Yesterday we moved about 60 miles from Lincoln City to Tillamook, Oregon. We had explored a couple of camping options when we were in Tillamook visiting the Air Museum, and decided to dry camp at the Tillamook Elks Lodge park (read our review and see more photos here) for the two nights we planned to be in Tillamook. We arrived around 10:30 am, descended a little hill on a smooth gravel driveway, and pulled into the grassy field designated for RV parking. Of the 18 sites available, only three others were occupied. We settled in comfortably.
Like the Lincoln City Elks Lodge, the Tillamook Elks Lodge has a park – a regular park, with trees, grass, picnic tables, and RV sites – located outside of town, a few miles from the Lodge building. The Tillamook Lodge doesn’t have any hookups, though, so gets fewer RV’ing visitors and less revenue from their 18 sites.
While their current sites are down a slight hill from the main park entrance, they have just begun work on a year-long project to add 25 new sites with water, electricity, sewers and a dump station on the upper level. Bulldozing has begun, and we were able to see the layout of the new sites.
Chatting with the camp host, we learned that Monday (today) was the day designated to dig a trench to bury the conduit and cabling for electricity to the new section. He said the volunteers would be digging a trench, putting in the conduit, then refilling the trench as they went along.
He DIDN’T say that they would be arriving in diesel pickup trucks at 5:30 and firing up the backhoe at 6 am! He also didn’t say that both Scoopy and Jules would be on the WRONG side of the trench! In the time it took for Odel and me to wake up, get up, get dressed and get focused on what was going on, the driveway had been bisected by a 4 foot deep trench the width of a backhoe bucket. It became increasingly clear that, unless someone acted quickly, we would have no way to get Jules to the “right” side of the trench – and no way to leave the park.
Odel to the rescue, of course. He hopped in Jules and drove right up the grassy slope to the safety of the high ground while we still had room to maneuver. The next 15 minutes were spent in conference with the contingent of Elk volunteers operating the heavy equipment, since our plans definitely include a morning departure on Tuesday.
Then we headed into town for groceries, including a stop at Pacific Seafood for fresh mussels. By the time we returned, there was no longer a route down the hill to Scoopy by car, so we tromped on down, carrying our groceries, to the sounds of apologies shouted by the volunteers.
After further assurances that the driveway would be filled and usable by tomorrow morning, we headed out for an afternoon hike at Cape Lookout. We had explored part of the Three Capes Scenic Drive yesterday afternoon, hiking Cape Mears, but had saved the longer Cape Lookout hike for today.
Our hiking book mentions that it is not often sunny on Cape Lookout, which averages 100 inches of rain each year. Even though it hasn’t rained along the coast for at least a week, the trail surely LOOKED like a rain forest trail: long sections could only be described as mud bogs.
Huge spruce hid the sky, fingers of fog nourished the densely packed ferns growing on the hillsides. We could hear seabirds calling and waves crashing at the foot of the cliffs, 400 feet down. “Primeval” comes to mind.
After a couple of miles, we broke out of the forest and mud onto the warmer south side of the cape. The trail dried, the fog lifted, and we were rewarded with beautiful views – and one quick glimpse of a whale! Seabirds floated in the water far below and soared nearby as we soaked up the sunshine before hiking back.
Things were looking up when we got back to the park. Enough dirt had been replaced in the trench to allow vehicles (a pickup truck and trailer) to drive out of the RV sites, though it still looked doubtful for our 15 ton motorhome. The volunteers gathered around Odel for another conference; no problem! Once they took off for home, promising an early return in the morning (“Go to bed early tonight!”), the camp host got to work packing and grading the driveway for us.
WE got to work scrubbing and debearding our mussels, and settled down to a great meal of fresh mussels steamed in a simmering broth of white wine, olive oil, garlic, herbs, chopped tomatoes, and lemon zest. A loaf of french bread purchased this morning, a bottle of white wine – these tired and well fed hikers will be in bed early, indeed. :)