When I originally decided to make my last Oregon stop in Florence, it was a matter of convenience; this is the southernmost Thousand Trails park included in the free Thousand Trails pass that came with my RV.

What I expected was a sleepy coastal Oregon town. A small handful of dilapidated businesses hawking coastal-themed wares. An antique shop or two. There's always an antique shop or two. A few restaurants.

What I found is, I think, something of a hidden gem. A certain class of person, one with more money than I've ever had, has probably known about Florence for generations. Probably owns a home in one of the many gated enclaves just a short drive off 101. I understand why. This is a playground.

On my first day in Florence someone mentioned to me that the sand dunes here are what inspired Frank Herbert to write Dune, and I believe it. I wish I could have gotten better pictures of them, but some of the best dunes are in places that are impractical to walk to and I was not prepared to pay upwards of $60 an hour to rent an ATV. In retrospect, I may end up regretting that decision. Then again, it may be incentive to come back during the high tourism season.

The dunes that I did see ranged from, I'd guess, 20-30 feet tall all the way up to over 100. I've seen marketing that suggests in some places they get as tall as several hundreds. That truly would explain Dune. I don't think there are giant sand worms, but at that point who knows. The world's a strange place.

If I ever end up needing to pick a place to put down roots, Florence has some pretty compelling arguments in its favor. That surprised me. I never thought I'd want to live on the coast. If this is what's been hiding just a couple hour's drive from the place I've lived most of my life, what else is hiding out there?