We just spent a month traveling from north to south on the Oregon Coast-spectacular!  Depending upon the eye-of-the-beholder, this coast rivals, if not surpasses, the coast of Maine.  The coast has everything; long beautiful beaches, secluded coves, a mountain range along the entire length, and unusual geologic features jutting into the sea.  There is something unique at every turn in the road or on every step of the coastal hiking trails.  The summer weather is dry and sunny.  It is almost perfect, except the weather may be a bit of a surprise for those of us who spend summers on the east coast.  My niece Heidi describes the Oregon coast best.  She said "people in the east go to the beach for vacation while people in Oregon go to the coast."  Those beautiful Oregon beaches with crashing waves appear to lure you into the water.  However, immediately after stepping into the water your ankles freeze and loose all feeling.  The only people spending any time in the water are in wet suits.  The high temperatures are generally in the 60's with a few days getting into the low 70's and there is a steady on-shore, stiff wind.  One day Heidi and I hiked over a large dune to face gale force winds which seemed to form sand dunes before our eyes.  After a short sand blasting we scrambled back over the dune to tell Nancy that it wasn't going to be a good "beach" day.  Finally, there is a gray mist which seems to hover over the beaches and stretches inland for a few hundred yards.  The mist can be easily defeated by traveling up or down the coast for a few miles, as the mist seems to selectively strike different beaches on different days.  I don't mean to detract from the beauty of the Oregon coast as I would recommend this trip as a "must-do" for anybody.
One of the many special views of the Oregon Coast.
Shore Acres State Park

A seal hangs out near us on an Oregon Beach
     For those of you who know Nancy, you know what a beach brings-ROCKS and SHELLS!  So it was butts in the air and hands in the sand.  The coast is a bounty of beautiful rocks; agates, jasper, fossils, and petrified wood.  Nancy happily added several tons to our rig's maximum driving capacity.  Nancy even found one truely interesting specimen.  After closely examining this new find she decided to add another beautiful specimen to her collection.  After picking up her find she suddenly realized that her new treasure was fresh dog poop.  YUCK!  Needless to say, I would't let her bring it home.
Nancy hunts for more dog treasures!?!
     The biggest event of the trip was a surprise visit from Marie (Nancy's closest friend dating back to junior high school) and Tom (Marie's husband).  Marie swore me to secrecy so Nancy would be truly surprised.  On their arrival day, I made sure that our touring ended early in order to allow Marie and Tom to drive down from the airport in Portland.  What a surprise it was!  When they arrived, Marie entered the rig singing one of Nancy and Marie's favorite songs.  When Nancy heard Marie's voice she started walking from her art audio to the front of the rig thinking that I put Marie's voice on one of my speakers.  However, there was Marie standing there.  Nancy screamed in utter surprise and almost fainted.  They both shed tears of joy over their happy reunion.
Tom, Marie & Nancy
    We were lucky enough to have Marie and Tom join us in our rig for the next several days as we traveled the coast.  We spent one afternoon with Marie and Tom in Newport Harbor, drinking beer, and watching approximately 60 sea lions barking and basking in the sun 20 or 30 feet from our restaurant table.  We also travelled to Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where we took a dune buggy ride over those fantastic dunes.  We even spent a couple of nights in Florence mixing it up with the "locals."  We went to one bar and I started chatting-up everybody I could find.  Nancy and I did a little dancing and one of the local babes even started dancing with me.  I was having a blast until the women tried to pick me up-ooooops!  I quickly referred her to Nancy and then went to sit in the corner--disaster averted!!!
Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area

Sea Lions in Newport Harbor
     We had 2 other highlights as Heidi joined us for a night.  Heidi was valedictorian of her class in Chiropractic school.  She is a fun loving person and joy as a guest.  We did some short trips along the coast and Nancy and Heidi took an 8 mile kayak paddle on Nahalen Bay.  Mostly we spent a lot of time hanging out and getting to know our wonderful niece.  I can't wait until the next time she visits.  
Nancy & Heidi begin their kayak adventure.
     Also, my 2 nephews, Kevin and Keith, joined us for 3 nights.  Keith is going into his senior year at high school and Kevin is getting near the end of his time at college.  It was impressive how well the brothers got along and how easy they were easy to entertain.  We hiked Humbug Mountain, toured the coast, went out to dinner, and one day they took our kayaks on a lake and on a coastal river.  However, I think the highlight was our evenings at the campfire melting marshmallows and eating Oreos.  Getting to know both of them better was really special.  They are going to do well in life.
Keith and Kevin
     Now we have left the coast, entered summer-like temperatures, and are heading to Bryce to be joined by Bryce!  (Bryce Canyon National Park)  Can't wait to see my "Baby!"

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