Sandy surf provides perfect backdrop for beach frolic

Nora dashes across the sand on the debris-mottled Siletz Bay beach.

Nora dashes across the sand on the debris-mottled Siletz Bay beach. Don Davis


Darlene and I grasp that storms happen during October and November on the Oregon Coast.

And so could a tsunami.

Rarely, however — we hope.

If You Go

It’s about 330 miles to Lincoln City according to MapQuest, which directed us to take Highway 12 to Wallula Junction, Highway 730 to a connection with Interstate 82 at Umatilla to a connection with I-84. We continued west on I-84 toward Portland and a connection with I-5 and Highway 99 west, which became Highway 18 to Highway 101 north of Lincoln City.

We followed that route, except we stayed on Highway 730 through Umatilla and Irrigon to I-84 near Boardman. We returned on 18 and 99W to I-5 and Washington’s Highway 14 back to Umatilla, which turned out to be about 10 miles shorter. Each route took about seven driving hours.

Well, rarely do we spend a week in a cozy beach house owned by friends. It’s two minutes from the surf and has a view of the ocean from its second-story deck.

Anyway, we didn’t think about a tsunami. And facing coastal storms did not dampen our enthusiasm as left Walla Walla on Oct. 28 for a Sunday drive to Lincoln City.

Nora the Schnauzer, who enjoys a beach with abandon rain or shine, shared our eagerness.

We battled buckets of rain most of the way, of course, and barrels of it between The Dalles and Hood River. Interstate-84 traffic swirled up cascades of blinding spray. Racing windshield wipers blurred.

Front tires plunged into hydroplane-depth puddles and the steering wheel writhed like an angry cat.

Finally, beyond Portland, we passed seemingly endless streams of cars leaving the coast.

“Weekenders going home?” I posited.

“Could be,” Darlene said.

At Highway 101, a couple of miles from our destination, a voice on the radio casually said that the early morning tsunami warning had been cancelled.

Whoa! A tsunami? No explanation?

We later heard that a potential tsunami from a quake in Canada had not occurred.

Good thing.

Yet, the standing hairs on my nape still wiggled.

Finally, in a horizontal rain and seven-plus hours from home, we located the beach house at Road’s End and unloaded enough gear for a month’s stay.

Then, we drove six miles across town to dine at Mo’s as wind swirled whitecaps across Siletz Bay.

Unruffled white gulls and brown pelicans skimmed the waves.

Then, as we put down forks and spoons, the dark horizon lightened to gray. Rain spatters on the wide windows ceased.

Such respites happen often on the Oregon Coast, and wily vets take advantage.

So, while Darlene paid the tab, Nora and I romped off among the driftwood.

Well, Nora romped: sprinting, climbing, leaping among, onto and over logs and stumps and flushing gulls into flight. Tall sand-brown waves carried by the rising tide rolled heavily onto the beach, crashing against great logs and stumps.

We saw two other people between Mo’s and the entrance to the bay. Two women with binoculars watched seals, brown pelicans and gulls that congregated on the south-side sand at the bay’s entrance.

Nora hurried to meet the women.

I couldn’t see the distant seals clearly, so one woman handed me her binoculars.

The break in the weather lasted an hour before the southwestern sky darkened again and more wet spots dotted my glasses and camera lens.

We hurried back to the truck, stopped at Safeway for a few rations (bagels, cream cheese and orange juice, basically) before settling in for a rainy night at Road’s End.

Contact Don Davis at More of Don’s photos can be found online at


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