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.
Pacific City Dune where you can also see the cars parked off on the sand.
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.
The young kid along the shore said this was a jellyfish egg pouch, but I think it’s actually a moon jellyfish. There weren’t a huge number of these washing up, but a few did come in with the tide. This was one of the more ‘whole’ looking ones. The kids were holding them, so I guess they weren’t the stinging type.
Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL18200 lens @ 149mm, 1/30 sec, f/10, ISO 100
Day 3 was mostly spent at Crater Lake. I like to relax on vacation by demanding that we wake up in time for sunrise and go to take pictures. In light of this, we got up early to head to Watchman overlook with our coffee, but finding clouds there, backtracked to Discover Point and arrived just moments after the sun peeked out. Unfortunately, or fortunately if you like the look of it, there was a cloud in the direct path of the sun coming up. Either way, we were only there for one morning, so I took a bunch of pictures and then we headed back to the campground to pack up and move out.
Day 2 was our started by completing the drive to Crater Lake. Like a lot of the National Parks, the area you want to get to ends up being rather remote and it was about a 45 minute drive from the nearest town into the closest visitor center. With that in mind, I should have stopped for gas at that nearest town… Fortunately, the park is pretty well developed and has a small general store with fuel near Mazama Village where the campsite was (3).