We pack up in a drizzly fog and hit the local fish store. What's freshest? Sole (four fillets, please) and just-smoked tuna.
Oh, and Art's jalapeno smoked salmon stick. Perfect road food.
After a gas-up, we're slipping north in the fog, past Coos Bay and Florence, truck lights on for safety, as the signs say, until we see a campground that calls to us.
Fog renders the mountains in a hundred greys, the sea a whiter shade of pale (readers of a certain age will hear the organ screaming now).
The campground Art tuns into is simply a tent on our atlas, indicating a national forest. We discover it's Tillicum Beach Campground in the Siuslaw (See-oo-slaw) National Forest and, as a result, Art's old-guy (62+) pass renders the $22 entry fee $11.
I'm not even certain I want to stay here. It seems highly groomed and check this out: RVs parallel park in designated spots along the Pacific like cars would if they could on Lake Shore Drive. Do we really want to camp bumper to bumper with all these other tin cans? I'm dubious...
...but we hear the crashing Pacific just over the shrubs and we're debating whether or not to continue up the coast when Art discovers it's a secret garden campsite. Let's let the hobbit lead the way...
...through the densely growing windswept evergreens.
Yes, our Avion will be parked on the tarmac, but the picnic table and fire ring are in a secluded private spot, with only a view of the ocean and its wall of sound. Front and center.
Some hot soup will energize us for a hike and dinner making.
Photos three directions from the picnic table.
Time for a walk on the beach, down a slice in the sand.
Wayne, I picked up this rock for you right here. I know just where it will go in the courtyard rock garden.
The fog casts a moody shroud on the stairways for a scattering of houses just down from the park on the ridge above the sand.
What's for supper: a melange of Boise potatoes and onion with herbs to accompany our sole. It's all white, but it's all right, especially the sherry reduction we whisked up after frying the fish.
This fish did literally melt on the tongue.
Mmm. Art's making a cozy post-prandial fire. Nice and warm in the damp fog.
Can you feel it?