“I’m in denial that this summer is about over,” Deborah declared. “It just seems so unreal.”
Oh, what a Risk Blossoming Summer 2019 this has been! It was rapidly coming to a close as we spent the last several weeks on the Oregon coast.
The Oregon Coast
Contrary to most places, the dog days of summer are cool, clear, and windy on the Oregon coast between Astoria and Newport. I had been anticipating the white-knuckle drive in BAM across the 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge this entire summer.
It was uneventful, other than the terrifying view going toward the high truss, the deathly view off the side of 20-story-high truss, and the sudden stress of two bicyclists blocking the entire road on the final 360-degree downhill offramp. Early in our crossing, a sea duck swerved to miss a line of oncoming cars and instead, challenged BAM. There was a 10,000% weight difference.
The Columbia River
The Astoria bridge crosses the Columbia River. If you follow our blog, you know I have a deep fascination with this river system. We have been in the system basin almost entirely since late May. Many day trips went along it, it’s tributaries or to it’s dams. We saw its start near Fairmont Hot Springs in British Columbia. There, it is a small mountain stream. Now, we were parked near its gigantic ending where it meets the Pacific Ocean.
Here, nearly five miles wide, it is the mighty force of the river pushing out against the overwhelming tides of the ocean that pushes back. They flow into each other as the tides change. Man has attempted to keep the two separate with a system of dikes and jetties.
Annual Oregon Coast Family Vacation
Astoria was this year’s gathering spot for our annual August family vacation on the Oregon coast. The beaches at Fort Stevens State Park, Seaside, and Cannon provided the entertainment. I love these beaches where you can walk on hard sand for miles or wade in the water that is less than knee deep, often extending out 50 yards or more.
Even better, you can enjoy hours on the beach without exposing your entire body in a bathing suit. With temperatures in the mid 60s and a constant breeze, the attire is generally rolled-up jeans and often a light jacket.
After five days of immersing ourselves with our family, Deborah and I headed south for Lincoln City and Newport. The beaches are much the same as you progress south from Astoria. Many have points of entry, so you can drive on them; however, none are nearly as long as the one we drove at Long Beach, WA. The Oregon coast’s dramatic rock outcroppings between beaches become more prominent as you move south.
We went as far south as Yachats. There, at Cape Perpetua (discovered and named by Captain James Cook in 1778), we watched the high tide drain into Thor’s Well. As the waves wash over a shelf of rock outcroppings, they seemingly drain into the earth. Fifty yards away, the opposite is happening at the Spouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm. Just to the north is the Devil’s Churn, a long, narrow chasm where incoming and outgoing waves crash against each other. Above all this is a forested bluff with a majestic, 600-year-old giant Sitka spruce, which stands 185 feet tall with a 40-foot circumference.
Newport and the Oregon Coast Aquarium
Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort in Newport is one of our annual favorites. BAM is parked on a bluff overlooking the Yaquina lighthouse. Below us is a five-mile stretch of very isolated beach. Our first morning walk was at low tide. We explored the many tide pools which were teaming with sea life.
It piqued our interest to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium that afternoon. A world-class facility, its exhibits thrilled us. It was once the home of Keiko, star of the movie Free Willy, who now lives in Iceland.
Deborah was at her melancholy best as we headed back north to Seattle. This summer’s grand adventures are coming to an end. BAM has again been a trusted home on wheels to discover, explore, and grow. This year, this time on the road, our relationship as a couple has continued to blossom. BAM is just 350 square feet, but we have learned that space is a mental creation, not a physical dimension. BAM has been an invigorating, new mental dimension in our retirement.
In the next few weeks, we will be blogging some “photoramas” of this year’s adventures. Deborah will lead a group of ladies on her annual Wisdom Quest. This year, her destination is Portugal and the UNESCO site of the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, The Douro Valley. Deborah and her Wisdom Quest partner Dr. J’Lein Liese will be joined by 12 successful women to explore the area and mastermind their curriculum of “Own Your Story.”
While she is away, I will move BAM back to Phoenix. Joining me will be two buddies whose friendships date back to the ’60s. We plan to explore new territories and attempt to duplicate some feats from 50 years ago. Our last stop will be Lake Powell, where we will reminisce and likely try to recreate some of our boating adventures there from the ’60s and ’70s. I’m anticipating fun and adventure and hope we can keep up with our former selves.
As I write this perspective on the 105th day of our Risk Blossoming Adventure 2019, I feel that I am still in denial that this summer is about over. I will probably begin to accept that fact as I pack and begin removing my stuff from BAM to make some room for the next leg of Tim’s adventure in BAM with his long-time buddies.
It’s been a great summer. We’ve learned to play and rest. I can now sit and watch the whales play and frolic without thinking about or creating a to-do list. Lucky for me, the summer whales feed very close to shore with the best viewing off the Oregon Coast during August through October. I had amble opportunity to rest and watch these amazing animals.
Explore. Discover. Grow.
Tim’s and my relationship has continued to evolve and blossom. I think that it’s the best that it has ever been. We have solidified our partnership and are ready to champion each other’s strengths and gifts. And we’ve become pretty accomplished at having those sometimes-difficult conversations. Even after 40 years, we continue to learn more about each other’s personal preferences. One small example is that I no longer go to the grocery store with Tim. Tim, being a creative, likes to wander and create meals as he shops. I, as the analytical side of our relationship, create an organized list by category and view the excursion as a focused task. The two approaches do not mix.
The bottomline: I believe that Tim and I, as a couple, are finishing up this adventure better than we started it. And we’ve become each other’s champions. So watch out for this Risk Blossoming team; we are focused and ready to continue to EXPLORE. DISCOVER. GROW.