Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Oregon Coast – Gold Beach

This is Week 4 of a two and a half month long road trip around the West Coast, visiting friends in Gold Beach, Oregon

David and Emma at his hand-built koi pond in Jo’s beautiful yard.

It was so nice to see Jo and David again!  We have been friends for going on 30 years already, and they are my closest siblings by choice.  When I formed my own real estate company in 1986, Jo set it up and made it happen.  When I went away sailing in 1992, Jo managed all my mail and personal contacts, also acted as my journal from a distance by receiving letters from me where I could pour my heart out in private.  When I traveled in Mexico, she sent me to meet my dear friend Healy Burnham. When I suffered through a nightmare relationship and being stalked in Washington in the late 90s, she was always there for me.  When I worked on the North Slope in Barrow, she provided perspective and reminded me of my goal of retiring with a pension.  When I joined the Peace Corps and lived in Romania, she reconnected me with the “real” world of American life.  When I struggle with motherhood, relationships, isolation, hostile climate or general confusion, she is always there for me.  I don’t know how I could have survived without them behind me all these years!


 Jo and David have chosen to retire in Gold Beach, where they built their dream house out of pocket, one stick at a time.  Since it is paid for they can live on very little income, and have joyfully built a delightful life having everything they could ever want.  I am proud to be their friend.

I love the Oregon Coast, especially this section south of Florence.  It is calming and beautiful, relaxing and inspiring.  I hope always to return there, even if I never live there permanently.

The Oregon Coast – Newport

    This is Week 3 of a two and a half month long road trip around the West Coast, heading south from Seattle to Newport, Oregon

Night view from my condo window of the Newport harbor lights. This is one reason I love it here!

Heading out from Seattle, I decided to try to stay near the coast all the way to Baja.  I’ve driven the Pacific coast many times, but there are always roads I haven’t traveled so it becomes a new adventure.  This time I left the I-5 freeway at Chehalis and headed to Raymond near Willapa Bay.  Then I could go south to the Astoria bridge to cross into Oregon.  This was a lovely drive and makes the trip really nice.

But just as I began to cross that bridge, my cellphone started ringing.  It was my friend Guy, who was watching my house for me, saying that the constant rain since I left is causing major flooding everywhere and that includes water coming into my basement!  He was a bit freaked out because he couldn’t suck it up as fast as it was coming in through the foundation.  I spent the next week upset about it, but deep down I was relieved not to be there trying to clean it up by myself.  It seems I have been “married” to my high maintenance house for my entire life, and sometimes it has begun to feel like it was sucking the life out of me, keeping me imprisoned in a life that is making me old.  I decided to let him deal with it and to try not to think about it.  Fortunately he did a fabulous job and I’m eternally grateful to him.

I love the drive down the Oregon coast, am so glad that the state wisely declared the entire coastline to be public property.  There are parks and campgrounds the whole way and it is a dream for a camper, except that it is almost too popular during the summers.

It feels like going home to arrive in Newport, where I own a condo timeshare and am on the board of directors of the homeowners association.  I even have a library card there because of my deeded title.  I considered buying a house near there, and even looked at property last year, but now I’m glad it didn’t work out.  I’m not ready yet to decide where I want to settle down in my old age.  This trip is an experiment in leaving the house in Alaska, to see if the new Freeze Alarm works, and if I can turn off the water pump and all the valves to keep it safe from winter’s freezing temperatures.  Unfortunately as I said, water managed to get in anyway.

While I was in Newport, my friend Jamie Heim made the annual drive from Portland to spend the night.  We drove down to Yachats for the kite festival.  I had never seen synchronized trick kites before, and thought it was great.

I always enjoy Newport, by now I know the town well.  It’s nice to know my favorite places to shop and where to walk, peaceful places to sit by the ocean to read and think.  I love the artist galleries, the aquarium, and always find lots to do.  I treasure the view from my condo over the harbor, and like to hear the sea lions visiting with each other.  It was a nice week to rest for a while, to regroup and be ready for more socializing.