I’m beginning to back track a little. Two days ago I crossed the Portland bridge heading vaguely for Vancouver over the Columbia River into Washington. I was coming in zigzag from the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton. It was hot in Washington and at my first stop they wouldn’t let my dogs enter the building which wasn’t the welcome I’d wanted so I hit the wheel hard west back to Oregon.

Olympia "looking like a statue" in the dog section of the Oregon Garden

To start at the beginning, three nights ago I landed at the Garden Resort, I was on my was to see the town of Silverton, piqued by their transgender mayor, having departed from the Linn County Park outside of Leabanon….I’d arrived in Leabanon in a funk finding Corvallis lacked decent “RV camping” facilities. I was tired and wanted a quiet night’s sleep. Honestly I love Corvallis, but this was my third visit to the city and memories that I didn’t need haunted me all around the city. The trip to Leabanon was an unknown; it was hot and I had no idea what would turn up. That night at Leabanon I didn’t feel joy sitting by the river, didn’t feel peace in seeing the Milky Way for the first time in a very very long time,  didn’t feel delight that Olympia had her first almost swim; I felt discouraged. I’d definitely recommend the park for a family vacation with kids but bring a broom to sweep away the cigarette butts.In the morning at the dog park I met another solo traveler and his dog–he’d been on the road alone a long time and shared waysides, income opportunities and local knowledge that comes through experience and camaraderie. We’d both admitted to talking to our dogs more than to our own kind.

The dogs picked their bed, I got the other one!

After leaving Lebanon I found the Garden. I considered returning to Coravalis but it was time to move on so when I stumbled onto the bright colors and deep greens of the large acreage of cultivation I could not convince myself to stay. I had to find a place to live, not dally in indulgent splendor. My mood did not put a shine on Silverton….the local park was full of difficult people who wanted to keep their dogs away from mine, there were too many children playing and no one smiling. And it was hot. I had to find a place for the night so I pulled out my map and stuck a pin at a town that I can’t find on my map now–it was near a river. The drive was gorgeous but I was busy battling myself…go back, I said, I want to stay at a hotel tonight.  I want to see the garden, I said. I want to take a bath and wash my hair and lay on a big clean bed. I didn’t listen to this chatter and would not have turned back except for Jolyon’s call. Go back at once, he said and I did. I loved the place. They were offering a special for $119 (regular weekday rate was $140.) A beautiful room, a full dinner, a bottle of wine, unlimited entry to the garden and a buffet breakfast. WOW… it was wonderful, comfortable and the dogs were welcomed in the garden and to sit with me at dinner.

The next morning instead of Corvallis and instead of the river or the mountains (it was still hot) I decided to head to the coast and check out Pacific City, which had been mentioned to me as  by a couple I’d met in Florance who had a home there for sale. My funk was just getting started with more diatribe going on in my head… one moment heading west and then wham I’m heading east, and north…  I wound up doing circles, then found myself in Oregon City–it was nice, I could live there if I wanted to be near Portland–I mean I spent all of 7 minutes there before heading in the Vancouver direction.

The dogs traveling

We sat outside watching the boats in the harbor and had dinner

I was delighted to see (and feel) the familiar coastal cool. The road west on highway 30 leads to Astoria. I wanted to stay there but not in one of those cement parking lots the state calls RV camps. I trod on to the State Park, full. The clerk handed me a list, when I asked, she said, oh these were all full as of 8 a.m. this morning. When I asked for my best bet for a place to stay, she said, “what do you mean.” in a not too friendly voice, as if I was asking if I could stay at her place. With a heavy heart I was regretting my rash decision about returning to Oregon. Then an omen occurred in the shape of a little sign..RV’s in Lot A pay here, it said, or the approximate.   I wound up dry camping for $28 at the marina in Warrenton. No services but friendly family groups out fishing. Now I’m here in Cannon Beach, one last day before heading over the Astoria – Megler Bridge


Dogs visiting the Oregon Garden

Another shot of the Oregon Garden: We had the place to ourseves!