A Rock N’Roll Goodbye – Cape Blanco, OR
They say you’ve never really experienced Cape Blanco until you’ve been through one of her famous storms. We’ve had a few good ones over the years we’ve spent here including the one last year that shut down the lighthouse and produced my famous “wind mullet” shot. So, we were both rather relaxed when the first big storms of the year were scheduled to come through this week. Been there, done that kind of thing….a bit of wind, some wild weather and we’re done. No big deal.
What we were not prepared for was the gale-force monster that would come our way….
It all started a few days ago when the wind gave us her first taste. I was out by the Cape with a friend taking some pics when the sound of a thousand ghosts howled through the air. It was a wild and heart-breaking moan that echoed off the cliff walls and almost swept us off our feet. I thought of sailors on the seas and wondered if they heard the same voices in a storm. No wonder people go mad in the wilds.
This is new, I thought….
We had a break the very next day while the wind took a nap and lulled us into comfort. The Coast Guard arrived to clean the lighthouse lens and we had a trickle of (mostly) local visitors who came out to see our girl. Barely a wind touched the grass and hints of blue sky teased the horizon. The Cape was in a momentary repose and we basked in the relaxing nature of the day.
Just you wait, she whispered, just you wait….
And then….it came….oh holy moly did it come….
The first inklings was a violent shake of the RV in the early hours of the night, a totally unexpected experience for the well-protected sites of the campground. The gusts built, rocking our home to the violent rhythm of the storm as it grew and rallied. Trees over 30 foot high, rock solid and typically silent were thrashed around like playing sticks in the sky. Rain rocketed down in horizontal sheets, lashing the rig in merciless torture and dropping torrents of water on the ground. The sea frothed and rose in violent tune sending waves of unbelievable force crashing onto the beach. The whole world disappeared into the grip of a swirling, uncontrollable storm.
WOW! This is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in the rig before…
The storm peaked near dawn when wind readings at the Cape rallied to 94 mph (= 151 km/h) with the rig vibrating and groaning in response. It was by far the biggest shake I’d ever had in the RV. Then excruciatingly slowly, bit by bit it edged off, ebbing and flowing until finally moderating by the evening hour down to a more reasonable 20 mph. Phew!! We survived the storm!
We walked out to view the aftermath and considering her force, damage was low. Many trees were uprooted or snapped, branches were scattered on the trails and forest debris strewn across across the ground, but none of the campsites seem to have been affected. At our site our host sign had ripped off it’s hinges, our ladder was thrown, but otherwise everything was intact. And of course the lighthouse, our ever present and steady light, stood stoic and strong with nary a scratch. Port Orford, just 10 miles south of us fared much worse.
This girl sure knows how to say a dramatic goodbye….
We’re heading out tomorrow morning (baring any new storms), leaving our summer coastal adventures behind and looking forward to our winter wonderings in the desert. We’ve forged many new memories, made many new (and wonderful) friendships and experienced ALL that the Cape has to offer. Through gloriously warm days, sultry sunsets, long walks in the silent forest, beautifully deserted beaches and the screams of a final storm she’s tempted and tested us with all her moods. And despite her unpredictable nature, we always leave wanting more.
We may never understand her, but darn it…we can’t help but love her.
‘Till next time, my wild and wonderful lady…