Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"I must go down to the sea again..."

to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;"

Excerpt from Sea Fever by John Masefield 

It was in the early 80's when I first tried by weather luck on the Washington/Oregon coast. At the time, I was riding a bicycle burdened down with panniers. I endured rain mixed with mist and fog. The temperatures ranged from lower hypothermia to upper hypothermia. Of course there was a dank breeze. I survived on hot bowls of clam chowder, washed down with mildly boiling tea. 

On another miserable day, while slurping my soup,  I glanced at a local newspaper. Hmmm. The temperatures on the east side of the Coastal Range were summery. 

That day I rode up and over those small mountains. 

This time, I noticed a looming high pressure system bearing down along the coast. The National Weather Service went so far as to issue a "High Heat Warning," for the ocean viewing masses. No need for clam chowder and tea on this go-around. 

I began my sandy sojourn at Cape Disappointment, WA. I wanted to see the infamous "Graveyard of the Pacific." It's also known as the Columbia River Bar. A 3 mile wide by 6 mile long wet stretch where the Columbia River exits into the Pacific. Seafarers can expect standing waves, winds, nasty currents, shoals and other watery hazardous conditions. Since 1792, 2,000 large ships have gone beneath this blend of salt and fresh water. Many lives have been lost there. 

Now, large ships are captained in by specialized pilots. Their job requirement is to get the freighters safely through the Bar. The pilots are well paid for their efforts.

Cape Disappointment is also known as the temporary hang out for Lewis and Clark's Corp of Discovery. The Cape wasn't to their liking for a winter's stay. Eventually they canoed across the Columbia to what is now the Oregon side. It still proved to be a drippy winter quarters. It was named Fort Clatsop. They weren't happy campers there.

With the fine weather I kept moving south. Then a change came my way. In Newport, OR I reached for fleece and a sweatshirt. The fog and damp found me. At least it was toasty at the Rogue Brewery. My personal forecast for the following morning was chilly to damp conditions. My joints and muscles got sore and achy.

Hmmm. It was summer on the eastern side of the Coastal Range. Up and over, Barley the Van and me went.

Some things never change.

Last photo: No visit to the Northwest Coast is complete without a the tasty treat of a Banana Slug appetizer. I like mine sautéed in butter and garlic. Bon Apetit! 



  1. Glad you found some sun along the coast for a bit. We spent a miserably memorable 4th of July hour dodging drunken Jeep drivers at 9 A.M. on foggy Cannon Beach in Oregon. You also escaped from the tsunami zone of the Cascadia Fault!

  2. Looks and sounds like your having fun. I would love to have that weather.it's pretty wet here at the moment in Meredith. Only the farmers r loving it. From Ralph.