aka: Coastal Love, pt. 1
*June 14 & 15, 2013*
**All italic quotes are taken directly from journal entries, which were added just prior to posting**
Upon waking up in Crescent City, CA, grateful to have my car troubles in the past, I decided I was ready to leave California. California has always been kind of like a backyard to me, born in San Diego and living in Reno, it was never too far to get to the Golden State. Until this trip, I had never really spent time in northern California, so I was happy to for the chance, but decided that although the characteristics associated with living in California (such as the high cost of living, large populations, etc), may be mitigated in the north, they were still present. It’s a beautiful land, filled with easy-going hippies, and while it’s a great place to visit, I wasn’t feeling the calling to stay there much longer.
Trusting my gut has been a big theme in this trip; from the moment I started considering it, I needed to find my own confidence and certainty, despite any naysayers I would encounter. Throughout the trip, my plans have been consistently changing; being able to trust my intuition, and the little voice in my heart that sings when I’m in the right place and goes mute in the wrong ones, has been a challenge to consistently listen to and follow. But on this lovely morning, there was no hesitation; I packed up camp and headed into Oregon.
And wow! As soon as I crossed the border, I felt like I had just ventured into a new land that felt far more comfortable to me. Though the landscape and weather didn’t instantly change, or even change dramatically, there was a slight change in the air that was enough for me to notice. The heavy moisture that was imminent throughout northern California seemed to be drying up a bit; I was seeing big blue skies with sunshine and tolerable, even comfortable, humidity. Luckily, the slightly diminished moisture didn’t have too much of a diminishing effect on the lush surroundings – the land was still overrun by green, towering trees, full, dense shrubbery, and huge, diverse mountains.
Beyond the barrage of vegetation, I started noticing signs by the half-dozen marking ways to get to the rivers and lakes nearby, while the coast kept peeking in and out of view as I continued driving. I’ve always said I wanted to find a place where I’d have access to rivers, lakes, and oceans (what can I say, I love the water!), and I think I found it here. Reno has the incredible Truckee River and incomparable Lake Tahoe, but the ocean is at least four hours away, so I found myself wondering, am I just being selfish wanting to be near all three? Apparently, not in Oregon!
I had been undecided as to whether I would stay at a campground, find a random place to sleep on my own, or make the drive through to Eugene. As I approached Florence, there seemed to be some sort of magnetism drawing me towards staying on the Oregon coast longer; I didn’t feel the connection in northern California, but I was definitely feeling it with the coastal woods of Oregon. I spent some time at a local coffee shop in Florence, checking into the digital world I had been disconnected from for a few days, and decided that there was no way I was ready to leave this area; as I wandered around the harbor, I knew it was the right decision.
“It’s about 70* and misty, with the occasional raindrop to refresh both the air and my skin. When the clouds roll in, there’s a different kind of heaviness to the air and sky. The humidity feels kind of comforting, creating the sense that the air and natural surroundings of mother nature are engulfing you. There’s almost a potent inkiness that embraces everything. In the afternoon, as I wandered along the waterways and in the trees, the sun was shrouded by the balmy clouds, making it appear to be twilight for hours.”
I decided to find a campground, and since I was feeling pretty exhausted, I was happy to just lay low at my site, making dinner, meditating, and reveling in the natural ease I felt in this place. When I awoke the next morning, I felt more rested than I have in months! I slept like a baby, apparently finally adjusting to camping alone, combined with the air of safety I felt by the slightly increased number of fellow campers around me. “I’m feeling a kind of incredible, euphoric, neutrality.” It did not take me long to decide, I was absolutely not ready to leave this spot, even if it was solely so I could just get another night of deep, restful, happy-dream-filled sleep.
I spent some time at my campground, went for a hike in the sand dunes (which, are quite easy to get lost in!), and ventured back into the sleepy little town Florence for coffee, wi-fi, and to wander the little shops. When I wandered into a bakery, I was ecstatic to find pretty extensive, and absolutely delicious, gluten-free options. Striking up a conversation with one of the women working there, I learned that 11 years prior, she had quit the job she was unhappy at, packed up her things and started wandering until she found a spot she felt like she should stay, which happened to be Florence, OR. Listening to her story, sharing mine, and discussing the plans I was dreaming up for a business, it was one of those conversations that seemed to generate mutual energy, invigorating each of us to pursue our own paths; by the time we parted, I felt inspired by her, and she told me that in following my dreams, I had inspired her.
Apparently seeking to satiate a sweet tooth, I also ventured into some pirate shop advertising an inordinate amount of salt-water taffy; for the first time, I understood the taste-bud pleasures derived from this sticky, sweet treat. Wandering on, I stumbled upon a flag-burning ceremony, which was new to me. I thought damaging the flag was illegal or something, but, as I discovered, the way to “retire” a flag that is damaged or old, is through a very special ceremony involving retired military and boy scouts. It seemed nice enough, but the smell was pretty awful. I decided to go back to my camp and spend more time indulging in me-time.
“People think I used to laugh out loud, to myself, a lot, but it has been increasing in regularity I’m sure. Everywhere I go, I’m caught vocally musing to myself, and since I’ve been in Oregon, I’m pretty much always laughing, smiling, or exclaiming ‘WOW!’ Maybe the coast has such hippies because it is a place where the symbiosis of earth, water, and air are interdependent and easily coexisting. It’s nice to camp in Oregon, it feels easy.”
Back at camp, I spent more time meditating, reading, writing, and contemplating. I realized that I had spent the last couple weeks working up to this culmination; a state in which I was totally tuned in to my own habits, cycles, and needs (such as how long it takes me to adjust or what my natural wake/sleep schedule is). Stemming from that clarity, I was also getting more in tune with my passions, goals, and plans for the future I want to create. My conversation with the woman at the bakery had my creative juices flowing and I wanted to capitalize on the momentum to continue developing plans and ideas for the business I’ve been dreaming up. I decided to make some tea to try to warm myself and my hands, and when I did, I was beyond ecstatic for the two fortunes I received….
As much as I was loving the coast, I knew that tomorrow would be the time for me to head inland. I wasn’t sure why, but I felt a strong draw towards Eugene, and I knew I was going to need to allow myself time to discover that town and what it was I felt so pulled to. Excited by the serenity I had found on the coast, and the unknown adventures I knew would await me east on 126, I sipped my tea, drinking in the warmth and the messages I was blessed with. The last thing I wrote in my journal that night –
“It’s really pretty amazing in Oregon. I feel an interesting settling feeling. I must take note and pay attention, I think there may be something more for me here…”
Stories from the road-trip that inspired moving to the PNW, and other travel adventures.