Oregon sounds a lot like 'are-u-goin'? And man, do we recommend you go explore this gorgeous state.
It's Friday! We whipped out the Oregon atlas — while scarfing burgers — and decided to head south to the sand dunes. Over 40 miles of seashore and dunes reaching 500 feet above sea level, this is the largest stretch of coastal dunes in North America. Plus, we'd never been!
Fellow explorers and owners of Roamerica, Gretchen and Taylor have a policy: when adventure calls, they answer by hitting the road. They sent us packing in Charlie, an adventure van outfitted with everything one would ever need on the road. Our mission was simple: get out and have fun!
We drove south and found our way to a quiet back road; a recipe for adventure. Finding a spot to call home for the night, we popped the camper top, and cracked open a beer to celebrate our freedom.
An early morning wakeup call, in dawn’s gray light, we secured the rig and set out.
The sun rose over Elliott State Forest, draped in velvety mist. With the fear of privatization looming, we wanted to witness this isolated place. Winding through Forest Service roads, we sipped our coffee and experienced the magnificent beauty that lies within this vital ecosystem.
After gawking at old-growth trees and lush streambeds, we packed up the van and headed into the nearest small town on the hunt for some local fishing knowledge. And maaayyybe some breakfast doughnuts too. So righteous.
Finally, it's time to hit the river.
Searching, we found a place where dunes slip into a river full of active Steelhead. We'll be honest—we didn't catch any—but we did come across a monster. We flew some streamers past, and he laughed a wise-fish laugh and slipped back into deep waters. We cracked open a beer to celebrate such a beautiful encounter.
For us, gearing up is half the fun. It's a methodical process, sometimes doused with a splash of champagne, and often interrupted with a curse word or two (those nail knots can be tricky, ya know)!
Fishing new waters with little knowledge of what lies within can be quite a gamble (FYI fishing > gambling). But that's part of the appeal. Learning from experience, regardless of how productive your day may be, has been our method from the start. Immersing ourselves in the unknown produces a sense of surrender that makes any encounter feel special. That encounter may be a tight tug on your line, or bushwhacking through dense flora and finding yourself staring up in awe at the base of a towering Sitka spruce.
After a full day on the water, we welcomed the van's long shadow and a smorgasbord of schnacks.
Following a day of sun, we decided to spend the evening utilizing our luxurious accommodation. We parked and cooked enough dinner to feed us for a week (we tend to overdo the food thing). Post facemasks and not-so-graceful van yoga, we cozied into our bunk beds with a full moon serving as a night-light.
Slow wake-ups mean more coffee time. Lots and lots’a coffee. The following day began with breakfast, and did we mention coffee?
We set out to explore further north while making our way home. We spent the day lake fishing and getting our fair share of cardio. Ascending the dunes, those shifting dreams of staggering scale. We sprinted down, break-neck, all the way back to the van.
Rolling through coastal towns, broken jetties, dive bars and tangible Oregon history, sandblasted to perfection. It was on the road home when the rain came down.
So what's the take-away?
Road tripping in a sweet-ass van:
The space requires a close-knit relationship; you better hope you want to get that close! A cabin on wheels, it rolls where curiosity leads. Non-stop tunes. The van is just the right size for connecting with your homeslices. Oregon is green: it rains A LOT. So when you get spring fever you can bust a move outta town, but not have to deal with soggy gear. Best of all, you can reach the mini-fridge from the passenger seat!
The fly fishing:
It's tough when you're new to a spot. You've got to try-try-again to dial it in. Talk with local shops, know state fishing regulations, purchase a good map, and read online blogs. If you're looking for great intel, try Royal Treatment Fly Fishing. They're full of advice on Oregon fly fishing.
Last but not least:
Go out and hit the road. Your mind will be blown and hearts will explode with all you feel and see. And go with dear friends, to help you celebrate along the way.
-xox The Dears