“Oh, this doesn’t bode well.”
That’s what I was thinking when the rain pounding on Flipper’s roof, a mere 16″ above our heads, woke me up in the very early hours of Saturday on Labor Day weekend. The really hard rain only lasted a few minutes but would return 4 or 5 times every hour. In between was the gentle pitter-pat of regular rain. Either way, it was wet. We’d been watching the weather while we were enjoying the 90+ degree heat in Eugene. The forecasts for the coast kept telling us to expect highs in the low 60s and, yes, rain on Saturday. But when we arrived at the Old Mill RV park in Garibaldi, dressed in coast-apropriate long pants along with shoes and socks and with our flannel shirts ready for instant deployment, we were greeted with blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s, if not low 80s. So why should we believe the part about the rain if they got this wrong? But the rain continued on through the early morning and, when we broke camp at about 6:45 AM, we had to do it between downpours.
“What’s the big deal?” you may be thinking. “It’s the Oregon coast. What did you expect?” And you’re right. We know it rains on the coast. A lot. But we were hoping for more benign weather this weekend since we were headed to Warrenton to visit my cousin Curt and his wife, Kara. On Labor Day weekend, the Astoria Yacht Club has a boat raft-up and potluck behind Tongue Point on the Columbia River and, since Curt has a boat, he thought it’d be fun to sail to the raft-up, spend the night at anchor, and then have a mellow sail home on Sunday. I wasn’t sure how hard-core of a sailor Curt was but I know that Lulu and I are strictly the fair weather types and any weather that gets us wet and cold is not what we would categorize as “fair”. We watched the rain continue to pour down while we ate breakfast at Grumpy’s Cafe in Rockaway Beach.
As we continued north, the weather occasionally gave us hope only to smack us down a few minutes later.
We arrived at Curt and Kara’s house in Warrenton a little after 10:00. My first words, in true wimp-sailor fashion, were “Nice day for a raft-up.” Fortunately for us, Curt had been having second thoughts as well. His boat, Shearwater, doesn’t have a dodger for one thing and it was iffy as to whether or not there was enough raingear to go around. Ultimately, he bowed out of the raft-up. If it had just been him, I suspect he’d have gone but he made allowances for his potentially mutinous crew.
Naturally, not long after the decision was made, the weather began to improve. It got better as the afternoon rolled on and was finally nice enough by late afternoon to take a nice long walk along Astoria’s Riverwalk. This is a trail that follows the river from somewhere near the Astoria-Megler Bridge to the Applegate neighborhood, a distance of several miles. It was a beautiful walk and, of course, I forgot my camera. Having a hard time getting back into the habit of carrying it. I’ll try to do better. On the way back we stopped at the Rogue Brewery. I decided to have a 4-beer sampler since there were several names that intrigued me. It being Oregon and not Mexico, I was opting for the heavier, darker porters and stouts rather than my usual “as-light-as possible” choice. Two of my choices, and the ones I liked the most, were Chocolate Stout and Sriracha Hot Stout. Both excellent and the Sriracha actually had a little bit of heat. I think a 50-50 mix of the two would be outstanding. Not to dilute the sriracha but, rather, to give the chocolate a little bite.
Sunday morning, we followed another river trail. This one starts really near Curt’s house and follows the Skipanon River all the way to the marina where Shearwater is moored.
Since Sunday was a lot nicer day than Saturday, we decided to take a little sail out on the river. Unlike what is normal in Astoria, the wind was a pretty steady 5-10 knots instead of howling.
We sailed for a few miles upstream, under the bridge and then tied up to a little dock below the Rogue Brewery and Coffee Girls. Kara met us there and we enjoyed an afternoon cuppa.
The wind had picked up a bit when we got ready to leave so Curt opted to strike the Genoa and put up the jib. He doesn’t have roller furling yet so were doing it old school. While he was feeding the luff into the foil, I tied on the sheets. We shoved off and got back out on the river where we hoisted the sails. We’d no sooner got the jib hoisted and were getting ready to sheet it in, than I noticed that my bowline had somehow come loose, leaving the jib sheetless on one side. I’ve never had a bowline come loose before. I couldn’t believe it but there it was. We headed into the wind, brought the jib back aboard and this time, Curt tied the bowline. I was so embarrassed. But, off we go. We get ready to tack and, I’ll be a sonofabitch if the other sheet didn’t shake loose as well! WTF? Again, Curt tied the sheet back on while gently chiding me (“You Navy guys.” Curt was Coast Guard). I’m still flabbergasted that both my bowlines came loose. I can only assume that I just didn’t set them up tight enough to withstand the shaking. Flabbergasted, I tell ya.
Labor Day was spent laboring, although not all that hard. Curt and Kara just sold their house and one of the conditions was a new roof on the garage. So, Lulu and I helped Curt install metal roofing. He could have done it himself but not nearly as fast as the three of us together got it done.
Last night, they took us out to dinner to thank us for the help. We ate at a place called Baked Alaska, overlooking the Columbia River. Everyone opted for something different but we all ended up lusting over Lulu’s choice. I think it was called something like Crab and Shrimp Spaghettini. It was a bowl of pasta with an incredible amount of crab meat and tons of large shrimp. The light, sauce was garlic-laced and it looked delicious. Not to say the rest of us suffered or anything. Personally I opted for Pork Belly with jalapeño cornbread in a root beer based BBQ sauce. Mostly I wanted to find out what Pork belly is. It was pretty much what it sounds like. If you had a god size pig and cut a 2″ cube out of his belly, you’d have a chunk that was a layer of dark meat, a thin layer of fat, a wider layer of lighter meat and then another layer of fat. May not sound that good but it actually was. Not as good as Lulu’s spaghettini, maybe, but still good.
Afterwards, they drove us up to the Astoria Column for the view. Lulu and I climbed the 164 steps to the top. Had to stop and rest for a minute about 2/3 of the way up but that was all. You can see a long ways from up there but, once again, I forgot my camera.
Today, we’ll drive across town to spend the night camped at Jasmine and Shannon’s place. We met Jasmine and Shannon and daughter, Solice, in Santa Rosalia and crossed paths often after that. They have a few acres along the river where they live in a converted school bus (our kind of people!). We visited earlier in the summer and, at that time, Jasmine told us to stop by to camp anytime. Said please not to call first, she wanted it to be a surprise. So, that’s what we’re gonna do. I don’t think they read this blog so no worries there.
Well, that’s it for now. We are slowly plodding along, as planned.
Eugene to Garibaldi: 138 miles
Garibaldi to Warrenton: 60 miles
Trip total so far: 291 miles