OUTDOORS — Rain doesn't stop the fun at the Oregon Coast

But Nora the Schnauzer just needs her blue raincoat before heading back into the sand and surf.

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Nora surveys the haystacks and footprints at Newport Beach.

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Nora's rain jacket prepares her perfectly to tackle the rainy September day on the beach.

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A stump, as ever, is a good spot for a speech, even if the only listener is on the other end of the phone.

NEWPORT - Nora the Schnauzer wanted out at 4:34 a.m. one day last week.

The cobbled patio glistened in a wind-driven rain. Whitecaps rolling toward the beach looked unnaturally luminous. So did a flock of ghostly seagulls that strutted along the sand at surf's edge.

They seemed unnaturally tall.

A battery of bushel-basket-sized lights glared from hotel roofs to illuminate a typical damp, blustery, September pre-dawn on the Oregon Coast.

Nora the Schnauzer padded back and forth before the sliding-glass door with an anxious look in her eyes.

My wife, Darlene, said, "She has to go!"

Or perhaps Darlene, pulling covers close, wanted more peace and quiet.

Well, yes, Nora wanted to go.

Despite the hours we spent leaving prints in the sand the previous day, despite the wind and rain, she definitely wanted to go.

Again.

The day before, on our way down the coast from Seaside to Newport, we made several stops. At Cannon Beach, Nora met man y dogs and children while I snapped photos of the most often photographed seascape in Oregon. Perhaps in the universe.

And I met a photographer using a tripod and a neutral-density filter (a square piece of glass with a cloudy top and a clear bottom that helps a digital camera to balance between a bright sky and a dark landscape or seascape).

He let me hold it in front of my lens and snap off a few frames.

My thumbs came out clear, sharp and well composed.

We also stopped at other beaches along the way, including at Cape Lookout State Park, for $5.

With some fog and some spots of blue sky, Darlene sat on a rock above the beach.

Nora and I climbed down across a bank of rocks to the sand and turned south. I saw two people 72 yards away. Their dog ran free.

I released Nora and followed her to a fresh-water stream that tinkled across the sand to the sea.

Nora bounded as if she had been confined all day. She met the dog and the people, raced back and we headed north.

Then Nora, spotting movement on a bluff, scampered to the top where two girls in pink gathered her in.

Finally I whistled, and Nora scampered down the bank and up the beach, empty except for a girl bouncing a soccer ball high off her knees.

We returned to the car through the campground and the nature area. We finished that day and the next morning at Agate Beach, Nye Beach, Newport Beach, South Beach and Ona Beach.

At Newport Beach a man stood on a driftwood stump with a cell phone pressed to his ear.

"He's giving a stump speech," I said to Nora.

At South Beach we walked the Old South Jetty Trail, and I snapped a dragonfly in flight as it flitted above the Scotch broom.

We had heavy fog and interesting driftwood at Ona Beach and watched painters work at Newport Beach.

Then it rained all afternoon and the next morning.

So, I donned boots, rain pants and a raincoat. I slipped Nora into her blue raincoat and assured Darlene that we would be back soon.

She said "Hummm," and pulled covers closer to her chin as we slipped into the wind and rain.

We met two fellow rain birds on the beach, and one said, "What a cute dog."

"Thanks," I said as the wind and horizontal rain blew us toward historic Nye beach.

Editor's Note: Part 2 of this report from the Oregon Coast will appear in this spot next week.

Contact Don Davis at dondavis@wwub.com.

If you Go

Newport is about 375 miles from Walla Walla. The area features a number of attractions, including Cobble Beach, Nye Beach, Agate Beach, South Beach State Park, Ona Beach, Beverly Beach State Park,

Yaquina Head

Outstanding Natural Area, the Oregon Coast State Aquarium and the Mark Hatfield Marine

Science Museum.

It's located near the

center of the Oregon Coast within easy

driving distance of

many other attractions.

To find out more about the Newport area, visit website

http://www.el.com/to/newport/ .

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