then a light drizzle that continued on into the early morning hours. Sometimes it felt like we would be blown away because the wind had also picked up. The morning walk was spent dodging raindrops and large puddles which was also the time Aria decided to get very picky about where to do her business. A large gust of wind that came up her backside had her quickly deciding it was time to be done with this charade and we headed back to the cabin for breakfast.
As the morning drifted on, Aria and I spent it curled up on the couch watching movies and enjoying some time off of the road and out of the car. I also used this time to plan out my trip for the next several days and was able to find some space to do some painting. Even though I didn't have Internet access I did have my phone, although the signal was low and slow, I was able to get a weather report and see that eventually the chance of rain would be dropping as the day went on but at times, even those predictions turned out to be inaccurate and Aria and I were forced to stay in.
Finally, at around 11a, the rain and wind subsided and the sun began to peek out. I figured we had about 2-4 hours to do some sightseeing before the next round began. A quick prayer to Mother Nature asking for at least that time and I looked to Aria and asked her if she was ready to get out for a little bit. She happily jumped up and became anxious about leaving the tiny cabin for awhile, with that response Aria and I jumped into the car and headed out.
Most of the day was spent around the Cannon Beach area to take in the local views, parks, and sights. I headed out of the park and just across the road was Ecola State Park, unfortunately, due to fallen trees and bad roads, it was closed. However, just a few feet away from their entrance was another park called Les Shirley Park. This park was right next to the ocean and offered public, pet-friendly access to the beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Aria and I made our way to the beach and before us was the Pacific Ocean. Aria was on a retractable leash and took in the sight before and around us. On the other side of the water, there were people strolling along and other dogs barking and running through the water but Aria showed no interest in going into the ocean. She watched and observed but made no eager gesture to get in. That was fine as it allowed me time to take some photos of the area.
We continued our stroll and followed the beach around the bend and saw in the far distance a lighthouse, a few rock formations, as well as many people enjoying the beach with their furry friends close by. A lot of the parks in Oregon that offer beach access, unless posted, allow dogs.
After we walked the park and the beach, we returned to the car and headed North to Seaside and Astoria; both of these places were easily found using Highway 101. It is important to know that Cannon Beach was a small ocean town, plenty of residential buildings and small stores lined the main street and that was all. There was no gas station in town nor any commercial hotels or stores, Seaside is a short distance away that does have commercial businesses.
As I entered into Astoria I couldn't help but see the large bridge in the distance which brought me over from Washington state. I crossed over it yesterday in extremely limited visibility, which was probably a good thing because today I was able to see how high and steep the incline was when you entered into Oregon.
Astoria was a very busy town down by the piers and offered a walking path, that was shared with a trolley along the water and throughout the town. I drove around Astoria, made popular by the movie The Goonies, and I had the feel of a fishing community as I drove down by the water and up the hills through residential areas. The roads were steeper than I thought for this area, it almost felt like I was in California, little did I know then, that these roads were preparing me for the drive yet to come through downtown San Francisco.
When going up there were times I lost the road altogether and had to re-shift myself in order to see what was coming up in front of me. Speed limits were slow but being new to the area had me going even slower, which was not a good thing when going uphill and the car began to cough because there might not be enough speed to get me over the hill. A bit of panic sat in but I made it to the top without any accidents or issues.
It was disappointing to get up there only to see more residential areas and businesses but no view. Time to turn around and, well I'll be, there was the view I was looking for, it was right behind me this whole time.
I made a couple of illegal and extremely dangerous stops on the way down, but the shots, to me, were worth it and I was quick to snap and move on before anyone noticed or came up behind me. I continued down and began to think, going down was worse than going up, gravity kicked in and the breaks were earning their keep all the way down.
I made it back to the main drive along the water and pulled over to walk a short distance on the boardwalk and take some shots of the ever tall Astoria Memorial Bridge. Not as tall or as intense to drive on as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge out in Maryland but it was still a thrill. I was tempted to drive it again now that the weather was clear but construction had traffic backed up from the incline on the bridge, down to the entrance and I wasn't about to spend time sitting on it.
After visiting Astoria I began to head back towards Cannon Beach with a pit stop in Warrenton and Seaside. From the main road of Highway 101, there wasn't much to see in these towns so I watched for the signs that pointed toward the ocean and was able to see some amazing sights. Such as the Sunset Beach Trailhead just outside Warrenton, which had me seeing the sign posted only a few feet from the turn. Missed it! Kept going, made a U-turn, and returned only to just about miss it again because there was no sign pointing the way in this direction.
As I headed down the road I passed by a members-only golf course, residential area and straight ahead was the ocean with large waves. Just off to the right was a pull-in area that offered walking paths down to the ocean or out to a few landmarks in the area. It seemed like a nice area to pull into and park and stroll down to the beach but a parked, beat-up car had me thinking twice about it. I pulled around the parking lot and the driver, a young man, and I locked eyes giving each other a look of "what are you doing". I wasn't scared or intimidated by him but definitely, on alert, something didn't seem right and I decided not to park and continued on. As I came to a stop at the end of the drive I glanced back in my mirror one last time at the parked car. A large puff of smoke came out of the car. Uh-huh. So that was what this area was also used for, interesting.
Of course, I couldn't leave without getting another up-close view of the ocean, I continued down the road and drove out onto the beach. Seemed only fair that even Ella should feel the wet sand on her "feet" and the ocean air on her "skin". As I pulled out onto the sand it became obvious that this was not only an extremely popular choice but also a popular place to visit. Once around the bend, several vehicles and families could be seen down the entire coastline as far as the eye could see.
I found a place to park that was far enough away from the others to let Aria out and enjoy the beach once again. We stepped out of the car and I gazed out at the Pacific Ocean, the limited visibility due to low clouds doesn't even hide the massive water that was lying out in front of me. I grabbed my camera and began taking shots of the area and the ocean ahead. With every click of the shutter it was clear the next round of rain was about to make landfall and in the distance, I could see that rain had begun to fall over the ocean. Everyone around me had sensed it too and had started to pack up. I gave one final look to the ocean, before Aria and I jumped in and got ready to head back to the cabin.
I was barely off of the sand when the first few drops began to fall. At least today I was only driving a few miles instead of a few hours. I got the shots I needed and as I looked out towards the ocean I could see more clouds had rolled in and these had grown dark. I continued forward and it wasn't too long and I had entered Seaside.
A pull off of the highway lead me down Broadway towards the downtown area, with a lot of one-ways. There were also local shops and restaurants that had just about anything and everything I could ever need. It also offered street and ramp parking as well as great views of the ocean and the rock formations that encompassed it. The street came to an end with a circular drive, a short stop for a photo and I was headed back to Cannon Beach and the tiny cabin.
Later Aria and I had supper, a quick walk and settled in for the night. We were hit with a little rain during the walk but escaped the downpour that followed. The park was beginning to fill up with campers, and tenters were settling in as well. It was going to be a cold and wet night for them which had me loving my tiny cabin a bit more.
The rest of the night was spent listening to the rainfall and the tenters setting up with a few choice words for the weather and to the one who decided to camp out. There were parts of me that couldn't believe I was here and doing the road trip, it had been an adventure and I looked forward to another day on the road, but for now, we were settled in for the night.
Tomorrow I would continue on Highway 101 in hopes of visiting several state parks and lighthouses. Here was hoping for good weather, smooth roads and everything else I should need.
Driving across country can bring about some interesting situations. Broken down on a day by day basis enjoy my adventures and set backs along the way to some beautiful destinations.