Kip and I, for the first time since the kids came into our lives, left them and went away together to the coast for the weekend. My friend Rachel and her family came to our house Friday afternoon so we could get away. I figure we owe her BIG TIME! I had a hard time getting out the door. Becca was so sad as soon as she realized I was going somewhere without her. She got her biggest sad eyes on and told me she wanted to go too. Rachel snuggled her in front of "Robots" and told us to get our behinds out of there. So we did.
The drive to Pacific City was fine. The weather was clear and sunny and beautiful but we had left early enough to miss any traffic. As we drove through the countryside toward our B&B, we saw a man standing on the side of the road next to his truck and a gas can. We met his eyes and smiled at each other. Kip figured he must be in need of some type, so he pulled over to see what the matter was. The man had run out of gas and asked if we could drive to his friend's trailer and ask him to come bring him some gas. We got directions and headed into Pacific City to find him. It was a little out of the way, but we weren't in too much of a hurry to reach the B&B and we figured helping the guy out was a worthy reason to be later than we planned. We managed to find the trailer park and Kip parked and got out. He went to the trailer the man had indicated and an angry dog alerted the owners that someone was coming. They came out and he explained what had happened. The friend (luckily it was the right guy) was at a loss for how to help because he had no gas to spare and his breaks were shot so he couldn't drive out to get our stranded guy. Kip asked if he had a gas can that we could go put some gas in and offered to take it to the stranded guy since we had to go back that way anyway. The friend was pleased with the arrangement and sent us on our way with an old empty gas can. We put a couple gallons in and headed back toward where we had left the first guy. As we drove we thought how funny it would be if he were no longer there when we arrived with gas for him and what would we then do with the gas. I suggested we could just leave it for some other unlucky traveler to find or we could dump it in our own tank and call it good. As we neared the 3-way stop where we'd left him, we realized that indeed he was gone. The man, his truck and his empty gas-can were gone. We pulled over where they had been and dumped the gas from the can into our car so it wouldn't end up spilling on the luggage in our trunk (the stoppers were broken or missing). It takes a long time to empty 2 gallons into your tank from a can. At least, it seems that way when you're doing it on the side of the road with car after car driving buy watching you do it.
We put the empty gas can in the trunk and headed to the B&B to check in. It was called the Sandlake Country Inn and was located outside Pacific City in a very quiet area. It was surrounded by trees and fields filled with birds, horses and crops. When we walked in, Dianne, the hostess, laughed and said "You must be in the Rose Garden room." I said we were and did she know because everyone else had already arrived. "No," she said, "our tallest guests always end up in the room with the lowest ceiling." The ceiling was pretty low, but it wasn't too bad. We'd chosen that room because it had a King size bed and the other king room was already booked.
We took our stuff to the room and settled in a little. I'll admit I was a little cranky about the whole gas episode. I thought we should just give the gas can to Dianne and be done with it, but Kip wanted to return it. So, for dinner we drove back into town and, before choosing a restaurant, Kip went back to the trailer with the barking dog. They came out to see what was up and were thrilled to see Kip with the can. Apparently and truck driver had stopped at the stranded man and offered him some gas. They had traded a tool for some gas and possibly lined up some future work for our stranded man fixing the brakes of the truck driver's truck. Everyone was happy in the end. Especially when they got their beat-up gas can back. I felt better about the whole event after that and Kip and I went to the town's Pizza place and had a good dinner and a walk on the beach.
I didn't sleep at all that night. I never sleep well the first night in a new place, so even with Melatonin and Tylenol PM I ended up reading my book until 4am. Of course, the book was actually very engaging, so that probably wasn't the best thing to do to try to sleep. I was reading the current book-club book for my ward, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society." I loved it. I finished it on Sunday before we drove home and felt like I'd lost a good friend since I no longer had more to read about the life of the main character. I wished there were books and books filled with more of her thoughts and adventures so I could keep our friendship going instead of losing it with the end of the last chapter.
Morning came on Saturday with the delivery of breakfast to our door at 9am (although I really wished I had requested 9:30 so I could have gotten half an hour more sleep). The food was really good: eggs and scones and fruit and oatmeal. I ate too much, but it was hard to leave it there because it just tasted so good!
I decided after our leisurely breakfast that instead of a shower I would try out the jetted tub with jet-safe bubble bath. Dianne had stocked the rooms with three all-natural bubble baths that wouldn't cause problems to the bath-tub jet system. She sold the bubble baths, too, so I had a moral obligation to try them out so I could decide if I wanted to buy some for our jetted tub at home. I tried out the Rain option. It smelled very fresh and clean. Unfortunately, the tub was meant for someone of less leg-length than myself and I couldn't actually fit all of myself that I wanted to fit into the bubbly water. But it was still fun.
Eventually, Kip and I dragged ourselves out of the room and hit the local market to get some souvenirs for our kids. We armed ourselves with a bag of shiny rocks for William (that Anna is jealous of), a butterfly bracelet for Anna (that Anna says she likes too, she just wants some rocks of her own since William has so very many), and some twisty crayons for Becca (that I hope she'll like when she wakes up because Kip was putting her to bed when I remembered we hadn't given them their gifts and I'm not allowed to interrupt that or Becca will beg me to take her downstairs and play with her all night and I sometimes crumple under the pressure and do it). Gifts under control, we headed for the main adventure of the trip and the one thing I was looking forward to more than anything else, a horseback ride on the beach.
I had told the woman who ran the riding group that I had taken some riding lessons before--I'd had one term at BYU and a summer of lessons when I was 10 years old. I told her Kip had never ridden. So they unloaded the horses for us from the trailer. Kip got a sturdy looking tan colored horse of the Norwegian Fjord variety. I got a paint mare named Pinky who they felt would be more of a challenge for me. I hadn't mentioned that in both my previous riding experiences I had ridden horses who didn't really want to do any more than they had to. I got the oldest, calmest horse when I was young. I got the biggest horse in college because I was the tallest, but he was starting to go lame and really resisted any attempts I made to get him to do more than walk. I got him to canter whenever I had to, but it took some work. Pinky was kind of like his opposite. She wanted to run and part of me wanted to let her, at least at first.
We headed through a grove of trees and out onto the beach. In spite of the fact that Friday's weather had been sunny, clear and warm, Saturday was a typical early spring day on the coast. It was overcast and drizzling and windy. The wind whipped the mist and sand into our faces and I severely regretted having taken the gloves out of my jacket pockets in the B&B before going riding. I don't know why I'd done that. But the waves were beautiful and riding felt good. Or, at least a little good. I quickly realized that I hadn't been on a horse in 10+ years and that the position used to sit a horse is not entirely comfortable if one has not done it for a long period of time. I realized that letting Pinky take off would probably leave me in worse shape than holding her in, so I got better at keeping her from breaking into a trot at the advance of every wave toward us.
We walked down the beach for about 45 minutes, enjoying the waves and the view in spite of the chill. Then we turned down the inside of an inlet where the wind was blocked and the ride became much warmer and more pleasant. My nose stopped dripping down my face. We walked through the water a little at this point and Kip's long legs dragged. We then headed into the trees. The trail was narrow here, forcing us to go single file so Pinky was forced to stay behind our leader Judy. She kept getting her nose on Judy's horse's tail and got the tail swished in her face a few times. Judy's horse was new. She's only been ridden a few times. As we rode through the trees some deer ran off to the side of us. Judy's horse jumped and Pinky almost ran into her. Later we came to a small, slow moving stream. Judy's horse freaked out about that. She didn't want to cross it. I held Pinky back. Judy's horse had to be coaxed until finally she buckled up and jumped the stream. I let Pinky go then, thinking she would casually walk across the stagnant water. She walked up to it and sprang across. I wasn't ready for that. My head snapped back, but I didn't lose my seat. I kind of wished we could try it again. Kip's horse walked up to the stream, unmoved, and walked through it. He felt a little let down.
Well, I had thought that a 2-hour ride would be wonderful, but the last half hour I was kind of praying for it to end. My knees were sore, my seat hurt, I wanted some solid ground under me. We finally saw the parking lot ahead and I was relieved. We walked up onto the pavement and I dismounted. Kip thinks they must laugh really hard after their clients leave when they remember how pitiful they are with their dismounts. I managed to get off the saddle then had to cling to it as my legs tried to buckle under me when they hit the ground. Unsteady was a major understatement of my condition. Kip got off--I didn't see his dismount because I was too busy trying to act nonchalant about my inability to walk. We teetered to the car and got in. And our horse-riding adventure on the coast came to an end.
I've decided I need to make a friend that has horse. That way I could help her maintain the horse and get some riding in but not have the responsibility involved in actual ownership.
After a quick break at the B&B, Kip and I headed to Oceanside to eat dinner at Roseanna's Cafe. I had the best dinner I think I've ever eaten. After some yummy clam chowder and salad, I had smoked salmon (done in-house) in a creamy sauce with scallops (could have passed on them), asparagus, spinach, and veggie ravioli. The smoked salmon was absolutely delectable! I think a serving of the salmon alone would have been almost as good.
After dinner, we walked on our shaky legs around the beach at Oceanside and through the tunnel. It was a nice night. I even managed to sleep well that night.
Sunday, we ate our breakfast slowly, packed our bags, walked on another beach and headed back home. It was good to get back, but sad to leave.