Friday, October 28, 2005

If You Don't Like the Weather, Wait 10 Minutes

Since it is Margot's last day here, we decided to head on out to Cannon Beach and Ecola Park. It was sunny in Astoria when we left the house. The second we hit the Warrenton Bridge just outside town (on the end of the peninsula), the sky turned black, a squall blew in, and it poured teapots and tablespoons.

Two miles south on the 101, the sun came out, and the rain switched to a misty drizzle. Not bad at all, so I took the Sunset Beach turnoff for one last drive on the beach for Margot. The first clue this was a bad idea was there was nobody there, and not a car in sight. But ever the adventurers, we plunged forward onto the sand, heading for Gearhart.

By the time we had gone about a mile, it was clear we couldn't turn around, which would have been the best option. The wind picked up to about 60 MPH gusts, the sand was blowing by, the surf kicked up giant waves, and the sky started going black again. Then it started to rain.

The car was rocking and sliding along, the tide was coming in. Margot said, "We DO have the cell phone, don't we?" Great minds think alike, as I was really hoping the cell phone was working in case I had to get us towed out of there. And already pondering how embarassing that phone call would be to make. I mean, what kind of idiot would be driving on the beach in a 2-wheel drive car in that kind of weather? Just this idiot, apparently.

As I white-knuckled my way down the beach, we came across people on horseback. So we weren't the only lunatics out there, after all.

Fortunately, I found a turn-off before Gearhart, pulled off the beach, wiped the sweat from my brow, and lit a cigarette. Margot was delighted with our sandy jaunt, and said she was "just as happy as if we had good sense." We headed back to the 101. Where it was sunny. Go figure.

Passed through Seaside uneventfully, with a few small rain storms hitting us on the way to Ecola Park. I'd never been into Ecola, but I had been warned about the park road, which is very narrow and winding, and up and down, and seems to go on forever through the forest primeval. Margot's one comment on that was, "Really, I'm so glad YOU'RE driving."

But the view at the end of the road makes that drive worth every turn. It is a staggering vista of ocean crashing on rocks. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, big surprise, the wind kicked up like crazy, making the sea spray turn to mist around Haystack Rock and the other out-croppings. Very impressive, like a Japanese painting.

After lots of ooh-ing and aahh-ing, we moved on to Indian Beach. Another vista of heavenly ocean/crashing surf/craggy rocks. And lo and behold, more lunatics! Out surfing. In gale force winds, 50 degree air temp, and I don't even want to think what the water temp was.

From there, off to Cannon Beach. Where it monsooned like a waterfall. Back to the 101, and yup, it was sunny again. Hit two more rain storms on the way home, started crossing the Warrenton Bridge, and there was the beautiful and welcoming south hillside of Astoria, glistening in the sun.

We rested and regrouped at the Ship Inn, and ate huge orders of fish and clams. No visit to Astoria would be complete without a viewing of the Goonies, so off we went to the movie rental store. Margot got a good giggle out of seeing all the sights she'd seen around town in the movie, and a good time was had by all.

As for the other side of the river in WA, the land deal is off. No septic test had been done by the previous interested buyers, and now it would entail a winter perk test to check and see if the land could handle sewer drainage. For $250, holes would be dug, and the water levels would be checked into the spring. Nope, no thanks. So I'm still looking for that piece of land over there.

Astoria Photografpix

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