A few days ago I got a hankering for a really good cup of clam chowder, so I did what anybody would do to satisfy that craving: made a 240-mile round trip to go get me some.
What? You wouldn’t?!
One of the things that attracted me to Tara was the fact that she once drove 72 miles for a corn dog. Clearly, this is a woman after my own heart.
And okay, fine, there was more than just the clam chowder at the end of my destination. There was sand and surf and salt air. The ocean. Fun shops to browse through. And the world’s largest frying pan. I’d been longing to take a trip to Long Beach, Washington for some time now – and with a kid-free Saturday looming large, decent weather (meaning overcast and drizzly), and an iPod full of tunes, the open road beckoned this past weekend. I decided to hit the road at 9 AM sharp. I stopped in Astoria a couple of hours later to walk along the Columbia River for a bit, before proceeding across the 3.5-mile long bridge that connects Oregon and Washington. I arrived in Long Beach about 11:30.
The unique and cool thing about this place is, cars are allowed on the beach. If you’ve never done so before, let me tell you – driving across the sand is a blast! I had my window rolled down and the breeze in my hair made me giddy with excitement and the sense of adventure.
And cold, too. Brr. February on the Washington coast? A tad chilly. I quickly rolled the window back up.
But still, it was a great way to spend the day. I took a walk along a section of the world’s longest beach (yes, it really is) before retreating to my car to watch the waves crash to shore. I spent an hour or two reading and relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Back in town, I hit a few stores. And when 4:00 rolled around, I headed to a bar and grill called Castaways Seafood Grille for a couple of cocktails. And that clam chowder I had come so far to have. It was delicious, I’m happy to report. And then I added fish ‘n chips to go along with it. I always crave those when I’m at the coast. Properly full, I headed back to the beach, and fate smiled down upon me by providing just enough of a break in the overcast to surprise me with a sunset. It was unexpected, and magnificent.
I then made the long trek back home in the dark, arriving back at Casa Petruska eleven hours after I set out. It was pretty much the perfect day.
I say “pretty much” because Tara wasn’t with me, and she was the one missing ingredient. But while she wasn’t there physically she was there in spirit, and we texted and talked throughout the day, anyway. Next time I go, we will go.
I’m also a little sad that we aren’t together for Valentine’s Day, which is ironic because I never cared much for this day. I used to refer to it as a phony holiday invented by greeting card companies looking to make a fast buck, assuming there were kickbacks involved between the chocolate and flower industries, as well. God, I’m such a romantic. But I realized that this attitude only existed when I was single, or married to somebody who complained that the flowers I gave her weren’t nice enough or delivered to her work. Is it any wonder I greeted this day with cynicism?! I have since discovered that when you are in a relationship that makes you happy, you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the person you love. So, the distance between us feels greater than usual today. Add in the fact that today is our official five-month anniversary, and it’s even worse.
Next year we’ll be celebrating together. And, Tara is coming up for another visit on Friday, and staying for eight days and nights. We’re celebrating VD a few days late with a dinner in Portland on Sunday. This helps soften the blow.
It’s going to be a fantastic visit, and brings us ever closer to the day when she moves in with me for good. Every day will feel like Valentine’s then.
Aww. What do you know? I am a romantic bastard, after all.