Day One – Exquisite


Nothing could describe the day more beautifully. We actually were on the road by 9:30 a.m. (unusual for us these days) and after stopping for gas and coffee we were on I-5 before 10:00. The sun shone bright; the temps were rising into the 70’s; the traffic was reasonable; and we were leaving town for the beach.

A comfort stop found us at a Barnes and Noble off the freeway just past Olympia. In the process, we purchased “Along Came a Spider” by James Patterson. It was recommended to be a great audio book for a trip. We’ll test it out and let you know.

But today, we just enjoyed the drive. The sky was blue, the trees brilliant green; the route very familiar as this was the way we used to drive to my folks’ house when the kids were little. The Grans lived in Long Beach and visiting was a yearly pilgrimage – with memories galore.  It had been nearly twenty years since we had been to see them in that house. But the trail through the countryside was very familiar and filled with memories.

Just short of the Columbia River bridge to Astoria, OR, we stopped at an historical point of interest, Dismal Nitch. It was the point along the Columbia River on the Washington side where Lewis and Clark got trapped for six days in 1804 because of high winds and high tides on the river. It must have been dismal, indeed. I can imagine that in November, when they were trapped there, but today it was nothing but beautiful.

After exploring the trail there and examining the monument to Lewis and Clark and their expedition, we traveled just a couple miles farther down the road and stopped at Fort Columbia State Park. This site also has history connected with Lewis and Clark, but was eventually established as a coastal artillery fort to defend the mouth of the Columbia River until the end of WWII. I have to say, when we drove up, I thought I was home. An old Army Post feels like my hometown – any old Army Post. They are all built from the same template – big buildings of wood slat painted Army yellow; manicured greens; and old cement artillery bunkers. There is something imprinted in my childhood that makes these surroundings feel like home. I can’t explain it.

After walking the park, we got back in the car to cross the mighty Columbia River.  We had an unusual experience this time, however. As we approached the high rise of the bridge, we had to slow to a stop for the workers who were taking up one lane to do some repair work. On the bridge! At the highest point! I tried to admire the views and was very thankful I wasn’t driving!! But it was only a minute or two and we were allowed to pass and continue on our way.

By 4:30 we were in Seaside, OR and looking for a place to eat. We let Maps direct us to Nonnie’s Italian Bistro and we were not disappointed. It was excellent! Randy had cioppino and I had chicken piccata. It was enough to fortify us for a long walk through town and along the boardwalk amid the surf, sun and sand.

After checking into our hotel, I went out once again to walk the entirety of the boardwalk and sit to watch the sunset. It was the most amazing view – God’s exquisite beauty – sun slowly descending to meet the sea and bring the dusk. The waves crashed; the gentle winds blew; the sands shifted; the sun set and I prayed for an hour before the glory and presence of our Creator. What could be more exquisite than that?