A Tale of Two Impromptu Visits
I love road trips! All I need is a tankful of gas, some snacks, and I’m ready to roll. When I’m planning a trip, it seems that there is some sort of magnetic pull to the Oregon Coast. If someone mentions a trip, that’s the first place I suggest.
My favorite road trip route is Florence to Astoria, with plenty of stops along the way in magical Yachats, and the vintage Nye Beach in Newport.
When I plan a Oregon Coast road trip, I’ve usually planned out the overnight stops in advance. But somehow, I always seem to make an impromptu stop at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, and Lake Cleawox, in particular. There is something so delightful about a lake, almost alongside a beach.
The first time I discovered Lake Cleawox was on a road trip with my husband a few years ago. We had driven to Eugene on a last-minute “why not?” trip over Thanksgiving weekend. After enjoying the crisp autumn air, and gorgeous fall colors as we drove the 126 toward Florence on Thanksgiving Day, we realized that we may not find many restaurants open. We decided to stop at a grocery store in Florence, to pick up some picnic food.
This Thanksgiving Day was remarkably warm and sunny. With our picnic ready to go, we pulled into the Jessie Honeyman Park, and saw Lake Cleawox for the first time — it was breathtaking! The water was so clear and glassy. We found a picnic table, and enjoyed our lunch with the fabulous lake view, and the sound of the ocean crashing in the distance. It was blissful.
Fast forward a few years. My stepdaughter and I had started a tradition of road tripping along the Oregon Coast. We are struck by how the Coast seems to change and reveal a different view or treasure each time we visit. As we made our trip through Florence, I had to share Lake Cleawox with her. It was a gorgeous spring day. We noticed that they rent kayaks at the lake. On a whim, we each rented a kayak and spent a few hours cruising on the smooth water. It was one of our best road trip memories.
Both of the visits to Lake Cleawox were so special because they were surprises. Like discovering the little gems of the Oregon Coast like Yachats, or Nehalem Bay, it’s the unexpected that makes memories for us.
I can’t wait to road trip the Oregon Coast again soon. There is so much left to discover!