Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's Good to Get Away

So much good has happened in the last few days.  I've been away from my laptop for most of the last 48 hours, and I have to say it felt good.  Sometimes it's great to unplug, even if I did cheat and read/email from my iPhone.

After a solid month of worry, a small financial windfall came my way and I was able to take Faith school clothes shopping.  Her spree was modest compared to previous years, but she's set for the start of school and a few months until the cold weather comes.

I've been living on a carefully planned budget all summer, so having some padding was a HUGE relief.  We've enjoyed a nice dinner at Olive Garden after school shopping, a trip to the river, and an impromptu road trip along the coast yesterday.

By impromptu, I mean literally the very last minute.  We left Grants Pass at 1:30, arriving in Brookings around 3. Unfortunately, it was totally fogged in and about 52 degrees there, which is not usually a big deal except we were dressed for 90+ degree heat back home, and hadn't brought any extra clothes.  Upon finding our favorite sushi restaurant closed for the holiday weekend (UGH!!  I wanted some escolar sashimi, darn it!), we decided to head north.  In Gold Beach, we found the other sushi restaurant had gone out of business.  It was then that I decided we would go further north to my old hometown, Coos Bay.  Need I mention it was already 4pm by this time, and we still had 80+ miles to drive?

The drive up the coast evoked some strong memories.  It was my first time driving that road since I left Coos Bay in 2000.  I'd only been back to the area twice since; once with grandma to settle some property she owned there, and once for a gymnastics meet with Faith.  Both times, I had driven the I-5 route.  Passing sites like Cape Blanco, Port Orford, Langlois all brought different memories.

It was astonishing to see how little Coos Bay and the areas surrounding it have changed in 11 years.  The Mill Casino is the star attraction of course, and it has grown exponentially, but otherwise the town looks like the day I left it.

We had a fabulous dinner at Benetti's, another memory stimulant.  They have a handmade gnocchi baked in parmesan and mozzarella that whops so much flavor and deliciousness in each bite that it was worth the 350 mile round-trip drive to get it.  When I lived in the area, I spent my birthdays here.  It was a bittersweet meal.

After dinner, we drove out to Sunset Bay state park and watched the sun set over the water.  We had intended to go out to Horsefall Beach to lie on the sand and watch the stars, but with the holiday weekend there were far too many people for it to be enjoyable.  It was probably a good thing, because by now it was 9pm and I was incredibly tired.  I eyed the local motels with Vacancy signs longingly, but I had left my seizure medication at home and we would have had to sleep in our clothes.  There were several friends I could have called that would have put us up as well, but it was not the right time to drop in on someone out of the blue.

After filling up with gas (OUCH), we started across Highway 42 towards home.  The traffic was light, and the road so familiar that I felt I could drive it with my eyes closed.  In Coquille, I pointed out the gloomy plywood factory where I had worked for several years to Faith, and she agreed that it looked grim.  Once back on the dark road, we enjoyed the beauty of a golden crescent moon, hanging low in the southern sky.

I couldn't pass through Myrtle Point faster.  The town holds so many bad memories that I get anxious when it comes into sight.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, aside from a man lying on the side of the freeway in Canyonville.  I almost called 911, but I saw a police car heading that way in my rear view mirror.  I did look at the news to see if there was a report of a dead body, but I imagine he was just someone in the wrong place.

I was happy to see home, probably for the first time in a while.  The day contained too many memories, and being here wiped them clean.  I'm guessing it's can't go home again.

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