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Posts Tagged ‘Jake the Alligator Man’

iconic beach house

iconic beach house

Continuing our summer of weekend camping trips, off we went again in June, this time to the Long Beach Peninsula, where I was completely smitten with the area. I had not been there since age 18.  The last I had been here, I had taken the photo at left, in awe of this beautiful weathered beach house that my friend Mary and I had happened upon when we got a bit lost looking for a dune trail to town from the beach.   I had a copy of this photo tacked to my wall for the next 20 years to remind myself that I had then formed a dream of living on the “North Beach Peninsula” as it was then known.  But it had become just a nice photo on the wall, not a dream that inspired me to do anything about it.

Immediately upon our arrival in town, Robert and I ate at My Mom’s Pie, a quaint café housed in a double wide trailer along the roadside.  Here we had some glimpses

Robert, van camping

Robert, van camping

of incompatibility.  Robert had insisted on dropping acid (which he probably got from Matthew) on the drive down.  This terrified me.  While I did not judge the use of recreational drugs, I did not personally enjoy them.  I implored him to at least wait til we got to our destination, but he popped the tab into his mouth somewhere around South Bend.  I remember looking across the table at him in the café; he was a little high and exuberant and I felt worried, but suppressed it.  He was so witty, so creative, so much fun, and we all have bad habits, don’t we? Also, he was awfully cute.

We camped at Fort Canby State Park, (now Cape Disappointment State Park) and being by the ocean was lovely as it always is.

campsite

campsite

Robert with our camp stove

Robert with our camp stove (and my Ramones t shirt)

our campsite at Fort Canby

our campsite at Fort Canby

beach bouquet on the picnic table

beach bouquet on the picnic table

Benson Beach at the campground, with North Head Lighthouse

Benson Beach at the campground, with North Head Lighthouse

sand in our shoes

sand in his shoes

me on the beach

me on the beach

dunes of the Long Beach Peninsula

dunes of the Long Beach Peninsula

The next morning we drove through Ilwaco and did not even go into the town because it did not grab our interest.  But as soon as we got to the town of Long Beach, I remembered the dream of moving there.

the Long Beach Arch, 1991

the Long Beach Arch, 1991

Long Beach Boardwalk

Long Beach Boardwalk

(Then and now, I did not like seeing cars on the beach.)

looking from the boardwalk back to town

looking from the boardwalk back to town

Of course, if I could have seen into the future, there would be a garden along that road with me weeding all the way along it.  Where you can just see a line of posts to the west side of the arch, above,  is where the beach approach garden is today.

in Long Beach

in Long Beach

And again, a time machine ride to not so distant future would have seen shown planters evenly spaced all along the downtown street, below, and me and Allan taking care of them.

fun rides downtown

fun rides downtown

Marsh's Free Museum

Marsh’s Free Museum

Marsh’s Museum even then was famously the home of Jake the Alligator Man.

Near downtown, I fell in love with this little pink house…which 21 and a half years later is pretty much derelict and the garden has disappeared.

pink house

pink house

The garden below also caught my fancy and is another that slowly disappeared over the years.

1991

1991

With a time machine, I could have seen this:

2013

2013

(“Gardening is the only art form that dies with the owner.”  Or something like that.)

We took a drive up to Ledbetter Point State Park and walked from the bay to the ocean.

Willapa Bay

Willapa Bay

bay grass

bay grass

Leadbetter wild flowers

Leadbetter wild flowers

It started so well, our walk to the ocean.  But what a long, long walk it was, guided by the sound of ocean waves.  We got off the main trail (which I later learned was common then; some time after we moved here, there was a project to get the trails better marked to save tourists from getting lost.)    We seemed to be on a small deer trail, trying to find our way west.ocean beach at Leadbetter

The ocean beach, when we finally got there, was isolated and private and had no cars and we found many sand dollars and then decided to return to our starting point by the bay.  We had seen bear scat on the way across, and some yanked up little shrubs, and Robert said, “That’s a hungry bear.”   So we tried to cut back across the dunes and avoid the woods, and then got thoroughly lost.  I later realized we had crossed at the widest point.  The mosquitos were fierce and we had to wade through little sloughs.  The sun was threatening to set and I was SO happy to see the bayside at last.

the curve of Willapa Bay at Leadbetter Point

the curve of Willapa Bay at Leadbetter Point

On our way back down to the park, we stopped at a little Seaview pub called The Heron and Beaver.  Wet and cold from wading through the sloughs we had a soothing warm drink and a sandwich and then collapsed back at our campground.

next morning: a kite flyer on the beach

next morning: a kite flyer on the beach

Our misadventure did not sour me on the beach life at all.  The next morning we had a last walk on Benson Beach and headed out…only to have our clutch cable break in Long Beach where we had sidetracked looking for coffee.  Rain had begun.  Robert walked down to Peninsula Auto Repair and was lucky to get a VW clutch cable, and installed it lying under the van by the highway.  And that was our VW van repair for that trip.

Back in the city, I dreamed of the beach, but had not yet gotten to the point of bringing real estate pamphlets home with me.

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