Friday, April 17, 2015

Sneaking in the Non Alphabetical Post

A post not named after a letter.  For once.

Here goes.

I took the trip to Astoria with two feral kitties, leaving very very early Tuesday morning.  I took Haley and Tilly, after Sassy once again eluded me that morning.  I thought I had her inside and cornered, but it turned out to be Buffy and once again I could not find Sassy.  So I took Haley instead.  And left, as usual, ten minutes late.   Why is that?

The drive over was uneventful unless you can call running into snow in the coast range, even on the roads, uneventful.  I haven't driven in snow since last year, when we had 15 inches in Albany.  Unheard of.  But my car didn't want me driving in it and quit running, sounded like the starter leaving function, but then it started right up, no problem, once the snow melted.  My car is slightly overprotective.  I love my car and my car loves me back.

I took Tilly to the clinic, checked her in at 8:00 a.m. and asked, tentative in my asking, "Do you by chance have any cancellations today?"   I was hoping Haley could be done the same day.  Make my life easier. But no, they were actually overbooked.

So off I went, driving south, clear down past Seaside and on, past Canon Beach, to Manzanita and Nehalem Bay State Park.  The weather sputtered.  Rain one minute sun the next, but mostly rain.  I knew this likely would not be easy.

First I tried to find a cheap motel.  Most don't take pets.  The ones who did wanted $10 to $15 extra per cat, even if they remained in the cage.   I gave up.  I knew I would not be staying in a motel this trip.  Too much money for my non existent budget.

So, I was resigned to camping.  The Nehalem Bay state park lies on a strip of land between the ocean and Nehalem Bay.  It is beautiful, but the spaces do not have much privacy.   I made a couple of mistakes in choosing a site.  I settled in right next to a trail to the beach and several campsites away from the trail to the restrooms.

All campsites cost the same---$24 per night.  This includes electrical hookups for RV's and trailers.  However, there were several tent campers in the campground and I saw an orange extension snaking from the electrical hookup pole into a tent.  "Ah ha!"   I flipped open the cover on the pole and saw, to my astonishment, a 110 outlet.  Household current!  I could charge my phone.  I could have taken an extension cord and heater or light.
I walked out the beach trail, which took me up a dune before dropping down to the beach and ocean, but almost immediately the skies darkened and a squall came through, with heavy rain.  I beelined it back to the car.

The campground looks like this, with campsites nestled between the sparsely branched trees, from which crows perched, calling back and forth.

It took only a few minutes to set up my tent.  I'd brought the 3 inch cot mattress along and rolled it out and my sleeping bag atop that.  I was going to be comfy!

Haley was in the big metal cage in the car, complete with shelf, food and water dishes, and litter box.  She'd be fine, as long as it didn't get hot, then I would be unable to leave the car.

I left Haley, as the weather was cool enough, and walked down through the horse camp, which was empty, to the road and down to the day use area.

If you branched to the left, you ended up at the boat ramp and picnic area.

I spotted a deer in the Scotts Broom and stopped to take a photo.

Wild strawberries were everywhere, just blooming.  In a couple months, they will yield berries.  I remember picking them as a kid, along with huckleberries, salmon berries and thimble berries.

Due to many not very bright boaters, Oregon now offers free life jackets for kids, at many boat ramps, in attempts to avoid the yearly child drowning tragedies.

Also, Oregon is attempting to stop the influx and spread of invasive species and offers up this info sign on certain invasive mussels.  You only have to walk through the park through all that Scotts Broom, an invasive species itself, to realize we are losing this battle.

Nehalem Bay, looking west
 I returned to the day use parking lot and headed out a two mile trail that takes you to the north jetty.  I didn't walk the entire way to the jetty, because I needed to get back to camp, then head north to Astoria and pick up Tilly.

You can see the snow from the night before on the mountain in the distance.
 I drove back to pick up Tilly then, and tried to find something for dinner, at Fred Meyer.  I didn't realize how extremely expensive Fred Meyer groceries are and gave up.  I then recalled there is a Dollar Tree nearby.  I got a can of soup and a couple other things there, for almost nothing.

I don't really know how poor people survive there with food costs so high.  There must be somewhere else cheaper to buy food.   The clinic receptionist had told me she loves the area because even if you have no money there are lots of things you can do for free, like walk the beach and the many gorgeous trails in the area.  It's true!

Haley was glad to see Tilly.   She felt relieved.  Tilly had three teeth pulled, but seemed very awake.   The pair spent the night together in the cage in the car.  After a supper of soup and a power bar, and a camp fire, made from logs and kindling I brought with me, downed from my Cherry and Maple trees, I went to bed.  I had to fill an empty juice jug and water bottles with water I heated to almost boiling on the stove, for use as hot water bottles, to stay warm in my tent.

The night wasn't easy.  I'd had too much coffee and other liquids, that made a late night trip to the restrooms necessary.  Pouring rain splatting on the tent woke me multiple times.  I was up and awake again by 5:15 a.m.  I meant to break camp and leave for good, but I couldn't get going enough to do that before I had to leave, to be on time to the clinic with Haley.

So, after dropping her off, I was back at camp, but before packing up, I took a nice long nap in that warm sleeping bag!   Felt soooo good!

As I was preparing to leave, the man camped next to me with his wife and two dogs in their RV, came over and introduced himself. One of the dogs quickly jumped into my arms.

 He was eyeing my leftover kindling and asked if they might have it.  I said "Take it all."  We chatted about why I was here, and then he said he should go get a $10 bill to donate.  He vanished then. He came back and was being sly.  He told me he was sorry, that his wife wouldn't have it, him giving away a $5 or $10 like that.   But he couldn't contain himself, and opened his hand to reveal a $20 and handed it to me, telling me she insisted on the larger amount.  I laughed at that, and thanked him very much.  My campsite was almost fully paid for with that donation!

On the way back I drove into Manzanita, just to see it.  The sun was out, which meant I couldn't leave the car, with Tilly in it.  At least I got to see the town, which is very small and touristy.

The beach is right off the town.   It's beautiful!  I wanted to walk out on it but it was warm and I couldn't leave Tilly.

I stopped in at two state recreation areas.   They were both lovely, although I could not leave to walk on the beach.  This is Hug Point State Recreational Area.

This one is Arcadia Beach, which is dazzling.

This little guy was singing his head off at Arcadia Beach.

It was then time to get to the clinic and pick up Haley, who had seven teeth pulled and looked drunk and ready to go home.  So home we went, me tired out, and the girls also ready to be home and sleep off their very strange adventure.

Imagine, two wild girls, formerly strays who roamed an Albany business unwanted, now seasoned Oregon campers and tourists.

The Albany Golden West Business Nine are now almost all free of mouth disease.  Eight of the nine have had dental care now.  Only Sassy still needs the trip and the appointment for her is made.

Cougie---all 30 teeth pulled.
Rogue---26 teeth pulled.
Misty----7 teeth pulled.
Raindrop---13 teeth pulled.
Stiletto---1 tooth pulled.
Alexi---14 teeth pulled.
Tilly---3 teeth pulled.
and Haley----7 teeth pulled.

Strange days indeed.


  1. What a pleasant and scenic journey I just took with you.

  2. Some beautiful scenery there. Really beautiful.
    Thimble berries? Salmon berries? I don't know either of them. Do they get called by any other names?
    Love the generosity of that man and his wife.

    1. Salmon berries are a NW native. You can read about them at this link:
      Thimble berries are soft and red and have big soft leaves and I love them. I can't offer a photo in comments but I'll go find a link to a photo.

      Above is a link about thimble berries. I remember there were lots of them along the trail to Jawbone Flats up at Opal Creek.

  3. What a dear little bird and captured so well...the beach view is really lovely...nice to see another sea..

    1. That bird sang his heart out, looking for mate I suppose. He should have no trouble! The far side of the world from you, WA, another sea altogether.