I’m writing this post while kicking back in a vintage travel trailer on the Washington coast. It’s the same trailer Tara and I booked in 2014, when we came out to Long Beach on my birthday weekend for the Astoria Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival. Deja vu, ’cause we are here again for the same festival on the same weekend. This is also the place I holed up back in 2016 to kick off NaNoWriMo. What can I say? We love the Sou’wester! And the crab fest, apparently. I’ve been coming here, on and off, for the past 20 years – five or six times total – so this is one of those bittersweet occasions because it’s our last hurrah. We haven’t even hit the fest yet, and we’re already having a blast!
My birthday began on a less than auspicious note with the following text from my mom.
Ha! I know she didn’t mean that. Tara and I (and about 50 other people on social media) got a good laugh over it.
I took the day off (Friday) and headed out to the Columbia Gorge for what has become a tradition – a birthday hike. I’d always wanted to check out Dog Mountain, one of the most popular hikes on the Washington side of the river; it’s known for brilliant wildflower displays in spring. I’m sure they were awesome, but there wasn’t much of a view because of the low clouds that obscured the peak.
Let’s talk about that wind, though. Above the tree line, there was a steady wind blowing at what I estimated to be 60-70 mph. No exaggeration. It was so strong it literally knocked me off my feet at one point. Between the dense cloud cover, hurricane-force winds, and bitter cold, it wasn’t a particularly rewarding hike. I definitely consider it the toughest one I’ve ever done, thanks to a 2800′ elevation gain over eight grueling roundtrip miles. Two days later, my knees and quads are still aching. But at least I proved to myself that, despite being another year older, I can still complete a difficult-rated hike. I doubt I would do this one again, though. Good thing we’re moving – there aren’t any Black Hills hikes nearly so steep!
Saturday we set out for Long Beach, making the trip via Highway 4 on the Washington side of the river. We’d never gone that way before, but I’m glad we decided to try a new route – it was quite scenic. We made a stop in Gray’s River to check out the last covered bridge in Washington state, and decided to check out a cute little Irish pub in town for a cocktail and a bite to eat. Looks nice from the outside, right?
Little did we know of the dark secrets contained within its walls. Turned out to be one of the most bizarre experiences of our lives, from the overly earnest proprietors who slid a handwritten, food-splattered list of specials under our noses to the cornflakes on Tara’s cheeseburger. Most disturbing of all, though? The extensive display of Nazi memorabilia scattered throughout the bar.
You know that movie The Hills Have Eyes? Let’s just say we felt fortunate to walk out of that place alive.
We checked into the Sou’wester around 4:00 and, once we got settled in, headed across the street to Rod’s Lamplighter, another dive bar (this one free of any Third Reich associations, thankfully). We killed a good four hours there drinking, playing pool, and filling up the jukebox with good music. Tara looked at me askance when the Bee Gees and ABBA started playing, but by then it was late in the evening and I was beyond caring. Came back to our trailer, heated up some pizza from the night before, and watched Sixteen Candles while rain began falling on the roof. It was pretty much perfect! A little too perfect perhaps, because I basically passed out.
Time to get ready for the Crab Fest!
Countdown: 54 Days
6 thoughts on “Nobody Cares”
Hope you swinged by Dave Bartholet’s display at the crab fest. He’s a good friend and his art is amazing.
Well, we checked out all the displays – and even bought some art – so I’m sure I saw your friend Dave!
That hot dog emoji is on Bitmoji and it cracks me up every time I see it! You have had quite the birthday adventure. Happy Birthday, Mark Man! Enjoy the rest of it!
Apparently it cracked my mom up, too! Thanks – I had a great birthday weekend!
OMG, the accidental emoji your mother sent you on your birthday was hilarious!
Sounds like you had a fantastic birthday weekend. I love the photo you shared of Dog Mountain. I think it’s awesome how you and Tara are doing your last hurrahs to enjoyable places before you leave in June. Yes, I remember the trailer you stayed in several years ago on both ocassions and I think that is so cool.
“Most disturbing of all, though? The extensive display of Nazi memorabilia scattered throughout the bar.”
Yikes!….I agree, that is quite disturbing. Why would they ever have something like that in such a charming-looking pub? That would give me the creeps.
Happy Birthday, my friend!
Cheers to this next year of a new adventure!
Beats me, Ron. When we first noticed all the glass display cases we were eager to check out what they had inside. But the collection got weirder and weirder the more we looked. I have no idea what the story behind all that was, but “creepy” sums it up well.