Storm Watching

Day Three – Mano a Monochrome

When we planned this four day vacation last month, I assumed it would be a storm watching trip, and found a hotel with lots of windows right smack up to the water. I envisioned cozy indoor time in our little nest, gazing out at the wild surf from behind a window with a cup of tea and a book. And while I was thrilled with dry days to explore the area, I did hope for a teensy bit of wintry weather.

Finally, after two days of thin sun, we woke to the sound of raindrops splattering the windows. Windy, wet, and a little wild meant books, tea, writing, eating, conversation, cards, repeat. Perfect. The rain swept in as a steady flow from the south. But after a while, looking out the window started to feel like being snow blind – white on white, with barely a glimmer of ocean shades of blue or green.

From our window as the day grew light enough to see out

Eventually we had to get out, if only to say that we did, and ventured out to Captain Cook’s Trail to see Thor’s Well and Spouting Horn. The wind whipped rain into our faces, drenching our topmost layers as we walked the short paved trail to the rocky shore. I kept my hands in my pockets, the wet binoculars useless. It was invigorating, and what I was here for.

These famed rock formations send dramatic sprays of ocean water shooting into the air as waves smash onto the jagged outcroppings. Though time and tide were not in our favor (best to go an hour before high tide apparently), we got a mini-showing of the ocean’s drama, and kept it short. I never thought it would be rocky cliffs that would provide the landscape’s color and interest, rather than the magnificent ocean with its constantly changing hues. As I walked I kept humming Paul Simon’s Monochrome song. Oh wait.

One gnarly little thing around here, if you give it any thought at all, which mostly you can’t if you want to stay sane, is the repeated signage up and down the coast highway, reminding you that you are entering (or leaving) a tsunami zone. Occasionally, exit routes are posted, but I’m pretty sure if a tsunami does come, no one is referencing the signs, and we’re all fucked.

But otherwise, it’s been good to remember how to travel, and how to do it as safely as possible in these omicron days. We brought our own food, and the hotel is “touchless” check in and out, an envelope in a basket. My biggest indoor close encounter with humans was picking up take-out sushi. How long of an encounter does it take for omicron to waft in your direction? The coast has been fairly deserted these January weekdays, and we’ve often found ourselves alone at most places.

The weather is promised to be clear for Day Four. We’ll take it slow, stopping along the coast as we drive north, seeing places we’ve heard about or admired from afar. Then over the coast range, we’ll start planning our next trip, as we do.

10 thoughts on “Storm Watching

  1. Sounds like a great day to me. Those tsunami signs always cracked me up. Well, until K and I went down to stay at my uncke’s place right on Rockaway Beach and we wound up having to stay in town the night we got there because of an actual tsunami warning! Lovely prose. So glad you’re writing and napping and strolling and snapping pictures! Your vacation is good for all of us!

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  2. I’ve long longed to one day be (cozy and dry) at the beach in a storm. I have such a modest bucket list these days. I have noticed, and chuckled because what else can you do, the exit routes on some signs, and others that might as well say “you’re screwed.” (I have a local friend who refuses to go to the coast. I figure everybody gotta die some how.) As I said before, I love that section of Oregon coast, and those expanses of rock and pools. Thanks from me too for the wee vacation!

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  3. There’s something about being safe inside while the world or the storms are crazy outside. You have your own haven don’t you? Perhaps a thread back to childhood and innocence. Alan reminded me that I used to work in a tsunami zone in Santa Barbara, which I’d forgotten.So maybe you stop thinking about it once you live in it. I had other fears and angers to focus on back then. Though to be honest it would be an easy escape up any street in that very civilized city, whereas on the coast you’d have to climb a cliff, or quick find someone’s driveway. Thanks Gretchen.

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  4. Pingback: Rocks, Waves, Mud and Home | Rivers and Roads PDX

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