A Shaky Start

Beverly Beach State Park
Beverly Beach State Park

We took some shakedown trips to Beverly Beach, South Beach and Beachside State parks to rewrite our “take with” and “to do” listings and check out the new-old van. We had sold our All Terrain Camper and recently replaced it with the 7th VW Vanagon owned between the two of us. Official name is The Magnificent 7th, but we just call it 7.

The first trip we took was to Beverly Beach State Park, north of Newport. We’ve been to this park many times and love the area. The campground runs from almost beach side to deep in the woods. It’s a busy, popular park and most of the time it’s full. We lucked out and got two days in a row.

We weren’t in our usual spot – the tent spots along C loop – but most of the spots are large and well spaced. We got set up and took a little tour of the campground.


Beverly Beach State Park
Beverly Beach State Park

One of the interesting and disappearing items from the park, are the old Spruce tree stumps that have newer trees growing over them. Back when trees were felled with two man saws, a platform was build around the tree and cut from 10 to 20 feet above ground, leaving a rather tall stump. Over time, seeds dropped on top of these stumps and grew over them. Some times the inner stump is completely gone now, but there are others that have some of the first stump still housed in them. Like the one shown here (it’s deep in the shadows though).

Our next outing was to South Beach State Park, south of Newport.

We hadn’t stayed at South Beach for quite some time – a few years. As we were driving in, I remembered why: a foghorn that sounds every 30 seconds, 24 hours a day, every, single day.

The first time we went there, I was unable to sleep my usual light, restless sleep – and we vowed not to go back. At that time the foghorn was the typical low bass (long sound waves travel further), but now, it’s gone up a few octaves and it’s no longer full bass – more shrill – and the frequency has changed to every 10 seconds.

Not that South Beach isn’t a nice campground, it is. Large park with lots of people and many things to do at the park and near by. Depending on your rig, you may or may not hear the fog horn; it may not even bother you, so don’t let that stop you from going.

How we managed to get two days at three parks was amazing. And landing one at our next park?! Holy Bovine!

We didn’t take any photos at South Beach and only one in our next park: Beachside State Park, south of Waldport.

Beachside State Park
Beachside State Park

Beachside is a relatively small park, compared to the first two and there are only five or six REALLY good sites: 63, 64, 65, 66, and 68. They are on the ocean front. Because we were late in getting reservations, we ended up at the south end of the park, right next to Hwy 101. Rather noisy in the day, but traffic calms down around 10pm until 4am the next morning when the log trucks head out for their first loads.

We spent our two days wandering the park and walking the beach, checking out things like this bridge that spans a very small creek and the access trail to the hiker/biker camping spots. Someone in the park has a sense of humor and posted a warning sign: No Bungee Jumping! I guess not with a very large, pointy log sticking straight up and brush everywhere. Not to mention it’s only 4 feet down to the creek…

We enjoyed our stay at Beachside and headed home. That’s when things went south…

Around 10 miles north of Waldport, the light came on and stayed on. Oh, crap.

Oh, well, it’s a 36 year old car. What do you expect?

A couple of times in the few days before the trip, the oil pressure light started to flash intermediately. It would come on for a second or two, then go off. This was the last year of this method of informing the driver of oil pressure problems. The manual states that if this light comes on, shut down immediately, your engine is about to freeze up. It wasn’t low oil, I checked. When I was reading the manuals for our first waterboxer (all our other vans had been air breathers) I took note that up to this year this was NOT a low oil pressure problem, the problem was NO oil pressure and imminent engine failure. After this year, it DID signify low oil pressure – meaning it was low, not out, like ours.

We pulled off on a side street. Took a few minutes to analyze the situation and decide to be safe rather than sorry [new (rebuilt) engines are $5k and up], we called a tow truck and our go-to garage in Corvallis, Independent Auto Werks, and made arrangements to have 7 taken to them. We asked the Rowley’s tow truck driver to drop us of at the Enterprise car rental on the way. Taking about an hour, we rented a car and headed to the garage to pick up our gear.

We were an hour or so behind the tow truck when we got to the garage. As we were walking up, we noticed 7 up on the rack! And Tom greeted us with: Your van’s almost done! Say what?! He said that there was a wiring shortage that caused the light to come and stay on. Whew! It’s not the oil pump it self! By the time we got there, the mechanic was replacing the wiring and was a few minutes out from finishing. This is why we go to Independent Auto Werks: we knew they did great work, but this! This was way too cool and it allowed us to return the rental and go home as we started.

The trip was expensive, yes, but not as much as replacing a frozen engine…

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