Where is the most happening place to be on the Oregon coast for the 4th of July? Well, apparently it is here, right by Rockaway Beach. Did any of us know that? Like, especially the person who chose the place? Also the person traveling with three dogs? Nope.
This is a big county campground, with a few sites nicely private and shaded, many slotted together in a gravel parking lot, and some, like ours, weirdly located in the parking area by the beach. We all had the same thought when we pulled in, and that thought sounded something like Ricky Ricardo telling Leenda she had some splaining to do. However, there was sun. And cell service. And it was right by the beach. So we ended up actually liking it. Dogs likely had a different opinion once the fireworks started.
Before the festivities got underway, Richard got in a bike ride along the “Three Capes” route, while Linda and I planned to meet up for boating down in Pacific City. Our aim was the Bob Straub State Park and nearby boat launch. We eventually found it, even though it was confusing and seemed to span both sides of an estuary, but it was pretty windy. It’s nice traveling with someone you feel comfortable enough with to go, “Meh, I’m not feelin’ it,” and have them be relieved cause they weren’t either. So instead of getting the boats out, we just messed around the beach for a while.
We all did a bit of regrouping and decided to meet up at the Tillamook Creamery. It turned out to be a zoo when Linda got there, so she bailed, but Richard and I braved the crazy. That place is like a huge Visitor Center, complete with cheese tasting, a factory observation deck, a movie, and little explanatory displays. Plus, it had ice cream. We brought some back for Linda and that was probably all she really needed from that experience.
Then it was back to the campground to watch things begin to ramp up for the 4th. As more and more cars pulled in to the parking area, we could already hear the fireworks start to go off. Poor doggies started to shiver and shake and Linda ended up getting outta dodge and drove down the road until it wasn’t so intense. There they parked, music blaring, until the aerial battle recreations were mostly over. We were curious and headed to the beach to witness all the glory.
First off, it was packed. This is a three mile beach and there were partiers with campfires going full blast in the sand, as far as one could see. Everyone had their own arsenal, ranging from little stuff, to seriously professional looking explosives. Things really got going around 10pm, since the sun didn’t set until 9ish. Early on, the smoke became really intense, so we kept edging our way closer to the ocean waves. Once it was dark, there were nonstop fireworks all around us. Huge bursts went off overhead, raining little charred bits of paper on top of us. As we looked down the beach, it was hard to tell the difference between the professionally organized displays and those of just regular beach goers who’d spent a ton of money. It was reminiscent of a blockbuster movie beachy war scene, but way more colorful and with slightly less screaming. By 11, it was beginning to die down and we retreated back to Dory. That was an experience. No way can you do anything close to that in California. We usually go to city parks with presentable, though not awe inspiring, displays. This was like a hundred times the fire power and none of the organization.
Friday, we had to say goodbye to our Alto buddies. We’ll be sad not to see them at every campground, and the doggies will be confused and wonder where we are. They are fun and we miss them already.
We head over to the Columbia River Gorge now in what we are calling the Summer of Inefficient Route Planning.
Total miles from Kalaloch: 203.6, 16.0 mpg, 5 hours 12 min. Site Y3. Vault toilets out in the beach area. NO electric hookups in our sites, but excellent solar. Great LTE for both (man, we like that!). Dump on site, water filling station in separate location. Lots of big rigs with lots of generators. Fog horn, train. I’m making it sound worse than it was.