One day with no school, no work, no responsibilities. One of my friends has been going through some rough things at home, so we decided this would be the perfect time to escape our lives.
I am drawn to the ocean like an addict to heroin. I cannot go too long without it without having withdrawals. My friend, Kamrin, and I, got a leisurely start and started an impromptu trip to see the great Pacific Ocean.
We piled gear (water bottles, skimboard, swimsuits/jackets due to the unpredictability of Oregon Coast weather, Kleenexes to aid my leaky nasal faculties, flip flops, CDs, etc) into the back of her Ford Taurus and left. Our first stop was in Grants Pass, for gas and nosh. I have found a small coffeeshop drive through type place called Casablanca, that has amazing food (albeit sometimes small portions) and incredible coffee. We got breakfast burritos that tasted simply divine, stopped at a gas station to pick up chips, beer, and (oh, yeah) gas and left Grants Pass.
Kamrin and I have known each other for some times, but have never really talked. So on the trip up, we put on some good tunes (a mixture of Jason Mraz, the Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, and others), and just talked. We talked about our pasts and our futures, nothing and everything, the kind of talk that I live for. When two people simply open up their soul to each other, there is nothing more beautiful in the world. Most of the words that come out of my mouth on a daily basis are of nothing, well, small things – television shows, weather, anything really. It is as refreshing as a waterfall, speaking simple, pure truth. We laughed a lot, and I will remember little things like how she had to grab the wheel while I would unattractively blow my nose.
Our second stop was at the Oregon Caves. This is the second time I have been there, and the second time I have not done the tour. I think this will be the tagline of my life- going to famous sights without partaking in the tourist activities. For example, I remember travelling to Portland and getting to Voodoo Donuts, only to find lines out the door and around the block, and my impatience stopping me from going in. By the same token, we did not want to wait an hour for the guided tour, so we found the trail to the small cave that NPS lets people casually explore. We were the only ones in the cave, without flashlights so relying only on the bright illumination of her phones flashlight, and we crawled into the depths of the earth. Being inside a cave is the most comforting feeling- the silence of the world around you, turning off the lights and just experiencing the darkness and the loss of a vital sense, the cool air that penetrates to your soul. Perhaps I enjoy it so immensely because it hearkens to humanity’s early roots, finding shelter in earthly holes and peace within.
It is also important to note that the drive to the caves is incredible. From Cave Junction, we followed the windy 17 mile road past small homesteads, and watched as the landscape changed into a verdant forest. The way back was no different, only this time with rain to dapple our windshield and to give the scenery outside a misty haze. We were eager for the ocean though. Kamrin hails from Alaska, and has seen the Pacific Ocean from its shores, but never from Oregon, and I was eager to act as guide. We passed through quaint Brookings, and headed straight to Harris Beach State Park, a place that never ceases to amaze me. We had left the rain behind, and found the shore beneath azure skies with wispy and aged clouds above. The sun was warm, the wind was cool. The first item of business was to roll up our pants and run into the ocean, to feel the Pacific around our feet. It was cold, but refreshing, like the shower one takes after waking up. We grabbed my Mexican blanket, named for both its design and its heritage, grabbed our pack of blue moons, and some snacks, and found shelter from the wind behind a rock that I have climbed before many times. We put out our blanket, kicked back, and ended up simply sleeping. The two of us, under the dream-filled sky, letting go of all of our worries and responsibilities, it was the most fitful rest I’ve had in quite some time. Time passed hazily by, consciousness came and went.
After we awoke and decided we should start to head back, we decided we couldn’t leave the ocean without getting some seafood. We found ourselves at the Brookings Harbor, in a small food shack that overlooked the marina. She had fish tacos, I, being allergic to most beasts that come from the sea, had a bacon burger. I paired it with a ‘Dead Guy Ale.’ I just hope it was no one I knew. We watched the sunset, had a discussion about the morality of the death penalty, and watched as the children at the table next to us frolicked about.
The gathering darkness was our cue; home was calling; we had satiated our ocean lust. In a sleepy haze we drove back, listening to a bizarre mix CD only titled “Bird Beats” and was a mix between techno, club music, electronica, and trap, and wasn’t very bird like at all. We got back with plenty of time to adjust back to normalcy.
It is small trips like this. Jaunts to the ocean that sustain me. Immersing myself in nature. Trips like these help me to stay strong through school, to power my imagination and fuel my life. Small trips filled with small adventures and small talks and clouds and naps and caves. It’s why I live. New friends. I can’t wait for the next adventure.
Until next time, enjoy your journeys.