It was so incredibly sweet to finally reach the Pacific Ocean air! I had to sit and breathe it in for a moment, recollect and I just couldn’t contain the smirk on my face and the small sense of accomplishment that soon arose after overlooking the ocean. I gazed over the long fairly chilly and windy beach. A woman clutched onto her hat while sitting in front of a wild little fire whipping in the wind. Her husband fished while their two Dachshunds ran about the drift wood. I wondered at the experiences the ocean would open up to me.

Once in Eureka, I found a small little Victorian café called the Waterfront. I instantly had a craving for seafood and ordered a steaming hot cup of clam chowder and a Scotia, which is tuna, jack cheddar and tomatoes broiled on an English muffin. I sat and ate entertained by two men playing jazz and admired the gorgeous mural of a mermaid beside the sea and the small iris tile accents along the ceiling. Pigeons scattered as I made my way to a pavilion in the middle of town, up the spiral walkway that reminded me of a seashell. A man filled town square with the sounds of a harmonica. While wandering around Old Town I stumbled upon a fascinating antiquarian book shop that contained tons of interesting rare books, old WPA posters and a stereograph. This is the earlier and wooden version of those little red plastic view finders I used to look into as a child of the 90’s. It would have sat on a parlor table displaying charming images. It’s just strange; I’ve been thinking that I want to make a view finder with my most inspiring pictures from this adventure.

I continued up the coastal highway of {101} somewhat slowly for there’s a thick blanket of fog that’s rolled in over the ocean bed. Ocean mist and clouds billow and curl about the coastal Pines and Redwoods. I felt it necessary to take my attention off of the road, so I stopped at a seaside restaurant to enjoy some dinner. When I realized the price of the entrees at this restaurant, all of the sudden I wasn’t so terribly hungry. I decided to order a splendid appetizer of sea scallops and bacon with orange gastrique over a bed of grits. Mmm… Now, hungry for an adventure I drove down to the beach! I was told as long as I stick to driving on wet sand that I’d be set. Ever since my injury and becoming wheelchair bound, there’s this stress and anxiety about experiencing the sea as it’s normally very inaccessible. This was such a relief and I was so thrilled. At low tide I’d admire the purple, green and gold starfish clinging to the huge rocks set into the shore. I collected a few sand dollars and felt soo satisfied for I had no idea this was in store.

I almost bailed on visiting Yaquina Head, but thankfully reconsidered. The day became blustery and there was a cacophony about the cape between the waves crashing, the harsh wind whistling and the hundreds of squawking seabirds on the rocky shore. I kept my eyes out in the distance for the sighting of an orca or a grey whale and was pleasantly surprised to see cute little harbor seals peaking their heads up. I wasn’t expecting to admire the Yaquina lighthouse as much as I did. It was a little eerie, but special to be in a place of such guiding light. I was excited to find a ramp down to the shore. I decided that I’d test the waters and see if I stuck to wet sand that I might be able to access the beach and sure enough! Normally, sand is a nightmare, so this wonderfully exceeded my expectations. I perused the rocky tide pools filled with barnacles and overturned shells that snails still resided in. I combed the beach for shells and let a little crab craw about my hand. With the sun hidden by clouds my ears grew cold, my hair windswept and with sand in the castors of my wheelchair I retreated back to my cheap little motel. The old man at the front desk commented on my apparent exhaustion. I couldn’t wait to sleep and probably dream about the sea, but I though it wise to read the tsunami and earthquake warnings posted on the door before slipping into slumber land.

When it came to Portland, I might have been a bit overwhelmed. I normally try to discover the “heart” of a city, but sometimes there are just too many layers to explore in just one day. I took the advice of a friend and ventured to Hawthorne Blvd. I sat out in the sun at Bread & Ink Café, sounded appropriate, on Hawthorne and 36th. While I considered the inquisitive chicken and waffles special, I rather enjoyed a hot green tea with honey and a crazy delicious summer vegetable soup, which I just have to learn to concoct on my own.  It was more interesting to watch people pass in the reflection of The Red Light vintage store’s colorful window. Beside me two young, cute, but crusty punk girls played on their accordion and washboard. Call me gluttonous, but for dessert I ordered a waffle to go and went across the street to top it off with a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. Ice cream and waffles used to be my favorite breakfast as a child; always seemed scandalous that my Mom would allow it, but it turns out I’ve outgrown such sweetness. Before leaving the city, I tried a fantastic Silver Spot IPA named after Oregon’s threatened Silver Spot butterfly. I figured; drink a beer, save a butterfly… Why not? : )

At some point I wound up changing my plans, there was just no possible way that I was going to make it as far North as Seattle. I would’ve had to blow by the Oregon coast and that wasn’t happening. I was fairly bummed out at this decision until I had the idea of visiting Cape Disappointment, the southernmost cape of Washington, just across the Columbia River. At first glance, Washington was just as I’d imagined it; a rocky barrier dividing the highway and the ocean and clouds moving fast and casting large shadows on the surrounding mountains. This was once the very cape initially encountered by Lewis and Clark on their expedition charting new lands that had been added to the United States. Thomas Jefferson told them, “The object of your mission… the Pacific Ocean.” I’d had the same objective and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I’d made it here, completely void of the disappointment of its namesake.