Oregon Coast

Last week Oregon experienced the rare spring heat wave. Its reach extended to the coast so that’s where we headed. As native-Northwesterners we knew this was a rare event so away we went!

EIGHTY-FIVE at NOON on the ocean, in April no less. Amazing.

Big Island: Our Private Green Sand Beach

During our explorations of the Big Island we stopped at a beach for lunch and to enjoy the sunshine. The beach was packed but we did meet a local who suggested that we check out a green sand beach south of Ocean View. He warned us that the road required pretty good ground clearance and as long as we just went to the green sand beach that we wouldn’t need 4-wheel drive.

Our private ocean view

We made a quick stop at the grocery store for a six-pack and also picked up some food for dinner (garlic mahi mahi and a BBQ mix plate). The unmarked road to the ocean lead us almost six miles south down a bad gravel road (a pickup would handle the road just fine).

Arriving at the ocean, we had the beach all to ourselves. The small beach had green sand and pounding surf. There was rain visible on the horizon but where we were the sun was shining. A rainbow was visible over an isolated area of salt-and-pepper sand with one palm tree.

A private beach at the end of the rainbow
Rental car glamor shot

We decided to spend the night on the beach and do some more exploring of the lava and of the private beach the next morning.

Beautiful sunrise

We clamored all over the lava flows following a jeep trail. Along the way, we found cool lava formations and some deep cracks in the lava. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and we still had the whole beach to ourselves before trekking back to the car and making our way back up the gravel to the highway.

At the edge of the lava flow
The Secret Beach
Our green sand beach

Big Island: Pololu Valley Sunrise

Having looked out over Waipio Valley and the tour bussed we decided against hiking down, instead we headed for the northern end of the Kohala Reserve. We spent the night in Waimea, woke early and arrived at the trailhead very early. As the sky started to lighten we began our descent into the beautiful valley.

With the sun not peaking over the horizon it was still a little bit brisk so we decided to spend some time exploring the valley. There were a bunch of cool little trails through the jungle-like vegetation. It appears that plenty of people spend time down in this valley: lots of fire pits and other fun signs of human presence.

Jungle trails
Mr. Snuffleupagus’ cousin
Looking up the (wet) valley
Enjoying the driftwood rope swing

After our explorations, we returned to the beach to watch the sun come up over the water. We were the only people on the beach for the beautiful sunrise.

Reminds me a little of Northern California. (Except for the black sand, of course.)

Forrest even had a bit of fun on the way back up the hill:

Beware of falling rocks.

Day 15: Tampa, Florida to Indian Rocks, Florida

We got up bright and early and went to Carol’s house in St. Pete and cleaned her gutters and fixed a leak in her roof. She had a fenced backyard so Sprocket got to hang out, although he mostly slept on the shady side porch. After the morning’s work, we got lunch at the Portabella Grill and then headed for the beach.

Carol had to rush back to Tampa but her grandson, Anthony, happened to be hanging out at the beach condo. Forrest and I made a quick run to the store and bought Sprocket a soup bone. Back at the condo, Sprocket chewed his bone while F and I read the New York Times. It didn’t take F too long to suggest that we go swim in the gulf some. I’ve never turned down swimming in salt water and wasn’t about to start then! We had a blast splashing around in the most perfect temperature salt water. While we were out there, we spotted Anthony in the waves. Anthony deemed the water still a little cold (!) so we all headed up to the pool. Sprocket got to come down and join us. He hid out in the shade and made friends with the man hanging out in the shade.

After we both decided we’d had plenty of sun, we returned to the condo where Sprocket chewed on his bone some more and we did some TV watching. I got bored after awhile and took Sprocket on a walk. We had chicken for dinner and then headed for bed–listening to the sounds of the waves!

Thanks so much to Frank and Carol (and their family) for making our stay in the Tampa area so enjoyable!

Day 9: Houston, Texas to New Iberia, Louisiana

We pulled out of Houston headed for Winnie and our exit from I-10. We got into Port Arthur and ate breakfast at “The Causeway” where they were nice enough to let us use their wireless and to tell us that there was “nothing” out where we were headed. The road between Port Arthur and Cameron was pretty desolate with just a few houses along the gulf beach, which made it a perfect place to check out the beach.

Being on the road, we were really hoping to stop at a beach with showers so that we could rinse the salt water off before moving on but it quickly became apparent that was an unreasonable expectation. We settled for making friends at Mieaux’s Seafood (just an old man living on the beach in his trailer that delivers crab to his customers) and asking if we could use his water spigot to rinse off with–he was quite happy to let us, he just wanted us to know that he was “Fixing to go deliver some crab” so we’d have to help ourselves.

It was so nice to get out and spend some time at the beach. Sprocket finally dived in and swam after us but he wasn’t really sure how he felt about it though, he really just seemed to want us to come back to the beach. He was a sand dog though, and loved to go under the jeep and roll in it.

Leaving the beach, took the ferry to Cameron. On the ferry we asked one of the operators for advice on where to get lunch and he recommended Sha Sha’s in Creole. Getting off the ferry, we really started to see the effects of Hurricane Rita, everyone has a brand new house or mobile home–on stilts. In Creole, we did get lunch at Sha Sha’s–I had grilled shrimp and Forrest had fried catfish. My shrimp were fantastic and the catfish was pretty good too, neither one of us are big fried fish fans though. After lunch while we were letting Sprocket run around a bit, one of the waitresses came running out with the deep fried Oreos that she’d made for us.

After that we headed for Abbeville. Abbeville was supposed to have a great oyster house–it was closed (permanently) and there really didn’t seem to be anyone around so we headed for New Iberia. In ‘Beria as I was later told everyone calls it, we walked around the downtown, along the Bayou Teche (Snake Bayou), and checked out some of the cool old houses. After walking around we headed back to a bar with outdoor seating to see if we could meet some of the locals–and boy did we! We stumbled on to Clif Ayers 83rd birthday party and his wife and sons were more than happy to have us sit down. They old us all about New Iberia and the surrounding area and asked us all about our trip. Another friend of theirs, Roy, was also very happy to talk to us. As the evening wore on, Clif and Debbie headed for home and we (including Sprocket) went with Roy to another bar in town. We got to talk to a lot of people and Sprocket just slept on the barroom floor. What a night in southwest Louisiana!