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Into the Mist: Our Oregon Adventure Part X

Our campfire at South Beach Campground (Newport, Oregon)

We camped at the South Beach Campground again near Newport. It is so far my absolute favorite campground on the Oregon Coast. The spots are amazing, each spot is lined with trees on either side, a campfire ring, a picnic table, and water. The restrooms and showers are clean and spacious. The best part of the campground are the trails meandering behind the camping area, leading to the beach. The paths are filled with dozens of varieties of trees, plants, shrubs, flowers, moss, and mushrooms. There are little plaques and signs pointing out the different variations of plant life, giving the name and description of each. As we walked, I felt like I had gone through an invisible portal and into a fairy land, filled with the sights, sounds, and magic that one would expect when visiting fairies. Portions of the path were open to the sky where the soft clouds would blow by overhead; in other places, the trees would wrap themselves over the top of the path in an arching canopy completely blocking out all light except the light glowing at the other end of the nature-built tunnel. Every curve in the path lead to something new and unexpected. The air was still, protected by the trees and shrubs, the path was a haven from the ocean’s breeze.

Fog at the ocean - beautiful photo by Harman Abiwardani. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo from that night, but the image is forever etched into my brain.

Eventually, the path opens up and gently graduates from a damp, fairy forest path to the soft, wind-swept sands of the ocean dunes. The trail goes from the damp, yet hard packed soil of the forest to the dense, sinking sand of the ocean shore. Bits of beach grass stubble the landscape, shifting in the breeze making a shushing sound. We walked over the sand dunes as they gradually climbed up and down. We could hear the ocean waves crashing in the distance. It was getting darker out as we walked and the sun was setting behind the mask of clouds. By the time we reached the ocean, the sky was dark with clouds over a navy evening sky. We could hear the roar of the ocean but we couldn’t see the water from the trail. A heavy mist had rolled in and blanketed the shore. I could only see about twenty feet in front of me. Exhausted and hungry from our hike (we hadn’t had dinner yet and I forgot to bring any water), I decided to stay behind on the dunes, while Dennis ventured down onto the shore. He was determined to touch the water. I stood there, at the top of the dune and watched as his figure drifted farther away and then disappeared into the mist. It was the oddest sensation. One moment I could see his silhouette, the next, he was gone as if the molecules in his body dissipated one by one until there were none left.

Dennis was gone for what felt like hours. I kept wondering if I should go in after him or if we would both end up lost in the mist. I wondered if I should walk across the top of the dune, parallel with the shore to see if he might have come out of the mist somewhere else, farther down the dunes. I started to become paranoid. Imagining him disappearing into the mist forever, like Stephen King’s story appropriately named, “The Mist”. At the same time, I had become paralyzed with fear. Unable to make a decision whether to act and look for him or just stay in the same place and wait. Finally, a figure came out of the mist… barely visible. I had to blink to be sure I was seeing it – the black spot slowly becoming larger as it got closer. My heart leapt with joy and my fears subsided. It was definitely Dennis emerging from the mist, confidently striding back towards me. He later told me that it was surreal being in the mist at the ocean’s edge. The gray clouds and mist reflected in the wet sand and the ocean, making everything an infinite glistening gray. He had this feeling that I was close enough to call out to, but yet somehow he was completely alone in the dark, gray mist. It was eery and beautiful and a little frightening.

The walk back from the beach that evening was dark. No lights, no stars or moon with the warm, moist cloud cover overhead. I held Dennis’ hand the entire way, feeling a little nervous after the experience of losing him to the mist on the shore. The trip felt much longer than it actually was as we were only about twenty minutes from the campsite. We both slept deeply that night, without nightmares surprisingly, and awoke with excitement for the next day. We had showers at the campground – did I mention how great their hot, FREE showers were?

The view overlooking the valley at the home in Coos Bay.

Leaving the mist behind, we headed South on the coast to visit a few places we had passed on our way up – wanting to see the lake house more quickly than the others. Now, we would head down to Coos Bay and view some homes on our list there. The very first house we found and fell in love with was in Coos Bay – it sat right on the bay, with a beautiful piece of property extending out along the shore. We had imagined living there many times two years prior, when we had originally began looking at homes. There was even a casino across the bay that was hiring a graphic artist (I’ve been doing graphic design since 1997). I imagined taking the boat across the bay to work – what a commute! Having lunch at the little Chinese food place across the street from the Casino. I had it all planned out. Alas, that plan did not come to fruition and sadly that original house wasn’t on our list of places to see as it was no longer for sale. It hadn’t sold either, so we imagined that the owners must have rented it out again as it was previously a rental property. We did have some great houses to see though and we were excited about those.

The steep driveway down to the house in Coos Bay.

The Blumebulance parked in the driveway – lots of room for parking!

First up was an adorable place with a steep driveway down in, but an amazing view of the valley below with only a single farm in view. No houses, no fences, nothing to block its gorgeous view over the tops of the trees. I was definitely drawn to the back porch that sat overlooking the hills and forest. They had placed a lovely Buddha statue on one end of the porch. The house was an adorable turquoise blue with white and black trim around the windows. It was either recently built or recently remodeled. It was very nice and a great price. The house had plenty of parking in the driveway and a little shed already built. When we peeked inside the windows, the house was very nice inside. Open floor plan with a lot of light but it had a problem. There was a dehumidifier in the dining room and it appeared that there was some water damage at some point. Without going inside, we couldn’t tell if it was a roof leak or some other sort of water leak, but it certainly was not a good sign. We also weren’t crazy about the drive into the area where the house was located. It was a very depressed area with a logging mill on the bay and homeless people alongside the road. Combine that with water damage in the house and we just weren’t feeling like it was home.

The deck on the disco house.

If you look closely, you can see the shag and retro decor in the disco house.

The odd apartment style room under the disco house.

Then there was the disco house – clad in orange shag carpet, bronze fixtures, and a party layout. It was foreclosed and quite a large house for the price it was going for. The house also had an acre of property, a bonus for sure. Driving into the neighborhood where the home was located, it was a very nice area. Nicely kept houses and lots of people with boats and RVs. Several very pretty houses surrounded the disco house. The homes were closer to each other than we had imagined with an acre property. It turned out that the acre went out from the side of the house and down a hill, not really separating out the homes. It had beautiful wrap-around decking and two large, glass sliding doors out onto the patio, letting in lots of light and a view of the neighborhood and forest. It had an odd room downstairs, not accessible through the house, maybe considered an apartment off of the house. Just one large room, no bathroom or kitchen that we could see. It would have made a nice art studio for me or a great man cave for Dennis. Looking in through the windows, the house would need to be almost gutted and remodeled for my taste. The orange shag carpet and brass fixtures combined made the home feel like one big orange clown wig. We weren’t excited about the view as it just looked out into the neighborhood – something we currently had back in the Mojave Desert. The home got dropped back onto the maybe list. We once again turned our thoughts back to the lake house.

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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