I’m sitting by my massive campfire as I type this. Two bars on the EDGE network is good enough. My sister asked me to blog about this so she could read it. I’m surprised I have service out here.
Every year at about this time, I get a year older. I have decided that from now on I will be going somewhere on the weekend nearest my birthday. Last year, I went back to Santa Cruz and tried to keep it a secret to see if anyone would notice my absence. Plus, if I was going to be alone on Valentines for the first time in several years, I was going to be *really* alone and throw some really old and sad memories on top of that.
This year, I wanted to go someplace new and try to look forward instead of backward. When I get old, I want to live by the ocean. There are a great many empty lots for sale these days in Ocean Shores. There is also a state park nearby. Since tickets to New Zealand were $1000, a weekend of camping seemed the next logical choice.
I started this morning by waking up to a couple dreams I didn’t need to have. I eventually woke up the right way and started preparing for my trip. I packed everything up, bought a gallon of water and some snack crackers and headed south on I-5.
I made it to the convention center before I hit traffic. Three lanes closed for road repairs. I was unpurturbed, however. I was on vacation!
I made it 80 miles before I realized that I had forgotten the cooler in the fridge with two sandwiches, some fruit, and my hot dog supplies in it. A quick mental calculation informed me that it would probably cost less to just go to the store along the way and get more than it would to turn back. My cursing soon stopped and I went back to singing to track 2 of the Small Brown Bike CDEP. Sooooooooooo good.
Made it to Aberdeen after a couple hours of driving and headed for the Safeway. I realized that I’m pretty familiar with this little town since we’ve done so many rallies from it. We’ll be back the first week of March to do some volunteering for one, actually.
About 20 miles more and I hit Ocean Shores, or Open Sores, as I just dreamed that some people call it. I stop at the little restroom outside town and checked out the tsunami evacuation route map to get my bearings. Then I headed straight to the beach.
Well, straight ON the beach. I had forgotten that you can drive on the beach up here since the sand is so densely packed. I drove north on the beach a bit, picked a nice spot, and sat on a log and ate my lunch. I only did one e-brake slide on the way.
After a healthy lunch of wheat thins, cheese, and an apple (curse my feeble mind for forgetting those sandwiches!), I took a jaunty stroll up the beach. There were a number of people out walking their dogs, doing donuts in their cars, making forts out of driftwood, and flying kites. It was about 40 degrees, breezy, and partly cloudy. Glorious, for February in Washington.
After my walk, I drove south down the beach for quite some time, obeying the speed limit and not turining off traction control and not counter-steering into any shenanigns. I could probably spend every day for the rest of my life by the ocean. As you know, I tend to worry and think too much. For some reason, the ocean makes that all okay. The salty tang in the air, the constant rumble of waves, the glint of the sun off the tops of tiny mountains of water… I need to move here when I’m old. I drove past some of the lots that I know are for sale from my research and thought a lot about how much $40,000 really is. Maybe not that much.
I made my way to the north jetty for an adventure. If you don’t know because you’ve never left Missouri, a jetty is a crap ton of big ass rocks piled up to make a wall that directs ocean currents for some reason. It is also an amazing place to climb on and injure yourself. The ocean was doing it’s best to tear down our hard work and throwing water over the top of the jetty. Some kids were already way ahead of me in my mission to travel to the end of the jetty, risking my life for a little adventure.
I nimbly traipsed among the giant boulders as I made my way west, out into the ocean. About halfway out, a wave finally got me and threw half a gallon of water on my non-waterproof pants and shoes. Can’t stop now, andventure awaits. It’s actually pretty scary to see and hear the sea toss around these multi-ton boulders. It wouldn’t think twice about snatching me off the top of this thing and tossing me into the frigid waters.
Three quarters of the way out, I got your text message. Thanks for replying. I hope… Hey, quit interrupting the story.
I made my way as far out on this thing as I dared. Past the last dry rock by a good ways and in to the gaping maw of the open ocean by a great deal farther than necessary. Sea! Do you want to buy a vac?!
I looked up at an ominous cloud formation and started back at a decent pace. Sure enough, after I had dodged all the waves (a couple from Portland congratulated me on my ducking skills.) and got back to sandy beach, it started raining. I got in my car and headed back north to the state park.
I set up my tent next to some chatty folks (who I haven’t seen again…) and sat in my car to wait out the squall. Sure enough, it ceased raining shortly after it started. Back to the beach!
This time, I brought some reading materials with me and planned on waiting until sunset. It rained on me a little bit, and it was freezing cold, but I waited nonetheless. The sunset was pretty grand.
On my way back to camp, I was so refreshed, I thought I’d try out the saying hello to strangers part of being a human that I’ve never learned. It worked out okay. I was mostly glad that I could almost do it.
Back to camp, time to burn something! I brought two bundles of firewood with me and as I type, there’s only half a log left and it’s getting cold again. I had a devil of a time getting this thing going and had to use a bunch of paper to finally win the game. Eventually, I cooked my two fake hot dogs and a fistful of marhmallows and consumed them with glee.
As the fire is dying down, I’m beginning to notice the stars tonight. Another reason why I should buy one of those empty lots, design an environmentally friendly house that can see the ocean, build it, and move here in 33 years.
But for now, I’m going to put on an extra layer of long underwear and test out the thermal rating of my sleeping bag.
Tomorrow, dinner with the family.
Monday, rally party.
This might be a good weekend!