Yesterday I returned from our road trip down the Oregon Coast and Ashland Shakespeare extravaganza.
We left late Thursday afternoon and chronicled much of our journey our brand-spanking new “adventure log” about which we were most excited.
“His name was Visser. He is an Animorph killer.” This was Marc’s conclusion as we pulled away from our unblinking boarder guard and entered the United States.
Even with the gods spitting on our windshield, our spirits soared, along to the sweet, sweet tunes of Spoon (and other musical greats), recently turned into a travelling CD.
With one hundred miles to Seattle we would be comfortably ensconced in the Sheraton by 6:30. Then whiskey and bitters (definitely), would be enjoyed, but first, and most imminent: McDonalds.
Upon our arrival, Marc got us upgraded to a superior room, however we will have to re-mortgage our home to pay off the blasted valet parking.
For forty-four dollars I half expected them to wash and detail the car, or at the very least gift us with a free bottle of eight dollar gummi bears.
After settling in, it was time to don our fancy duds and head to the hills for dinner.
Mental note: bringing up rum running with a rather clueless concierge will not make your question regarding speakeasys come across any clearer. However, we are now equipped with the knowledge that it is illegal in the state of Washington to operate an establishment that serves only alcohol in the absence of food stuffs.
The more you know kids.
In the end delicious food and drink were enjoyed at the Zig Zag Cafe and Sushi Cucina.
To protect ourselves from the fat raindrops littering the downtown core we purchased a small umbrella before traipsing about like two love sick teenagers in our spit-shined finery, stopping at every street light to clasp hands and kiss.
The day broke as so many previous – Marc up ages before myself, passing the time lost in the familiar and comforting pages of a book on magic (or is it of magic?). Let’s say both.
Once my lazy bones jones arose from my bed of rest, we ventured out in search of sustenance and a map of Oregon.
We found both.
After a brief tour of a number of different Seattle neighbourhoods, we reconnected with the I-5 and learned the increasingly obvious lesson that in this part of the world it doesn’t matter where you are headed, or what time of day it is, you will probably encounter massive highway congestion.
Do not try to fight this, or understand why it happens – just embrace it as a fact of life and move on.
To pass the time we tried to name as many states as possible. We got to 47.
At the I-5 exit to get to highway 30 (our route to meet up with the Oregon coast), it started to become clear that I had not really thought through just how far the two of us would be driving to get to our intended destination – South Beach Provincial Park.
Marc, frustrated by the slow pace of his fellow drivers, super speedwayed his way to a one hundred and sixty dollar fine.
It was all going so well until the state trooper (who may just be the nicest law enforcement official to exist ever) saw my bruised body and immediately began to ask questions.
I quickly assured that I was one tough mudder (copyright) and that we were actually celebrating our four year wedding anniversary (in hopes that she might write off the ticket).
And then it started to rain. A LOT.
By the time we arrived at our campground, the mosquitoes were out in force, sucking the life force right out of us (and through two layers of pants at that!) However, it was nothing that some five dollar wine and marshmallows couldn’t fix.
The ocean there was beautiful and brilliant in its majesty, but also frightening in its ferocity.
We respect but fear the waves.
And that night you could hear Poseidon’s song.
This day must be changed in the way that it is described from ordinary language into one of superlatives. It was epic on many extraordinary levels.
First, followed by swarms of Jurassic-sized mosquitoes, we managed to break camp in the most expedited of fashions and be on our merry.
However, this meant we skipped the usual “morning prepper” for Sergeant Ethel, namely a cup of joe, so we then had to attempt to locate an “Espresso Shack” that accepted plastic or non-specific currency; this all happened on our way to the aptly named and hugely disappointing Little Switzerland – big on pastoral beauty, low on amenities.
Anyway, following a quick pit stop just off of Seal Rock, the Sargeant settled down to do some hardcore driving (approximately 500 clicks – metric wise) whilst we jabbered about politics, upbringings, and the identity of our missing states – Missouri, New Hampshire and Colorado, natch.
Much, much later we managed to out-drive the monsoon conditions and found ourselves at the hospitable Emigrant Lake, where we victualed and had a bathe in preparation for our evening out with the Bard.
An azure blue has replaced the downtrodden grey that marked the worst of yesterday’s weather.
We woke to dry skies – I made tea and Marc quickly set about drying our thoroughly soaked camping chairs.
More java was procured in town (and with a smoothie – Marc’s summer drink of choice) and we joined up with an actor’s Q & A session, where he spoke about his time with the festival and answered our question’s on a myriad of topics.
I wanted to know more about the tricky balance of delivering a show that pleases the audience, but also breathes new life into much love, and much interpreted productions.
(What I really wanted to ask was why, in Henry V, was the French envoy dresses as an extra in a Paula Abdul music video.)
After our walk about town, we returned to the campsite and swan, sunned, and shimmied to our heart’s content.
I can pick apart the rotten red rock with my fingertips; if I sat here long enough maybe I could erode it down to the level of the sand.
Looking Northwest, I see that the peninsula is falling back into the sea in such a way that a humped needle eye of this same rock is looking back at me.
As soon as I characterize or anthropomorphize the earth in this way I can’t help thinking how there have always been people here, probably longer than the needle’s eye.
I wonder, how many of them, sitting here facing the endless gray lullabye that kills and feeds, washes and deforms, endures – how many thought simply – “okay” – and didn’t build higher or travel further, or settle deeper.
They just crumbled the rock and imagined a face in the sea.
Laughs. Love. Happiness.