When winter comes, our best option for a short getaway is to head for the coast. We had barely returned from our Thanksgiving trip when Mo said, “Can we make a plan to go somewhere again before Christmas?” Ummm….took me an overnight minute but by the next morning I was ready to search Harris Beach for a reserved campsite. Harris Beach is beautiful, and close. Just a bit over 2 hours for us from Grants Pass. I guess that is why you will see more photos and blogs about Harris Beach than just about any other location we have traveled. So be it. If you are bored…just move along.
With all the sites being full on our last trip, we didn’t want to take a chance. Reservations are so easy, and for me personally it is much less stressful to know I have a place to land. Especially when the weather is stormy I really don’t want to be wandering around hunting for somewhere to by dark.
The weather report for our four days at the ocean was grim. Wind warnings, gale warnings, high seas and king tide warnings were many. Still, we have camped at the coast enough to know that in between all these dramatic events the skies can clear unexpectedly and the sun will break through. We planned accordingly. I think I packed more outerwear and footwear than I have in a very long time. Four days, four weeks, if it is cold and variable, I need all those alternatives to being wet. Glad I did.
As we departed from home around 11, the skies were that gloomy gray dull that I like least of any, and the rain was spotty. Just enough to be wet and boring, but the trip down the Smith River past the Jedediah Smith redwoods is a familiar one. I usually like to drive home from the beach since the steep drop-off to the river is on the passenger side in the east bound lane. Mo was happy driving to the beach that morning. We switch off as needed, taking turns. I function better earlier in the day so usually leave later trips to Mo. We avoid night driving most of the time anyway and especially when traveling in the MoHo. Lucky for me, Mo is still a great night time driver if need be.
Much of B Loop and part of C Loop are closed for the winter. We are in A2
We arrived at our site in the A Loop and were delighted to see that most of the row was still empty. I was relieved to see that unlike our last campsite at Harris Beach, the campfire ring was a decent height. Mo had loaded up enough wood for four nights of campfires, in spite of the rainy forecast. After settling in we put on our coats, including Mattie, and braved the inclement but still dry weather to go check out the beach.
It was just a little short walk to the overlook and we managed to walk down the path toward the big rocks before I had to give up. Steep rocky stuff is out of my range now, especially when wet and slippery.
Mattie did NOT want to turn around.
The view was great from that spot, and we could see that the beach was almost completely empty. After walking back to the MoHo we picked up the car and drove down the steep road that leads to the main beach at the park.
Mattie was in heaven, running wildly the minute there was space for Mo to let her off the leash. The high tide had brought in some interesting tidbits that someone decided to arrange into a lovely still life that just begged to be photographed.
Mattie ran and played and climbed rocks, her favorite thing to do other than running wildly in soft sand.
Back home we settled in with some TV shows cast from the phone and a nice little steak on the BarB as the rain held off a few more hours. By dark, the rain was coming steadily. The rain drumming on the roof was as soothing as ever and we slept in much longer than usual the next morning.
We knew that Wednesday, the 16th, was to be the most intense day of the storm and we planned accordingly. Snuggling in with hot coffee, some news on the TV and cozy sweats we enjoyed the indoor day completely. I had come fully prepared with all my handmade Christmas cards ready to address and mail. It was much more fun writing little notes and stuffing the envelopes in the MoHo than it would have been back at home.
I started making Christmas cards back in the early days of COVID in the late spring. The most fun is deciding which cards go to which friends. The worst part of this is that if I make a similar card in the coming years I might not remember who got which ones the last time around. I guess I need to keep better notes!
It rained all night but the next morning on Thursday the skies had cleared somewhat. I decided to see if the Brookings Post Office was open and was delighted to find not a single person in the line and a friendly postmaster who checked each of my cards for weight and thickness.
The skies were clear and beautiful as we piled into the Tracker for the short trip south to Crescent City and our favorite fish and chips restaurant, the Chart Room. We stood in line with Nickie and Jimmy last September for our outside dining only fish and chips.
It was still outside dining only but the big difference was the weather and the lack of the long line of people waiting to order. Although the sun was just as brilliant, the air was chilly and we wore coats. Very few people in line and we had no trouble snagging a nice picnic table with a view.
We decided to check out the beach that we had attempted to visit last September. At the time, it was too crowded and there was no place to park. This time there was plenty of parking, but with the high tide coming in quite close there wasn’t much walking room. We weren’t impressed with this particular beach, actually called Crescent Beach. The sand is more like dark brown silt and while the surfers are fun to watch, the homeless tents and garbage strewn around was less enjoyable.
After lunch we drove north of town along the coastline to the remote headland trails at Point St. George. I have written about the amazing historical lighthouse that is just barely visible from this point in a previous story here. There were a few people parked but only a few hikers walking along the beach. The beach was gorgeous, wide open and clean with big breakers roaring from the high tide to keep us company.
Home again to a lovely evening with the rain holding out long enough that Mo built us a great campfire to enjoy before retreating to the cozy MoHo. As usual, Mattie had to have her own camp chair and blanket for fire time.
Most of the next day was sunny and beautiful with enough time to walk the beaches once again. We were surprised at how the temperatures moderated after the rain and the winds were almost non existent. It was a gorgeous day and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Mattie found many mini mountains to climb
For our last night in camp Mo once again built a beautiful campfire and we opened a bottle of champagne to enjoy by the fire and to drink with our truly delicious fish and chips. It is great when a good dinner is enough to last for two great meals. I am pretty sure that the Chart Room fish and chips at 14.95 each is one of the tastiest and best deals ever.
Saturday morning dawned gray and foggy once again and we took our time getting ready to leave. Even though we have an RV dump station at home, it is a bit easier to dump right there at Harris Beach. It is a good dump with a perfect angle for a complete clean dump. RVr’s will know exactly what I mean. It is also easy to get to and rarely busy. It’s the little things that matter when out traveling!
The trip home was uneventful, except for one minor detail. In Kerby, about 25 miles west of Grants Pass, there is a fair style food booth with hot dogs, hamburgers, curly fries and yes, corn dogs! Best corn dog I ever ate was at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in 2019. Mo said, “Hey, want a corn dog ?” I didn’t exactly slam on the brakes in the middle of the highway, but I did find a way to turn around and get back there. Yup…Albuquerque quality corn dog. Once every year or so isn’t that bad for some truly delicious junk food. Then again, I might have to be sure to remember that place is there on our next trip to the beach!