July 9th, 2006

trees over Jet

Cold Beach Greeting -- Day One at Longview

Got up this morning and had the odd job of taking a subset of all the things we'd brought on the trip an packing it up in order to go traveling some more in a different situation. We are going camping, out on the Oregon coast and from everything John was saying it was going to be cold and wet and not that happy making. Still, there was only so much warm stuff I'd packed, and I really didn't want to bring everything I'd brought to entertain myself, so I just took some stuff.

Most of the knitting bag went, minus a good deal of the sock yarn, and adding the sleeves of the sun and moon sweater. That was good. I then emptied a few things form my messenger bag and my computer bag into it as well. I didn't bring any computer other than my Visor and the keyboard that goes with it, and that would have to do me for the extent of electronics.

I heard Jet packing at Isabel's urging, and was told later that he'd just put all his clothing drawer contents into his bag. That was a boon in later respect. But that made his packing job very, very fast, and he was in the car with Seltzer in nothing flat. There was a good thirty minutes or so until anyone else made it to sit in the car, and then I sat in the car for a good twenty minutes before anyone else was all set and done. Of course, John and Isabel also packed nearly all the kitchen and food stuffs, and I helped load some of it into the car, but mostly I stayed out of their way. :-)

They'd gone shopping at Costco last night, so they got a mountain of good food, and we packed it all away as well as we could. With the roof rack and the whole back side of the van we managed to get everything in with very little room to spare. Four bikes went on the bike rack and it did just fine, packing sponges and all.

Isabel and I were in back with Jet. But I'll admit that I mostly just slept on the way there. Jet was chattering like a blue jay and talking or singing or making noise of some kind nearly the whole way. Just as we were about to get into Oregon, we stopped at the Astoria Maritime Museum, which had a Coast Guard cutter on display for tours and an older ship along with a HUGE anchor, a deep-sea buoy and a museum of some size. The best, though, was just eating lunch in the sea air. It was bright out and sunny, but the wind was cutting and I was pretty cold in it. At first, I hid behind the giant anchor and then I finally got out and was a wind break for Jet for a while as we ate sandwiches, carrots and chips.

We then walked out on the dock to take a gander at the ships, but a huge freighter came in, and it was nearly empty as the red hull was mostly above water. It was impressive coming in under the bridge as it barely fit.

I loved the huge ship's ropes hanging there to dry, too, as one could see the mending on it as well as the sheer size of the weave. Beautiful.

From there we headed into Oregon and found a Fred Meyer's with cheaper gas than we'd seen anywhere in Washington. The only catch was that you couldn't pump it yourself. John got out of the car and the guy said, "I'll get to you when I can, sir." *giggles*

From there we took the winding 6 out to Longview State Park.

It was the same state park the three of us had stayed at two years ago, with the yurts and forest and beach. Cathie and Walt had arrived before us and found a site that was out of the woods and out by the beach. The old site still had some pretty obvious damp spots and lots of overhanging trees and given that the weather was gray and nigh on drizzling when we got there, we preferred the open spot. Plus, I figured there would be fewer mosquitoes that far out from the woods. And, on the most part, I was right.

It was great to see Walt and Cathie again. I look up to them in a lot of ways as they're seven years our senior and they have definitely made their lives their own. I admire their choices and what they do as they're both involved in making working lives a lot safer for a lot of people. That's very cool.

I also like their sense of humor and taste in food. :-)

We arrived, sat in the uncertain sun for a while and caught up. Then John said, "This is the best it's going to be, so we better go out on the beach while we can, the next couple of days aren't going to be better than this."

So Jet got into his swimming trunks and kept his shirt and I wore my shorts and shirt and my L.L. Bean sweater and we went out onto the beach. The sun really, really tried, but it never really broke out until it set. So under the cloudy sky we enjoyed the beach anyway.

Jet demanded that his shirt come off NOW when we reached the sand. I was okay with that as it wasn't actually too cold, and it went, dry, into John's pocket. Jet cheerfully stuck with digging in the sand, though we persuaded him to move a little bit up the beach and not dig right at the entrance. Walt brought an Army surplus shovel and dug exactly where Jet wanted him to dig. I dug a little further as I wanted the water to come up.

Remember that sand castle book I borrowed a few months back? Yeah, the one next to the knitting book. Hee. I remembered that book and I have been dying to try the techniques out of it on a real beach. It was harder than I'd thought, in some ways, as I couldn't get my hands around the 'plops' to get them to jiggle into a good settle. I could, however, jiggle them from the top with the palm of my hand. Weird, but it worked, and I was able to build several towers and an arch of sorts. Jet liked that, and immediately knocked some of it down to prove he liked it. :-)

I loved how the sand flowed through my hands and how the water allowed it to flow and fill areas that I directed it towards. The walls that I built were far tougher than I thought they could be, and so I experimented with walls to and from the towers and then stairs cut into the tops and then along the sides. I was impressed with how the sand carved, and built a lighthouse with gabled roof and four sides to the sea. Jet supplied 'rocks' for the bottom of the tower, and we carved a staircase around the tower.

That was a lot of fun.

Jet loved the pit that I pulled sand out of. I finally figured out how to do a two-handed digger scoop of flowing wet sand. It took a bit of experience to just figure out how to do the things that were in the figures and what they felt like rather than just how they looked.

Jet also found that the ocean water was, in his words, "Cold! Cold! Cold!!" And he danced away from the waves, and ran when they tried to get him. He loved sitting in the relatively warmer water of the 'pit' I was digging out of. When he announced, however, that water was leaking out of his pants, I decided I was done with sand castle building and I went into the surf to wash off.

It was cold. It was very, very cold. Pacific cold. Beautiful, gloriously cold on feet and stinging on sanded knees, as I'd definitely gotten down to the sand level to try and carve things with a shovel point and my own hands.

The weather was good enough, though. Good enough.

We went back to the camp and Jet got hosed down from the back of Walter and Cathie's van, as they had a shower built into the back. It was good enough to get all the sand off of him, and we dried him with towels and put his warmest clothes on. Then John handed him a steel skewer with a hot dog strung on it, and asked him to help with cooking dinner. Hee. He was happy to help and sat by the warm fire with the hot dog dangling over the coals. It eventually hit the coals, so he asked who wanted to eat it, and I thought it would be a fine thing to have a dinner cooked by my son. :-) So I ate his "dirty hot dog" and he had one of John's which were nicely toasted.

There were also carrots, sugar snap peas, potato salad, chips and plenty of condiments, so we all munched away happily. I was hungry and had two hot dogs from all the digging and sand slogging. That was great.

Jet loved the fire. But when it actually got dark it was nearly ten, so he was more than ready to go to sleep. He and I went to the bathroom and did potty stuff and then brushed teeth. He then went back to the van and got flossed and into his pajamas and we read stories, nursed, and when it was time to get up into his bed he woke up enough to help get into his sleeping bag up on top of the van. The wind up there was whistling softly and I could hear the surf pounding away at the beach, much more closely than within the confines of the van itself.

But Jet was in his blanket pajamas with a good, thick sleeping bag, so I wasn't too worried. He crawled deeply in, asked for Seltzer to hold, and then snuggled in with his new pal and went to sleep.

We soon followed as it has been a very busy day.