NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler,
Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln
City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
It's Fall on the Coast: Summer is Here
Comic Relief - and Hard Lessons - on the Oregon Coast
- Exploring Oregon's coast has its hazards and freaky moments. It’s
a place that is bountiful in its beauty and grandeur, and there
are seemingly endless moments of joy and discovery. But it has its
way of showing you whose boss as well. It can turn around and swat
you in the back of the head.
I have learned
much during my many years of bouncing around the beach. This place
can be more adventure than you bargain for. It teaches you lessons
the hard way. But often, the learning can be pretty funny.
Kiwanda State Park
One: Don't leave your keys on the beach. One autumn day
in 1993 at Cape Kiwanda State Park, I should have been a little
more on the obsessive-compulsive side than I usually am about checking
for my keys. Somewhere along this sunset walk, my rather old, torn
shorts let my keys loose into the surf of the Oregon coast.
And the sun
was going down fast.
An hour after
calling a locksmith, he arrived, and it turned out he had vision
problems and couldn't create a replacement key. After two hours
of shivering in the cold, aching from hunger and too much coffee
earlier, I was left with a steering column that was ripped open
so I could at least start the car. This cost me 75 bucks.
Two: Buy enough gas to head out to the coast. One night
in November 1994, my friend Ruth and I abruptly decided we should
drive (from Salem) to Lincoln City. It was 1 a.m., and about halfway
there I noticed we were low on gas. I assured her there was an all-night
gas station there. After all, I'd agreed to drive back, so she could
sleep, because she had college classes in the morning.
It turned out,
no, there was no gas to be had. At this time, stations in Lincoln
City weren't open all night during the dead season - although they
are now. We were a bit panicked, but luckily I remembered a little
secret about some businesses that may have gas stored for such a
a total ass, I wind up passing out in the passenger seat, forcing
her to drive back.
Bay, home of the Discovery Tours
Three: Watch out for karma. About 1997, my girlfriend at
the time and I went out on one of those Discovery whale watch tours
in Newport. We overheard one lady tell the crew she was a journalist
doing a story on the tour. Within 15 minutes, she, of all the 20
people onboard, was the only one to get really seasick.
Kathy and I
snickered about this a bit, and relished in the fact we felt fine,
practically boasting to ourselves. I even stood at the front of
the ship and made goofy impressions of that scene in "Titanic"
with my arms outstretched. (Hey, it was 1997 and that gag wasn't
overdone as yet).
City Vacation Homes There’s something
for everyone among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller
homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All the
homes are either oceanfront or just a few steps away from
the sand – all with a low bank access and fantastic
views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the
casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies, depending
on the home: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers,
Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues;
there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home
has two apartments. Pets are allowed in some homes –
ask ahead. Each comes with complete kitchens so you’ll
have a home away from home. Most have the seventh night
free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night.
By the last
half hour of the trip, Kathy and I felt increasingly queasy and
awful. It felt like punishment for making fun of the sick journalist.
Four: Follow your intuition. In fall of 2004, I decide
to take my little Toyota Corolla onto that same beach at Cape Kiwanda
where I lost my keys eleven years earlier. Yet something nagged
me inside about this being a bad idea, partially because I nearly
got stuck in the sand last time, a few months ago. Sure enough,
I get totally stuck. If it wasn't for a family from Coos Bay who
were used to pulling others out of the sand at home, I would've
spent the night on this beach. How dopey I felt admitting to them
my job was editor of this publication.
Five: Beware showing the coast to goofy relatives from
afar. A few years ago, one of my off-the-wall relatives showed up
from Germany and annoyed the hell out of me all day as I as took
her and her boyfriend on a coastal tour. He was alright - most of
the time; she was a caustic ditz who constantly irritated me and
those who had the misfortune to serve us in restaurants over the
course of the trip from Oceanside down to Lincoln City.
brother entertains by climbing the wall at Oceanside
waitstaff couldn't speak German and didn't catch all the crap we
had to put up with, but she did force us to constantly change seating
or some other idiotic demand. I have a lot of friends in the server
industry who have to deal with crummy tourists, so this was a particular
afront to me.
Then, as she
got increasingly drunk on regional microbrews, I had to sit and
listen to a barrage from both of them of "how come you're not
married?" or "why don't you have a girlfriend?"
The lesson learned?
Such trips, especially in close quarters, are special torture if
your companions are socially unwieldly in some manner or another.
brother Norman was a kick in the pants, as he tried to crawl up
a basalt cliff in Oceanside.
shelves of Devil's Churn
At other times,
however, I'm just a plain maniac and I've either been a major part
of my own adventures or I totally create them. Like the times I
hung out on the coast in the mid-90's with the young nutcases in
a band called The Stanleys. They would play gigs in Newport, we'd
all hit the bars later and get ripped. Then the next day, hangovers
be damned, we'd go bonkers on the beaches. There was one game in
particular, on the rocky slabs next to the Devil's Churn near Yachats,
where we'd take turns tossing large rocks into pools of water near
another, trying to drench each other.
Doing this -
and watching them cavort on the beach and do really dumb things
like fall into creeks - helped me learn the importance of bringing
along a change in clothing.
kooky, surreal incident happened in Seaside in the summer of '99,
where the girl I was dating and I were wandering the beaches after
the bars had closed. We noticed this goofy trio of guys at a nearby
bonfire, taking turns smacking their heads into wooden boards, trying
to break them. Out of curiosity, we joined them and discovered one
was a transient, another was a teen from Montana and the other a
local - all of them drunk. Like a scene from a David Lynch flick,
the transient kept accidentally setting his foot on fire.
Then there are
those crazed moments at local bars - oh, but those are another set
of stories. Suffice it to say the adventures and lessons continue.