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Fat wieners at Fort Stevens

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Ryan skimboarding: Dude's ill.

I get a little excited in new places. (I don’t get out much.)

The moment I saw Cannon Beach I literally ran down Hemlock Street (the main drag), inquiring about places to stay for the night. For those of you familiar with Whistler, BC, it’s a bit like showing up Christmas week and asking if there are any cheap places to stay – ski in/ski out, preferably one night.

Here's one of the 200 photos I took of the Peter Iredale, a century-old wreck on the Fort Stevens shoreline.

So we ended up camping half an hour away in Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia River for $40 a night. The KOA campground here has thought about everything a camper might want and provided it, right down to a free endless pancake breakfast (cue angels singing), a giant, bouncy inflatable pillow (not castle), indoor swimming pool, dog run (kind of a fenced off assault course – Wipeout for canines), mini golf, Internet cafe (hence this blog) and laundromat/games room. (Play ping pong during your rinse cycle.)

We’re in a tent, but there’s a range of cabins available and some of the RVs pulling in are far bigger than their names suggest: Scamper, Prowler and Arctic Fox hardly conjure up 15-wheeled juggernauts but that’s what most of them are. The 20-wheeled Bitch Slap at least lives up to its name.

The calm of Coffenbury Lake, for when the onshore breeze gets a little too bracing at the beach.

Better than the campsite though, is the beach – a bike ride away and every bit as epic as Cannon Beach, but without Haystack Rock. Unlike most of the accommodation options around here during the height of summer, the beach is empty – too vast to be conquered by tourists. It also doesn’t take kindly to ships, wrecking 2,000 of them since 1792. This isn’t the first place to describe itself as the Graveyard of the Pacific, but Fort Stevens’ credentials are impressive. The Columbia River has been forming and reforming pesky sandbars for centuries, creating endless hazards for boats that stray too close to the shoreline; boats like the century-old Peter Iredale, whose remains continue to rust on the shoreline here.

Does the sand make my wiener look fat?

We’re heading back to Portland tonight. The newlyweds camping next to us have awoken me several times. One of them snores louder than the hemmy engine on a 20-wheeled Bitch Slap. I give the marriage 18 months.

PS: As far as I know, there is no RV called a Bitch Slap. I made it up.

Written by nevjudd

August 19, 2011 at 8:45 am

Cannon Beach: Like a great duvet, but with bed bugs

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You’re in an expensive hotel and you throw yourself on top of a snow-white duvet. Cannon Beach is a bit like that. We’d been driving for ages, parked and walked straight to Cannon Beach. On seeing the white sand, Haystack Rock and the Pacific Ocean, we all did the same thing: flopped on the sand and made sand angels.  Then we applied sunscreen, rolled around some more, then watched Ryan and Emma bury each other.

Now I’m sitting by a camp fire in Warrenton, near Astoria, typing almost blind and marvelling at how good it feels to be covered in sand, smoke and stale sunscreen. Of course, my bedfellows may disagree, but they’re in the tent and almost asleep.

I’d write more, but wifi is sketchy in rural Oregon campsites, plus I’ve got to pee so bad my back teeth are floating.

Written by nevjudd

August 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm