Seaside, Oregon – Day 2

0512 – although the dogs aren’t with us, my body apparently forgot and forced me to get up and go to the bathroom. After wiping off the seat, I went right back to bed and slept until Diane got up for her ‘morning call’. She didn’t wake me up by getting out of bed, but by closing the bathroom door. It’s very creaky and squeaky. That wasn’t a problem for me because the door was already open and I saw no reason to close it at 0512 in the morning. Flushing the toilet was more of a concern for me than the door, so I didn’t flush. Diane didn’t mention it so she didn’t notice, or chose to just not comment. I have no idea what time she got up because I was feigning sleep in case the toilet proved to be an issue. After a short time, Mom got up and then the noise started – the TV came on, the coffee was started, and they began talking non-stop.

Not all of that is true, of course, but I’m not going to tell you what parts. Just let your mind run wild with that.

The morning noises weren’t a problem – they were actually comforting. I couldn’t understand what was being said, just the underlying buzz of vocal chords vibrating in the air, but I knew they were talking about me. They always are. Even when we’re home alone Diane talks about me under her breath. She doesn’t know I can hear her, but I do. Most people would call that paranoia, which is true. It is. It keeps me on my toes.

I finally drug myself out of bed at 0815. I felt refreshed and ready for another day. I’ve been planting seeds in Mom’s head that we’re going to ride the bumper cars today. Either that or the ’tilt-a-whirl’. Her choice. So far she hasn’t committed. The girls were watching Good Morning America so I sat and watched, too, while eating my banana and Tillamook yogurt, which everyone knows comes directly from specially bred Tillamook yogurt cows without processing. It’s amazing. The farmers just feed these cows the proper fruits to make whatever flavor they want. Today I had the raspberry kind so my cow ate raspberries. I love that kind. Diane likes key lime which make her cows pucker while processing.

It’s now 0945 and everyone has been cleaned up except me. I’ve been stalling because I don’t want to take a shower. But I will. Everyone else is smelling good, so ‘spect I should, too.

There is no plan for today so, like normal, we’ll just let whimsy take control of our sense of direction. I do know of at least two places we will visit that are required for trips to this area. One is Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

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If you’ve ever seen the movie “Goonies”, you’ve seen Haystack Rock. It was depicted as the location of the pirate ship in the movie. It isn’t, however, hollow. It’s a 237 foot tall monolith that we used to climb on as small children but has since been designated as a bird sanctuary, mainly seagulls, I think, like this …

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Now, people can walk up to it, touch it, and check out the really neat tide pools that surround it, but feet aren’t allowed. This can only be done at low tide because the water gets pretty deep around it when the tide comes in. That’s another reason they closed it to foot traffic because of the incredible number of ignorant people who climbed it at low tide and waited too late before trying to leave.

Diane and I walked down on the beach, at Tolovana, so we could touch the water, a tradition with us – gotta touch the water – and met Mike, a former stranger, on the way. He asked that I take a picture of him with Haystack Rock in the background, so I did. We talked a while and learned that he’s from Aloha (pronounced Aloah), worked for Tektronix, and Intel, and has been married for 30 years as of yesterday. Diane said she looked around for a likely bride but didn’t see one. It didn’t occur to me to question why he was on the beach alone if this was his anniversary trip. He may have had her hog tied in their room awaiting further attention for all we know.

Here’s Diane with Haystack Rock, and she’s advertising Cannon Beach …

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While on the beach a couple of fishermen drove their boat up on the beach, hooked it up to their pickup, which was parked nearby, drug the boat further away from the surf line, ratcheted it onto their trailer and drove away. Interesting. Never saw anyone do that before.

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Once the boat was gone, we kinda lost interest in the beach. We’ve seen Haystack so many times over the years, loving it every time, but the missing boat was a detractor. I went back to the car to make sure Grams was OK, and took some more pictures of the area as we waited for Diane to return from the restroom. It took her a while to return but she clarified the delay by telling us she had to weave her way through a “turdload” of people who were congregated in the middle of the sidewalk at the top of the stairs to the beach. We are unclear as to what a “turdload” constitutes, but all agreed it was best to be elsewhere. So, we left, transiting through the Cannon Beach tourist district on the way.

It was very festive down there with cars parked everywhere, and everyone jay walking willy nilly across the street, giving us stark reminders why we like Cannon Beach better in the winter.

On the way back to Highway 101, Diane took a left turn toward Ecola State Park which is NOT to be associated with E coli bacteria although we always think of that when we visit that park. It’s a really nice park and we were allowed to skip the $5 day use fee because I showed the cute young ranger my VA card. At least I think we got in free because of my VA card, but it could easily have been that she was overcome by my shining personality and astonishing good looks, and swooned a little, giving Diane a chance to sneak through the gate before she recovered. No one chased us so it was all good.

Ecola State Park gives people an excellent view of Cannon Beach, the town, and Cannon Beach, the beach, as well as Haystack Rock and other smaller affiliated rocks that stick up out of the ocean. Very picturesque.

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Oddly, Ecola Point Lighthouse is just off … well … just off Ecola point.

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Then it was back to Norma’s, as promised, for late lunch. It wasn’t really all that late, but it was after noon. Before dumping Grams and me in front of Norma’s, we did another drive to the turnaround to see how the volley ball poles were looking. Amazingly, all of them had nets – hundreds of volley ball nets where once I played as a tender young boy. Next thing you know they’ll be laying asphalt out there so people won’t get sand on their feet while walking to the beach. That actually makes sense, since I was able to gather enough sand in my shoes at Cannon Beach to leave my mark in the car that Diane so laboriously vacuumed before we left on this trip. Thankfully, she did the same thing on the driver’s carpet, so I didn’t get in trouble. Oh, and our hostess told Diane that there are 900 – nine hundred – teams signed up for next weekend’s volleyball tournament. Amazing.

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As I said, Diane dumped Grams and me in front of the restaurant, claiming it looked like there might be a waiting line, then she went to park the Buick. Grams and I risked our lives crossing the street so we could gain entrance to this historically acclaimed facility. There was no line and we were promptly seated in a booth with a good view of all the patrons entering and leaving.

Finally, Diane arrived and we were allowed to order our food. We’ve been talking about how great the sea food is at Norma’s, and how much Grams will like it, so what did she order? One half of a turkey sandwich. I could only surmise that she presumed it was ‘Turkey of the Sea’ brand turkey which made it a fitting lunch for a well-known sea food restaurant.

It was good she only got 1/2 a sandwich because it had enough turkey in it for a whole meal deal. She could barely wrap her lips around it, but she did, and she ate the entire thing.

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Diane got a broiled piece of dead halibut with fries …

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… and I had fetuccini alfredo with some dead tiger prawns scattered through out as well as a cup of Norma’s celebrated clam chowder.

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Though good,  Valerie’s clam chowder is every bit as good, if not better. I enjoyed my meal anyway.

Since our assigned quarters are only about a block away from Norma’s, and Diane had parked there, we walked up to the boardwalk, enjoying the afternoon sun, and slowly walked back to our cabin. Very relaxing.

The maids were making up our room when we got back, and I almost had to perform CPR on one of them. She turned the water on at the kitchen sink and the little sprayer thing blew off and water sprayed up to the ceiling. She recovered nicely, however, and got things cleaned up. Turns out the sprayer just wasn’t screwed on all the way. I claimed innocence though I’m not sure everyone in the room believed me.

While they were finishing up the room, we retired to the little yard outside our cabin door.

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Last night in this little yard, two young ladies were BBQing bacon and chicken. That sounds so awesome that I can’t wait to get home and try it. I might just leave the chicken out and do the bacon.

Now it’s almost 6 pm, and the day is winding down to a successful conclusion. It was a good one. Tomorrow we must depart for warmer climes – it’s 90+ at home – and get back into the routine of “doing things”. That’s OK. I can do that.

Until then, however, I seek everyone’s advice as to what constitutes a “turdload” of people to you. Is it the number of people, or is it the quality of people? Perhaps it’s just an overall impression. I’m not sure and Diane doesn’t really know what it means, either. It was just one of those spontaneous things Diane blurts out once in a while, making me laugh.

Maybe it’s a situation and hasn’t got anything to do with people.

I have this inappropriate image in my head about what it might mean, but I’m sure it’s wrong, so I need help.

I’d appreciate it.

Thanks.

Seaside, Oregon – Day 1

Here we are, safely tucked into our nifty little cabin near the beach. The Hillcrest Inn has three cabins and a bunch of rooms. We’ve stayed in the rooms before, but never one of the cabins. It was necessary this trip because we brought Diane’s Mom, Jean, with us. As I mentioned, I think, her birthday is this coming Thursday. She will be 86. Though her knees pain her, and her back gives her fits, but she still lives alone and gets around just great. We plan to spend a lot of time walking back and forth from our cabin and various restaurants in the area. Might even walk up and down the boardwalk and little.

It’s not actually a boardwalk. It’s really a cement walk that’s a mile or so long. The west side of it has a railing (cement columns) with occasional openings to the beach, should one wish to get sand in their shoes.  Some don’t. The ‘Walk’ is wide enough to accommodate walkers, bicyclers, skate boarders, runners, and roller skaters in both directions. Sometimes you have to dodge a little, but generally it isn’t a problem. Walking along the ocean is always nice.

When we left St. Helens the sky was clear and it was about 88 degrees. We heard on the radio that it was expected to reach about 97 in Canby, wherever that is. I think it’s out toward the Columbia River Gorge someplace. Judy and Anselmo live there so they can confirm if it really got that hot today.

Leaving Rainier revealed clouds in the direction we were headed which meant cooler temperatures at the coast. No surprise because that’s always the way it is. By the time we got to our cabin, after a quick unplanned tour of Seaside because of a wrong turn by the driver, who wasn’t me, the sky was totally obliterated with cloud cover. The sun was no longer shining at all and it was noticeably cooler. Too cool for the cute little shorts I was wearing. I’m still wearing them because we haven’t left the cabin since arriving. Lunch was the first priority then I made a valiant attempt to convince the other inhabitants that a nap would be good, but they disagreed.

Now it’s almost 4 pm and I think we’re going for a walk so I better seriously consider inserting myself into a pair of jeans and some real shoes. I wore my water shoes for the trip but brought my comfy sneakers for long walks. The trouble is with those, is, that I only brought those little fake socks that girls wear. I suppose if I wear my jeans low enough no will notice. Maybe I’ll find a place to buy a real pair of socks.

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Took a walk down the cement walk to the turn around …

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… then down Broadway looking at all the stuff in the windows placed there to lure in the unsuspecting tourist. On the Walk, we encountered this gentleman seeking donations for his efforts at sand sculpting …

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Pretty amazing. It’s just sand and water, he said, and he does a sculpture every day.

After surviving the gentle chilly breeze on the board walk, we headed down Broadway to search for something to cover Grams’ ears. She tried on a few, but chose to not get any of them. This one is my favorite …

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The breeze lessened as we got on Broadway so we thought it would be OK to get ice-cream. We passed dozens of people eating cones so it kinda sparked an interest. Funny how that happens. I had almond praline, Diane had raspberry sorbet, and Grams had mocha almond fudge. I could have eaten a double scoop but chose to be sensible.

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The beach in front of the turnaround, at the foot of Broadway, and about 1/4 mile wide, is filled with poles, and two rigs with augers putting up more poles, for volley ball nets. Hundreds of them. Apparently this coming weekend is the largest non-professional volley ball tournament in the world. Pretty awesome. We spoke to one of the clerks, all of whom are cute young ladies at the store we actually entered, and learned about this majestic event. She told us that for the championship games on Sunday, bulldozers hit the beach and scoop up mountains of sand around the play off courts so people will have a good view of the players. Sounds pretty cool, but influx of people to participate in, and watch the festivities will make parking and driving in Seaside absolutely impossible. Like Diane said, people would have to park in Astoria and walk to Seaside. Not true, of course, but parking will be awful.

We’ll be home before the influx and will check it all out on the internet. Here’s a link to Seaside Volleyball in case you’re interested. Turns out they’ve been doing this for 32 years. Who knew?

Diane and Mom abandoned me at the cabin and went to Rite Aid to get Grams something to cover her ears when we walk. It’s chilly in the evening, and it’s chilly during the day, too, when the sun doesn’t shine. Hopefully one of the days we’re here will be sunny. Doesn’t really matter, but it would be nice. I mention my abandonment because they just returned. I got new long socks, to lessen my pain, Grams got a fancy $1.39 scarf, and Diane go some cranberry gel caps and honey nut peanut butter.

Diane gets peanut butter sandwiches, but I don’t because we didn’t bring any crunchy peanut butter and she didn’t buy any. I I am not allowed to eat PB&J sandwiches with creamy peanut butter. It’s just wrong. It should be illegal. But I’ll probably try one and like it.

Time to stop for today. Tomorrow we eat at Norma’s, our favorite place to eat in Seaside.