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29: Well

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

How was your week? Thank you for taking this time to check in to read Tracks by the Post!

Much like behind the scenes of any theatrical production, the costumes, the scenery, the lighting, stage hands and performers, security, caterers, etc.… everyone we meet seems to have a back story. We have a back story. You probably have a back story. As fellow journeyers on this earth, our experiences and history are each a unique tale that either we can share in whole or in part or not at all.

I’m writing to share pieces of our travels. Not the dramas, so much, but a general, shareable, overview.

This week has been interesting. Darlingtonia (aka Cobra Plant) – a plant that actually digests mostly insects, grows near Florence, Oregon. We drove up to visit the botanical garden. As we parked and began our walk into the forest, I looked up into the canopy of a giant tree and thought I saw an owl way up in the branches. Frank saw that my mouth was shut so he took a picture to prove that it could happen.

Then we walked on a bit. I wondered when we’d see the man-eating-plants. We turned toward an opening in the trees and suddenly felt the presence of wild. It was a strange, hard to describe feeling - these incredibly green, sprout-looking plants, actively hunting by standing completely still. We walked the boardwalk over a shallow swamp.

That evening, we met a young medical student from Seattle, studying in Texas, he is spending his summer-break on what seems to be a mighty quest to see and experience as many of nature’s wonders as one can possibly fit into 6 weeks. We were amazed at his itinerary. Traveling from one camping spot to the next, day after day, he is also exploring the world around the campgrounds. We are keeping in touch. I’ll be sure to share his contact info when he opens his practice!

We met him while visiting Thor’s Well, an iconic natural geyser-like rock formation on the coast, north of Florence, Oregon. Here’s a photo that Frank took of the well as the tide was coming in.

We met some other photographers at Thor’s Well, a family of three, each enthusiastic and happy to be sharing the space with the other tourists. When they aren’t traveling the country as a family to photograph amazing places and nature, they do important video and photography work on Neurodiversity – see: A World of Difference.

Just South of Florence, Oregon, is Honeyman, an Oregon State campground with 417 campsites. Flushing toilets, showers, water, sink-waste receptacles, a trash-compactor, camp hosts galore… If you are interested in taking your sand vehicle out onto dunes, (October through April), this is the place for you!

Oregon Dunes, located all along the coastline near Florence, Oregon, are spectacular as far as scenery goes. From Highway 101, the dense forest opens up to an enormous clearing of sand. Huge dunes tower in all directions. And islands of tall forest trees grow up in the middle of these expanses of sandy landscape. Beyond the sand, to the west, another large strip of dense forest and then the ocean. We were there for sunset one evening.

When we arrived at Honeyman Campground that evening, we weren’t surprised to see that the campground was full, (and at that point, we were glad that we had made reservations). Having said that, we’d reserved three nights at this campground without knowing anything about the campground in advance. We won’t be doing that again.

CAMPGROUND FULL is the case with most campgrounds along the coast during the summer. The further inland you travel, the warmer the temps, so inland residents flock to their favorite coastal campgrounds to cool off.

Just a reminder: Honeyman has 417 campsites. The crowded campsites at Honeyman are separated by lush green shrubs and trees. Because of the plants, there is a sense of seclusion. But only ten feet away, on the other side of a hedge, a neighbor might be angry at their dog or child and you will get to hear their expression of that anger. We were lucky to have camped next to a quiet adult dad and daughter combo on one side. But on the other side of us and behind and all around, were several sprawling groups that must have saved up months of disputes for campground engagements. Battles. Shout-fests. I’ve learned some new words.

Maybe it was just a conglomeration of primal egos and moon tides … Either way, multiply the intensifying human energy in this one campground by at least a thousand campers. We left a day early.

On our drive northward toward our next (yet to be discovered) campground – we stopped at Haceta Head Lighthouse.

Once again, we met a really interesting docent who told us about the lighthouse and gave us a few tips on where we might find a place to camp for the night. Her first choice was the campground, Carl Washburn State Campground, where she and her husband stay for two months out of the year in exchange for volunteering in the State Park system. The more “camp hosts” we meet, the more we are encouraged to examine that option. (We did check out the campground. It looks great, but it was full).

One of the reasons that we’re on this trek is to look for home. Maybe you think of us as being on vacation or maybe you know our backstory a bit more. Each person has a unique reason for traveling. And though human beings tend to need similar basics for surviving out on the road, there seem to be just as many unique camping set ups as there are people.

We met a nice couple from Toronto, Canada, that are traveling down the coast of Oregon. Purchasing a tent after getting off the plane in Portland, they’re camping along the coast, and will wind up at Oracle Park for The Dead and Company Concert this weekend in San Francisco, CA. We hope that they’ve had a great trip and are enjoying their time in SF!

One remarkable thing about this couple is that they each have memories of ice fishing when they were kids. We’d never met any ice-fisher-people before. They both told us their stories… She – remembers every ice fishing experience, being cold with better things to do. She's the only person in her family that didn’t gravitate toward ice fishing. She enjoys warmer weather. He – has memories of ice fishing that ends with an uncle biting the head off of the fish, straight out of the water. Neither have dedicated their life to ice fishing.

While it’s summer, though cooler here on the coast, we’re already considering how it will be to travel in much colder weather in the Autumn and Winter. And Rain. And Snow. At this point, we’re considering a Lot. That, of course, is happening even if it isn’t overtly apparent. Every conversation with other travelers brings us more opportunity to learn – we listen and learn different ways to look at and plan for our own journey, an ever-forming plan.

As I’ve mentioned several times, we’ve met some truly incredible people on this adventure. And as you can imagine, it isn’t unusual for us to have conversations with people that are traveling with a dog. (As you probably know, I usually remember the dog’s name more often than the person’s).

Here’s Dakoda and her people.

Dakoda is a rescue. She was one of 6 pups found in a culvert in Mississippi, all of the pups had mange. They were loaded up to be euthanized at an animal shelter, but thanks to locals who alerted Compassionate Animal Rescue Efforts of Dutch County, New York, Dakoda and all of her brothers and sisters found forever homes. See CAREOFDC.ORG to read more about this helpful organization.

And this is Skidoo. He is an 11 year old retired and rescued Greyhound.

As a racer, he came in last in every race except for one, and in that race, every other dog had fallen.

According to his people-mom, Skidoo was two years old when he was rescued. Considered Livestock, Greyhounds, like Skidoo, that didn’t perform well or had aged-out were often shot (or much worse), tortured, abandoned, etc… so many horrific stories. But rescue groups for Greyhounds in America are beginning to disappear. This is good news because that means that the Greyhound racing scene in the US is vanishing. The bad news is that dogs are used even more for sport in other countries. There is money for people in animal sports and an alternative win-win (for animals and people) has not, yet, been wholly embraced.

Meanwhile, Skidoo, and so many other rescued doggies are sharing their lives and positive impact with people – win-win. See Greyhound Pets, Inc. at GREY HOUND PETS INC. for more information.

I had a chance to hang out with Skidoo for a bit, between his naps; he is very happy-go-lucky and cuddly. Greyhounds, like cheetahs, sleep between 20 and 22 hours a day. Skidoo, at 11, is very comfortable in his tent, on his cushy mat, in earshot of his mom.

We are grateful to both Skidoo and Dakoda (and their people) for visiting with us!

Well, today is the beginning of another week. We’re headed onward into more of the coastline, northward, knowing that if we can’t find camping on the coast, we might venture inland a bit. Our calendar is in pencil and we have plenty of erasers.

Thank you, (not lightly said or meant), for your thoughts and prayers and encouraging care.

When you have some time, please write to me and let me know how things are going. We hope that you have a wonderful week!

Following are a few of Frank’s shots from the week. Enjoy!

Gently Be,

Leslie (and Frank)



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