Sep 25 – The RV park we are at is a little cramped and rough around the edges, but for two nights it was made up for by an awesome visit to the largest coastal sand dunes in the US, a local brewery lunch, and being within walking distance to a Fred Meyer. (After being completely overwhelmed by one of these stores in Astoria when I innocently thought I could run in for few groceries – it was like 5 Targets in a Costco-size space – I found out that this regional chain was founded by Fred G. Meyer, who started out selling cherries by the highway in his native Brooklyn, then pioneered the one-stop superstore in Portland in 1922.)
We drove past most of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area on our way to Coos Bay, but they are extensive enough that a 20 minute drive back north brought us to one of the most popular hikes. We parked at the John Dellenbeck Trailhead, then hiked about 15 minutes through forest and some sand before the dunes opened up before us. It’s hard to describe or photograph the vastness; and we were only seeing a portion of the area. Once we scrambled up the first big dune we could see waves breaking at the ocean a couple miles away, dunes and sporadic trees before us, the forest and distant coastal mountain range behind us, and deep blue sky all around. The kids went nuts, making tracks and running across and scrambling up and rolling down their choice of so many hills. They re-enacted the Princess Bride “As you wish” scene several times. I eventually had to drag them out of there, being mindful of the heat and the sun and the 15 minute walk back to the car. We stopped at 7 Devils Brewing for lunch, a relaxed and beautiful brewery in downtown Coos Bay.
With the rest of the afternoon and evening at home in the RV, Rita walked with me to Fred Meyer. This store did not have groceries, and was not as…modern as the one in Astoria, but it did have a selection of Halloween costumes, and Rita found one in her size that she loves. After being a vampire and a Transformer and a Power Ranger the past few years, she went full on princess, with a rainbow unicorn dress and headpiece. She loves it so much she carried it out in front of her while we walked across the street to Safeway, to do our actual grocery shopping, and received a few compliments. Charlie was so inspired that I walked back with him to Fred Meyer, and he selected a Ninja Turtles outfit. We’re not sure yet where we will be for Halloween, but we have our costumes. And Rita and Charlie will remember Fred Meyer long after we have left Oregon.