Once upon a time, I was going to spend a week or ten days slowly going up the Oregon coast on my way to Seattle. That was before I crunched Serenity, causing a delay of several days, and before R let me know that he was passing through S with a long, long layover. Change of plans, so I took the most direct route possible, up Highway 5 through the middle of the state.

While I drove I was remembering all the other times I’ve driven on that road. Once in 1999, maybe? A couple times around 2003, I think. Once headed south in 2017. Enough times to make me think that one of my issues with traveling is how much driving days feel like wasted days. I need to do better about turning them into discovery days — days when I do something more interesting than simply drive. Spending all day on the road, especially when it’s a familiar road, just isn’t an interesting way to spend time. Yesterday’s big event to that point had been a stop at a Safeway to pick up salad greens and get gas. Woo-hoo! (Not.)

The day got more interesting when I arrived at my carefully-selected campground and discovered that it was full. On a Monday. In May. Having had so much availability earlier in the day that I’d decided I didn’t need to make a reservation! Dang it.

Back in the van and on the road we went and no sooner had we gotten back on the highway than I was cursing myself. The only reason I needed a campground was to dump the tanks. If I wasn’t heading from one ten-day stretch in a driveway to another several days in a driveway, I wouldn’t need a campground at all, I could just spend the night in a rest stop or a parking lot. If I’d thought of that before I left my carefully-selected campground, I could have asked to use the dump station and opened up my options. But alas, I didn’t think of it. So I was on the hunt for a campground with a dump station or hook-ups.

Fortunately, I found one reasonably easily. I got mildly lost once and had to ask for directions at the non-camping park across the street, but Gills Landing, a county park in Lebanon, had spots available, and I was settled in — tanks dumped, water tank topped up, with electricity running the InstantPot — by about 6PM. I was a little dubious about the train tracks running directly behind my campsite, but if any trains went by in the night, I missed them.

And I quite like the campground. It’s not for tent campers — there’s a bathroom but it closes at dusk, so they only accept RVs with a manufacturer-installed toilet system (and both hosts asked me about it, so that is something they take seriously). But the spaces are level, with concrete pads, and lots of room between them. It’s $35/night, so not cheap, but they are full hook-up spots, so not unreasonable, either. I didn’t check out the bathrooms and don’t know whether they have showers. But I have reasonable internet access on both T-Mobile and Verizon.

Green grass, tall trees, and a silver camper van parked on a level concrete pad, with a brown railroad bridge in the immediate background, so close it looks like the van is parked underneath it.
Serenity, with the elevated train tracks directly behind her.

Unfortunately, the rain started in the night. Z and I started walking this morning and we got about four sites away before she stopped and stared at me, her attempt to psychically say, “Why are we doing this?” I got the message and we turned around and came back to the van. There’s a river nearby, according to the map, so I suspect there’s probably some nice walks and maybe even a view — but Z isn’t curious enough to want to walk in the rain, so we are probably not going to investigate. Instead, I’m writing these words and hoping that Fen’s adventures aren’t so totally disrupted by my driving day that I can write some of those words, too. And then it’s back on the road. Seattle by dinner-time!