Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode  350 On the Road

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery.

After all the talk about doing a Road Trip I feel like I owe my listeners a glimps into how things worked out.

We decided to get an early start so that we might take advantage of the daylight hours. We do not like nor plan to be driving after dark. We want to see where we are going. We aimed for 8 am and were on the road by 8:15. The first problem occurred 5 minutes from home when I discovered I had forgotten my phone. "That's why I always make a list", my wife commented as I turned around in a fit of frustration. I would have just left it but considering that we might be gone two or three weeks we turned around.

We had decided to take little roads right from the doorstep so we could avoid traffic in and around Seattle, Portland and Sacramento. The drive was along Chuckanut Drive and was sunny, clear, colorful and everything we could have wished.

We had to reserve a spot on a ferry that would take us across a short expanse of Puget Sound from LaConner to Port Townsend. Our timing was perfect. We had perhaps 15 minutes to explore the ferry terminal and enjoy the quiet and serenity that often resides along the water.

We had our sights set on the Taylor Street Coffee shop as we drove off the ferry. It was closed. Out of business. What a disappointment. We loved that shop. We did adjust and recalled another coffee shop bakery that was a few blocks away. We were saved.  

It wasn't long after until we pulled into an empty roadside park along Hood Canal and enjoyed a great lunch of cheese and crackers. We topped it off with a short nap. We had been on the road five hours and had logged almost a hundred miles. We were making good time.

We drove through forest and along the water and then moved through forested land to Raymond and South Bend, Washington. This place always calls for a stop. It use to be at the Boondocks Cafe, which was a beautiful designed coffee shop that stood on stilts our over the water. The blue color has been changed to orange and the name has evolved to "Elixer". The barista was very friendly and the coffee and small chocolate cupcakes served were perfect. We sat outside at a picnic table and enjoyed the sun and life on the river passing by.

Evening saw us over the 5 mile long bridge that runs over the Colombia River at Astoria and lodged at a Comfort Inn right downtown in Seaside, Oregon. We managed a long walk on the beach at sunset and then a great bike ride the following morning along a beach promenod that must run for a couple of miles. We had driven over two hundred miles and felt good about the first day.

Morning started with the ritualistic Thai Chi and then the bike ride. We wanted to walk some beaches and listen to crashing waves on this second day. We did. We stopped at several parks along this scenic coast and enjoyed a great picnic lunch at Pacific City which lies about twenty miles south of Tillimock and then just a few miles off of Highway 101.

We had been on the lookout for a favorite coffee shop all along the highway. "Ruth's, Back to the Best" had been a real discover the last time we had driven this coast. But we could not remember which town it was in. I spotted it as we drove through Reedsport. But it didn't have "Ruthy"s on the sign. We stopped and were so pleased to find that it was still "Ruthy's". This place has character and everything we want in a coffee shop. It is sort of like a step back in time and it is done holding to the views of one person with taste. It is not corporate.

The evening found us in Florence where we discovered "Old Town" We had driven through Florence many times but had never spent enough time to discover the gem under the bridge. What a great little walking, eating and shopping area. Great evening.

The next day saw us traveling through Bandon. It has what, in our opinion, is the nicest beach walk along the coast. We always stop here at the Oregon Islands Wildlife Refuge. We parked on the bluff and then walked down the many steps to the windy, sunny beach. It has lots of haystacks(big rocks just off the shore) that create wonderful big surging waves of white water. Lots of birds, sand, and sun. Great place to stop, walk, eat and take a nap.

That evening saw us in Arcata, California. The town where time stood still starting in 1965. This is the land of liberal California. Lots of bud and lots of tie-dye. Lots of long dreadlocks and beards, dresses dragging on the ground, Peruvean sweaters and stocking caps. Lots of bikes and lots of art. I love the place. We had a great dinner at an Italian restaurant and great coffee at Arcata Cafe Brio Coffee.

We postponed our early morning bike in hopes we would get one later in Santa Rosa; our next destination. We had visited here once before and loved it so we drove south amid the vineyards sporting their fall colors.

We found a great hotel; La Rose in Santa Rose. Loved the old part of town and all of the Peanuts characters that dot the area. We also and enjoyed a great evening meal at Jackson's restaurant. Followed by coffee in a wonderful place called A'Roma Cafe. This is worth a stop.

We held off our biking to the following day in and around Sonoma. It was harvest time the vineyards and we enjoyed a couple of hours of peddling through these quiet, grape intoxicating roads. Once again the weather was perfect and the traffic was almost nonexistent. We ended it with a great lunch at Sonoma Cheese right across from the town square.

We were ready to head our car to Sutter Creek for a stay with our daughter and family. We had driven just over a thousand miles in five days; almost 200 mile average. If anything we may have driven a little too far each day.

This is Retirement Talk.

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