Last week, Suzanne and I went camping in Oregon. Not just camping — it was an authentic vacation, which for me, means no computer. It was incredibly nice to be away from the internet and its endless onslaught of depressing news. But I called my dad this morning and was reminded that I did want to write about our trip, even if belatedly.

So our first campground was at Humbug Mountain State Park. We had two sites next to each other, which worked out okay. Next time, though, we’ll bring four chairs so we can have chairs at both sites instead of needing to shuffle them every time we wanted to switch sites. (I was cooking in Serenity, but Suzanne had the nicer site for sitting and relaxing.) The campground wasn’t perfect — it had too much traffic noise from the nearby highway for that — but it was pretty close. The best part was the easy walk to a gorgeous isolated expanse of beach.

beach picture
Humbug Mountain’s beach

We got to Humbug on Sunday afternoon & enjoyed the beach. On Monday, we left Serenity behind and took Suzanne’s car down to Brookings, visited the Humane Society thrift store, did some quick grocery shopping at Fred Meyer, and then had a picnic at Harris Beach State Park.

another beach picture
Harris Beach State Park

After lunch, we took a slow drive back to Humbug, stopping along the way to admire the views. We tried to go to one more beach, but it was a little bit of a hike over steep terrain — really gorgeous steep terrain — and I didn’t think Zelda could make the last twenty foot drop to the beach. Nor that I would be able to make the climb back up carrying her. It was beautiful, though.

random forest path (lots of green)
Random forest path
Another beach
The view before the drop

On Tuesday, we again left the van and the trailer behind and went off exploring in Suzanne’s car. This time we went north and east, aiming for Coquille Myrtle Grove, a state natural site with a swimming hole.

At the site, a short road led to a rocky beach and a shallow river. We set up Suzanne’s cabana tent to give us some shade, ate lunch, did some wading and rock hunting, and appreciated summer. After a couple hours, more people started to arrive, including some big family groups, so we packed up and headed back to Humbug.

Zelda, appreciating the cabana and the sunshine

I believe that it was at this moment when our vacation first started to go… well, not awry, but in a different direction. Because it was hot at Coquille Myrtle Grove. Not necessarily Florida or Arizona-style hot, but definitely warmer than we’d expected it to be. Our plans, when we started, were to spend a few days on the coast and then head inland on Thursday, stopping in Bend Thursday night and then going south to the desert to hunt for sunstones, and then into the mountains, staying at a BLM campground on the weekend.

We were driving back to Humbug when I said, “I wonder how hot it’s going to be in Bend.” When we reached a town where we had cell service, we checked. Answer: too hot, at least for people traveling with dogs and without air-conditioning. We started scrambling for new campsites on the coast right away. Pro tip: the last week of August and Labor Day weekend are not times when you want to leave your reservations to chance and/or to the last minute. We found single campsites for Thursday and Friday nights, but nothing for the weekend.

We had another sorta unpleasant discovery when we got back to the campground. The entrance was blocked by emergency vehicles. Apparently, there was a wildfire over the hill, four miles away. You, oh, reader, have the benefit of two weeks of foreknowledge, so you know exactly how bad that news might have been. We, fortunately for the rest of our trip, had no such foresight. They let us into the campground and we packed up so that we could get out quickly if they started evacuating, including making plans for where we’d meet up again if we did have to run for it. But despite a restless night, the campground was still there in the morning.

Wednesday morning, we took one last walk on the foggy beach, and then headed north to our next campground.

That’s the highway that caused the traffic noise. The campground is on the other side of it and you walk under it to get to the beach.