the day before our sunday spur of the moment road trip i had been cursing the northwest-muttering obscenities, self loathing my existence as i laid on the coach, wishing to be elsewhere, dumbfounded why so many adored this place i hated. then sunday afternoon, with jon at the wheel and conrad asleep in his car seat, pushing down 101, with the great blue pacific ocean in front of me and cliffs covered in moss and ferns and azalea bushes and purple irises to the side of me, behind me, around me, my heart began whispering sweet nothings of the wonderful northwest landscape to my mind, and at hearing it i chuckled. how easily the heart can change when provided the proper element.
we began this mini-vacation late sunday morning. the day before had been a beating, a beating in boredom, so jon and i both agreed even though gas prices were $4.00 a gallon (and more along the way. like $4.33!), and we shouldn't be spending money on anything not on the List, not to mention, the forecast swore it was going to be nothing but showers and a high of 58 practically everywhere in oregon, that we absolutely needed to go somewhere. and after tossing around places in the 3 hour drive range, we decided on the coast. i packed a suitcase not even sure if we would stay overnight but just in case.
our first stop was the Redwood National Forest. my absolute favorite place on earth, apart from that place on a massage table. there is something about said forest that sends my imagination into a wild frenzy, as if a magical book had just opened and i was swallowed into the pages. it is a sight to behold: trees the size of skyscrapers making a green canopy overhead and the ground, which periodically swoops down creating a sharp crevice, all covered in lush ferns and giant clovers. there in that enchanted place we stretched our legs, i peed behind a redwood, and conrad turned a giant stump into a playground.
but on we pressed to the water, and by the time we arrived conrad, who had been incessantly repeating Be, Be, Be (that is for beach) for the past two and a half hours, had fallen asleep. in that moment we had a choice: 1.) stop, wake up conrad, and play in brookings-possibly stay the night but possibly go home later, or, 2.) keep tugging and drive 90 more miles to bandon- another great coastal town- get a hotel, and spend the following day introducing conrad to things like tidal pools, clam chowder, light houses, and panoramic views.
jon and i both being road trip junkies and enjoying reminiscing the trips we took to the coast when dating, we kept driving. and had it not been for life making adults out of us in the past few years, i venture to say, we probably would still be driving this afternoon-on our way to british columbia.
like times past, we drove straight down to the pier to tony's crab shack. but unlike in times past, after seeing how much they hiked the price on crab, we opted to forgo the crab experience and instead get conrad a grilled cheese and chowder. from the pier it was to the Be, and from the Be to a best western across from the ocean.
*by the way, i accidentally stumbled upon a trip saver tip and saved $50 when i honestly expressed to the front desk clerk our inability to fork over the amount she had informed me a room would be. not too shabby.
settling into our room i discovered i had forgotten pajamas, warm clothes for the next day, and toiletries. conrad was set. jon was set. but me, as a mother, i'm finding i do this alot: forget about me. that night was a long night: conrad had woken up at 3am and wanted in bed with me ( i choose a room with two queens so conrad could sleep with one of us while the other still got sleep if that was the way the cards played, and it did). but sleeping with a toddler is a play on words, and sleeping in a dress in a bed you can't stop wondering how clean the sheets really are and what the escape plan will be if the tsunami siren goes off and ohmygoshiwishicouldbrushmyteeth, isn't sleep at all.
walking out of our hotel room and being greeted with a salty coolness in the air, the gentle sounds of the early morning waves in the distance, and the sight of conrad walking in front of me with his one arm swinging like an eager soldiers gun, i was immediately revived.
memorial day was spent doing all those Things we had hoped to introduce conrad to. logistically, it was an unnecessary expense. but holding hands on the beach with my husband and child, it gave meaning back, and memory forward.
conrad in front of our hotel room in bandon.
$18 will get you the tastiest, freshest crab your mouth has ever had the priviledge of knowing.
the giant stump in the Redwoods.