July 30, 2006

Vacation blog: the coast

coast

Although we journeyed inland several times to see waterfalls, caves, rare plants, tall trees, and a deep blue lake, we’ve spent most of our week moving south along the coast, stopping to stare down at the waves from far above or to hike down to a rocky beach or sandy cove. The weather kept changing, sometime a fog so thick we could barely see the rocks and waves, and the next minute, sunshine so bright that we stripped off clothing to feel the heat against our skin.

fog

With-a-Why looking at rocks on the first morning of our trip.

The mood inside the rental car was equally quick to change as we argued and negotiated about where to go and what to do next, trying to accommodate six different people of different ages and interests. We stopped in a city with a famous orange bridge that was completely obscured by fog to eat lunch and gaze at a prison island that is apparently featured on some skateboarding video game my kids have played. We drove down the crookedest street in the world, looked at the boats in the harbor, and watched street performers. Boy in Black liked the beat-box artist who sat with a microphone outside a cafe while With-a-Why’s favorite was the man who hid behind tree branches and jumped out to scare people walking past. My daughter insisted that we needed to bring back presents for our extras so we spent one afternoon wandering through the shops of a coastal town, weaving our way underneath the yellow and green umbrellas and bright red awnings of outdoor cafes and past kiosks filled with cut flowers for sale.

But no matter what we did, we kept returning to the coast. And always, when I saw the ocean, I wanted to get near enough to smell the moist wind, hear the waves crashing, and feel the rush of water against my ankles. At every vista point, every dirt road, every place we could possibly park the rental car, I tried to convince my family that we needed to stop and explore. In one harbor, we saw seals and otters playing in the water. In another cove, we climbed down to the beach to find a wedding taking place, a whole group of men in ironed shirts and women in dresses that blew in the wind, a cluster of formally dressed people, most of whom had trouble climbing out of the cove because their footwear was totally inappropriate for hiking. In some coves we found surfers, all clad in black, bobbing in the water as they waited for the next big wave.

But at many of the beaches, especially on the mornings of deep fog, we were the only people for miles, free to wade in the water, listen to waves smashing against rock, run through the surf, nap in the sand, or simply sit and stare out at the ocean.

onbeach

My daughter walking the beach on the last day of our trip.

24 comments:

Scrivener said...

Travel safely home. Is With-a-Why wearing an AC/DC shirt in that photo?

jo(e) said...

Yep, it's an AC/DC shirt. I am writing this from the airport so we have begun our trip home ....

peripateticpolarbear said...

sounds like a great trip.

BeachMama said...

I don't think I will ever tire of looking at the ocean. Whether in photograph or in person. Thank you for sharing your vacation. It would seem you had a wonderful time together.

Chip said...

you're making me nostalgic!

Have a great trip back to Snowstorm land.

Girl said...

And always, when I saw the ocean, I wanted to get near enough to smell the moist wind, hear the waves crashing, and feel the rush of water against my ankles.

That says it all for me.

Thanks for sharing your vacation :) Safe travels home.

--girl

liz said...

Beautiful.

Kristen said...

My husband and I went part way down the Oregon coast in May - but we never saw seals or surfers. The coast definitely has some sort of surreal draw to it. We didn't want to leave, either.

ccw said...

Looks and sounds like a wonderful vacation!

Hope you have a safe and happy journey home.

Hypatia said...

*squealing* I was just! at! that beach! The one your Smart Wonderful Beautiful Daughter is walking on! I feel so starstruck.

Aren't those little hidden beaches amazing?

jackie said...

These pics bring back such memories for me. When I took a similar trip, I did the same thing-- had such trouble tearing myself away from the ocean. I can't imagine ever living more than a day's drive away from the ocean again.

kathy a said...

i don't live that far from the ocean, just across and in view of the bay that has that orange bridge. but we have not been to the ocean for a while. thanks for the photos and story of your great trip!

glad the fog rolled in for you, after the unsufferable heat we had recently. did you make it as far south as monterey?

kathy a said...

p.s. for with-a-why -- my daughter and i saw that same guy near the wharf, the one who jumps out with the branches! it is apparently his career, because we saw him a few years ago, and i read about him in the paper sometimes.

jo(e) said...

Kristen: The seals and surfers were farther south, in California. The seals and otters were in a place called Moss Landing ....

Hypatia: That's the beach where the wedding was. We climbed down to find the wedding going on, which was kind of cool, and then they all left and we had the place to ourselves. I love those hidden beaches.

Kathy A: We didn't get much of the real heat, just lots of fog, which was nice and cool. We did make it to Monterey on our last day, and then had to go back to San Jose to catch the plane home. (The trip began in Portland and ended in San Jose: we put 1400 miles on the rental car.)

One funny thing is that I kept recognizing town names -- they would seem familiar -- and I would realized I had seen them on my sitemeter. So I had this sense that I was driving through the hometowns of blogging friends the whole week ....

lostinthemiddle said...

The pictures of your vacation have all just been so very beautiful. Thank you for posting them. I feel kind of like I got to be on vacation, too. At least for a few minutes . . .

Linda (FM) said...

I'm homesick now.

MaggieMay said...

Such beautiful pictures. Gorgeous and magical.

Marie said...

Thanks for sharing the whole vacation. What magic!!!

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I second marie's comment. Thank you for bringing us bloggers along on vacation with you!

cheesehead said...

This makes me really homesick too, just like Linda.

St. Casserole said...

What a beautiful place!
Welcome home.

Lilian said...

Yes, the photos are AMAZING, I can't wait to be able to plan a West coast trip one day.

Dale said...

:-)

Otter Rock! (The first and third picture, anyway!) That's where we go for a week every year, and have for thirty years now. We'll be there day after tomorrow. Startling to see here! And happy-making. Glad to know you were in the neighborhood! (Waving)

Gannet Girl said...

I love how different the west and east coasts of this country are.