A few weeks ago I realized that three of our RV-Dreamers friends were both volunteering at Heceta Head Lighthouse at the same time, and were both staying at the Carl G. Washburne State Park. This was pretty amazing, since they had never met each other, and it was a sheer coincidence that they would be at the same place at the same time. We immediately knew we wanted to spend the weekend with them but weren’t quite sure how to work that out, and after considering moving our rig, or staying with Rick in his Class A, or taking our tent, we decided to take the tent. Not only would be get to hang out with them, but we would have a place to take our trial run with the new tent, and if things went horribly wrong, at least we would be with friends. At the end of our work day Monday afternoon we headed for the coast.
It was a 3-1/2 hour drive to their location near Florence, Oregon, but since we packed up the night before, we made it in plenty of time before dark. After seeing everyone and exchanging hugs we started to set up the tent. Our experience with tents is very limited so we bought an “easy up” version, but “easy” is a relative term, so it did take awhile. They had a fire going and gave us plenty of time to figure it out so eventually we did. It certainly was much easier than the tent we used when the kids were small but it did require some reading of the directions. The good news is the tent worked great with plenty of space for us. We had an absolutely fantastic weekend with our friends and since I took over 1,000 pictures, I am going to largely let some of them tell the story.
They made dinner for us, so after getting set up, we sat around the fire and exchanged stories. We all write blogs, but not everything is covered in those, so we filled in the blanks on what had happened since we last saw each other, and Rick and Jim and Diana got to know each other better. Jim and Diana had been carrying around a present that they bought me when we were doing the beet harvest, which was so incredibly funny and sweet and Rick brought out a hard copy version of my cookbook and asked me to sign it. That was the first time as an author anyone had asked me to autograph my book and was so kind it really brought tears to me eyes.
The fact that they cared enough about us to go to that much trouble meant the world to me, especially since it has been a rough couple of weeks, and I will say again how blessed we are to be part of the RV-Dreams family. They didn’t stop there though. They really rolled out the red carpet. They fed us dinner every night and breakfast in the morning, plus Rick let me use his shower. We even had an electric cord we could use to plug in a space heater at night and the site was free with them picking up the $7 per night cost of our parking pass. It was a great way in which to try out our tent, and their generosity was amazing. Hopefully we can return the favor in the near future, although it will be pretty hard to top!
Tuesday morning, Lee, Rick and I headed out to explore because Jim and Diana were volunteering at the lighthouse that day. We knew we wanted to see Jim’s tour later, but Rick (who was off) also wanted to show us the area. First stop was Strawberry Hill a beautiful little day use area with lots of tide pools and seals. This are of the coast of Oregon is chock full of Day Use areas and campgrounds and it is all designed to allow the public easy access. Fantastic!!
We wanted to get down to the lighthouse when they first opened so we headed over the Heceta Head. Volunteering at a lighthouse is one of those work kamping jobs that almost everyone wants to try at least once and there is quite a bit to recommend it. This volunteer job has them working 4 days with 4 hour shifts and they give lighthouse tours all day. Our friend Jim is a major history buff and his great-grandfather helped build a lighthouse, so this job was perfect for him. I won’t get into all of the history of the lighthouse, referring you instead to Jim’s excellent blog post on the topic, but I will share some pictures of our experience there.
You can tour the B&B, but we were eager to get to the top and turned the corner to see Jim and Diana.
Next we went into Florence and treated Rick to lunch at Chen’s Family Dish. This was the best Chinese food we have had on the road in three years. Seriously, I gave it 5 stars on Yelp. The restaurant was simple but immaculate. The service was great and the food was reasonably priced, extremely tasty, and best of all, piping hot. Really, really good and if you are passing through the area I highly recommend it. After food we headed to Sea Lion Caves. This is a really interesting attraction that has been in existence for over 75 years and has an elevator leading down into a giant cavern with sea lions in it. The price was a little too high at $14, but the views were great, and the cavern itself was really neat. I have never been in a sea cave before and really enjoyed it, although I did hear some people complaining about the smell.
Walking down to the elevator we could see the lighthouse in the distance
After the cave we stopped at a large pullout and I took a picture of the lighthouse. This is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Oregon and bonus we got to see sea lions and a huge flock of Brandt’s Coromants on the rocks below.
Next we went back to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and learned that there were blowholes nearby and it was still high tide. We raced down to the blow holes and had a fantastic time taking pictures of the action. Lee and I could have stayed there all day. Rick headed back to get dinner ready and let Jim and Diana know we would be a little while and we spent a very enjoyable hour exploring the blowholes.
We went back and talked and enjoyed a campfire until we saw that it was fully dark and the stars were out. The five of us drove back to the lighthouse and walked up the path (with flashlights) so we could see the lighthouse at night. One of the volunteers had told Jim to sit right under the lighthouse and look up, which we did, and it was truly magical. We couldn’t really capture it with a picture, but it was like being under a kids crib mobile as the spotlights rotated and the clouds appeared to move. We were expecting to see a single beam of light rotating like at an airport, or a flashing light, but the lens rotates around the light, so you get 8 beams of light that spin and spin and spin. Very cool.
We have been blessed to have many magical moments on the road, and doubly blessed that so many of them were with good friends. This moment is one I will always cherish and Lee, who has always loved lighthouses, said it was his new favorite “on the road” experience. Plus, we are really grateful that Jim, Diana, and Rick went out of their way to see us and made us feel so very welcome. Rick will be coming our way and staying in our park for two weeks, and we hope to see Jim and Diana once they move onto their next volunteer gig in Oregon. These moments really remind me of why we became full time RVers in the first place, and it couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks guys, and can’t wait to see you again. Below is a short video with highlights from the trip. As always, it’s better to watch it in 720 or 1080.
Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We very much appreciate any purchase you make via our website links. There is no additional cost to you and helps support our blog. Search Amazon.com here
Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Happy Hours, Travel Days, and Pot Lucks You can preview the kindle version on Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes. It is also available in paperback.