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Tag: pacific

A farewell to the Pacific

On our last west coast afternoon, Ace and I were wearily headed back to the motel after spending the day touring Monterey when the beach beckoned.

Knowing our route was going to take us inland, that there’d be no more Pacific Ocean views in our travels, I decided we should soak in all we could before we left. Ace didn’t object.

Marina State Beach was nearby, so I pulled in, only to see a sign that said dogs weren’t allowed. Hang gliders have dibs, it seems. So I headed north, probably less than a mile, and saw two trails leading to the beach. With more than an hour until the sunset, I grabbed a dog-hair covered blanket from the car and we hiked up a sandy path to the highest dune I could find, overlooking the ocean.

Winds had blown its surface smooth, so there was not a track anywhere to be seen, except those we left behind us.

I curled up under the blanket, and the sun came out from behind the clouds, providing some warmth, but not quite enough considering the cold winds that were blowing. I also noticed, even with my eyes closed, that something kept blocking the sun out — not for long periods, like clouds do, but in quick flashes. I opened my eyes to see what it was — a hang glider.

So we can’t hang out on your beach, but you can buzz our’s? How fair is that? I shot him repeatedly, and some of the pictures came out okay.

Then I re-situated myself, head on my camera bag. Ace curled up next to me, then nosed his way under the blanket. I rearranged it so it would cover us both.

I thought a pre-sunset nap was in order, but Ace, after a few cozy minutes, felt otherwise. He decided it was playtime, so he started squirming around under the blanket, then sat up and looked me straight in the eye. I stared back, knowing that he was in perfectly still alert mode and that the slightest movement I made he would interpret as playing.

So I got up, and he ran circles around me. Then he repeatedly charged at me, veering at the last possible second, looping around and coming back again. It’s our version of bullfighting — violence, blood, bull and cape free, though he does sometimes playfully snap at me when he passes by.

After 30 minutes of that, the sun began a quick descent. Ace lay still on the dune — which our playing had turned into a pockmarked mess — and watched with me.

Part of me, a very small part, felt as if I should smooth the dune out before I left, like I should have one of those little sand trap rakes golfers use and return it to its original condition.

The larger part of me said, naaaah, they were joyous divots, and merely temporary ones. Overnight winds would blow the dune smooth again — just as sure as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Easing our way down the coast of Oregon

We are moving very slowly down Oregon’s Coast.

Majestic as it is, it’s the only way to do so.

With its sheer cliffs and magnificent rocks, crashing surf, and multitude of breathtaking vistas, one would be a fool to rush through, even in the rain and fog, and we had plenty of both. Even then, it was dazzling, the sort of place that, back in the days of film, you would quickly run out of it.

After a night at a Motel 6 in Portland, we had headed west on Highway 6 to Cannon Beach, where Ace got his first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, and his first walk on its beaches.

While fully recovered from the diarrhea that plagued him for a few days, he seemed a bit wary as we walked over the sand, dodging the occasional wave that would creep up higher than the others. Maybe the loudly crashing waves had him on edge, or there were just to many pieces of driftwood and washed up sea vegetation to sniff.

I, while awed at the beauty, wasn’t in the mood to frolic, either.

We got back on the highway, passing through several more quaint towns, and stopping at scenic overlook after scenic overlook. I don’t think we overlooked a single overlook. We weren’t covering much ground, but that which we did was stunning, right up there with Maine’s coast, which, scenic beauty-wise, has been my favorite part of the trip so far.

By early afternoon, I started looking for an inexpensive and dog-friendly motel, and pulled into what appeared to be one in Rockaway.

From the road, the Sea Haven Motel didn’t look like much — with its modest little sign, six rooms, and a hostel next door. 

I was given Room 6, paid about $50 — they dropped the $7 dog fee for me —  and rushed inside.

Why the rush? Because I had something similar to what Ace had, if you get my drift — and if you were in Room 5, you might have.

For two days, other than a trip to the store, I  stayed inside, eating only chicken noodle soup and toast, and becoming so familiar with the bathroom that I could describe it for you in great detail.

But I won’t, except to say the Sea Haven was probably the nicest, coziest, amenity-laden motel I’ve stayed at on this trip — and the perfect place to be sick.

Rockaway offered the perfect weather to be sick, too — for it was either raining or misting for two days straight.

The room had a full kitchen, fully equipped, including a little basket of treats — cookies, crackers, teas and coffees, popcorn and more, none of which I ate, but some of which I stole when I left.

I slept, sipped soup, watched the log trucks roll by, viewed some television and soaked for hours in — thanks to a bathroom well stocked with amenities, too — an ultra-moisturizing foaming milk bath.

Ultra-moisturized, I slept some more in the big fluffy, satin-sheeted bed.

The next morning I felt almost good to go — as long as I didn’t go to far. We drove a few more hours, about half of that spent stopped at pullovers gawking at the sea and the rocks and  the perpetually crashing clash between the two.

Highway 101 in Oregon more than rivals Highway 101 in northern California, offering that same feeling that you’re but a tiny, tilting, insignificant blip in the great scheme of things.

At times, the view disappeared, and road, cliff, sea and fog all became one big blur, leading me to squint my eyes and slap myself awake, and making my belly roil a little more.

We only got as far as Coos Bay, where the rhythm of the roils told me to stop. We Motel Sixed again.

We plan to continue down the coast tomorrow, probably another two hours worth of driving, which — given “rest” stops, as they say, and given all there is to overlook — will take four.

One of these days we’ll make it to California, but I’m in no hurry.

A mystery unravels in dog trainer’s death

stoverThe body of the Pacific Northwest’s most famous dog trainer still hasn’t been found, but authorities have charged his ex-wife’s boyfriend with his murder.

T. Mark Stover was the Seattle area’s dog-trainer-to-the-stars, with clients that ranged from members of Pearl Jam and Nirvana to  Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who entrusted Stover with his Shiba Inu.

Last month, employees at the kennel, Island Dog Adventures, 55 miles north of Seattle, found Stover’s dog, Dingo, shot in the face, but authorities could find no signs of Stover, other than smears of his blood in a downstairs bedroom and hallway.

Prosecutors have charged his ex-wife’s boyfriend,  Michiel Oakes, with murder, according to an Associated Press report.

Stover, 57, and ex-wife Linda Opdycke, 45, opened Island Dog Adventures in the early 1990s on an island owned by her wealthy family. Her father was one of the founders of Washington’s biggest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle.

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