“Let’s go for a seafood lunch on the ocean.”
So, I bundle up – the temperature is cooler here than we’ve used to – and we head along highway 126, out of Eugene. The two-lane road winds through trees, passes through a tunnel and leads us out to the amazing Oregon coast.
We stop in Florence, following the signs to the Old Town, and get a seat at the C-International Seafood restaurant overlooking the water. I have the salmon with rice and green beans and Ric has clam chowder and halibut – the catch of the day. So good.
Little shops across the street catch my eye, and as there is no tax in Oregon, I’m tempted to stop, but my legs are useless today. We decide just to drive instead, further north and then back across to Eugene.
The roads snakes along the coast, winding through tree-lined passages and then opening to the bright blue of the ocean. We pull in at the scenic views and rave over the landscape, cameras snapping.
We stop at the Sea Lion Caves and park in the lot, but when we look down and see how many stairs we’d have to climb, we decide to just stay on the platform. Ric was able to snap this pic of the sea lion in the water with an array of cormorants perched just above him.
“Lunch buffet?” I wonder.
From the platform we have an ideal view of this lighthouse. Can it get any more idyllic?
A little further along, I catch another sea lion playing in the surf. There is so much I want to photograph: the waves crashing on the rocks and exploding in a spray of white, the gulls soaring in clear blue skies, and the perfection of cottage-like houses set high above the ocean, nestled in the greenery of the cliffs.
I am fading fast, and certain now that part of my illness is infection in my mouth. I just want to get back to bed. When Ric spots whale spouts from the shore at one stop, I can’t even bring myself to get out and look.
“We’ll turn at highway 20 and head back,” Ric offers. “Best I can do is get you home in 2 hours.”
“Maybe a drink and a snack might help.”
We find a water front restaurant but nothing they have to offer fits with my dietary needs, so we decide to take the first road we see headed east.
The road seems to go on forever, snaking through the mountains, with no reprieve in sight. On impulse, I google “Eugene” and we are directed onto another roadway which is actually worse than the first. Here, the road is narrow with no lines to indicate lanes, and no signs of civilization. According to GPS, we are over an hour from our camp.
Then we lose all signals.
“What happens if we break down here?”
We haven’t seen one other car.
Elton John comes on the radio singing about seeing the light and Ric says: “I hope we can still see the light a little longer.”
It is coming up to sun down, and the thought of driving these roads in darkness silences both of us.
And then our signal returns and the GPS indicates a major roadway up ahead and we are back on track just as the sun begins to set. We drive through and pick up our first fast food meal of the journey. Some days just call for junk food.