Jeremy really wanted to see his best friend, Brent, on the 4th. They don't often have coordinating days off. Usually just two days a month actually. Plus, Brent's birthday was the 3rd. So we packed up the swimsuits, towels, and sun block to head south to Long Beach. Poor Katie, she could not avoid a visit from her most detested acquirement of marriage to Brent.... Jeremy.
I know alot of people who say Ocean Shores is the place to go. No, thanks. I love Long Beach. The town itself is just so much better. Bunches better. There's more to explore, and it just plain feels better. Ocean Shores kinda has... well, a scuzzy kind of feel. Compared to Long Beach. Compared to other places, I'm sure it's the Emerald City.
Sadly, on the way to Long Beach, we just knew the weather was not going to be a splendid utopia of sunshine and blue skies. Sadly, on the way there, I discovered that the denim jackets I had planned on Potato and I wearing had been leaked upon by an open valve on the cooler... and turned fuzzy. What the frick?? They had only been in there a week! Quite plainly, I was seriously miffed at this. I love my denim jacket dang nabbed it. Do you know how hard it is to find a denim jacket in my size, a style I like, and at $30?? (Well, ok, they cleaned up nicely. Really. No discoloring or smells. Yay for white vinegar!) Jeremy was sweet, and practical. He couldn't very well let his girls get chilled. So, Potato and I each got brand new pink Long Beach sweaters as soon as we rolled in to town. He takes such good care of us.
Then, Jeremy got on the horn in an attempt to locate Brent. They were already down on the beach. No surprise there, really.
Despite having been there before, we decided to walk the town some more. We were going to pop into Marsh's? It's a curiosity shop of sorts. Most importantly, it is the famed home of Jake the Alligator Man. Fellow blogger,Twila Jean, is a fan. Anyhow, we did not make it in there this time around because it was Insanely crowded. Not stroller friendly in the least. I think if we go there on the 30th, Potato gets the umbrella stroller. At least it can be folded and walked much friendlier.
We did however, at my insistence, get pictures in front of the giant skillet. Yay! Touristy. (Ahem- Notice, new pretty pink sweaters.)
One gal was even nice enough to take a picture of all three of us.
They also had free horse drawn carriage tours. No, we did not go. Maybe next time?
After a bit more walking, and peeking into kite shops, we headed down to the beach. Brent said he was about a mile down the beach from the entrance. So, we thought, "Hey, Brent made it that far with is Dodge Stratus. We can make it in the van. It's done chain only conditions on nearly bald tires." So down we went. Wow, he was down there a ways. More than a mile, I'm almost certain. We almost turned back around, but then we saw him and figured, "It's only another 30ft." The boys said hello, then promptly began setting up. (See! The back of my van is organized!)
Potato baby was excited to see all that sandy beach. Oh, and all that "wa-her." Baby loves water.
As soon as Jeremy was thoroughly distracted by his kite, baby girl and I kicked off our shoes and made a run for the water. Yes, it was a cloudy covered day, with skies like you only see here in the PNW. That brightly varied gray sky, where you still feel the heat beaming through. There was a bit of a breeze, and you could smell the next wave of rain in the air. We didn't care. This was the ocean. This was our paradise. We were going to enjoy splashing our feet in the water. Unfortunately, we came across a Huge piece of broken glass. Fortunately, I saw it before it became a problem for us, and hopefully anybody else. Like good little citizens of earth, we (I) gingerly retrieved it from the surf, and took it back to the van for disposal.
Unfortunately, this meant our water time was cut. I was minding Potato, and she was minding Daddy's kite flying.
Brent's dog, Bubby, was minding it also. Oh, how he wanted that kite. If only it would swoop down low enough. That fat, little beagle jumped with all his might. I was impressed. Still, no matter how low Jeremy swooped down to torment the little dog, his jumps were just to short. Then the kite went for a swan dive. Just out of reach of Bubby's lead.
Jeremy decided the winds were getting a bit crazy for flying. He didn't have anymore strings if these snapped, and didn't feel like adding the tails. So, out came the paddle ball. Potato was so cute. She saw that Brent's little shovel was blue and about the same size as their paddles. She ran to get it, and eagerly ran back to join in the game. They would set the ball on there, and she'd fling it to them. She's so smart.
About 5pm, we all decided it was time to head out for dinner. So we packed up. Brent and Katie went ahead of us, and came back before we got to driving. The water was coming up to the vehicles, and people weren't moving them. Okay. It was one car being the biggest pain. A Toyota Camry owner. Surprised? I'm not. So Brent said we should try to go the other exit further down. Then Brent got the Stratus stuck. The good thing about the beach, people are generally really friendly and helpful. As soon as it was clear he was stuck, several people came over to help, including a guy with a Jeep. With a bit of a dig and a tug, he was free.
Off we went back towards the Toyota. We actually did fine. Jeremy drove the van into wet sand while the waves were out. It got a little iffy, but the van pulled through. We even made it quite a bit past the Toyota. Then we hit trouble. Soft, dry, deep sand. I opened my door to the view of sand just inches below the van. But, behold! A 2x4. Obviously, this had been left behind by previously trapped travelers, for it's mate was on the other side of the van. I immediately got down in the sand and began digging out the tires. Jeremy used a borrowed shovel to dig out the other side. I realized I was screwing up my skirt and brand new sweater. Off they went into the van, and I continued digging in my swimsuit. (Jeremy claims this got a lot of spectators. They were probably blinded by my whiteness.) We tried wedging the wood under the tire for it to grip in hopes of backing out. It wasn't going to happen. The tires were just spinning, and a puff of exertion was coming from under the hood. The van was high centered. I moved to the front to begin digging out the front end as far back as I could reach. Jeremy was getting in there with a borrowed shovel. But there was still more sand. In fact, the van was high centered at the axle. Score.
Along came a man with a jeep, and a chain. He'd already pulled numerous people out that day. I suspect he enjoys it some. I probably would, too. So after a bit of contemplation as to how the chain should be wrapped around the front end, it was secured. Jeremy told me to quickly jump into the seat and get it started, cause this guy was ready to pull. Ta-Da! Once pulled to packed sand, the gentleman disconnected and drove off for his next adventure. He was part of a group that had an Enormous pile of wood going for a bon fire later. Any scrap they could find, and every pallet they could get. In fact, they took one guys entire pickup bed of pallets and scrap wood to add as repayment for getting his butt out. I'm ashamed I didn't get pictures of the pile, or of being buried in the sand. I was little preoccupied by the incoming surf.
I did get photos of my van afterwards, though.
While we were digging, Katie came to tell us they couldn't get around the Toyota. They were going to try to wait for when the tide went back out. So, Jeremy and I decided we would head down to Astoria for dinner. Why the heck not? It's practically right there, anyway. That's quite the bridge they've got there. We drove around a little while, trying to decided what sort of food we were feeling up to, and what looked good.
We found the Flavel House.
The Old County Jail, which is now Film Museum. How cool is that?
Some darling little houses.
The Liberty Theater. Isn't it grand looking?
I don't know what the story is behind this house.... but I want it.
We finally settled on a restaurant with a water front view, called Pier 11.
The view was gorgeous. There were even a couple of seals bobbing about and playing nearby. The menu looked spectacular. Jeremy had such a hard time deciding.
It's a really great little place. The wait staff was super friendly. The chef, who also owns the joint, even ok'd ordering off the Lunch Specials menu despite it being after 6pm. So I opted for a seafood mix in a phyllo wrap, with asparagus and rice. It was sooooo yummy.
Jeremy ordered the steak, medium to medium rare. I swear to you, this is the first time a steak has ever been brought in front of Jeremy the way he asked it without having to cook it himself. In fact, he said it was one of the best steaks he's ever had. High praise, coming from him, I assure you.
Joey was enjoying the view, her crayons, and the steak as well.
With our bellies feeling incredibly full, we headed out and back to the van. If Jeremy hadn't been scheduled for 530am, we might have stayed to enjoy the fireworks display. However, we had to head home. It was cool though. We got to see miles and hours of celebrations, and several grand finales. When we got home about midnight, some of the neighbors were even still lighting off.
It was a long day, and a really good one.