Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sand, fog and fear in Florence and beyond

Left: Foggy sea cliff at the Sea Lion Caves

Thick fog rolled in from the Pacific the day I drove to the coast to see the Oregon Dunes.

When I reached Florence, I headed south. My destination should have had lots of sand: I was seeking a place called  Dunes City. Instead, I found myself with a near-empty gas tank on a winding coast road shrouded in fog.

I berated myself for my carelessness. Why hadn't I gassed up in Florence? As I rounded the winding curves, I sensed rather than saw the steep cliffs on both sides. Time slowed and mist filled the bottoms; I could see only vague outlines of trees. I pulled over to check my map and panicked on seeing I'd passed my destination. Turn back or press on?

Finally I crossed a bridge and saw the coastline. There would have to be a town now. With great relief, I noticed an art gallery that stood directly across the road from the fog- bound Pacific.

Inside, a kind man was unpacking sculptures to the sound of Celtic music. He gave me detailed directions: go on two miles to Reedsport and Winchester Bay. There I'd find gas, coffee, and a good spot to view the dunes.

Right, beach at Winchester Point

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