The sun began to peek in, the birds were starting to sing and a wet nose nudged me to open my eyes. I glanced over at the clock and told Aria both her and the birds were up way too early and to give me another thirty minutes. Thirty minutes later, the wet nose returned. I reluctantly got up and we got ready to begin the day.
Suitcases, sleeping bag, supplies, and pillow were now packed and ready to go. I did one final sweep of the tiny cabin and got ready to head South on Highway 101. I would be in California by the end of the day, a quick look at the weather on my phone told me the rain would begin around 0730. As the clock turned 0729 the large drops had begun to fall and I told Aria we needed to walk quickly and get going; which she does not.
All of a sudden she was o.k. with walking around in the rain, all I could do was bite my tongue. Finally, she was done, I was soaked and cold and we were ready to go. As I pulled out of the parking spot the rain had begun a heavy downpour. This would mean limited photos along the coastal 101 route; bummer.
Highway 101 lead to other exits and views around Cannon Beach but due to the current weather, I was unable to check them out. As I continued down the road it appeared I was moving away from the rain and it started to lighten up enough for me to get out and take a few shots before I left the area for good.
The Highways twists and turns with the rain going from light to heavy with every turn I made. The photo Gods were on my side and weather improved long enough for photos every time I came to a pull off that offered an amazing view. Even Aria was able to get out of the car a couple of times and take in the new surroundings.
She would be so excited about the new area that she wouldn't see I was about to take a photo. Tug! There went that shot, a grumble and a sigh had me trying to take the photo again, only to be jerked in another direction. Finally, a sit, stay had to be initiated so the photos could be taken. Once completed, we got back into the car and I turned towards the back and looked at her, "We need to work on our communication, Aria." She gave me a sigh and jumped down to the floor of the car which I could only interpret as a "yeah, yeah, yeah," response.
For the last few days I have endured mountain driving with sharp twists, turns and high hills but one day away from it had me quickly forgetting how to handle the curves or maybe I was blocking it. The rhythm was jerky and hard, no easy on and off of the pull-offs, calculation of the sharpness of the turns were off which had me leaning far over to either side. This also lead to some very interesting noises coming from the back of the car. When I finally straightened out a very loud sigh came from Aria, which I had no doubt would be equivalent to me mumbling curse words under my breath.
There were a lot of pull-offs and sometimes they were after every single corner mere feet apart. Most of them were maintained by the Oregon State Park System. The scenic spots allowed me to enjoy the view of the ocean, bluffs, and beaches that ran parallel with Highway 101. However, most of these areas offered little to no warning of their existence. The sign that said "next right" was literally inches before the turn-off. Some of the turns I had to pass altogether because there hadn't been enough time to safely stop but there was always another one just down the road and, in my opinion, offered a better view.
The further South I went, the better the weather got but the roads became worse. There was construction going on throughout 101, as well as in the towns and on the historic bridges. These areas often included flaggers but the areas that weren't actively being worked on were rough and could do damage to the vehicle if I didn't pay attention. Same thought went to the pull-offs, and some that weren't paved had a bumpy entrance and departure.
One major attraction to enjoy along Highway 101 were the beaches. These pull-offs offered beach access right off of the Highway. Plus they were dog-friendly, so put your furry friend on a leash and take them with you as you head down to the water or just walk around on top. It was what I liked most about the Oregon Coast and how pet-friendly they were, I took full advantage of being able to have Aria with me to enjoy the scenery. Another thing about Highway 101 are the gas stations.
Crazy, I know, to bring up gas stations but it came as a surprise to me. A lot of the gas stations up and down the 101 coastline in the cities had people come out and pump the gas for you. When I first pulled in I thought that was what was going on but wasn't sure, until I turned to get out and saw the attendant walk up. All were very friendly, efficient and even washed the windshield for me.
It reminded me of the old days when I was a child and this was a given at every gas station. One even offered Aria a dog treat which she happily took. I continued down the coast and began to pull away from it as I entered California. It wasn't long before I saw the ocean again and came into the small coastal town of Crescent City.
A small, quaint town that offered pet-friendly accommodations and a friendly staff. The hotel I was staying at had all the rooms open up to the courtyard that was full of trees, grass, and flowers that were obviously taken care of by a landscaper. Once in the room, I discovered an added bonus that I wished more rooms would offer on ground level. The room had a sliding door that lead out to the pet-friendly walking area and a small patio.
Although the room was in need of an upgrade and the wall had a few holes, the area was quiet and secure. In the far distance, the sounds of the waves crashing could be heard. This would be the first and last quiet night I would spend in California. The rest of the time was spent with stress, anxiety and restless nights. I would have slept in had I known what lied ahead the next day.
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.