Small House Big World


Chicago and The Oregon Coast

Anna Edgren • October 5, 2015

I know that many of you like reading the blog for the sometimes amusing tales of woe that come from living in a 1993 RV held together all too frequently by duct tape. So I will tell you with some hesitancy, and quietly so as not to upset the RV gods, everything has mostly been working lately. Either we jiggled a lot of the kinks out and it will be smoother sailing from now on, or, who knows, maybe this is the calm before the storm. But, it has been quiet as of late, which is a relief. 

AND, as of October 1, we have been full-time RVing for 6 months!

Royalty-free clipart picture of a bunch of floating party balloons with confetti at a party.


Living the dream! 

We had our first vacation from the RV in September. We went back to Chicago for the wedding of Josh and Anna.  Josh and I have been friends since college, so I have been affectionately referred to as “Anna #1”, which “Anna #2” has been an awfully good sport about. The wedding was a BLAST and we had a lot of fun being back in Chicago. 

2015-09-18 18.54.08

The classiest Josh has looked in years.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about being back in Chicago, but all and all it felt pretty normal. And as much as I like Chicago and like the friends I have there, I am so glad we left.  After 5 days away from the RV, I was definitely ready to “go back home,” whatever that means! 

The RV had been parked just outside of Portland near Boring, Oregon. Max was at a dogsitter’s house and we had someone come by and take care of the kitties a few times while we were out. We returned to very happy pets and it was good to be back. 

Because you may have forgotten what they look like (and certainly not because I take far too many photos of them), here are a couple of pics:

2015-09-24 15.25.28

They sure know how to relax

2015-09-10 13.37.40

Anyway, moving on. We got to look around Portland a little bit, but quickly decided to go out to the coast. We have friends coming to visit us in Portland in mid October, so we figured now was our chance to see the ocean and we could explore Portland more later when they arrive. 

Kelly and I decided to stay in Netarts (which we still don’t really know how to pronounce) a small beach town near Tillamook.

Map of Netarts

In this area there are a handful of adorable quiet little beachy towns with surprisingly few bars, restaurants, or other tourist attractions. The attraction here is the ocean, and the spectacular rocks that line the coast. The whole area has a great small-town feel. 

Of course, it is October now, so it’s not the high season. But this area doesn’t have that desolate emptiness that you often get when a tourist hub is lacking tourists.  It just felt quiet and peaceful and nice.

Once again I have taken about 3,000 pictures, so I will shut up and get to the highlights. The scenery was amazingly wonderful and I don’t know how I managed to live this long without completely falling in love with the ocean, but something about this trip did it for me. I’m just so into it.

The small town of Oceanside is right next to Netarts, and is where you can find Agate beach.

2015-09-28 17.11.17

2015-09-28 17.24.30

Couldn’t stay off the rocks!

You can walk through a creepy/awesome tunnel to get to more beach.

2015-09-28 17.07.48

And on THAT beach, we came to my very favorite part, which is where we saw real live sea creatures exposed due to the low tide.

2015-09-28 17.33.09 

2015-09-28 17.36.55

Starfish, squishy sea anemones, and various shells and barnacles. It was SO INTERESTING. Dream of being an oceanographer = revived. 

Later on we drove south through Cape Lookout State Park – that’s where the cover photo for this blog post came from.  We went about 30 minutes down the coast to Pacific City and discovered an awesome brewery/restaurant called Pelican Brewing. They are right on the beach – talk about nailing the location.

2015-09-28 18.43.42

2015-09-28 18.44.50

The unobstructed view 🙂

We also drove up north to Cannon Beach, where we happened upon the ground breaking ceremony for a NEW Pelican Brewing location. We got to snag a couple of free beers and chat with the sous-chef about the best places to eat in town. How serendipitous! 

2015-09-29 18.35.36

We then hit Seaside, Astoria, and Cape Disappointment. Cape Disappointment is where the mouth of the Colombia River is located. (And yes, that really is the name. The explorer John Mears named it as such after seeking trading routes on the coast. He was discouraged by a bad storm and turned his ship around at the Cape, therefore just missing the discovery of the Colombia River). 

2015-10-03 14.51.11

The lighthouse at Cape Dissapointment

2015-10-03 14.59.00

Coastguard Station

2015-10-03 12.15.16

The World’s Happiest Dog

So at this point, I can tell you all of us are completely enamored with the ocean. The gentle saltwater scented air, the peaceful breezes, and the awesome creatures we encountered walking down the beach will all be great memories to take on our way. 

We got back to Portland yesterday, and its OKAY I guess, but I think we are all missing the sound of the surf.  I am sure we will adjust back to city life after a couple of days.  We have a lot of things to explore around Portland that I am looking forward to!

agate beachnetartsoceansidepacific citypelican brewingtillamook

Anna Edgren • October 5, 2015

Previous Post

Next Post


  1. Jeff Chandler October 16, 2015 - 6:35 pm Reply

    Hey guys,
    My wife and I are getting out of our travel trailer and upgrading to a class A next week to prepare for winter (word on the street is that it’s coming). I was just wondering what kinds of places you’ve found yourself staying in and if you have found any of the clubs to be helpful.

    • Anna Edgren November 10, 2015 - 4:24 pm Reply

      Hi Jeff! We love to boondock whenever possible. It is easier in some states and more difficult in others. When we have to pay for a place, we like to stay in state or county parks when possible. If we have to stay in an RV park, we have found the Passport America club to be definitely worth-while in certain circumstances. Can often turn a $40 a night RV park into a $20 a night RV park, which can be helpful if you are in a pricey area. Harvest Hosts is also worth checking out. More places in the Midwest, but we’ve had a blast with them.

  2. Jeff Chandler November 10, 2015 - 8:09 pm Reply

    Hey Anna, I’ll have to look a bit closer at Passport America and Chanda has become obsessed with staying at a couple places with Harvest Hosts since I showed her. I am really looking forward to my first chance at boondocking in a few weeks, I’ve got a cross country trip from FL to CA planned in December when the show picks back up. Thanks for your help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *