To: frog report
From:Zelda Queen of the Night<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Leaving for home
Thursday, July 9, 1998
Cape Lookout State Park, Oregon
The barbeque on Sunday at Mick's was great fun. Laura and Christy showed up as well as my old friend Greg. We all used to look askance at Greg's art back in the old days, well no longer, he now sells his creations for thousands and thousands of dollars and can afford to buy all the motorcycles he wants, on Sunday he showed up on a police motorcycle.
Then of course my very best friend in the world, even though we only talk to each other about twice a decade, John Mathers came with his significant other, Susan. For all you John Mathers fans out there (you know who you are) I can tell you that at 60 John appears to be absolutely unchanged. He has also retained his ability to have you cackling like a hyena within 1 minute or less. I tried to persuade him and Susan to come out to Vermont on a road trip of their own next summer, as there are many in Fairlee who would give their eyeteeth to see him again, he seemed to be considering it, although it may have been the beer.
Monday was devoted to tooth repair, at the 4th of July block party on Julia and Gary's block I had bitten into an extremely delicious cookie consisting of caramel surrounded by meringue. It was as I say a great cookie but took half of one of my teeth with it with horrible crunchings so Julia got me an appointment with her dentist, Jolanta Bokums, who was nice enough to patch it temporarily with only minimal lecturing. Tuesday Chris and I took the car to have it's 35,000 mile checkup and oil change and then took off for the coast where we intended to camp overnight and then go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium to see Keiko, of Free Willy fame before they shipped him off to Iceland where they intend to train him to care for himself and then set him free in his home waters at enormous expense. I will say that as Keiko is now 22 years old and orcas only live to 35 under the very best of circumstances, the millions of dollars this will cost seem like money ill-spent to me but I suppose as Willy has been set free in no less than 3 movies now people must feel that it ought to be done for real. However he still hasn't learned to hunt for himself no matter how hard they try to teach him and why should he? People are always throwing him fish when he really seems to need it. Orcas aren't dumb, after all.
We got out to the coast after driving over the coastal range. As so often happens here, the weather, which up until then had been your typical grey misty Oregon day, changed the minute we got over the mountains to a glorious blue sunshiny day and there was the Pacific shining like it ought to. We stopped at the first available state park, the Nehalem Bay State Park and got a campsite and ran down to the beach. The wind was blowing like mad and the beach, as Oregon beaches usually are, was littered with enormous piles of driftwood of all sizes. Chris loved it, especially after he realized that all through these piles were scattered houses large and small. Because when people get on these beaches and are confronted with giant piles of driftwood they do what comes naturally. They build structures, some of them quite elaborate. We spent some time exploring the beach and then went back up to the campsite for an early supper. After supper we went back down with our back pack full of marshmallows and our remaining stock of Tennessee fireworks. We had contributed quite a lot of our fireworks to the group display at the Fourth of July block party but at least 75% of our fireworks had turned out to be illegal under Oregon law, including bottle rockets, any other kind of rockets and firecrackers, which we had a lot of. Mickey and Chris had set off some over the preceding couple of evenings but after one of the rockets had nearly set the neighbors house on fire Mickey had refused to set off any more. It was our intention to get rid of these over the Pacific where they could do no harm. I set about building a huge driftwood fire while Chris jumped around exploring the driftwood piles. He was wearing my black padded vest, which he has fastened all sorts of clanking banging equipment to, and because of the blowing sand was wearing as well a pair of tinted swim goggles, these gave him the appearance of a diminutive version of The Fly. After a very satisfactory roasted marshmallow dessert we started on the fireworks. First we set off a couple of rockets and these went very well. Then I thought I'd try some firecrackers as a pack but try as I could I could not get them lit so moving us both off to what I deemed to be a safe distance I tossed them into the bonfire. Egad! The pack leaped six or seven feet into the air and began exploding in all directions, mostly ours. I grabbed Chris and we both hit the dirt (or sand rather) with me on top. After they stopped going off I rose rather shakily and dusted us both off. "My God, I've never had firecrackers actually chase me before!" I said. "Oh but these are FLYING firecrackers, Mom" Chris told me. I inspected the remaining packs, he was right they are called Jumping Jack Firecrackers and what we're going to do with the rest of them I haven't any idea, because I'm not going to set off any more. No wonder they're illegal.
The next morning Chris slept in, I had plenty of time for coffee. To pass the time I began tidying up the piles of papers in the front seat and as I did so I idly glanced at the invoice for the 35,000 mile check-up I had gotten the day before. Down at the bottom was a little note :" Right rear tire is unsafe and should be replaced ASAP". Hmmm. I went over to look at the tire. Sure enough the thing was bald as an egg. At first I was only peeved that this meant we'd have to go and find a tire, then I became outraged that no one had TOLD me of this condition when I left the dealership and the more time passed the more outraged I grew. So after Chris had gotten up and breakfasted, and we had gone down to the beach and built our own driftwood structure (or lodge as Chris was now calling them) we set off to find a town and a telephone and a tire in that order. We stopped at a phone booth and I called the dealership back in Portland. "I'd like to know the name of the technician who worked on my car yesterday" I told them. Jason his name was, I was told, Jason Finkel. "I'd like to speak to Jason" I said and they put him on the line. I read Jason the riot act. "Tell me, Jason" I said "is it the policy of the dealership or your own personal policy not to tell customers of conditions that you feel are unsafe on their cars? I mean did you think I'd figure it out when I had a blowout in Montana or someplace?" "Well that's why I wrote it on the invoice" said Jason. "How many people do you know that actually read those things when they get a $21.95 oil change?" I asked him. "I have a seven year old child in the car Jason," I went on in my best totally outraged mother voice, "and you have been irresponsible in the extreme. I am going to write a letter to your supervisor and a letter to the manager of the dealership and I'm sending you copies." And I will too, see if I don't.
Well we decided this was a blessing in disguise as having to find a tire would pretty well blow our day, this meant we had to stay on the coast another night so we could go as slowly as we wanted (because of the tire of course). We continued on down the coast, stopping at every scenic lookout, flea market and resale store and got as far as Tillamook where we found a Tire Factory and got a new tire. We drove out to Cape Lookout State Park and got a campsite, it was early in the afternoon but these parks near the beaches fill up fast. We selected a site, went back to the office and paid, then I started to set up while Chris scrambled up over the dune to inspect the beach, only to scramble back down a minute later, a tragic look on his face. "Mom!" he cried,"This beach is absolutely terrible! There is absolutely NO DEBRIS!" Oh dear, I went up to look. Sure enough, no piles of driftwood debris, only a broad expanse of sand with the blue Pacific breaking on it, a beach that any normal child would kill for. "Well it's a good sandcastle beach" I said weakly and there were a lot of big sandcastles already in progress. I do like debris on a beach myself but I told Chris we'd have to make do with what we had. There were several kite flyers on the beach so after we had the tent set up we drove back into Tillamook to get a kite ourselves and also to get some coffee, we were out. We went to a Fred Meyer. Now Fred Meyers are an Oregon institution, they consist not only of a a huge grocery but Fred also sells clothes, toys, everything that is necessary for life you can get at a Fred Meyer. The danger of this is that you can go in to get a can of coffee and a kite and walk out with a shopping cart full of things that you weren't aware you needed until you walked in.
We drove back out to Cape Lookout. During our absence a family
from Washington State had taken the next campsite over, this family
had 5, count'em 5, boys several around Chris' age (as well as
a 14 month old girl) this brightened Chris up some. Shortly thereafter
the father of this brood came over bearing two extremely gooey
pieces of chocolate birthday cake, this brightened Chris still
further. Then we went down to the beach with our kite. The kite
that Chris had chosen was a Blue Angels stunt kite with two strings,
this was supposed to allow you to make it turn and do loops and
so forth. I felt a little doubtful of my abilities with the thing
but we started running down the beach with it and got it about
twenty feet in the air before it suddenly collapsed and sank to
the sand. We went over to inspect the damage, the crosspiece of
the wing had broken in three pieces. Not to worry, we went up
and cut a new crosspiece from a bush and started again. We got
it about fifty feet up before crashing it. This time one of the
little plastic joobies that held the tail strut had come loose
and gotten lost. There didn't seem to be a way I could think of
to refasten it. "Damn!" I said, "I knew I should
have packed duct tape, that's really what's needed here. No well-prepared
travelers should be traveling without a roll of duct tape."
Just then two couples on motorcycles pulled in. "Motorcyclists
are always well-prepared" said Chris "I'll go and ask
them." He ran over and sure enough one of them pulled a brand-new
roll from a pack and gave it to him and we were back in business.
The father of the brood next door, having seen our difficulties,
also brought over one of their kites, a plastic Godzilla model
and that proved much easier to manage than our stunt plane, Chris
had it way up in the air in no time. Once I de-stunted ours and
made it have only one string we got that up too and had a great
time with them.
By the next morning Chris pronounced Cape Lookout the best beach he had ever been to, once again I had difficulty persuading him to leave. However we finally did move out and went down to the Oregon Coast Aquarium which was very nice, especially the nesting puffins exhibit. Keiko has a big tank there, he looks awfully bored to me but what do I know. He has a white basketball that the attendant says he considers to be his girlfriend which he (Keiko) carries around and plays with. It seems to me if Keiko, at age 21 or 22 can't tell the difference between a female Orca and a basketball it doesn't bode well for a normal life in the waters off Iceland but again what do I know.