Coastal Birthday

Traveling to work this morning, I realized that I’ve now been driving for 40 years.

Having just gotten back from my birthday trip to Rockaway Beach, Oregon, with my mother, I am perhaps a bit preoccupied with driving.  From my house to my mom’s takes about 2 hours on I5 South.  Driving across the bridge into Rainier, Oregon, and then down US101 via the Clatskanie-Astoria-Seaside-Canon Beach-Manzanita-Nehalem-Wheeler-Rockaway Beach route, I usually listen to music and audiobooks and the entire trip takes about 2.5 hours.  Mom and I were unlucky on Sunday when we spent nearly an hour getting from one side of Seaside to the other.  The remainder of the trip passed quickly.

Our hotel was wonderful as usual.  An older resort it is at the north end of Rockaway Beach nearly into Manhattan Beach.  The area is residential with only a couple of resorts and private residences.  The actual beach is sparsely populated except at sunset when many congregate to watch.  Even then, a dozen or so is a crowd.  Surfside Resort has two older 2-storey building built on pylons with a balcony hanging over a narrow strip of grass that meets a short and narrow rock barrier down to the sand.  At high tide there isn’t much sand and there is no length of soft sand and beach grass to trek through.  If you place your chairs and things too far from the wall, they will wash out to sea.

The first thing I did after entering the room was to open the glass patio door out onto the balcony.  I took the photo below on my phone from that balcony without zoom.  The top of the post in the lower right corner is the fence post at the corner of the grassy lawn.

At night, I left that patio cracked just enough to go to sleep with the sounds from the surf as the tide moved in and out.  We took walks and sometimes moved our chairs down to the water’s edge.  I’ve linked a video taken from those chairs one afternoon.  The crashing waves were equally loud within our room (which really wasn’t that far away).

The rolling waves were clear each morning, but the horizon and the sky merged in a haze.  The sky cleared around lunch and stayed that way until sunset when the fog began moving into the shore again.  On our last night there, I captured the sunset from the moment the sun touched the horizon until it disappeared (the video is 2:50 min:sec long).

We cooked meals from “Hello Fresh,” drank wine on the balcony, slept or napped, strolled the sand and waded in the surf, played music and audiobooks, enjoyed the gas fireplace and the fires others lit on the beach, and even glimpsed a few anonymous fireworks late one night set off on the beach one building to our right.  And I fed a family of marmots a whole bag of plain corn chips.  I was first visited by two and ended with a visit from all eight of what we deduced was a family based on size differences.

I used my tablet computer, my iPod, my bluetooth Bose speaker, my smartphone and my traveling backgammon set.  Mom and I watched a couple of morning shows while lounging about in our pajamas and eating breakfast.  Mom would often nap and went to bed earlier than I, but I gave her the bedroom with the door and took the queen bed in the main living area for myself.  I enjoyed last glimpses of the sunset, the sound of the waves, and rested.  We dined out at the Fish Peddlers in Tillamook for my actual birthday dinner and stopped in Astoria to eat on the way home.  I am rested and ready to go back.  If only “back” included the ocean…  I didn’t walk miles and I had no schedule unless I set it for myself.  I believe Mom and I could live together again with little friction.  I hope we have the opportunity to try.

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