Exploring Oregon In Our New Super Pacific, Switchback X1
After driving 17+ hours from Southern California to Portland, Oregon, our new Super Pacific Switchback X1 was officially installed and we were ready for some adventure!
Following our installation, we made our way from Portland to Tillamook on the Northern Oregon Coast to grab a bite to eat. While enjoying our lunch, a sign for Cape Look Out State Park caught our eye. We decided after lunch to take the scenic drive to check it out. From our research, Oregon has an abundance of state parks, which offer tons of activities for the outdoor enthusiast. Cape Look Out State Park has an overnight campground, as well as a $5.00 day-use area, which offers picnic tables and grills along with shoreline access, hiking trails, and restrooms.
We were looking forward to doing the hike to Cape Lookout since it is said that it offers the best spot on the coast for whale watching; however, it will have to wait for a future return trip. Unfortunately the trail was closed due to extensive damage the area received during a windstorm in January 2021. Making the most of our time here, we decided to pause and enjoy watching and listening to the ocean waves.
As we were enjoying the ocean views, we noticed three large rock formations out in the distance. Intrigued and always up for discovering new things, we decided while we are here why not drive down to check it out.
The three rocks happen to be Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge located offshore near the community of Oceanside. It is one of the Oregon coast's best-known landmarks, and consists of three large and six smaller rocks totaling 15 acres. Interesting fact, in 1907, the Refuge was designated as wilderness. It is one of the smallest wilderness areas in the United States. Today, it protects over a quarter million nesting seabirds and is a popular site for marine mammals.
Not wanting to make camp in the dark, we decided to leave the coast and make our way to the Tillamook State Forest for some dispersed camping. Having never been to the area before, we were both excited to reach the end of the pavement and finally hit the dirt road in anticipation of finding an ideal campsite for the night. Not settling on the first site we came upon, we chose to explore further than the iOverlander App took us and we are so glad we did! We found an incredible campsite for the night next to a beautiful serene creek.
Setting up camp was super easy, we put down the tailgate, hopped up on top, unlatched the hinges, and with a push the gas struts did the rest! To enjoy the surroundings, we backed up the truck towards the creek to ensure we had some amazing views from up inside the tent. With the Switchback's three screen doors on three sides, there wasn't a bad view to be had and it was like having the whole forest as your bedroom.
Also new to the Exped mattress, which is included with the Switchback X1, it was easily pumped up using a manual pump. We laid out our sleeping bags and just like that, the bed was set and made. Now, we could have more time to relax by the campfire and sip a few Oregon blackberry hard ciders.
As we turned in for the evening, we were serenaded to sleep by the natural sounds of the forest and the relaxing sound of the creek. Waking up we pinched ourselves that we were so lucky and thankful to be able to call this magical place home for the night!
Day 2 of our official Oregon adventure we planned to go chase waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park near Mehama, Oregon! This state park is the crown jewel of the state park system and features the Trail of 10 Falls. This popular hiking trail takes you to 10 gorgeous waterfalls all within a 7.8 mile loop through an enchanted lush forest. There is a $5.00 fee, which can be paid at the pay stations at most trailheads. You'll also find vault toilets, we found them to be very clean and well stocked during our trip. The weather report indicated a chance of rain and we encountered a gentle spring shower during our hike, perfect for keeping Randy cool. The Silver Falls State Park is an Open Road 4Two recommendation to add this your list when visiting the Oregon area.
Although we had a campsite booked for the night in the Silver Falls campground, the great thing about carrying your house on your back and being familiar with finding dispersed camping, you always have the ability to alter your plans, if needed. To dodge the spring storm and find dryer conditions, we headed south towards Crater Lake National Park. Although this meant cutting our hike and visit short in SilverFalls, finding clear skies and would make setting up camp much easier.
With our navigation set, we made the four hour drive and arrived near our next designated camp only to find that the gate to the recreational use area was still closed for the season. With the sun quickly setting, we recalled passing a road that appeared to lead to clearing on the other side of the river. So we backtracked to check it out and what was waiting for us was just spectacular!
In addition to having a rustic fireplace, it was situated right next to a beautiful rushing river. Not only would the sound of the water be soothing, it would also mask the sound of the traffic along the nearby road.
What was also nice to see is that each camp site we utilized, was mostly free of trash and debris. On both occasions, we only had to do some minor trash pickup and we left each site better than when we found it. By practicing the principal of "leave no trace" these awesome free camping sites can remain open for public use.
This was one temporary home that we could have enjoyed for a few more days; however, we had to be back in California soon and had one more day of adventure.
Prior to our arrival at Crater Lake National Park we failed to research any possible closures. Luckily for us our GPS guided us to the west entrance, which is the only entrance that was currently open. The other entrances usually open at the end of May or early June depending on the weather.
With the north rim still closed for the season we could only drive up as far as Discovery Point. We had planned to hike the Watchman Peak trail; however, would need to trek up on foot and we did not pack any of our cold weather hiking gear. Oh well, that just means we will be back, Oregon. The trip was not a fail, the view of this amazing lake at Discovery Point will leave you in awe! The skies were sunny and clear and the caldera sides were covered with snow. The contrast just made the lake look even more blue and incredible!
Before leaving the parking and making our way back south to California, we made sure to stop and check out the park store to pick up some souvenir patches. The store was open and stocked full of Crater Lake merchandise, it also had a nice cafe perfect for picking up a warm cup of coffee for the road.
Hating to say goodbye to Oregon, we hit the OpenRoad with the goal of making it south of the Oregon/California border to camp near Shasta Lake. Getting an early start, we made the four hour drive and found a sharp contrast in the weather. We left the crisp 29 degree mountain air of Crater Lake and found a balmy 75 degree spring day at Shasta Lake. We located a nice shady spot with a view of the water and set up camp for the last leg of this journey.
We traveled more than 2300 miles and every moment was worth it for the amazing experiences we had in Oregon. Can't wait for our next adventure! Where will we go next?
Who we are: We are OpenRoad4Two, a husband-and-wife adventure team, dedicated to hitting the OPN RD. and exploring this beautiful land we live in. We encourage you to follow along with us on our journeys, YouTube, and Instagram. We are dedicated to supporting and assisting our fellow adventurers along the way. We love hearing from you, so please connect with us! Send us a question, a suggestion, a tip, or just a simple hello! Until then, we’ll see you on the OPEN ROAD!!