Friday, October 29, 2004

Florence

Last Friday we took the ginger car out to the central Oregon Coast. I got back from work around seven and loaded the car whilst Rachel downloaded and watched that night’s Eastenders. We then took the highway about a hundred miles South to the outskirts of Eugene, checked into a Motel 6 and got supper at Denny’s. Of all the chains, I love Denny’s best – it’s good “old fashioned” diner cuisine, like you see in the films. We got the appetizer selection (hot chicken strips, onion rings and deep-fried mozzarella – with dips of course) and split a veggie burger between us. Mmmmm, road food. The motel – in proper Motel 6 tradition - was about 100 feet from the highway with virtually no sound-proofing, but we both slept like logs and woke refreshed.

First stop Eugene, a college town and Oregon’s second largest city. 150 000 people but it feels about the size of Lewes – but even less happening. Still, there was a very pleasant hippyish market downtown where we bought a hat and a ring for Rachel (the latter from a man dressed as a leprechaun – no I don’t know why) and hot-chocolate for me. We then drove West and had lunch in Florence, by the seaside. The entire state had been forecast rain for the whole weekend and – unlike our previous trip to the seaside - we were well equipped with waterproof jackets, jumpers and so forth. Then something a bit miraculous happened: the sky cleared and the sun came out.

Florence marks the northern extreme of about fifty miles of sand-dunes which run to the south along the coast. We parked the car at a scenic-overlook and hiked down over the dunes. Between dunes and sea there was a narrow strip of low-woodland; emerging on the other side the sun was shining brightly and the sand stretched as far as you could see in both directions. The beach seemed to hardly slope at all, so the waves were reduced to mirrors as they moved in across a hundred feet of wet sand that reflected the sky so that if you looked north or south the horizon disappeared and everything was just bright and blue.

And we were the only people there.

the beach South of Florence

I stood just where the strongest waves would break and walked along the shoreline whilst Rachel looked for sand-dollars. There was a tranquility and uniformity to the scene which made it seem like however far you traveled you were always exactly where you started, and that this wasn’t at all frightening but instead rather liberating, as if your soul had just melted through your boots and out across the sands and into the sky, so you were no longer there and at the same time you were more there than you had ever been anywhere else. It really was the most wonderful place and time that I can ever imagine.

the beach South of Florence

And I suppose this is romantic, though Rachel says I never am.

About five-o-clock we stomped our way back across the sand dunes and drove up to a very small seaside town called Yachats, where we spent the night in a hotel overlooking the ocean.

View from the hotel, Yachats

On Sunday morning we went to the sea-lion caves – a place so famous for its sea lions that they have built a lift into the cliff so you don’t have to inconvenience yourself to commune with the creatures. Unfortunately when we got there we were informed that the sea lions were out-and-about that day, which really was rather thoughtless and selfish of them. So we headed north and went to the aquarium in Newport instead; rather a fun little place with plenty of quality sea creatures: seals, puffins, sea-otters, an octopus, jellyfish, sea-dragons. Everything that is cute or exotic, light on the generic fish. Then a wonderful surprise, we drove to the seafront to get some lunch and an entire colony of sea-lions had taken up temporary residence on the quayside and nearby rocks. They are very big, slightly furry creatures who like to bark. A lot. And when there’s about a hundred of them, that’s a lot of barking. Despite the delightful novelty of it all I have to say it gave me a bit of a headache - though Rachel couldn’t get enough of the giant furry things and would probably still be there now if I hadn’t insisted we get something to eat etc

sealions in Newport

Then the longish drive home, stopping briefly at K-Mart to buy a handheld vacuum cleaner for the ginger car, which after only one week of ownership was half-full of pine needles and sand and had about 800 miles on the clock. And when we got back, Linda, Leon, Julie and Ben were there to surprise with an anniversary dinner.

It really was a perfect weekend.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr T, are you turning into a hippy at last?

Rick

November 01, 2004  

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