Cease to resist, giving my goodbye
You think I'm dead
But I sail away
On a wave of mutilation
Wave of mutilation
Wave of mutilation
So. About Portland. And The Oregon Coast. I swear that place is the home of Swamp Thing. Although currently in a drought, and somewhat "brown" according to locals, the vegetation encroaches upon the homes and man-made constructs, threatening, if not constantly cut back at to be kept at bay, to simply swallow buildings whole, turning them into so much wooden mulch.
I have never been in a city that felt like a forest before.
On Thursday night at 11 PM, Amber met me at the airport. Mind you I had just been in Albuquerque two days prior to that, the place Amber had only recently escaped from the sandy jaws of. "You look so pissed off!" she exclaimed. I guess I just had my traveling face on. Soon I was smiling expansively, being putted to her home in her little light blue VW Bug, almost, but not quite, as cute as Amber. After libations, she ushered me in to sleep in her princess bed, so named because of the giant gauzy white curtains that envelop it. Strange dreams, and an early awakening to go surprise Brandy, the birthday girl, at a little breakfast place on Mississippi Avenue, called Gravy.
Brandy was as surprised as a psychic Virgo girl can be.
After, what else, biscuits and the best gravy I have had, gravy that makes a grown woman want to weep, Brandy and James took me to see the city from above. It was bigger than I would have thought, patches of concrete and stands of trees. So much water, and bridges everywhere. And then we were off like a shot to part 2 of Brandy's surprise, a 2 night stay at a B&B on the coast of Oregon at a place called Sand Lake. We had the 2nd floor of this adorable cottagey place, that was partially made from logs that were hauled from the crash site of a pirate ship, back in the day. Since Brandy and I come from Sir Francis Drake's family and are therefore pyratical cousins somehow of some sort, we thought that was especially cool. Possibly haunted pirate logs? "Shiver me timbers," indeed!
We asked about the ocean- where was it and how could we get there as soon as possible? Our inn keeper said the closet beach was a playground for atv's and dirtbikes. Why I didn't put together the name "Sand Lake" and "Moto-Cross Maniacs" I do not know. No really, they were only a distant occasional buzzing, like metallic flies. So we went south down the coast instead, to Cape Kiwanda, and Haystack Rock. Nice. I mean nice. The beach was beautiful- people were everywhere, but no up your ass like on Cali beaches. We had lunch, and flew kites, or tried to, in my case and enjoyed the sun all afternoon.
Birthday surprise part 3 was a bottle of absinthe Sam got for Brandy in Moscow, that I brought up there for her. The front of the bottle said something hilarious and nonsensical- like, "The look grows warm...the color expands...and the hand is delicately taken by an angel." We got duh-runk that night, and looked at things with the telescope, things that might have been stars, if our eyes could have stopped crossing. Beautiful night on the patio. Unfortunately, one of our intrepid trio, who shall remain unnamed, said that their hand was indeed delicately taken by an angel. And angel that took them straight to the toilet, for many many hours. Good times.
The next morning we picked blackberries which grow wild everywhere, and it was one of the most sensual things I have ever experienced. Plump black berries, juices. Yeah. Anyway, we head off to the beach in blissful abandon. Many trucks have parked on the sand, and since the lot is full, we try to follow suit. Soon James is not sure this is a good idea. Just then, we are stuck. People help push us forward. We keep going forward, but then realize the further we go from the hard packed dirt, the further we will have to go on the way out, and we don't really want to be stuck after sundown, because we plan to relax all day. We will have to turn around where we are, near the water's edge, get back to the hard pack, and go park elsewhere.
We got stuck trying to do that. Our back wheels were down to the hubcars in thick wet sand. The beach people who had said that it would be ok to back up into that sand then stepped back and said, "well, now you've got problems." Then the tide, which before this moment had been going out, turned around, looked at us, laughed, and started coming in. Panic ensued. It was the most intense 6 minutes ever. We tried to push it out, and I was covered in sand from head to toe by the spinning wheel. We begged for help. A man with a big truck and a little rope came and tried to pull us out, but the rope snapped and the water got deeper. Inexplicably, both Brandy and I retrieved our purses and put them on the sand lest the ocean take those too. Because the truck was probably a goner. "You've got about 2 minutes, two minutes, " a beach guy said. I was running up the beach, waving my arms in the air, like I really did care, - oh how I cared- begging for a tow rope. Someone produced one just when I though all was lost. 6 of us lifted that truck out of the ocean like motherlovin' superheroes as the big truck pulled us out to relative safety.
"Jesus." "Jesus Christ." We kept saying. That truck got stuck about 4 more times on the way up to the parking lot. We could not believe it when we finally parked on the beautiful, beautiful asphalt. We apologized to the truck for being such imbeciles and then changed our clothes so as not to be recognized as the idiots from New Mexico who drove their truck onto the beach without 4 wheel drive. A thick fog rolled in and stayed all day, covering Haystack Rock. Amber and Sarah and the boys came to meet us on the beach, unaware of our gigantic truck eating ocean ordeal. They commiserated with us and then everyone spent time exploring the caves and rocks along the beach, or building sand castles, or in my case, exploring the inner world while lazing on a blanky. We also had lavender creme brulee made by James with a blowtorch and drinks mixed up from Amber's amazing vintage bar-in-a-small-suitcase.
That night I returned with Amber so Brandy and James could have a night alone on the coast and I could hang out with my old friend John, which was grand. Unfortunately, Amber lost her grandmother that day which she found out that night, and we had to see her off back to ABQ in the morning. It was pretty awful but she has been strong. After that, Sarah and Sampson and Alex graciously showed me around Saturday Market downtown, and it was a nice time. Brandy collected me once she and James returned home, and we had a nice night out with John again, back on Mississippi Avenue, at The Crow Bar.
Next day I had to go home. I did not really want to, except for seeing my husband and going to Europe and all. Brandy and James took me to a cool place called The Kennedy School which is run by these guys, the McMenamin brothers, that have all kinds of properties up there that they convert into these hotel/bar/movie theatre/restaurant places. Really original stuff. The Kennedy School is an old school that now has a nice restaurant and patio and several classroom bars (like the seedier Detention Room or the Non Smoking Honor Society room). You can rent out the gym and have an adult prom there. You can get a room. You can see a movie or get into the soaking pool. It is full of beautiful artwork, and murals. I loved it.
Incidentally, getting back to the encroaching vegetation idea, at another of their properties, called Edgefield, whilst hacking away the wild blackberries that had grown everywhere, they found an entire house they did not even know was on the land there. Amazing.
So after that, I read Brandy's cards in a beautiful rose garden in a beautiful park, and we talked of plays and love and plans and life and then I had to go. But I'll be back, most definitely. Next time I'll know to stay a bit further back from the waves.