Saturday, May 31, 2008

Something good to do

We don't do this nearly enough, but I wish we could head over to the coast more often. It's an hour's drive over the mountains, which aren't big ones - the summit is 763 feet above sea level, so we only climb and descend less than 1000 feet. (I think Minneapolis is at 600 ft.) Anyway, it'd be fun to take Caesar and let him chase seagulls on the beach.

There's something mezmerizing about the ocean here. On the Central Oregon Coast, the trees look really neat from being beaten and scrubbed by the huge storms that come in off the ocean. It's always windy and the town we usually go to, Lincoln City, is well known for kite flying. The shoreline varies from rocky cliffs to sandy beaches peppered with rocky outcroppings that turn into neat tide pools when the tide goes out. Totally unlike any lakeshore beach.

*Uploaded on April 10, 2008 by tbirdshockeyfan.

The water is way too cold and underwater rocks make it dangerous to swim in (pretty violent churning) but the tide pools are fun to climb on and explore.

Driving into town we midwestern landlubbers have a curious ritual. Coming over the mountain we pass through the uninhabited, heavily forested cell phone dead spot called the VanDuzer corridor. This forrested winding two lane road would be shaded and dark 24/7/365 if it weren't for the wind storms last winter that knocked down several acres of douglas fir trees. As we exit the corridor, Frank points out the first house. We count the houses and I point out my favorite old yellow house with the enclosed front porch. We snicker and point out oddball things as we approach Lincoln City: "The Second Coming," some sort of house converted into a junque store, filled with second hand things, then abandoned, a billboard that warns, "Logs Can Kill"* and "For Sale: Town Of Otis" advertising an outstanding real estate deal. No really; the town was for sale. As we pass Devil's Lake, Rachel and I roll down the windows and stick our arms out to wave the ocean air into the car. Yes, as we pass a fresh water lake. Yes, I'm driving with my arm all the way out the window, scooping up the air.
*The log warning is valid. Less than an inch of water can move a huge log sitting on the beach. People have been crushed to death by their choice of seating or shelter from the wind when sneaker wave comes in. But we like to read the billboard in a menacing tone of voice, as if advertising a horror flick.

Frank rolls his eyes and waits patiently to see the surf.

Traffic in Lincoln City is usually bad. It's a tourist town that tries hard to be hip, family friendly, kitchy, laid back, and appealing to city folk. To get to one of the public beaches, we drive past the casino, two pancake houses, myriad hotels and motels, upscale restaurants, art galleries, glass blowing studios, saltwater taffy and fudge shoppes, antique shops, clothing stores, trinket stores, fast food, slow food, sea food, more art galleries and gift shops, and then finally - (fanfare, please) The D River Wayside.

Ok, it's a big parking lot with a railing along the raised sidewalk and 9 steps down to the beach. Sometimes we drive down 17th street and creep the car down the steep alley to park on the sand. Frank's not too keen on that, even though other people do it.

up the stairs, originally uploaded by jensect.

Sometimes we park down at the end of 25th street in the little beach parking lot and hustle down the 40 or more steps to the sand. Walking back up the steps is the hard part, especially after a day of hanging out, chasing waves, digging pits, and climbing all over tide pools.

oh look!, originally uploaded by alyssa.rickel.

What are they looking at?
Tide pool critters.

tide pool creatures , originally uploaded by alyssa.rickel.

I grew up on Lake Superior and love the wild untamed lake, and worried, when we first moved here, that I would really miss the lake. Not quite... My friend Marcy credits the ions near the water, and she may be right, but I know I just feel so relaxed and at peace when I'm near the water. I think that's was I was afraid I'd lose when I left the Big Lake. The big difference I notice is at Lake Superior, I have to walk in waist deep and let the waves rock my body back and forth to feel its relaxing powers. At the ocean, just a few minutes of tasting the salt spray on my lips and feeling it absorb into my hair is all I need.

Hmmm, a trip to the coast is all I need...

(Thank you to the talented flickr photographers who shot these great pictures.)

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