Friends were renting a house in Waldport, Oregon, three bedrooms, three baths. They’d invited their family. Their family couldn’t make it. Would we like to come?
Twist our arms, ouch, ouch, okay, we give, we give, we’ll come! The house wasn’t on the beach, but on a bluff that overlooks the beach, less than a quarter mile to the beach. Topology and beach access rules and agreements made it a ten minute walk to the beach. Not a problem.
We drove through pouring rain to reach Waldport. The sky ratcheted down to a gray sunshine the first night, permitting a walk on the beach. Waldport has fine, sandy beaches, flat, wide, and unpopulated by many others in September. Rain drenched the area that night. We awoke to a misty gray day, but that burned off. Sunshine and blue skies arrived and hung out with us for the next few days, a very welcome guest. Temperatures jumped into the high sixties, flirting with seventy-one inland.
Waldport is a small, comfortable town. Not many eateries called to us but Yachats ten miles to the south and Newport fifteen miles to the north were easy drives up Highway 101. Down in Yachats, we returned to Luna Sea Food twice, and also visited the Green Salmon for some excellent coffee and food. Once again, we struck out when we tried to visit Bread and Roses, as it was closed for the week! Dinner on Tuesday was at the Adobe restaurant in Yachats, where the dining room presented us with an excellent seat to watch the sunset as we ate and drank.
I walked on the beach at least twice a day, in addition to our daily hiking. For the week, I ended up with sixty-five miles on my Fitbit, which was the same as the previous two weeks. I often walked barefoot in the shallows, enjoying the sun-warmed waters churning over my feet.
Meanwhile, we had terrific companions, Marcia, Art, and Lucy. The owners’ net situation kept us off computers except to check email once in a while. We traveled the local coastline, hiking, and visiting the sights. We also walked the Alsea Bay Bridge. Just three quarters of a mile long, the bay’s water were fantastically clear and often shallow. Seals sunned and swum below us, entertaining us with their pastimes (yes, we’re easily entertained). Amanda’s trail in Yachats offered a more challenging walk, giving us fifty flights of steps on our Fitbits, and offering terrific views of the Pacific. Signs warned us about a mama bear and her cubs in the area, so we stayed on guard.
Amanda’s head has been washed away, and has been replaced by a smaller, carved statue of her. Her sad history, shared too many times with other people across America, remains to remind us how inhumane and barbaric Americans and Europeans often treat others.
A return visit to Cape Perpetua was in order, with its short hike to the CCC era stone shelter.
When we were back at the house, time was passed reading, chatting, eating, cooking, drinking wine, and gazing out at the ocean. The moon was waxing and was almost a full moon by the week’s end, splashing its gorgeous glow over the calm, rolling ocean. Not much writing was done, but batteries were drained and recharged.
Got my coffee, and my ass is in the chair. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Watching the gorgeous ocean today, different songs about seas, oceans, water, and sailors sprang into the mental stream. Anchoring in was a later John Denver song about Jacque Cousteau and his ship, the Calypso, from 1975.
Yeah, just thought I’d share my view of the placid Pacific today off of the Oregon coast. Not bad, let me tell ya. I can use to this.
The wine is 14 Hands red blend, btw. Marvelous.
Floofcation (catfinition) – taking a break to sit with one or more cats to relax and recover your equilibrium. The term is also coming to be adopted by people taking time away from everything else to be with their dogs.
In use: “Weary with the depressing political news, he took a floofcation, sitting on a chair and petting his cat , letting the cat’s purrs vibrate through his body.”
Floofcation (catfinition) – 1) time spent with a cat, as cats are noted for their loving natures, and having them as companions often help people relax; 2) time spent away from a cat, as cats can drive people raving mad with their mid-darkness antics of galloping around the house and breaking things (sometimes with apparently deliberate malice).
A carpet of fog was rolled in with majesty in the afternoon’s middle, and that was it. Sunset decided not to show and sunrise didn’t get up. Twenty miles an hour sea breezes stretched the Stars and Stripes into a snapping fabric panel and tortured our hair into brambly messes.
We were in Bandon.
The fishy fresh smell from tides, ocean and piers hooked its fingers up our nostrils and jerked us in – again and again, often eliciting, “Whoa, I’d forgotten that smell,” that sort of primitive and unfiltered smell associated with small coast towns we’d lived in and visited. Sea sprays blended with mists to coat us with salt and sand.
Bandon was a step away from our first world existence of dry and hot Ashland, but it was further than we expected in technological miles. While the hotel room had a flat screen tv, coffee maker, frig and nuker, the things required and expected for the modern American urban traveler, the wireless connections were spotty and phones never acquired a signal. Your experience may vary.
Sunshine heralded our arrival, so we were absurdly hopeful about how the visit would go. We used that time on the first afternoon to stroll the beaches past Facerock while the tides were out. Imagination easily informed us, we are the first, we have discovered a new territory and ocean, thinking about what it must have been like for the first humans to travel that way and look out on the powerful sea.
Returning to Bandon’s Oldtown, we wandered the windy streets, unchanged from two years past, save businesses had closed or moved away. Menus were perused. Food offerings were the same as before, basic pub grub and seafood offerings. Without knowing the reasons for it of season, month, weather or day of week, the streets were usually free of other souls. Waiting to eat was only encountered for breakfast on the second day, as one eatery was closed for repairs and the other was closed for good, reducing where to eat breakfast by almost fifty percent.
There wasn’t even a Starbucks, Dutch Bros, or Seattle’s Best, for heaven’s sake.
No, those places are not my first choice when traveling but their ubiquitous availability has become a meter for how far from the norm we’ve gone. It’s odd to find a place in America without these places. Nor were there fast food places, except for Subway. Other than a Dollar Tree, the chains have not found Bandon. That would have been wonderful, if Bandon exuded more charm. It was like visiting an aged movie star who no longer knows who they are.
A wallet of money and credit cards were found on the First Street sidewalk the second day, requiring a visit to the police station and foisting worries about the person who lost it on us. Hopefully they’ll be re-united with their wallet. Then we drove up coast to Coos Bay. Heading back down, we missed a turn and ended up in a state park, which was cool. A coyote trotting down the road was encountered. We stopped and gawked. He gave us a glance and veered away, disappearing into the forest. But there he was again on our way out, giving us a longer, more appaising gaze as he traversed the forest along the road. Being romantics, we thought encountering him was significant. Some precious web time that evening was spent trying to determine what his appearance meant to us, and which of us it was meant for. I believe he was a messenger telling us to let go of the past and pad into the future.
Those are the highlights. Bandon, we decided, needs a new tide, a new wind. Despite the sea breezes, the town is in the doldrums. Perhaps it’s as they wish, a nostalgic visit to a fading past. It did recharge our batteries, sooth our anxieties and blow out our stresses, as was our desire. Visits to the oceans do that for us, though, and there are other coast towns to visit.
It’ll be a while before we return to Bandon.