We would be leaving the hotel today to do more exploring in the area and I would find a place for her to walk and bring back the happy puppy that I loved. There was a benefit to being up this early and walking, the sound of the ocean hitting the shore could be heard in the background, it was a cool 40 degrees and there was no one around or up, except the police doing a drive-by safety check. It was calming when all that could be heard was the silence of a sleeping city and the ocean in the background and the smell of salty sea air.
From here on out, the day began to present its challenges; it wouldn't be a road trip if I was given a nice, easy day. The first one began, as I gathered up my belongings for the day and realized I couldn't find my wallet. It slowly occurred to me that I had left it in my car, the entire night, with the sunroof open. As I walked out to the car I noticed that the sunroof looked fine, all the windows were in one piece, the doors were closed and the car was still locked. I unlocked it and saw the middle council was open but everything was still there but my wallet. I got into the driver's seat and saw the one compartment under the radio was closed. I popped it open and happily saw my wallet was there. Aria and I piled into the car and headed out.
I drove over to Cannon Beach and stopped at the Les Shirley Park so Aria could do her thing and I could get my shots. We walked out to the beach and I was in luck there were very few people out this early in the morning, a light fog hovered over the water and the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore filled the air. We walked over to the ocean and since there was no one around I let Aria off her leash to enjoy the freedom and the beach at her own pace.
She happily trotted off with a quickened pace towards the seagulls which quickly flew away when they saw her coming. I knelt down for a few shots and continued walking towards the ocean and in the distance,
I heard voices, they sounded like they were shouting, from off to my right. I looked up to see a couple's dog running towards Aria and they were trying to call it back. Both dogs stopped before making contact and checked each other out visually before they stepped forward. The usual dog greeting took place before they barked at each other in a playful manner. The pup ran over one last time to say goodbye before it took off towards its owners.
Words must have been exchanged between that pup and the other it was with because it wasn't long and it too came running up towards Aria to check her out. “Someone new, someone new! You have to check her out!” Was the expression they were giving and as the second pup ran up to Aria it stopped mid-stream and lied down, Aria tilted her head in curiosity before barking and the other responded before it headed back to its owners.
I laughed and we continued our walk, it was at this time I realized we were in a good area for an Aria shot, a lot of them I do with my phone camera. I reached back to my pocket for my phone and realized it wasn't there. Problem number two for the day.
All pockets were empty and I knew I had it with me when we walked out to the beach. Sickness crept into my stomach followed by panic, all photos from this trip as well as my social media links and contacts were on that phone. Aria and I walked back towards the car and re-traced our steps. We made it all the way back to the car, re-checked it, and there was no phone. No one had come on to the beach from our entrance so it had to be somewhere between the car and the beach. We returned to the beach and I checked every inch of our walk and it was nowhere to be seen. Panic and despair were about to get the better of me when the sun flickered on something in front of me, I quickened my pace and to my great relief, it was my phone. Whew!
Aria was let off leash and continued to run towards the ocean, letting the salty water kiss her feet, and chased the seagulls away, she was in heaven and enjoyed the quiet time on the beach. There was a curiosity and awe that fell over her face as she stared out to the open ocean and the waves confused her but she quickly put it all aside when I called her over for a photo shoot.
When released from her stay she ran towards me, knowing I was still taking her photo. She has been in front of the camera for so long that at times she gets a bit tired of it. So when she was running towards me I knew I was in for a collision, either I would get knocked over or the camera and since we were on the beach, I better take the hit. Wham! Without fail she brought her back end around and hit my knee which had me fall back from my crouching position. The camera was o.k.! Sand could kill it in a second and a quick look showed I was still good to go.
We did this a couple of more times only this time just before she hit, I pulled up the camera as I stood up and turned off to the side. The first time had her miss me all together and as she looked back gave me the look of, “huh, that wasn't part of the plan”. The second time she came in and as I turned went right into my leg causing me to have to quickly regain my balance.
Photo-shoot completed, we headed back to the car and settled in for the drive to Cape Meares Lighthouse. Now it has been said, over and over again that GPS's should be used as a reference and not as a guide. They are not perfect and aren't always updated on changes or best roads to take. Well, today I listened to it on the way down to the Lighthouse. Problem number three.
The route should have been the coastal route 101 to Tillamook but for whatever reason, the GPS took me on a side route on the Miami Foley Road which was a back road, with trashed places and questionable people who lived back there. The view sucked, it was nothing but swamps and high brush, the road was in decent shape but there were sharp turns and blind corners the whole way which made driving at any consistent speed impossible. I looked it up when I got back to the hotel. This route, if I was lucky, saved me three minutes. Three minutes!! I was staying on 101 when I headed back to Cannon Beach.
Upon arrival, there were signs that said the Cape Meares Scenic Route was closed and had to take an alternative route and when I arrived at the "Y" in the road there was no sign pointing the way to the Lighthouse. Just the "scenic" Three Capes Route which wasn't scenic at all, large, thick trees covered the views along with homes and private driveways. It wasn't long before I realized I was not going in the right direction. I pulled off at a campsite, which also had large potholes, and I bounced and bobbed through them, pulled into the parking lot and got myself re-grouped. Damn you potholes.
The phone GPS was able to locate me in reference to the lighthouse but still couldn't get me there. Technology, right? There was no way to get exact directions to the lighthouse via GPS or Google Maps it had to be the Cape Meares Scenic route. Make sense of that. It could take me to a route but couldn't take me to a fixed spot. Interesting.
I turned around and headed back and after a few sharp turns and a steep climb up I found the Lighthouse. There weren't many people around and wasn't sure if it was dog-friendly or not. I left Aria in the car and headed down to the Lighthouse taking photos of the ocean along the way. It was smaller than I anticipated but at least I got there, it wasn't until I was headed back up that I realized it was a steeper climb than originally thought. Problem number four.
My breathing was becoming more shallow, my face was burning hot and my heartbeat was racing and pounding in my ears. Breathing became more difficult the further I went and a sharp pain started to fill my chest. I was finally to the top and realized there was still a small climb to the car. Are you kidding me right now? A deep breath in was released by coughing and the feeling in my chest was like having bronchitis, just trying to release the pressure with a cough did nothing. I was happy for the cool breeze which started to lower the temperature in my face. Aria was up on the seat looking out at me as I tried to slow my breathing and relax my chest.
This always happened on my first hike after being away from it for so long, thankfully I had plenty of water in my trunk. I opened up a bottle and the cool water had an instant effect, the breathes were coming easier, and the tightness in the chest was starting to subside. The hot face was almost back to normal, a few more swigs and I let Aria out to continue the walk.
We walked around for about 5-10 minutes, taking pictures as I went and by the time we were back to the car, the breathing was normal and so was the heart rate. Of course, I could have just slowed down and avoided all of this but I didn't. I got back in the car and began programming the GPS for Cannon Beach, oh I see, I don't have a signal up here. Grrr.
I headed back out to the main road and ¼ of the way down the GPS clicked to life and began programming for the drive back to Cannon Beach and once again it wanted to take me on the side road. No sir! We were taking Highway 101 the whole way. Upon entering into Cannon Beach I made a stop at the local town museum which was quiet, clean and quaint. It had a great set-up for the history of the town and the staff was amazing.
Afterward, Aria and I did one more hiking trip and that was at Ecola State Park. By now, everyone was out and enjoying the weather and Ecola State Park was not immune to it. Upon entering the area there was a line of cars waiting to pay the fee to get in. Once I did there were two ways to go, one to Indian Beach and the other to a Scenic Viewpoint. I chose to go to Indian Beach, the road was rough and narrow with areas in need of work and why? Because of potholes! I did my best to avoid them or go over them slowly but at times I just had to deal with it.
As I feared this area was also jammed pack with people and no place to park. I quickly maneuvered into a handicapped spot, took a few shots, and left to take the wonderful route back to the entrance. I made it back to the entrance and crossed over to the scenic view. There were people there but not nearly as busy as Indian Beach.
Tillamook Rock Light, a former lighthouse, could be seen in this area. It was the only reason I went to the park was to get a closer view of it. Even so, it was still a long ways away from the shoreline but the photos were better from up here. Aria and I walked a few of the smaller trails and enjoyed the scenery along the way. There was access to the beach from up here as well but we stayed topside.
Afterward, we headed back to the hotel to relax before going out one last time. I drove back to Cannon Beach to watch the sunset and take a few more photos, the crowds hadn't lessened and the drive up Ecola was as nail-biting as it was a few hours earlier. The wind blew through my hair, the sun disappeared into the ocean and the sounds of the waves could block out all the other noises around me. Aria enjoyed the time up here, so much so, that several photos had to be re-taken because of her pulling on the leash. We left for the night and settled in for the next day's drive which was going to be a long one to Idaho.
You don't have to go far to have fun. Here are a few places I visit when I'm not driving across country or exploring the Rustic Roads.