NEWS YOU CAN USE
Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast
travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway,
Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe
Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.
Oregon Adventure On 100 Miles of Wild Coast
By Andre’ Hagestedt
Coast Show crew films the ancient tree stumps
– Covering tourism on these shores is always an adventure.
But sometimes it’s more of an escapade than at other times,
and Father’s Day weekend in 2006 certainly amounted to one
whopper of a crazed journey. From Newport to Seaside, it was four
days of wine, music, exceptional food, strange natural discoveries,
kooky drunkards, astounding sunsets and big festivals of all sorts.
And then there was that interesting, rain-soaked adventure where
I was interviewed by a TV crew on the beach.
It started on a Thursday
night in Newport, with a host of fine wine sucked down at Blu Cork
Wine Bar, and some fascinating conversation with two of the cats
in Tall Jazz: Dan and Mike. They boast some interesting tales about
Chris Botti and running into Sting at a bar in Portland.
There was also
a “Nye Beach Moment” here – the central coast
version of that semi-paranormal oddity known as the “Wheeler
Moment,” where serendipitous coincidences happen with
freakish regularity. But this is another story…
If it’s Friday
morning, this must be Neskowin. I’m scheduled to meet the
crew from the Oregon Coast Show here, to be interviewed about the
2000-year-old “ghost forest” on these beaches, one very
wild and astounding geologic feature. It’s pouring down rain
– and as usual – I’m the only putz on the beach
wearing a suit and tie. There goes the ‘do, too.
that's one waterlogged TV crew
The crew is
comprised of Scott Gibson (son of Rick Gibson, a producer of the
Oregon Coast Show),
talent Cindy Hanson (also the PR gal for Oregon Coast Aquarium and
former on-air talent in the Portland area) and Scott’s friend
from Newport, Brendan Kane. These guys (and gal) are a kick in the
pants and loads of fun to work with. Rain be damned, these troopers
are armed with massive plastic bags to cover their equipment.
The rain wasn’t
the worst, however. That infernal creek had to be crossed first.
I knew it was going to be a problem. I may have looked like a dork
in a suit and tie while barefoot – but I was prepared. These
other cats got were waterlogged in their socks. Plus, the current
was nasty at the south bank of the creek. I kept joking, “This
is all so Lewis & Clark.”
On the other side lay
this eerie wasteland of the “ghost forest,” where an
ancient earthquake plunged a chunk of forest some twenty feet into
mud and saltwater, causing these trees to remain preserved for around
2000 years. There’s a whole weird landscape here of decapitated
sucked inside giant tree stump - film at 11
Then, I make
a mysterious discovery. They’re interviewing me while sitting
on one of these barnacle-covered stumps, and my feet keep sinking
deep into the wet, soft sand surrounding it. Something is poking
my ankle, and whatever it is, I flick it off. Still, the sensation
continues for something like 10 minutes, but I ignore it.
Luckily, this entire
unbelievable tale is on film: I pull my ankle out again to find
– sure enough – some sort of leech-looking creature
in that spot. And my foot is bleeding, right where it was before
I flicked it off a second time.
What on Earth? No one
had any clue what this could be. And two days later, when I talked
to Keith Chandler at the Seaside Aquarium, he also had no clue what
kind of wee beastie could be like a leech on Oregon’s coast.
I MAY have made a new
discovery. Just my luck, though: if I get named after a scientific
find, it’s going to be some icky bloodsucker or other unpleasant
Also of particular note:
Cindy essentially blew me away during our conversation about the
weird and wondrous vibe that Neskowin seems to emit. There is something
spiritual or ethereal about this magical place. Not many know what
I talk about when I say this, but Cindy actually brought it up first.
Then, I made
the nearly 100-mile trek to Manzanita
and our north coast office. Along the way, a quick snack of that
monstrous cioppino at Pacific Oyster in Bay City did the trick to
wake me a little from my mother-of-all-hangovers, limbs that ached
from the trudge through the scary creek and my four hours of sleep.
Later in the
evening, we had a little “premiere” party at Old
Wheeler Hotel with the owners, Winston and Maranne, and local
business-folk Peg and Garry. I had a nifty video of all of them
on TV, a piece about the mysterious “Wheeler
Moments” that the Oregon
Coast Show did. We also watched me on PDXposed
(on Comcast channel 14 on Friday through Monday nights), where I
was interviewed talking about Nye Beach, Village Market & Deli
and their pate’ (which I claimed on-air to be “better
The videos were a hit.
The impromptu party and champagne were a hit. And I now feel like
a local media celeb.
crowds at the Reggae Festival
The latter part
of the evening was spent with a few drinks with Winston and Maranne,
and then a LOT more drinks at the Wateringhole in Nehalem (where
my very sober friend Janet watched me descend into silliness).
interesting in the world was happening on the north coast: Rockaway’s
Wine, Cheese & Jazz fest, Nehalem Bay Winery’s Juneteenth
Reggae Festival, Wheeler CrabFest, Sandcastle Day in Cannon Beach…and
the list goes on.
of Porter's Catering serves up BBQ so good it hurts
I spend most
of the evening inhaling large amounts of wine at the winery while
shooting the goings-on, digging the reggae, downing big helpings
of exquisite Jamaican-style BBQ from Porter’s Catering and
chatting with Oregonian writer Don Campbell.
I end the evening
with a stunning show at the San Dune Pub by Portland’s
Red Rubber Band, where their light show is positively mind blowing.
Not to mention, guitarist Huckster does some amazing tapping stuff
(oh I love that King Crimson-esque technique).
Rubber Band at San Dune
Too bad I had
a couple elderly drunks annoying me in various ways. One was constantly
hitting on me (yup, beer breath makes senior women much more attractive);
the other insisted on telling me over and over again about how I
was a “rockin’ party animal.” Whatever that meant.
On Sunday, I latch onto
the Seaside Aquarium’s Keith Chandler as he goes out to check
the giant pipe at the tide line. This oddity, which puzzled me for
years, is the pipe which sucks in fresh seawater into the aquarium.
They periodically have to go and change its shape and configuration,
since sand levels go up and down. This is why it looks different
from time to time upon different visits to Seaside’s beach.
|Keith Chandler at the pipe for Seaside Aquarium
A huge sneaker
waves comes flying in and chases me up the beach. But in the process,
with my feet kicking up water from a depth of perhaps a foot or
more, I succeed in soaking my butt. Mmmm, that’s comfortable
when you’re driving for long periods.
In Rockaway, I stop to
gobble down more incredible barbecue at D’Max, right on 101.
Their goodies are slow cooked for ten hours. It’s good enough
to kill for.
I reach Oceanside, where I down a scrumptious salmon dinner at the
& Grill. The pinot noir sauce was a particular delicacy.
The tide is awfully high
here today, and it was a little touch and go to get to the tunnel
which gets you to the other side of Maxwell Point. As I emerge from
the tunnel, the tide is too high on the other side to take advantage
of this kooky, hidden beach, which boasts a lot of rock structures
that will remind you of the old Star Trek series.
So I turn back, drive
down the road to do a little exploring of Netarts, then head to
a deliciously secret beach called “Short Beach,” just
north of Oceanside. This small cove boasts a sea stack that could
almost be mistaken for Proposal Rock in Neskowin, although it’s
much smaller. It’s not as secret as it once was, as there
were about ten people floating around there.
Beach at sunset
I had the northern
end – where you can see the Cape Meares Lighthouse –
to myself. Except for a small flock of birds I kept scaring, and
the body of a dead sea lion, I was alone here. The sunset dipped
in and out of cloud cover in the distance, causing it to spread
out in dramatic shafts of light periodically, while casting the
clouds around it with various shades of intense orange. There are
waterfalls here too, which add an extra jolt of the seriously serene
to this slightly otherworldly beach. There’s something primitive
about this spot, as if you’ve stepped back in time thousands
of years to the beginnings of mankind, or maybe before. It’s
not hard to imagine seeing a dinosaur emerge from a smaller cove
nearby – one that’s slightly tucked away, with its back
end not visible from beyond the cliffs here.
This was my goodbye to
the beach for now. Sadly, it was time to get back to work in Manzanita
and in Portland.