Sometimes you just gotta!

As we all know, there will come a day for all of us, when we just can’t do the stuff we loves to do.

Some day, YEARS from now this will happen….

To help show this is not THAT day, Saturday dawned clear and sunny, no winds, and I saddled up for 33 miles of blue skies and bluer waters.

It was only 33 miles, but 33 miles of the coast where this is your turn around point is truly a ride to relish.

Oh, did I mention blue?

Later that evening, I made it down for sunset.

Then yesterday, before the rains and winds hit, I made it down for a starfish filled beach walk. The secret is knowing where to look for em!

As much fun as the weekend was, beach walking, sunset watching, and starfish hunting, the best was today’s after work walk.

Today, that little kid that resides in all of us, you know, the one who had his first bike and was ready for anything! No not him!

No not him either! (well maybe some of him)

I mean HIM!

That little kid in all of us. The one who wanted to climb trees, jump off rocks, run as fast and as far as he could. Play king of the mountain, roll down hills. and who just had no idea there was something he could not do!

That little kid who resides in all of us came out today for me.

As we grow up and, dare I say, mature. (hey it could happen, I can mature….)

Sadly, we start to lose touch with this kid. Work gets in the way, or responsibility. Or you start not bending as well as you once did, or you’re tired and sitting just seems easier. For whatever the reason, the little kid doesn’t come out as much…

Today, though, little Tony kicked me in the rear and said go for it! And this is where it happened.

Some of you KNOW where this is going…

First perspective. Look how big this sucker is (from a couple months ago)

It’s a tree! And yes when the waves a stormy and wind blown, this will get moved. Today, the tide was going out and the waves were not that big at all. I had to cross it to get where I wanted to go, and I paused.

Yep sure as hell, I could distinctly hear little Tony say, “GO FOR IT! You KNOW you wanna!”

This is no joke, you gotta respect the ocean. On a bad day, this would be stupid! This would be an example of a bad day! This tree was tossed around like a toothpick this very day.

Today was MUCH calmer!

So yep, indeed, I went for it, cuz I wanted to and cuz I still can and cuz someday I won’t be able to!

It was safe, and fun, and yep for a bit I was a kid again.

The ocean gods did humble me a bit later when this squall hit and I got hailed on!

But it was TOTALLY worth it!

So folks, it’s never too late! That little voice inside you, no matter how faint, knows you well and it knows what you want to do! Know your limitations, and don’t be stupid (Even I don’t listen to this voice ALL the time! Little Tony would get me in big trouble if I did!) But let the voice coerce you whenever you can! Trust me, it will keep you young!

How do you survive the winters?

It is well known that it rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, at least during the winter. Especially here at the Oregon Coast. Shoot, a couple Januarys ago, we had 20 inches of rain for the month. The Oregon coast has been known for wet winter weather since the Lewis and Clark expedition!

Just a few excerpts I found on line from William Clark’s Journal:

“The rain continues, with Tremendious gusts of wind, which is Tremendious. The winds violent Trees falling in every direction, whorl winds, with gusts of rain Hail & Thunder, This kind of weather lasted all day, Certainly one of the worst days that ever “

“we are all wet and disagreeable,” “cold and a dreadful day,” “the rain continued as usual”

Clark was NOT a fan….

People will ask when I tell them where we live, “How do you survive the long dark wet winter?”

So I aint gonna lie to ya! It does rain here in the winter! (its been pouring the whole time I’ve been typing this morning.)

And sometimes the weather can be a challenge. On my after work beach walk yesterday I was dodging sneaker wave, being blown off balance by wind gusts, and being pummeled by wind-driven rain and small hail! Not a post card day.

However, what summer time visitors rarely see is the magic of an ocean sunbeam. It can be the darkest, murkiest of days, but, as the sun starts to set, the clouds can part, and this happens!

It’s almost as if nature feels sorry for us, and wants to remind us how special winter at the Oregon Coast can be! OR it’s rewarding those of us who brave the elements and get outside to enjoy the beach during all 4 seasons. Either are possible, but I kinda lean toward the second one. Nature admires courage and grit!

No exaggeration, I have been driving to run an errand, and have hung a hard right to go get a better view of a beach sunbeam I have seen from Highway 101!

So how to I survived the winters?

I have excellent rain gear which lets me of outside in the wet. I look for the beauty and wonder that is winter at the ocean and honestly, winter is one of my favorite seasons here! Fewer people, bigger waves, excellent sunsets, and more agates to find!

Also, there is a little known fact. Sometimes in the winter, it DOESN’T rain. Shoot, it can be downright nice!

Blue skies, sunshine, and, with a bit of polar fleece and a windbreaker, warm! I appreciate these days more after a wet ugly day like yesterday.

In the end though, it is things like the winter sunbeams that make me love the winter. The Oregon Coast never disappoints, you just have to give it a chance, even in winter, to let it show it’s magic.

Crazy Weather!

This will go down as one of the craziest weather weeks in a very long time.

From the previous post, Work Will be Delayed Four Hours, you all know it snowed, HARD, Wednesday night.

Come Friday morning, the roads were a little better, but not much. The Sun did come out early, and some of the roads were starting to melt in our neighborhood. So along about noon, I snuck out of work for a quick grocery shopping trip to Safeway. The snow storm caught us a bit low on food in the house. I needed to restock before we had to resort to cannibalism!

I did take a walk into town after work, just to stretch the legs. It was cold, but the weather was MUCH nicer.

Funny thing, I almost missed this guy! He was chattering away which made me look for him. Generally, the best way to spot a bald eagle is to look for a white ‘golf ball’ in dark evergreens. That is of course his head.

Problem is, it had snowed, so there were white spots all over the trees! I thanked him for sounding off and saying HI.

Saturday dawned, and once again it had frozen the night before. The roads were a bit more clear, but there was blue sky, sunshine, and no precipitation expected!

On the way back from a slippery errand, I stopped to take this here in town,

It was still cold, but with sunshine like that, especially on a Saturday, I just have to get outside. I considered a bike ride for second, but there were just too many hidden icy spots on the road. I have crashed on ice before, it is NOT fun! This meant a beach walk instead!

It was near low tide, but the waves were roiling!

I have learned though, that there is more to see than just waves and blue skies on days like this.

The cormorants were catching the rays on the rocks.

Even though it was not a particularly low, low tide, if you knew where to look, the starfish were making an appearance. No matter what, I stop and look for these guys. I never saw them as a kid. Now, anytime the low tide corresponds with my beach walks, I make a bee-line to the places they live. I love there colors and shapes they can take.

A bit more unusual were the mussel shells that wash up with goose-necked barnacles attached.

These fascinate me every time I stumble across them. Most of the time they are on these mussel shells, but I have found good-sized driftwood logs covered in them. Evidently, if cooked correctly, they are delicious. I have yet to see them on a local menu yet though…

The rest of the walk was much the same Saturday. Birds, waves, things like this washed up. The beach wasn’t overly crowded, and everyone I saw was in a good mood. My favorite person, though, was a 8-10 year kid who was here with his dad, His goal was to find a shark tooth! (they do wash up from time to time) He was focused on the sand as he walked.

A shark tooth is a rare find, but if anyone would find one that day, he would have!

I did score with one decent sized agate though!

It makes me smile sometimes. There were a lot of agate hunters out, but they simply overlooked this guy! I’ve learned to keep anele out wherever I walk, and an agate can appear anywhere! He will be going into the next batch of the rock tumbler starting a week from tomorrow, when this batch is done.

Over night, the rains came. It did not wash away all the snow, but the roads were in much better shape. I decided today, to go for an agate hunt walk. There is a beach just south of us here in Lincoln City called Salishan Spit. It’s a half mile or so walk along a nature trial to get to the beach, and now its a bit of scramble to use the beach access.

Then once on the beach, it’s a long walk to the find the best agates. All told car to car, it is over 6 miles. This means there are a LOT fewer people, and therefore more, and bigger, agates to be found!

However, the weather was NOT looking promising!

On a day like this, you have 2 choices. Turn around and go home, or make sure you have EXCELLENT rain gear! Lucky for me my lovely wife Michelle got me new gear for Christmas! BRING IT ON!

It’s a good thing she did! I got rained on, windswept, and sure as hell, hailed on! The white stuff you see is the hail that covered the beach.

It was worth it though! The seals were having a blast in Siletz Bay.

I was lucky today. I swear these guys are camera shy! Most times I get it out to take a picture, they just disappear. Today, they were showing off a bit.

The walk back was when the hail and more rain hit, but the agate hunting did not disappoint!

I had one “OH CRAP” moment! On wet days, I keep my phone in the pocket of the fleece vest under the rain coat. I try to be extra careful to get it into the pocket after each photo, and zip it. Well, after I took the hail photo, I put it back and kept walking. I reached for it 10 minutes later and it was GONE!

I started walking fast to backtrack. If I found it before a sneaker wave did, it should be ok! I was giving up hope when it fell from under my coat right in front of me… I swear I patted all over looking for it! Evidently I had missed the pocket when putting it away. Oh well, crisis averted.

Of course, as I got close to the beach entrance, the rains stopped, and the sun started to peek out. I thought about walking farther, but the clouds did NOT look promising.

It’s a darn good thing I didn’t! I got home and not 2 minutes later the skies opened up and HEAVY hail hit. That woulda hurt on a beach with no shelter! It hailed off and on for the rest of the day.

So in short. WIND. RAIN, HAIL, SUN, BIG WAVES and, wait, what was the other thing? OH YEAH! SNOW!!! One wild week of weather!

Or as we like to say, “It’s winter at the coast. Anything can, and will happen, so be ready!” Truth be told, as I come up to our 5th Beachiversary, I think winter is becoming my favorite season!

Work will delayed for 4 hours today!

When I was a kid ,and the snow flew the night before a school day, we immediately started thinking about the possibility of a snow day. We’d watch the flakes fall until bed time, and then, get up extra early to see if 1) it stuck, and 2) it was deep.

If both of these were true there was a chance of a snow day! We’d turn on the radio (this was LONG before interwebs) and wait…. Soon the announcer would start listing school district closures. I’d sit there waiting to hear “Clover Park School District” then let out “WHOOP!” If I heard it, or a groan, if I didn’t. If it was a snow day I’d head outside to play until I was frozen! If it wasn’t, I was off to the bus stop.

Now I don’t remember there being any other choices except Open or Closed. However, when the boys were in school. they also had the option a Late Start. If the roads were slippery early on, the school would delay the start for a couple of hours out safe concerns.

So why am I telling you all this?

Well, on Wednesday night, there was a chance of snow in the forecast. Here at the Oregon Coast, though, snow is rare. It’s not unheard of, but rare. Snow that accumulates is even rarer.

So when I went to bed at 10 PM, and didn’t see a flake in the sky, I put snow out of my mind. But then I woke up!

Not only did it snow, it stuck! And not only did it stick, it was DEEP! We had 6 inches. As a kid, 6 inches of snow over night was a guaranteed snow day! Time to build snowmen, get in snow ball fights with your snow forts. See who could make, and keep pushing the biggest snowball! Then, when freezing and soaked, come inside for hot chocolate! YES!!!

But alas, no. This is not school. It’s corporate America. And I work from home, so slippery roads do not matter. So out of bed I went, fired up the computer and commensed to working. 15 minutes later the power went out! Could it be???

YES!! I sat for bit, and sure as heck it was a power failure! No lights anywhere! No Power means no Interwebs! No Interwebs No work! An Adult snow day!!! I looked outside to be sure, and NOPE not one light on anywhere.

This had happened rarely in the past! One major wind storm caused a power outage. Instead of sitting around, Michelle and I went to see the waves crashing at Depot Bay. Thanks to the weather gods, I was there to capture what is still the best splash photo I’ve ever taken!

Many thoughts went through my head this time, but after calling into work and letting them know I was out for at least a bit, I first went back to bed for a bit. It wasn’t 6 AM yet, it was dark and I was still sleepy. An extra hour nap was not a bad idea.

When I woke up an hour later, there was still no power and it was getting brighter outside. It was time to explore. Who knew what I would see this time!

Five years ago, when selecting a house, we chose to be higher up a bit. We don’t have a view, but we are out of the tsunami zone. (There are blue lines on the road to tell you when you enter and leave the tsunami zone here at the coast. ) On most days this poses no issues (though it is a short but HARD climb when pedaling a bike home I’ll tell ya!) However, I was not going to drive down this snowy, slippery hill, not even with all wheel drive! Not a chance.

Instead, I broke out the wool socks and GORTEX hiking boots, layered up to deal with the cold wind, grabbed gloves and stocking cap, and walked to beach! Yep, it snowed clear down to snow level!

In some places, the snow on the sand was 2-3 inches deep. I have only ever seen snow stick to the sand once before and never this deep!

I spent about an hour or so walking the beach and just enjoying myself. The winds were blowing, the temp was a still in the 20s and the waves were crashing. The clouds looked like they would dump at any minute!

But I was enjoying my snow day as much as I ever did as a kid!

Alas, though, I knew I had to head back. One thing I have learned living here is that power failures do not last long. The Power Company jumps on it! Sure enough, when I got off the beach, I started seeing peoples lights on… <sigh>

It’s about a 20 minute walk home though. And truth be told, I was hungry, I left for the walk without breakfast! So I got home, fired up the router and modem (I had shut off the power strip to protect them) and then made breakfast!

By 10 AM, though, there was no more stalling to be had. I was at the desk, logged in and starting to work! Well, I started after sharing some of these same photos with my team!

My ‘adult late start’ day will be looked back upon and remembered fondly for years to come. I can already hear myself saying, “Do you remember that day is snowed 6 inches???”

The moral of today’s story? Is a cliche, but seize the day! I could have sat at home twiddling my thumbs waiting for the power to come back. But why?? Life is short, there are things to see and experience, and quite frankly, work is work! If people enjoyed work, we wouldn’t have to be paid to do it every day. When fate gives you chance, run with it! Run fast and run far, and enjoy your late start day!

What a difference a day can make.

So looking at the calendar, we are all in the month of February. As we all know, that means it’s still winter time.

Earlier this month, the most famous rodent in the work, Punxsutawney Phil, the official groundhog of groundhogs day saw his shadow. Meaning 6 more weeks of winter… Stupid groundhog!

Yesterday morning, winter hit the Oregon Coast!

Continue reading “What a difference a day can make.”

It aint Hawaii but I am not complaining…

It is always hard to come home from a great vacation!  2 weeks ago we were in sunny Hawaii, and enjoying warm weather and just relaxing.

But alas, the time came to come home, and we had to leave paradise… Continue reading “It aint Hawaii but I am not complaining…”

The Valentes go on Vacation!

Well we all know covid is a pain in the ass.

We’ve been hunkered now for almost 2 full years now. Just when life seems to be getting a bit back to normal along comes the rutabaga variant and puts the kibosh on things once again.

Michelle and I have not had a real vacation (weddings don’t count) since we went to wine country in Northern California in April 2019.

After that long we finally looked at each other about a month ago and said “Screw it! We are going to Hawaii!”

Last week we did just that… Continue reading “The Valentes go on Vacation!”

A Snow Day for Adults.

Remember snow days?  When I was a kid, and we woke up to snow, the first thought was “I wonder if school was cancelled?  Is it a snow day???”

One thing you have to remember, is I grew up in the Puget Sound region of Puget sound. Snow is, especially when I was a kid, a rarity. So if there is even an inch that sticks, the region shuts down. Too many hills, not enough plows, few cars have snow tires and there are a plethora of steep hills! So anytime there was white on the road, there was a chance!

One must also remember this was LONG before the interwebs!!  Or robocalls from schools for that matter. To learn if you had a snow day, you hunkered around the radio at the top and bottom of the hour to see it the news guy read your school district as closed before it was time for you to get to the bus. The excitement of hearing Clover Park School district closed rivaled that of Ralphie getting the Red Ryder BB gun!

A surprise day off to go have fun with that which nature brought us!  They were rare and well remembered.

Sadly, as a adult, most of the time when the snow flies, like last week here,

we still have to work, especially when your only commute is walking into the home office.

One would start to wonder, will there ever be a snow day again??  Then today happened! Continue reading “A Snow Day for Adults.”

The birthday miles that almost weren’t!

So long term flowers of the this blog know that November is my birthday month.

Many cyclists ride their years on their birthdays.  Thats easy when you are in your 20s and 30s and born in the summer.  Even I can crank an after work 40 or so in June,  However, when you are born in November, and in your (holy crap I am!) in your late 50s,  It’s harder.

I have modified the tradition to make it one day in November I ride my years. This year through, things weren’t looking good. Continue reading “The birthday miles that almost weren’t!”