November 2 & 3, 2017 (Solo Winter Travels 2017/2018 ~ Part 7)
After greeting the sea at Seaside Beach, OR, I continued down Hwy 101 but took a side trip to Indian Point at Tillamook Head. As you can see from these images, the coastline was socked in with clouds.
The rain’s behavior here is different from inland areas. It can be drizzling lightly one second, then the next it can come at you as though someone in the Universe above has turned on a gigantic fire hose, and then a minute later it will stop for maybe five minutes, and then suddenly you will get dumped on as though someone has thrown a horse-trough of water on you and it practically forces you to the ground. Then there will be a ten-minute break, with maybe a hope of sunlight, but then the dumping, hosing, spraying, spitting, high-wind-side-swiping, mist-tickling, and perhaps some normal-type of rain, will start all over again.
After looking at Cannon Beach from Indian Point, I decided I wanted to do a sunset walk on the beach itself and hopefully get some shots of Haystack Rock at sunset. There wasn’t much in the way of free camping choices here. It seemed that the two choices were two tiny little roadside pullouts just north of Cannon Beach along Hwy 101, and they were so small there was only room for one vehicle, and inches from the road, unless I wanted to drive inland for many miles (the Oregon coast is not free camping friendly). Those in and out trips to the national forest were not in my gas budget for this trip, even though it would still cost less money than a campground which charged anything from $20 – $45 which is ridiculous. So, prior to this trip, I’d accepted the fact that I’d have to do some stealth camping and rest-area or Casino camping all the way down the coast, and on this night I did my first on-the-street stealth camping.
Stealth Camping in the town of Cannon Beach
I’d read in the local paper that Cannon Beach was seriously clamping down on people sleeping in their cars on the streets and that the police had classified camping as anything that involved any kind of bed, or sleeping bag, or blanket, or pretty much just sleeping, so I had to choose my spot carefully. I found a place on the street where I was surrounded by small bed and breakfasts, (working on the assumption that each one would think I was a guest of another one) and lots of other vehicles, and my side door opened up to a large, high, hedge (so people wouldn’t see me getting in and out). I put up all my scarves, blackout panels and sealed it the best I could, and then made sure I didn’t turn on any bright lights inside. Then I went for a lovely, though somewhat soggy, walk on the beach at sunset. I’d only expected a handful of people to be sharing this moment, but a good number of tourists flooded out of the beach-side hotels. It was a test of my patience and I had to use a few tricks to get my shots without people in them.
After my sunset walk, I returned to my van to see that all the vehicles around me had left, and I was the only vehicle on that block. However, I raised no alarms, and aside from the wind rocking my van and making the Thule box squeak, I slept undisturbed.
If you travel like I do, you won’t get very far in a day. I tend to stop at as many things as I can, so in this case, it was as many beaches as possible. I’d try to get a quick walk on them between rain showers, but sometimes I just sat it my van and watched the waves, with a cup of tea in hand as the wind and rain slapped, rocked and pummeled my roof.
I considered parking for the night at the Port of Garibaldi, but there was a man walking around who wasn’t in a very good mood. He got very angry when he opened his door and a ton of stuff fell out, he slammed his door three times afterward. When he started to enter the restaurant I felt sorry for the staff, but he paused outside the door, walked back into the parking lot and composed himself first. He went back in with a smile on his face.
I love having tinted windows, I can watch such scenes and people are oblivious to my being there. Anyhow, I decided to travel on to Tillamook instead, where I’d heard there were a couple of free camping spots at The Blue Heron Cheese Factory, and sure enough, there was. If you don’t mind roosters, chickens, and mud, then this was a great and safe location for the night. I’d heard there was also a spot at the airport, but I never could find it.
On this day I traveled a total of 40-miles from Cannon Beach to Tillamook, it was a big day for me!
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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