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I got on the road for five hours to do what I used to love, taking road trips with no particular place to go. My love for road adventures halted in 2006 when I withdrew from my career and life, committing myself to take care of my parents as their full-time caregiver. Skies darkened with grey clouds, the road called for me this week, and I accepted the invitation to point my vehicle in a direction and drive and see where I end up. I’ve been deliberating moving to the Oregon Coast so I got my truck on U.S.Highway 26 heading West to get on U.S. 101 North which would take me through Seaside and Astoria, two places where I’ve saved properties on Zillow. I had my camera gear with me to continue my theme of making shots inside forests, woods, and of waterways.

I’ve driven Highway 26 hundreds of times, taking note of rest stops, vistas, and points of interest without checking them out. I pulled into the Sunset Rest Area (milepost 28.6) and found a bit of Oregon paradise. I parked, hopped out of my truck, and my ears were treated with the sounds of a creek, babbling with water, leading me down to a path overgrown with shrubbery. I saw walkways to the stream that were worn and pedestrian looking, but I prefer trails obscured by loneliness and time. I spent 30 minutes making shots of flowers, stones, and creek water flowing through an obstacle course of rocks and fallen branches, but the trees highlighted the scene, gnarled, whose trunks were green and mossy, the kind that channels Poe stories. I will return here with audio gear to record the birds, creek, and trees if there’s a breeze passing through the canopy of limbs and leaves.

My road trip didn’t disappoint me or what I saw through the lens, but the traffic congested as I approached Seaside, which looked beaten down, trashy, compelling me to expedite my passage to Astoria. I find the drive on U.S. 101 crossing over Youngs Bay into Astoria to be one of my favorite routes of the area, but decided at the last minute to avoid downtown, after crossing the bridge, and pointed my truck East to Oregon 202 aka Nehalem Highway which meanders alongside Youngs River. I pulled over at a spot that provided a perspective view of trees posing with Daggett Point in the background and made angle shots of water vegetation. When I heard the rotor wash from a helicopter, I pointed the lens in its general direction and caught six frames of it flying over me. The setting made me wish I had brought my fly fishing gear to practice casting as the river moved slowly in this area, a few miles up from where it flows into the Columbia estuary via Youngs Bay.

I remained on Oregon 202 through logging country in the Clatsop State Forest, stopping to capture the scene at the Jewell Meadows State Wildlife Management area where Elk herds congregate, but no sightings of the benevolent animal to be had that day. I continued on 202 and turned onto Oregon 103 to take me through Grand Rapids, returning me to U.S. 26 East and home.

My road trip benefitted my attitude, getting me out of the house, and on the road to wander and explore my backyard. I made a note to myself to pack video and audio equipment, plus food, water, and the gear I would need in case of an emergency or an overnight boondock up a logging road. A five-hour outing whetted my appetite for road trips, and I look forward to taking the next one.