Day 4 entailed a lot of driving, with a few stops along the Oregon coast mixed in. Our first attempt was a lighthouse very near Newport, but the line of cars just to get into the park was extending beyond visible range of the entrance so we took the hint from a few others in line, turned around and continued on.
The next stop was in Pacific City at a beach. I’m not sure what the initial motivation for going to *that* beach was, but when we got there it seemed like the thing to do was drive down onto the sand. Many vehicles, including a few cars were out there and we figured it must have been well enough packed sand to manage driving around. I really should have given more though to what was going to happen if we *couldn’t* drive around on the beach sand before pulling off the concrete ramp. At the end of the ramp was maybe 20-25ft of loose sand – we got through it to the packed area just fine, and once on the more packed sand could indeed drive around just fine. We got out and walked around a bit, but my desire to go wander was greatly limited by my realization that we might be stuck on the beach, which was too bad because there was a sizable dune that would have been fun to climb.
The Focus is a little front wheel drive car with standard all season tires and minimal ground clearance. These things should have registered earlier. I gave a few cautious tries getting through the sand, not wanting to get so far in that we couldn’t back out. After parking again to sit and consider the optinos, on the third try I got a bit more speed and just went for it figuring if we didn’t make it the difference of being down on the packed sand vs. stuck in the deep sand wasn’t going to be of much consequence. Fortunately, the result was a successful departure from the beach. On the way out, we noticed a tow truck at the ready up in the paved lot and realized that should have been a warning on the way in.