Up a few hours later from our late night conversation and we are nothing short of things to talk about. Wendy makes eggs, sausage, and toast for breakfast. I will have an egg sandwich with mustard. Today’s background-noise film is Shrek and Andi eats breakfast and gets dressed with her eyes glued to the TV – it’s not everyday you get to see a flying, talking donkey. The princess will get rescued, but not returned before it’s time to go. Wendy gives me some snacks for the road and a tray each for me and Caleb – I wanted the pink one and he got green.
It had started to sprinkle while we were getting in our cars, but it cleared up by the time I stopped at the beach in Nehalem to get some sand in my toes – a great addition to any time of day. Crossing the bridge over the Nehalem River I pick up a hitchhiker. He has walked all morning and I’m looking forward to hearing his stories for the next 30 minutes or so on my way to Tillamook, but he is a traveling clinician and his next stop is Wheeler – less than two miles away. Well, I saved him some time walking with his heavy bag.
Next stop, Lake Lytle – funny though because it’s bigger than Crescent Lake nearby that is appropriately named. I walk out to the end of the public fishing dock and while still on land there is a cupboard with children’s life vests in it. Maybe I should’ve put one on, but I doubt I would have gotten a good picture of me in it. I may not eat fish, but I’m happy that the community helps support the habits of its citizens that they deem healthy – and spending time with family and/or friends is very healthy – if you’re happy.
I plan to stop in Garibaldi with the intent of finding a bathroom, but the Myrtlewood Factory Outlet catches my eye and I pull over to a business with no public restroom instead. Inside is beautiful wood any way you can imagine it, besides paper, and today that’s all it will remain to me – an imagination of wooden bowls, ceramic cups, metal plates, iron cookware, and weaved baskets with fresh fruit I pick from my garden.
Out of fantasy and back to reality finds me at the Munson Creek Falls State Park about seven miles south of Tillamook. There will be no fresh cheese in my future, but the bushes have something else in mind. There are plenty of tasty orange salmonberries for me to munch on; once they become red they tend to lose flavor. Caleb was able to call and join me auditorily while I’m out walking, eating, and photographing nature. And visiting the tallest falls in the Coast Range with 319 feet of tumbling water.
There will be no stops for me on the 22 East that will take me into Salem, wrong one for witch hunting, and I didn’t know if I would stop or get directly on Hwy 5. It’s a big city on the map and I’m sure I can find something to take a picture of so I decide I will drive around a few blocks and see. I pass the Salem Center where there is a farmer’s market going on. I turn left at the light and park on the street in front of Rite Aid.
I pondered buying some berries – red, blue, black, and yellow. Those I could eat out of their little baskets, but the colorful potatoes and onions wouldn’t so do well to be eaten raw and I didn’t need any flowers. Then a stand blew over when the wind picked up. I knew a storm was coming, but I was hungry. I was making my way to the car when I saw a sign for Vietnam Restaurant – the Fresh Elements sign is not yet up.
As soon as I place my order for a Thai tea and a dish with vermicelli noodle, tofu, and onion to go it begins to pour down rain. A man invites me to stay and enjoy the ambience, but pulls out his workload instead of inviting me to his table. I take my dish and skip to the car on the other side of the street. I hop into my seat and notice my bag is full of brown juice. I will have to dump out most of the flavor to avoid a mess in the car. I will be eating my lunch on the road – with chopsticks.
An hour on the highway would have me in need of a coffee. I stop at the Coburg Crossing Café and get a medium cup this time in hopes that my cup holder wont swallow it (make me have to pick it up by the lid rim) and risk making a hot mess. I had planned on spending the night in Grant’s Pass at the Shilo Inn and enjoying their sauna and heated pool, but when I inquired inside and discovered the rate increase I decided 5 pm was too early to call the day quits.
Somewhere near Phoenix, OR is a place of wooden tree houses, and swings, and cars, and decorations too. I climbed to the top of the stairs and then went back down to relax in the hammock – I should get one. Now would be the perfect time to fill up my backseat with a $400-700 wooden swing as there are no dogs back there to mess it up or get hurt by it and I could hang it from my hammock stand in the backyard.
In a town near Gasquet, CA there are more wooden treasures – plenty of bears and trees, but one large face that is taller than me, his eyes the size of cantaloupes. I would need a U-Haul and probably a whole paycheck to tow this one home. Instead I pet him for a while and continue on. And I’m glad I did. I will have some time for a short hike into the Redwoods where I will come to a small cliff with a river at the bottom. I might have gone for a swim, but I was headed to Crescent City that is also known to have water.
Tonight’s stay will be at the Front Street Inn. All the hotels are within walking distance of each other, the harbor, and the lighthouse. I’m fine with sleeping in the cheapest one that I could find. I put some more air in my bicycle tire that is going flat and then Caleb calls. We talk on my way to the lighthouse and I was excited that I was going to be able to touch/see inside this visit, but I would be met with disappointment unless I left my electronics behind and jumped into the ocean. The tide was high.
Well, at least I know there is another thing I have to look forward to in this town. I ride my bike across the small section that I have come to know (on the map the city looks bigger) to Good Harvest Café to enjoy an Earth Thirst from Eel River Brewing just to be told by Karen that it’s a seasonal brew – and the season is over. She recognizes me from a month ago. I sample the other IPAs and settle on a dark beer that’s light. That will be it for me so that I can make it back to my room with the remaining sunshine.
The rest of the evening will be spent taking a hot shower with their yummy smelling cool cucumber and green tea infused conditioning shampoo. It may be more environmentally friendly to bring your own bottle, but this time I’m taking the three they have to offer. I will watch Just Go With It – a film released in 2011 with Adam Sandler where he lies about being married to get a girl and ends up falling for another one – while I paint my nails with polish that changes color in the sun from silver to ruby.