So Toree and I have set out on a journey together in search of nothing but what the day may bring and where the miles may take us, away from husbands and children and our day to day rituals and responsibilities.
And so our journey began with a quote from a book that Toree is reading and the theme of the day was set: Embracing Aimlessness.
The Grandmother visit and other trips down Memory Lane . . .
Our first and only planned stop was to visit my 88 year-old grandmother, so we packed the car and headed north at 8:45am, the journey had begun! Breakfast at the TopHat Diner, my grandmother’s regular haunt when she was mobile, were plates of hashbrowns, eggs, toast, bacon and one very unhappy dry biscuit and gravy and a dismal cup of coffee for Toree. An incalculable measure of grease and butter accompanied our breakfasts as any diner breakfast should.
Lillie at breakfast
My grandmother feasted on her favourite: a giant pancake, sausage, egg, and coffee with Sweet and Low to add that “little bit of sweet.” A quick trip to the grocery and another down memory lane with a promise to send postcards from our journey and we headed out the door and north driving the old Westside Highway to where my family still lives and runs the farm in Winlock
toree and the world's largest egg
(also home of the World’s Largest Egg, a spectacle that brought such joy to Toree I thought she was going to cry as she was walking her own path down memory lane in my neck of the woods.)
It’s interesting the things that childhood places bring. Some are memories, good and bad, some vague just out of reach. Smells and tastes of the air and water. And multitudes of “it used to be” and “they used to” and “once I” surround each corner. It is an exercise that is exhausting, thrilling, depressing, and gratifying.
We meandered through the beauty of the river, pastures , and wooded hills picking up 25 cent ceramic pots and gardening gloves along the way, stopping for quiche at the Market Street Bakery in Chehalis and visiting antique, doodad, and junk stores throughout downtown. A quick cruise through Centralia and it was time for me to get out of the past so we headed north again along I-5.
The Friday Rush-hour Traffic Detour . . .
Our timing found Friday rush-hour traffic in Olympia so we headed west to Aberdeen and the beach before we got there. The call of the ocean had struck us both weeks before the journey had even begun and so it seemed that our destination had been chosen without being planned. We drove through some of the most idyllic places possible, passing an Organic Valley Co-op Farm along the way and passing through one-store towns like Rochester, Oakville, and Elma. The level of sadness and survival driving west on Highway 12 was evident everywhere, battered homes, closed stores and restaurants, and a look of decay. These towns boast lumber yards and mills which have been closing and down-sizing along with the other industries in the area: coal, cement, gravel. And then the December ‘07 flood hit. Forget Africa, these people are survivors.
When you think resort, think beachfront circa 1972 . . .
We came to Aberdeen in late afternoon, an industrial port town with two Wi-Fi spots and hunkered down to find a place to sleep. We decided on Pacific Beach, passing endless traffic as they turned to head south down the peninsula to Ocean Shores. We drove along the only winding, tree-lined and then clear-cut lined two-lane road dotted with increasingly smaller one-store towns until we reached The Sandpiper Resort, when you think resort, think beachfront circa 1972 and you have the place nailed. Our room, although fairly terrifying, was literally 30 feet from the beach and cheap for such a view and access. And the front desk lady was straight out of Asia meets Vegas, rhinestone glasses, a little hat at a slant, black pants, pink lipstick all packed into a 4’10” woman who was speaking English, we think. She handed us a key on a string, no deposit, no receipt, and use of the desk phone as none of the rooms have phones, television, or radios (FABULOUS!).
toree on the beach
A quick walk on the beach (and a stinky green scum shoe fiasco) at sunset with no one around for miles, no wind, no rain, we couldn’t help but wondering, is this really the Washington Coast in October?
The Dinner to End all Dinners . . .
Tashtego Cafe, go there!
It’s the best meal either of has had in many moons. We were at Seabrook, a planned community of gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard type housing, community bicycles, and a developer with a vision of walkable communities, beachfront preservation, and high quality everything. We fell in love with the restaurant the moment we drove up, clean lines, huge windows, bright, with an open kitchen. Our menu choices included: dinner-plate sized bibb salad with vinegrette, razor clam chowder, salmon penne in lemon garlic cream sauce, fish and chips, chocolate turrine, blackberry cobbler, and French pressed coffee. Absolutely amazing doesn’t even come close to describing the meal we shared. A perfect meal with great service, friendly chefs, perfect portions for under $50 with tip. Tashtego. GO THERE!
The Road to Nowhere . . .
We chose to stay at Pacific Beach on a literal road to nowhere, it dead ends just a few miles north at the Quinault Indian Reservation, our day of embracing aimlessness, came to a close with a chat on the porch listening to the noise of energy, waves and waves and waves and what that vastness means inside the mind of everyone.