Monday, September 6, 2010

Pacific Beach

For the past few years, my friend Alison and I have talked about going on a camping trip together, and this year it finally happened. We were all free over Labor Day weekend, so made plans to head to Pacific Beach, a small coastal town about 20 miles north of Ocean Shores. The coast felt like a bit of a risky choice at the end of the summer weather-wise, but Tyler and I hadn't been for about four years, and Alison's husband, Rhett, owns some property there (and it was where Alison and Rhett got married last year), so we were anxious to head west and hope for the best.

I wasn't too optimistic going into the weekend; the weather forecasts had all said good weather Friday, but rain on Saturday, so we braced for the worst and headed out of Seattle on a sunny afternoon hoping to get at least a little dry weather. As we turned toward the coast from Olympia, the sky got more and more gray and the wind looked stronger. Drat. We were going to miss the sun after all--mostly a bummer from our non-existent summer this year. But, hey, we're hardy Northwesterners, right?

The old pier logs on the beach

We got to the camp and quickly set up. Stella spotted some blackberry brambles and quickly got into some berries (which were definitely less ripe and more tart than those close to our house). We wrestled with our tent, sleep mats and bags while Rhett did a bit of set-up with their accommodations. He'd taken an old Ford van and turned it into a homemade camper, complete with a fridge, bed, storage, awning, portable DVD player, and rack off the door for the Coleman grill. (Sadly, I didn't think to photograph it for the blog. You'll just have to take my word for it. It's cool.) Tyler and I couldn't help but think back to our days in New Zealand, tooling around in the Spaceship.

After dinner, we decided to meander onto the beach. Following our first camping trip this year, we'd thought that the beach might be a better place for Stella at this age. Our intuition was right. She *loved* the beach. She probably could have happily spent all her waking time there--playing in the sand, sliding down hills of sand, checking out bits of shell and seaweed, looking at dogs. She still seemed to be a little overwhelmed by the ocean itself, but it was all and all a pretty awesome time.

Happy Stella on the beach! It was pretty cool and breezy, as you can tell by the serious bundling....

Kite surfer. All I can say is, "Brrrrr." I am not that hardy.

Day 2, in the sun, not crossing over past the water's edge. Apparently ocean waves are still scary.

Day 3, and the sun's still shining! Stella played with this bit of seaweed for a while--touching it, smelling it, poking her finger into, trying to stuff sand into it. A little biologist!

The camping went well, too. Stella slept well in the tent, enjoyed being outside and generally a good time was had by all. I'm beginning to think that our less than stellar time over Fourth of July was just a fluke.

Stella always sleeps in the tent with her head wedged up against the wall of the tent, often near mine.

Morning at the camp!

Rhett and Alison make "eggels" for breakfast. Apparently this is from Moonstruck? I grew up knowing this as "egg in the hole".

We were in the minority sleeping in a tent at Pacific Beach. Most people were in big RVs, and almost all had these funny wind/kite things. Stella loved them, especially these fish.

Pacific Beach itself is an interesting little place. It's tiny, but there's a cute little coffeeshop with delicious cinnamon buns, a gift shop with neat beach-y items (and cute homemade hats--where I picked up a new one!), a place called the "Wacky Warehouse" and some cute houses and cottages near the park. There's also an interesting development just down the road called Seabrook that seemed to be hopping, with pretty East Coast style houses, a cafe and a little gourmet market. But I think one of Tyler's favorite parts was the "Rhythm Katz." Over the weekend, there was some kind of festival in PB, which included a "street dance" on Saturday night and a parade on Sunday. We left before the parade, but we couldn't miss the music. Tyler and Rhett decided they had to check it out. Not having seen it myself, I'm sure I can't do it justice, but I do remember it involved a guy with a glo-stick headband, biker band members and some serious rockin'.

I think this was the first time I've camped somewhere without fire pits for the individual campsites, but you are allowed to have fires on the beach. We struggled a bit to get it started (others seemed to use copious amounts of lighter fluid), but Rhett and Tyler's perseverance eventually paid off with a very respectable fire.

We caught the sunset right before we got the fire going

Alison and I were anxious for some toasted marshmallows! Tyler rigged our toasters out of kindling and duct tape.

Long exposure of Rhett, Alison, Bisou and I by the fire

In the end, our worries for weather were proven unnecessary. Saturday morning started sunny and beautiful, and it stayed that way until we came home on Sunday. I'd forgotten how gorgeous the coast is here, and how soothing the sound of the waves is. You can't help but be relaxed while walking along the tide's edge. And it was fantastic to have some time to spend with Alison and Rhett. Perhaps this will become a new annual tradition?

Tyler on the beach

Happy Hill-Stachs!

Stella on her last morning foray to the beach, a bit weatherworn from three days on the road, but happy!


Emily said...

Looks like it was an awesome trip! Curtis and I got engaged at Pacific Beach, so it's a very special place to us ... glad you enjoyed it so much too!

charitybreidenbach said...

That does look like an awesome trip! Love the family picture at the end! :)