A journey from Los Angeles to Seattle on Highway 101, seeking out view spots for picnics… and old car junk for Clark.
May 30, 2014
Klamath, California to between Florence and Yachats, Oregon
In one of those, “oh jeez I’m glad I re-read that bit” moments, I realized that the only time to check-in at our destination for the night, the Heceta Head Lighthouse, was between the hours of 3 and 4:00, unless one had made prior arrangements. Which I hadn’t. Which meant we had to get on the road and cover over 220 coastal highway miles in a timely fashion, or risk standing outside our B&B with no one there to let us in.
Soon after crossing into Oregon, Hwy 101 widens out and becomes much easier to drive. It also, eventually, becomes boring – at least when it moves away from the ocean and all you see are fir-covered mountains. And more fir-covered mountains. And more. We were on schedule, though, and stopped in Florence for lunch at a place I’d found online, Homegrown Public House.
Great place. Fabulous burger — possibly the best I’ve ever eaten — and pretty good fried oysters, too. It’s one of those places we’ll stash away in our minds for the next time we come this way.
A block away was an antique mall, so we decided to forgo shopping for our picnic dinner and instead use our little window of extra time to look at junk. Clark found plenty, but by the time we were loading it into the car it was 3:35. Uh-oh!
Back on the road we went, with ten miles to go. It was looking like we were going to hit it just perfectly, arriving a hair before 4:00, but then we came around a corner and hit a backup of traffic. Cars were shut off, kids were sticking bare feet out open car doors. This backup had been in place for a while. Turns out they were doing bridge construction on the bridge immediately before the lighthouse. From where we were stuck, we could see our B&B.
Naturally, both our phones were dead, so we couldn’t call.
But then they allowed the traffic through, and five minutes later we were pulling up at the B&B, and all was well. As soon as we dumped off our stuff, we got back in the car to head north to Yachats to buy fixings for our picnic dinner. All I’ll say about the grocery shopping experience in Yachats is… go to Waldport. Or Florence. Clark eventually came looking for me in the store because I was taking so long; I was taking so long because I couldn’t believe there was so little that would make an edible picnic. And I might have been a little frightened of the locals. Just a little. Especially the clerk who expressed her anger issues on the apple I was trying to buy, that she couldn’t find the code for. The poor thing got repeatedly slammed on the counter.
Back to the lightkeeper’s house for our picnic on the covered porch, which was altogether too lovely to let having to cut the bruised bits off an apple interfere.
Around dusk we walked up to the lighthouse and watched its beams rotate through the trees and across the headland – a sight somewhere between fairy magic and alien abduction stories.
Back at the house, I read the notebook full of personal stories of encounters with the supposed ghost who haunts the house, “Rue” (name arrived at from a Ouija session), but most of the tales sounded like rodents in the walls or attic, wind making doors suck in and out and rattle, the cries of seagulls, and even perhaps the effect – in one instance – of standing sound waves, which can create hallucinations of a “grey lady.”
The most entertaining stories, as far as I was concerned, were of the resident cat (no longer there, alas, although there was plenty of cat hair remaining on the throw blankets) who on a few occasions sat in front of a door to the outside, and then the door knob would turn and the cat be let out… although there was no one there to do it except a shocked guest who couldn’t believe they’d just seen the door open on its own to let the cat out.
Clark pointed out that instead of being a ghost, it might just be a really powerful cat.
And so to bed. I thought it would be romantic to leave the curtains open, since our room had a view of the lighthouse, but a couple hours of light beaming on my face at intervals of a few seconds changed that.