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Toledo or Bust! Our Oregon Adventure Part VI

We left the house where we had been dismally embarrassed after sitting in their driveway for almost a half-hour before we realized it was occupied and NOT for sale! There was still some daylight left and we had one more house to see in Waldport. It was the definition of a fixer-upper with missing walls, no insulation, a hole in the roof, no flooring, no appliances… essentially a project. BUT the price was so low and the house was so big and so close to the ocean, we just had to see if it was a project we could undertake.

Pulling up to the house, I really liked the street it was on. Gorgeous houses, well taken care of, on each side. A nice sized lot – about a half acre. I loved the paint color on the exterior of the house. The green was such a pretty shade and the white trim made it even prettier! We parked in front of the house and got out to walk around. It was definitely not occupied – it wasn’t even livable. The very large garage was in better shape than the house. Nice roof, nice building. It was separate from the house, which led us to believe that it might have been built more recently than the main house. The home itself was very large and really had a lot of potential. It had a beautiful view of a hillside and the ocean in the distance, maybe a half mile away. On the other hand, it was a more serious project than we had even imagined. We would definitely be living in our van for awhile during renovations. Or maybe we could have lived in the garage! I really loved it and loved the street but the repair needed was so much and I just wasn’t sure if I was up for being homeless while we finished it. The house stayed on our “maybe” list in case our thoughts were pulled back to it again later.

It was getting late and I was exhausted from the long day of driving in the hard rain. The days with the lighter rain were much nicer for touring around. We got on the highway and looked for the next campground. We spotted a sign for South Beach Campground (just south of Newport Beach) and we pulled into what would be my favorite campground for the whole trip! Same price as the others with hot showers and clean bathrooms. Great spots lined up in a beautiful, semi-forested area with the shoreline on the other side of the dunes. Not quite as private as some of the other spots we had stayed in, but it didn’t seem to matter. The beauty of the campground and the nice people all around us made it comfortable. There was a big bonus for Dennis – we saw a disc golf course at the head of the campground on the way in! We parked, and while I got changed and settled in for the night, Dennis walked over to the disc golf course to play. He’s always the more athletic one.

I changed into some warm clothes, made a couple phone calls and texts to check in with parents and my sis. Dennis got back shortly after I was done and we made some dinner. There is nothing like eating outdoors. Somehow food is just so much better in the open air! We had some hot soup and soft rolls and wine. Then Dennis made us a campfire and we sat and talked and laughed until it we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer. It was a wonderful night in a magical place.

The next morning we both had glorious hot showers – if you’re a camper, you know what it means to love a hot shower in a clean space. Dennis is quicker than me so he went off for a walk on one of the many trails through the forest at the campground while I finished getting ready for the day. He found several really large mushrooms that he brought back with him to the campground. Fortunately, he had made a friend out on the trail who told him which ones were edible and which were poisonous – so sweet of the guy! Dennis was super excited to sauté them up later with some garlic and olive oil.

We were headed to Newport Beach that morning and stopped in Toledo – a little town outside of Newport – to see one house on our list there. I haven’t mentioned the roads on the Oregon Coast yet. Many of the roads that lead to the homes on the coast are gravel roads. Some are well-maintained and really nice – better than paved roads. And some are moderately maintained – more rugged but still accessible. And then there are the roads that are only accessible by a good four-wheel-drive vehicle. Because we have the Blumebulance, we were looking for a road that was at least moderately maintained. The road to the house in Toledo was paved all the way to the house and switched to a gravel road just past the home. That was very exciting to us!

The driveway into the house was a different story. It was nearly impossible to enter heading east on the road as it turned back on itself in an extreme switchback and went up a hill. Not being able to “swing” the Blumebulance into that tight of a curve, I drove down the road a bit until I could turn around and then came back facing the driveway to drive in. On first glance, we immediately loved the house. It sat up high on a corner property, overlooking the Yaquina Bay. While it didn’t have direct lake access (or bay access in this case) like the lake house, there was a marina right at the bottom of the road from the house. We were really excited to see the inside. I quickly called the agent and he was out showing houses to another couple but sent his assistant over to show us around.

While we waited for the agent to arrive, we walked around the property a bit to check out the surroundings. It had some of the charming details of the lake house that we loved. It had a smaller deck out front but still very nice to sit and have tea in the morning. It had that wood cabin feeling that the lake house had. The property was a bit larger and more usable – less of a grade. There was already an adorable chicken coup on the side of the property with a bit of a hill next to it as a sound barrier from the chickens that can get noisy. On the other side of the property was a large, tiered garden. I loved both features! There was plenty of space for parking any/all of our vehicles. The home also had a couple thousand dollars worth of wood stored under it and in the wood storage shelter in the back.

It was a beautiful day out and the first day I had worn my sandals (instead of my boots) on our trip since it was so clear and warm. I was walking around so excited, looking at all of the details of the property and apparently not paying much attention to where I was walking. All of a sudden, it felt like a snake bit me! I looked down and I had several razor like cuts on my calf. I realized that it was a blackberry branch that I had stepped on and it was stiff enough that the other end of the curved branch, leapt up and bit me on the leg, slicing the skin. It burned and it would not stop bleeding for several minutes. I hopped in the Blumebulance and rinsed the wound with peroxide and cleaned it with water. It stopped bleeding just in time for the agent to show up.

The agent got there and she was a doll. I just loved her from the moment she introduced herself. We entered the house and we fell in love! It had the most adorable dining room with a big window and a view of the bay. The kitchen was much tinier than the lake house kitchen but it had all brand new, stainless steel appliances – score! It had a wood burning stove with a beautiful brick surround. Next to the kitchen was a sort of living room type space but it was a downfall of the house. It was very angular and oddly shaped. The only thing we could see doing with it was making it a library with a nice reading chair. The room did have a beautiful stone floor, it was just odd. The bedroom was about half the size of the master bedroom at the lake house but it had a master bathroom and it was downstairs, both bonuses. The bathroom was a full sized bathroom and there was a second guest bathroom next to the oddly shaped living room area. Both bathrooms were updated with modern tile and fixtures. Upstairs had a dark room that we think they used for watching movies – the past owner had covered the skylights. They were either leaking or they didn’t want light to come into the room. It was an open floor plan like the lake house, which we loved. That room was open to the hall over to the other bedroom upstairs. There was another little patio off of the hallway there with a view of the bay. And the upstairs bedroom had an angled wall like an A-frame with a big closet. We instantly said that would be our shared office with that view!

There were views out of every room. A little shed/laundry room off of the back door and another little patio back there too. There was a nice sized wood shed built on the north side of the house with a loft storage area above the ground floor space. We spent about an hour with the agent, talking about the house. She got us so excited because she said that the house should go for less – it was almost $40k more than the lake house but if they were willing to come down, it could get very close in price. We told her we were very interested in the house and that we would call her soon. We also asked her to please let us know if there was any other interest in the house since we were still traveling and seeing more homes. She agreed and we parted ways. After she left, we sat in the driveway for a bit, making notes about what we loved about the house and what it’s downfalls were.

We headed back towards Newport and that is when we fell more in love with the Toledo home. The road from the house to Newport runs along the Yaquina Bay. It was one of the most scenic roads we had ever been on! I literally drove 15 MPH the entire way because I was looking everywhere at everything. Every moment was more awe-inspiring than the last. Every curve of the road revealed a new beauty on the other side. It was simply magical. Then we got to old town Newport – a charming street filled with vibrant businesses, restaurants, live music, quaint gift shops, museums, and art. It even had a Ripley’s Believe It or Not and a Wax Museum – something every great tourist town has. It was so cute and fun and lively! And in October when all of the other beach towns were so sleepy in the off-season, this one was still exciting and filled with people. Between the drive along the bay and the vintage small town, we were hooked on the idea of living in the Toledo home. Like the lake house, we were in love all over again. We moved forward with seeing other houses for the day, but our discussion completely revolved around which house we liked more. Which one we could see ourselves living in and enjoying. We saw a house in Newport in an adorable neighborhood with incredibly sweet neighbors who chatted with us for a bit but it turned out to be a hoarder’s house and we did not want to delve inside of that mess. We looked at another house that was much like the one in Bay Shore on the cul-de-sac – no delineation between the properties. It was a cute house and had the prettiest stained glass windows but I just couldn’t see myself enjoying the deck with all of my neighbors two story houses lurking over me. We stopped for the night. Our minds and hearts reeling and filled with all of the pros and cons of both the lake house and the Toledo house. We decided to sleep on it and hope for more clarity in the morning. And with a lot more houses to see on our list, we wanted to make sure we were rested up! Little did we know, we would wake to one of the most dramatic days during the whole trip the next morning. Click here for the drama of our Oregon Adventure Part 7…

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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