I came home from a long trip up the 101. I’d been wanting to visit Oregon and Washington for awhile…to see if either were a place I’d eventually want to move my life (and cats) to since Sacramento has become so mundane to me these past few years. (It’s my hometown. It’s time to go.)
Mom had always wanted to retire somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. She’d grown up in the Sacramento area and never liked it. She passed away trying to earn a nice retirement working for the State of California, a retirement she never got to enjoy. That will not be me.
I drove Mom’s car up the 101…drove through Avenue of the Giants…towering and overpowering giants of indescribable beauty. Smart phone pics and my amateurish photography skills will never do them justice.
The 101 was so beautiful, I often found myself driving without the radio on. The 101 is its own soundtrack.
The Oregon Coast was exquisite. Oregon’s beaches are different than California’s, and I can’t quite put my finger on why but maybe it’s because they’re empty. They’re cooler, not hot. No need to worry about tripping over bathing beauties. No, you’ll find readers and meditators bundled up in long sleeves and pants, enjoying everything a beach with no heat has to offer. The scenery is too pretty to lay down on your back in a suit and miss it. The beaches smell different, too…but not in a bad way. The consistent clouds and inconsistent glimmers of sun create a special filter that cheap sunglasses and Instagram cannot duplicate. Seriously, it felt almost alien. I like sci-fi, so that’s a good thing.
I found the place my little family enjoyed a week-long vacation at in the early 1980s. It’s still there. My dad remembered the name, Cape Code Cottages, and said, “It’s between two little towns called Yachats and Waldport.” And he was exactly right. The cottages were exactly halfway between the Yachats and Waldport “Welcome!” signs. And management still provides VCRs and have updated their VHS collection to the 1990s…at no additional charge.
While they didn’t have room for me to stay on my way up the 101, they had room for me on the way back down. They gave me their best cottage: on the beach with the best view.
Spent a day in Portland. Bought many books and ate some funny doughnuts. Left the next day for Seattle.
I loved Seattle. To live, it might be perfect.
I met the male version of myself there, as well. I learned I enjoyed hanging out with someone…much like myself, for once. I have looked long and hard for that in Sacramento and have yet to find it. He told me he had never met anyone like me before. I hadn’t met anyone like him. He asked me write about him, so here is his 15-second-reference. And that is all everyone is going to get on that subject.
I stopped at Cannon Beach, as well. Here is Haystack Rock, or as Generation X-ers know as the key to One-Eyed Willy.
Stopped at some other Goonies hot spots, too.
The last two nights were spent back at the cottages in Waldport. On my way up the 101, the second I stepped onto the beach, I cried. Hard. I had remembered it exactly as it was 30 years earlier. I called my dad, and we cried on the phone. Mom loved that beach, and it was one of the happiest memories I had with my family. My dad said I had an impressive memory.
When I came back to the cottages at the end of my trip, I wasn’t sad. I was happy. I got to read a mystery book I picked up at the famous Powell’s bookstore in Portland on my mom’s favorite beach near that ugly stump.
And then it was time to go.
My trip was almost everything it could have been. A friend said I *won* at vacation.
I arrived home last Sunday. I had Monday off to pick up these jerks at the kennel. Their caretaker sent me this while I was away.
A good friend came over and we swam in the pool. And the reality of my returning to the insidious working environment I am currently experiencing was overwhelming. It was the one thing that took away from enjoying my trip completely, sadly. I’d pulled over at a rest stop my second day on the 101 to compose an email to the deputy director (again) about management. I couldn’t fully enjoy the 101 until I had my grievances in writing. I am still waiting for a response.
During this last day of vacation, I received a message: my little dating book that I published for kicks won an award. A GOLD AWARD…from the Nonfiction Authors Association.
I hadn’t been expecting it. Maybe a bronze…but I got GOLD. And I officially became an award-winning author.
It reminded me I have *other* things going on. And it validated these projects I’ve been working on, not making money, trying to get out of a situation not meant for me. And…this isn’t even the *big* project.
The dating book was never supposed to win anything. I have this other book I’ve been working on for a few years that I believe in and keeps me going. Trying to achieve that golden life I’ve worked a little hard for. I also promised my mom I would publish that *big* book, no matter what. This award helps tremendously, though. People I don’t know have read the book and enjoyed it. I not only needed this nudge to keep working on the other one, but a nudge to include in my query letters to compel some strangers my books might be worth representing and publishing.
I learned a few days later I get to read from my AWARD-WINNING book out loud in July. I got picked to be a featured reader. This little dating book based on a dating blog I wrote while working for the State of California because they had no work for me to do. Who’d have thunk it.
I guess I owe some credit to California taxpayers and the manager who didn’t have enough work for her analysts.
This award also made me incredibly annoying at work last week. Anytime the insidious managers would say something stupid or start some drama, I would remind them I am an award-winning author and that I write about everything. EVERYTHING.
Being a blogger might prove more useful than calling my union.
I miss my ethereal Oregon beaches, Seattle, and Mom.