“Coastin’ Thru’ Summer” by Richard F. Yates

On Tuesday, July 31st, Mariah (“The Boss”), Elise (“The Daughter”), Gabe (“The Daughter’s Boyfriend”), and I loaded ourselves into a little Camry and headed for the coast! It was later than I wanted to leave (by a few hours—but I’m frequently up by 6:00 A.M., even on days off), but early enough, I suppose. The weather was overcast, and we even hit some drizzly rain on the drive, but it wasn’t too cold, and we’re from the Northwest, so a little rain can’t hurt us!

We drove past Clatskanie, Oregon, on Highway 30, cruised through Astoria, and finally made our first stop of the day at a Costco in Warrenton, Oregon. (Elise recently got a membership to the store, which is technically a wholesale outlet.) We shopped around for a bit, Ellie typed her signature word on a demo computer screen, and we eventually dropped eight bux on a couple of packages of Danishes (one apple, one cherry.) Breakfast was covered for the next morning. Then we jumped back into the car and headed for Seaside, Oregon.

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By this time, it was about 11:00 A.M., and we were all getting hungry. We voted for pizza, and tried a local joint, Pizza Harbor.

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The pizza was pretty good, and the atmosphere was great. Favorite moment during this stop: Ellie is about to pour some Parmesan cheese onto her slice and says, “Are you ready for this?” and she upends the bottle. The top falls off and her plate is suddenly covered in Parmesan. We laughed for a bit too long after that. (She’d planned to pour a lot of cheese on her slice, but not THAT much…)

Next we hit the block of shops with a carousel inside (mostly so that Ellie could buy a new sweatshirt. It’s a tradition.)

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After that we played some video games at an arcade, went and sat on a bench on the waterfront for a little while, then Elvis decided she wanted to buy a frisbee, so we headed back to the shops. She eventually found a yellow one with a panda on it. Good enough. Then Mariah wanted a candied apple, so off we went again. My choice for shopping was (naturally) a bookstore, where I got a book about Houdini. And then, we got back on the road…

Our next stop, a little over an hour later, was the Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon.

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Gabe hadn’t been there before, so we took him around and showed him how dairy products are made (on the “self-guided tour.”) Then we hit the SAMPLES!

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Back on the road! We cruised on down Highway 101 to Lincoln City! First step was checking into our hotel. (I was getting pretty tired by this time—something about driving all day does that to me—and I forgot to get a photo of the place!) We stayed in a very nice set of rooms at The Starfish Manor Oceanfront Hotel, with a hot tub on the balcony and everything. Once we’d settled in, we decided to eat dinner.

We agreed on a restaurant called Mo’s, which is pretty well known in the Northwest. It took a long time to get seated (not too bad compared to trying to get a seat in Seattle, but still…), and it was pretty crowded. It was okay, but I wasn’t overly impressed with my experience. (To be fair, I’m not a seafood guy, and the place smelled a LOT like seafood, which put me off immediately.) After dinner, it was back to the room, where everybody but me enjoyed the hot tub, and I read a book.

The next morning, we ate some of our Costco pastries, then headed to the Lincoln City Outlets mall. Mariah and I bought a shirt for our older daughter (who was cat-sitting for us while we were out of town—she’s in Sun River right now, so don’t feel too bad for her!), and Ellie got a new pair of sneakers. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend (because we’re poor), so the shopping wasn’t as entertaining as it might have been for some folks.

As our last hurrah before heading for home, we went down to the beach, laid out a blanket and watched all the humans. It was warm (for a Pacific Northwest beach—in the low 70s F) and fairly sunny, so there were lots of humans swarming the sands and surf. (The water is COLD at the beach here. Mariah and Ellie, who were brave enough to wade in up to their ankles, said it HURT it was so cold.)

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Before the end, Ellie and Gabe grabbed the new frisbee and gave it a spin. They were a little stale at the whole fris-game, but it didn’t take them long before they were throwing and catching like hippie college students!

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For the drive back, we decided to cut across the state of Oregon, and head for Interstate 5, instead of going back 101. The idea was that this would be QUICKER (being more of a straight shot), but I failed to consider something: Portland, Oregon. The traffic through Portland in the afternoons is ATTROCIOUS! We took I-205, which goes around the city instead of directly through it, as I-5 does, but still, a stretch of freeway that should have taken ten minutes to travel ended up taking over an hour…

So that’s our story! The first day of travel, even though it was probably MORE time actually driving, was a lot more fun because we broke the journey up every hour or two to eat or stretch our legs or just see the sights. The drive back, which we tried to do in one go, was a lot less fun. (Moral to this story, take breaks on your travels! Even a half-hour or hour long break from the car can rejuvenate you and help make the journey more fun.) The hotel we stayed in was very cool, the cheese factory was fun, we had a good time just hanging out at the beach, and we made some memories! We’re fairly poor, so we didn’t have a lot of cash to throw around but doing things like kicking back on a blanket or playing frisbee or touring the local sites don’t cost anything (but fuel and time), and they can be a lot of fun!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)

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About richardfyates

Compulsive creator of the bizarre and absurd. (Artist, writer, poet, provocateur...)
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