I woke up to the sound of gulls and the throb of boat engines and the best view I’ve had from any room on this trip. I sat out on my front porch for a bit and took it all in. From my corner I could see the full expanse of the harbor, filled with small fishing boats, and rod fishermen along the jetty’s .
It’s such a peaceful spot, they type of town you might live in if you were hiding out from the mob. Then, next thing you know, Paula Walnuts charters a boat with the crew from NJ and havoc ensues.
To quote The Clash , should I stay or should I go?
On everybody’s recommendation, everybody being the amazingly friendly and helpful receptionist at the motel, I went to Blue Boy Breakfast for Breakfast, famous for their Dungess Crab Omelet. One of my few rules , no bottom feeders for breakfast. Skipping the crustacean I went with eggs, crispy bacon and hash browns and that unnecessary decorative orange slice.
Blue Boy had exactly the type of atmosphere fishing town cliches would lead me to expect – low key, local and large portions, Church like in its conversation tone, only missing a boisterous Quint style character in dungarees. The silence only broken by the gentle iced tea straw slurping of a not inconsequential lady across the room. And she emptied it, and she got another.
The only other customer is checking in on her birds with her bird sitter. She’s never left them alone for 5 days before and is worried they might go off their seed.
I took a walk up the viewing tower, known locally as The Space Needle of Westport, on my way back to the motel.
Checked out and took a walk around the jetty’s and piers of Gray Harbor and watched a couple of commercial vessels unload. It seems to be a crab town.
Court Ship, get it? Court Ship.
Some equipment fell off the Coast Guards boat as they were pulling out of the harbor, orange things. There was a lot of distant yelling and they turned around and collected it.
Seemingly there are a lot of feral cats in these beach rocks need feeding, per signage. Odd.
Westport was similar in a lot of ways to Galway, another fishing port on a Bay. I did spot sea lion in the harbor, not something I’d see back in Ireland.
One of the fisherman caught a 7lb salmon as I passed. Salmon we would see in Galway.
Back in my very early days we used to buy salmon from Jimmy McDonagh , a local alcoholic and poacher. Stolen Salmon, from an English owned river, boiled in water and vinegar, served with chips, still a favorite of mine.
Jimmy Mc was found dead, relatively young, kneeling beside his bed. The neighbors liked to think he went to his maker as he said his good night prayers. Whatever.
Bottom line, no more salmon. Fish cakes or fried eggs and mash, with HP sauce, on Friday’s, from then on in. Still my brothers favorite.
Chatted a bit to Harold and Maude, out of Oregon, fishing on the pier. They recommended I drive highway 101 along the Oregon Coast , and hit all the little towns. They’d spent five days driving it. They talked up the virtues of refundable bottles and gas stations with pump jockeys and zero sales tax. Oregon bound.
Penny at the office gave me some more recommendations. Astoria starts the drive on 101. Seaside is a nice town and Red Woods in California. Penny is a west coast child, living in Westport since 1977, originally out of Seattle. We talked concerts (Foo Fighters Shirt). She wanted to go to Woodstock back in the day, but she’d have had to run away. Still never been to New York.
Two plus hours south on 101 that were pleasant not spectacular, not butte ugly. The dramatic Megler span bridge across the Columbus river marked my border crossing to Oregon.
I stopped in Seaside to grab a coffee to see if was worth staying the night.
Exhuberent Anna, in Columbia River Coffee, was a pot full of local information and recommendations . Seaside is the town Oregonians come to escape the heat. I got a little history of the 50+ year old Megler bridge I’d crossed . At an impressive 4.1 miles it was the longest continuous truss bridge in the world when build. Anna describec the strange underwater barn remnant in the river, where fishermen hitched their horses during low tides, back in the day, while they fished. That I need to confirm.
An odd , insistent woman, with an inch thick of lipstick, came in with a yapping ratty dog , bought a bagel and fed it to the irritating mongrel on the coffee shop floor. Another “service animal” . Aren’t they all. That was the end of my Anna conversation.
I took a walk along the promenade . This town was the end of the trail for those other two famous explorers, Lewis and Clarke.
Seaside has that Atlantic City vibe, look and feel, similar citizenry and tourists, lots of kids and older people in motorized wheel chairs. I did find a good local bookstore called Beach Books and bought one called Sourdough.
Good coffee. Moving on.
On Anna’s recommendation I drove 20 minutes to Cannon Beach. It’s a radiant little town and obviously not one short of a few bucks and, Movie Bonus, the magnificent beach itself is the one featured in the closing of Point Break (the original guilty pleasure classic).
At the Pelican Brewery, I heard some other strange accents, and was well pleased to strike up a long conversation with Mark and Stephanie Stafford , over from Devon.
The fun young couple are here for their third anniversary, they had also come to the west coast for their honeymoon. They are determined to see every state in the next years and have already seen quite a few. Their honeymoon extended from a suite in the Bellagio, Las Vegas to an RV in Yellowstone.
This trip they have commandeered a yellow Chevy Camero convertible and are taking Bumblebee from Seattle to San Francisco.
Mark is a carpenter and a large load truck driver; Stephanie works in a Devon hospital . They left their massive Rhodesian Ridgeback in Devon with a friend. The 20 months old dog is already 42 kilos. I’d never heard of this breed.
As I walked back to my hotel , Bumblebee came roaring by. Safe travels .
I did a mileage check today , I’ve driven 4,652 miles so far on this trip.
2 thoughts on “Tooleing Around: Day 24”
I’ve been traveling myself this week (Zurich) so just catching up on the posts now (Alfie’s been keeping me briefed though). The Pop Culture Museum is going on my list; looks great. Another Gehry, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, became my fave building after a visit last year.
I’m getting the sense that you’re enjoying the small towns more than the cites, would that be right?
Interested to see if you head to Portland or hug the coast on the next drive.
And I’m very happy with The Point Break reference
I’m finding with the smaller towns I get a much better sense of the place and it’s easier to talk to people. East or South?