Our beach vacation started in dramatic fashion. Upon arriving at the house, we discovered that the key was missing from the lock box and the garage door had been manually locked, disabling use of the key pad. While we started sorting everything out on the phone, we realized that we were going to have to deal with all the perishable groceries we had just purchased on the way to the house. We ended up befriending the neighbors and begging for use of a refrigerator shelf for an hour or two while we went to meet my Dad on his way from Salem with a spare key.
The next day, we were blessed with a beautiful, sunny October day. The sunshine made the ocean sparkle - it was absolutely gorgeous. Madelyn told us that the “sparkles make me feel like dancing!” We spent the morning at Cape Meares Lighthouse where we were also able to view Oregon’s largest Sitka Spruce tree.
The afternoon was reserved for playing on the beach.
The next day, we headed back for our US Immigrations fingerprinting appointment for Mei Mei’s adoption application. (I guess you already know how that went.) We took advantage of the time in Portland, however, to spend a little time browsing through Powell’s Books - a must for any Portland visit - and then got a huge lunch at a Thai food cart. Their spice levels were more authentic than our local restaurants - Troy and I had tears streaming down our face with our moderately spicy meals. They were oh so good though. And our sinuses were squeaky clean at the conclusion of the meal.
On the way back to the house, we made a stop at the Tillamook Forest Center. This was the unexpected highlight of our entire trip. We got to climb the look-out tower, explore forest paths, go on a scavenger hunt to find fun facts throughout the center, and we watched a video on the 1933 Tillamook Burn that destroyed over 300,000 acres of trees. We weren’t sure that Madelyn would last through the entire documentary but, to our surprise, she was absolutely fascinated. She asked us all sorts of questions about why fires start and stop. She was even more fascinated when I told her that I was once evacuated with my family from a SunRiver vacation because of nearby forest fires. She has been talking non-stop about the 1933 fire since seeing the video, and also about my “almost getting burned but being kept safe” (her spin on the story) by the “SunRiver fire.”
I will admit, I might have been the most enthusiastic participant in the scavenger hunt. But we did win a prize of Madelyn’s choosing because
we I completed the fact finding. She chose Smoky The Bear binoculars.
The next day our sunny weather came to an end. But we were still able to get some beach time.
We also took advantage of the beautiful views from the house and watched the rain with hot chocolate in hand, and play doh on our heads.
The only thing that didn’t really work out in the rain was our visit to the fish hatchery. Who knew that fish don’t seem to like rain either? Oh well. We dried off at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and treated ourselves to Tillamook ice cream cones. In case anyone is curious, Madelyn sampled each of the cheese offerings at the factory and declared the Special Reserve Extra Sharp to be the best.
It was a fantastic week as a family - a week we are so thankful for.
- Tricia Olson, 2012