Sea Lion Caves: 6 Month Solo Road Trip


Sea Lions Caves Coast

Looking up the coast from the Sea Lion Caves

After staying a few days in Eugene, I say goodbye to my gracious hosts of the Airbnb Robin’s Nest. I’m on the road again, checking out mid-coast Oregon on my way back to Portland via Route 101 aka Oregon Coast Highway.  First stop, Sea Lion Caves, 91560 Highway 101, Florence. I find it very easily since it’s on the cliff overlooking the ocean. I find a parking spot and pay the $14 admission fee. The ticket saleswoman tells me that this is one of the largest sea caves in the world. I’m impressed. One would never know that fact from the road since it’s 300′ below the highway.

Sea Lion Cave Stairs

Stairs lead to the Sea Lion Caves below

I can hear the squawking of seals as I make my way to the elevator, which will take me down to the cave far below. Years ago before there were elevators, people hiked down the stairs. I guess going down isn’t as bad as going up but I’m glad for elevators. The elevator door opens to a dimly lit platform with stairs leading to the dark cave below. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I see jail cell bars which separate the humans from the wildlife.

Sea Lions Cave Florence Oregon

The famous Sea Lion Caves

Boy! The sea lions are talkative! Their voices echo throughout the cave. What an amazing sight to see, hundreds of sea lions in their natural habitat. I watch taking video and photos with my iPhone, careful not to have the flash on. After a few minutes, I head back up. As I reach the top, I once again refocus my eyes to the sunlight.  Thank goodness for sunglasses. I follow the cliffside path which leads me to a viewing station. Close to the craggy coastline the water is a magnificent turquoise blue. Sea lions frolic in the turbulent waves. They must be strong swimmers to avoid getting pummeled by the powerful waves and rocky cliffs. It’s close to high noon as I get into my trusty Prius and head north on Route 101 to check out other sites.

Sea Lion Caves ocean

Turquoise waters Sea Lion Caves

Up in the Trees in Oregon: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

  I can feel the tears of joy swell up as I see the Welcome to Oregon sign up ahead. It’s been a long journey to this point; not just in driving but planning the next chapter of my life. The western states always had a pull on my heart. Since…

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Day 29: Fort Meyers Beach, Florida: 6 Month Solo Road Trip

Day 29: I leave Fort Lauderdale at 10am after the morning commute, destination Fort Meyers Beach and Sanibel Island. On TripAdvisor I find a beachfront hotel, Neptune Inn. It’s a boutique hotel with only 2 levels (3 levels for ocean front rooms) which I like, not those massive ugly concrete buildings…

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Day 3 of My 6 month solo road trip: Panic Attack on the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge

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Day 3, November 23, 2014:   After a restful night sleep at the Waterside Inn, Chincoteague Island, VA (highly recommend staying here), I pack and head back to Assateague Island, VA once more to see the wild ponies. Stopping by the Refuge Visitor’s Center the day before I picked up…

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What to pack for the 6 month road trip

Now that the date is finalized; November 20th the packing begins. My storage unit is full now I have to decide on what to bring with me. The list: Essentials iPhone/car charger/wall charger Identification: Passport/license cash/Amex travelers checques/debit cards AAA maps/travel tiks EasyPass Computers/printer/chargers/back ups Water/Food including snacks for the…

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Planning the 6 month Solo Road Trip

The family home which my late father designed for our family. Selling it afforded me the time to take this trip. Thank you Dad!

The family home which my late father designed for our family. Selling it afforded me the time to take this trip. Thank you Dad!

I know I have to get away. Our beloved family home is being sold and new beginnings are beckoning to me. With a portion of the inheritance money I decide to travel for 6 months. Destination Oregon via the coastal route visiting friends and family along the way. Trains, planes, or automobiles? After looking into it, a road trip is  best. It will afford me the freedom to go where and when I want on my terms.

I end up driving my Toyota Prius which is a Godsend due to it agility, great gas mileage, and awesome pep. I originally was going to buy a RV and travel that way, but after taking one for a test drive I realized I would feel like a prisoner/slave to it. Always worrying how massive it was, would it fit under bridges, on streets, where would I stay and the gas mileage.  7 miles per gallon? Are you serious? I drive a Prius which gets at least 40 MPG why would I drive a 7 MPG ball and chain?

My past solo road trips consisted of a 4-5 hour jaunts across New England and a few in California but never for a prolonged period of time. In 1988 I drove with a male companion cross-country from Massachusetts to San Diego California in a record time of 3.5 days. I took hundreds of photo’s. Needless to say our car was in each picture. Fifteen hours a day stuck in a car as a passenger on Route 40, only stopping for gas or a pit stop was not much fun. The highlight of the trip was arriving at the Grand Canyon to watch the sunrise on the freshly fallen snow for 45 minutes which I think was our longest stop.

I vowed never to do that again at least not with someone else at the wheel. Winter is bearing down. I can’t take another New England winter. According to the Farmer’s Almanac and plenty of acorns, I know 2014-2015 winter will be worse than last.

Winter of 2013-2014 snowy and cold

Winter of 2013-2014 snowy and cold

It’s time for me to fly.

For the past 25 years I’ve wanted to live in Oregon. I’ve been twice, the first time was September 1990 and I lasted 4 days (a man was in my way) and in 2002 my girlfriend and I went for 9 days and had a wonderful time. Now I have the opportunity to make my dream a reality. There is no man standing in my way, only myself…

The plan starts to take hold. Booking a barefoot sailing adventure in the Bahamas for the second week of December seals the deal. I am now committed to the trip. Everything else falls into place. I will leave on November 20th which gives me enough time to saunter down the coast.

Sailing on a tall ship in the Bahamas

Sailing on a tall ship in the Bahamas

The following are planned destinations:

1. The wild ponies of Chincoteague/Assateague, VA, (what can I say I grew up on books about Stormy and Misty)

The wild ponies of Chincoteague

The wild ponies of Chincoteague

2. Thanksgiving in Sanford NC with friends.

3. Charleston, SC, to visit friends

4. Del Ray Florida to visit relatives

5. Fly to Nassau from Ft Lauderdale for a week-long sail boat cruise on a tall ship

6. Fly back to Fort Lauderdale to visit a friend (used to live there when it was a fun happening time 1984-1985)

7. Drive to Sanibel Island (I hear the shells are amazing)

8. Tampa to visit a friend

9. Tennessee to visit a friend for Christmas

10.  New Years with my Tennessee friend in New Orleans

11. San Diego: The Dana on Mission Bay/Torrey Pines

12. LA to visit family

13. Big Sur via the PCH aka Route 1 aka Pacific Coast Highway-heaven

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California

14. Carmel by the Sea/Monterey

15. San Francisco to visit Hungarian relatives

16. Continue following the PCH highway to the Redwoods

17. Final destination: Ashland/Jacksonville Oregon to put down roots.

18. Explore Oregon the perpetual vacation destination

19. In May drive back to Massachusetts to help a friend with her kitchen renovation and take care of personal business

20. The following Fall drive back to Oregon with my horses and belongings in tow

The great thing about solo road trips is that you can change your destinations, following the road less traveled. Best laid plans don’t always go as planned. My adventures did change and many more destinations were added either at the last-minute or planned. When time is on your side; go with the flow. You never know what is around the corner.

Enjoy the ride.

Thanksgiving with friends in Sanford, NC Good Times with old friends

An uplifting sign

An uplifting sign

A day at the beach. Riding in the Bahamas

A day at the beach. Riding in the Bahamas