Archives: beach

Oregon Coastal Standard

Mention a day at the beach and most people imagine blue skies, bright sun, white sands, and warm ocean waves. I live in Oregon. A typical day at the Oregon coast involves none of the above. I took MBW and the HA to Cannon Beach on Saturday where we enjoyed the Oregon Coastal standard. In between drenching squalls we wandered down the sand toward Haystack Rock braving wind gusts.

Glorious. A fine afternoon.

No, I’m not crazy. (Of course, I might be. How would I know?) Look, I appreciate cloudless skies, palm trees, hammocks, and bare feet as much as the next guy. But a sort of generic, homogenous ideal gets boring. Y’know, eventually. Driving over the mountains in the face of near-blinding horizontal rain in order to bundle up against the cold and comb the beach is most decidedly not boring.

Borderline perfection is nothing to turn your nose up at. But as a writer I have to consider it poor stuff. Who wants to read about an idyllic day frolicking in the sun? Where’s the drama there? No, you need to chase hats blown down the strand, you need to huddle beneath the overhang of a restroom, waiting for a lull in the tempest. You need a clueless driver in front of you to make a sharp left across traffic without a backward glance (good brakes help there.) This is fodder for tales. Sunny beaches make for anecdotes at best. The typical Oregon beach lends itself to stories.

Why the long face, Ken?


It is possible to pack in a lot of fun over a weekend, especially when you cut out early on Friday.  (It’s OK, I requested the time off officially.)  It’s important to break routine, to get away from our usual haunts and activities.  If not, we stagnate, even if our usual haunts and activities are pretty damn keen to begin with.

The Oregon coast, for those of you not familiar with it, does not provide that So-Cal bikini and surfer dude vibe.  Yes there are surfers out catching waves but they are few – and wearing wetsuits.  The August beach goers along the Oregon coast are tossing tennis balls to romping dogs, flying kites, carving three-wheel tracks in the sand on rented tricycles, setting out a picnic, piling up wood for evening bonfires.  And toting a sweater, just in case.

Now it wasn’t all vacation.  I did get some writing done in the hotel.  And I spent some time searching for sasquatch, though I never did catch a glimpse.

But I was primarily interested in recreation, recharging my batteries.  I got in nine-holes of golf, tossed the frisbee on the beach, and sampled some beer.  I chanced upon a copy of M.A.R. Baker’s “Flamesong” for three dollars at a used book store.  And I was able to hear your favorite band play in a small venue.  There is a certain increased immediacy to the music when the musicians perform in a small pub without a stage or any sort of barrier between them and the audience.

So with the batteries recharged, bring on the work week.  I’m ready.