Run for the Border: Part 4

California or Bust!

Our mission for our Relocation Reality “Show” is to take our time and drive to our new home near San Diego slowly, sightseeing along the way. We officially left Portland four days ago, and we are still nowhere near the Oregon border. In a straight shot, it would be a little over six hours.

I’m getting a little antsy. We need to pick up the pace, so today we are making a run for the border!

Facing the Morning

We head out early with foggy heads. All we’ve had is in-room K-Cup coffee. We decide a brisk walk on the beach at Face Rock State Park would wake us up this sunny, cold, peaceful morning!

Horseback riders cross toward Wizard’s Hat in Bandon.

Bandon Beach is dominated by looming rock formations rising out of the sand. They have names like Cathedral Rock, Wizard’s Hat, and the one we’re here to see this morning, Face Rock. The fresh air is invigorating, and the only other signs of life we see are a few horseback riders trotting along the sand among the monoliths.

The Legend

Face Rock looks just like the face of a beautiful woman rising out of the Pacific Ocean, looking up at the the sky.

Face Rock, forever staring north.

Legend is that the beautiful daughter of Chief Siskiyou, Ewauna ignored warnings to be careful near the cliffs over the ocean because an evil spirit might take her. Ewauna wandered too close to the cliff edge, and the evil spirit grabbed her and demanded that she gaze upon his face. Because she refused, now she spends eternity gazing up at the sky.

This is our last chilly walk on the beach in Oregon.

Moving On Up

Visual aid representing the ice chest funk.

And now we’re hungry. This is when I realize I left all our treats from Face Rock Creamery back at the Shanghai room! That’s right: we abandoned our booty in Bandon. Well, the staff will have some great treats.

I remember I shoved some snacks in our ice chest buried somewhere in the back seat. But that was several days ago back in Portland. We pull over to shed our winter clothing and see if we can find the snack stash.

I find the ice chest but the contents are warm, questionable, and kinda stinky. Let’s just close that lid. Quickly! I’m sure we will find some food soon.

Wowzers, Another Lighthouse

But first, Cape Blanco Lighthouse. Yes, another lighthouse. I’ve lost count of how many we’ve seen, and silently swear off lighthouses forever!

Since 1898, Cape Blanco Lighthouse has guided marine traffic around the westernmost point of Oregon. Turns out the place is (oh yay) open year round. And yeah, it’s pretty cute.

We’re noticing smoke in the air by Cape Blanco.

I might be a bit lightheaded with hunger, but I swear I feel California vibes calling me! There’s a sort of Golden State gravitational pull.

Blast (Furnace) from the Past

How it felt outside in Port Orford!

As we roll on down the highway, we go up a mountain grade. And as we climb, the temperature also begins to climb until it’s actually toasty. We’ve clearly entered a new climate zone.

We stop in Port Orford to grab some grub at TJ’s Café and Diner. When we open the car door, we’re blasted by 95°!

TJ’s is a cool little hash house with throwback 1950’s interior. Somebody has invested heavily in Texaco, Coke, and red-and-white mid-century tchotchkes! The food is good, and we leave with happy bellies. [Sadly, TJ’s is now permanently closed.]

When we open the door to leave, we’re blasted again by the heat! But my attitude is absolutely adjusted, and we cruise on.

Burning Up the Road

There’s a fire burning in the hills between us and California, near Brookings at the very bottom of Oregon. It’s hot, and let’s just say the shine of driving slowly and touring is fading.

We stop at Sisters Rock for a walk on a nice trail through the hills. The flowers and butterflies are definitely announcing that California is not far away. I’m getting excited!!!

After another hour of driving, we stop to admire the Cape Sebastian State Scenic Corridor. Now I swear I can smell California! Or maybe that’s smoke from the fire near Brookings, still ahead of us.

In the Boardman Scenic Corridor, smoke in the atmosphere was obvious.

Another few miles, and we’re at the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor. Yup, it’s scenic alright. But my eyes have been so full of jaw-dropping scenery for days now that I’m nearly blind to it in the moment.

Notice the orange cast from the smoke in the sky!

Maybe I’m just driven by my desire to get back to California. Could be several days of rich foods and sitting in a car. Honestly, I’m more than ready to make a break for the border!

Last Stop

We have been driving several miles through a thick haze of smoke as we approach Brookings, the last town before the Oregon/California line. Friends are checking in with us to make sure we are okay (we are). It’s almost 3 in the afternoon, and we avail ourselves of one last opportunity to stop at Fred Meyer and use up the last of our gas points!

Yay! Ten minutes later, and these two native Californians are repatriated!!! Naturally, selfies, photos, and a Facebook live are required. It hardly seems real!!!

The moment we waited four days to experience!

A biker gang is on the other side of the highway, taking photos as they go the other direction. Looks like they’re going to enjoy cruising through the Northwest woods. Good choice, brother bikers!

A little dazed by the surreality of our journey, we get back in the car and drive into our home state.

We’ll spend our first night back in California in Crescent City, after we celebrate with oyster shooters and fish tacos!