Yesterday I had an adventure. My kids were good helpers when we cleaned out our storage rooms. As a reward I promised to take them to the beach on Saturday with their friends. The weather here in the Willamette Valley just finally turned hot and sunny after one of the coldest, wettest springs on record, so it was a great time to head over the mountains to the beach.
Here is the scene as we picked up our friends. They have a great view from their front yard. You can see Mt. St. Helens as a ghostly presence between the power lines in the center. Yesterday was what our friends call a 5 volcano day - they could see Mt. Ranier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood.
So we packed up the mini van and headed out - 4 kids, 2 dogs and 1 adult. I knew I was taking on a lot - the Oregon Coast is beautiful, but if you don't respect the elements, it can be dangerous. Follow the rules, and you will have a great time. With kids, they get so excited they will sometimes forget the rules, so you have to ride herd on them and make sure they stay within earshot. Not always easy when you are close to the surf. In any case, the kids all understood they would have to be very cooperative to make this trip work.
At our first stop sign (the intersection of two windy little country roads) we saw a dog running around in the road. It almost got hit several times in the space of a few minutes because it was trying to approach the cars. I parked, got out, and called the dog. It ran right over and jumped into my arms. The dog had a collar but no tags, and obviously came from a loving home. We loaded it into the back of the van so it wouldn't have to interact with my dogs. Here is a picture my son took. The kids and I decided to take it to a local vet. She said she would scan for an ID chip and take it to animal control if needed.
The drive out was very pleasant. It was bright and sunny and we listened to good music. I play a game where I set up the GPS on my phone to monitor our progress toward our destination give it to the kids. They really enjoy watching the map scroll by as we drive.
Finally, we reached the coast! It was beautifully sunny on the west side of the Coast Range too. There were lots of people - it was hard to find parking. Our destination was Three Capes Loop. The tide was out when we arrived, so there was plenty of beach. The kids ate a sandy lunch, then started some engineering projects.
Quick! Build a trench! The ocean is coming! Oh no!
In addition to the engineering projects, the kids chased away the seagulls that tried to eat our lunch, flew kites, got the kites all tangled up, and danced in the ankle-deep ocean waves (under close supervision). I was a little too busy to get photos during this time :) Some of you already know that I love to collect rocks on the beach. I didn't have a chance to do that either, but I did get one picture.
On the way back, we stopped at Cape Meares. The updrafts at the viewpoint were so strong, spray from the surf was sprinkling down on us, a good 200 feet above the ocean! We got a glimpse of a bald eagle, but I wasn't quick enough to get a picture. The kids slept most of the way home. (I had to stop to get coffee for myself). If this wasn't an inspiring (but tiring) day, I don't know what is. I will leave you with some pictures from the view point.