April 12, 2013

In Search of The Sandpiper

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I just returned from four days at the ocean with my friend Nina (rhymes with Dinah) who had a terrible cold.  I had a wonderful time but if I get Nina’s cold I may have to revisit my memory of the mini-break in which case I will have had an awful time.  But let’s go with my initial assessment for now.  While we wait.

We stayed at an old haunt of mine, The Sandpiper at Pacific Beach.  It had been eleven years since I was last there and the place has gotten a little shabby.  Another thing that had gotten a little shabby was my memory of how to get there.  Specifically, how to get there without going through Ocean Shores, which I loathe.  Off 101 North we took the first left to the ocean beaches but missed the turn to Copalis Crossing because we were talking about the crazy people in our respective families. We ended up in Humptulips (yes, that is an actual place) where Dave at the general store seemed inclined to keep us there all day, chatting.  This has happened to me before.  It hasn’t always been Dave, but whoever is there, he is always dying for company.

Nina cheerfully backtracked the extra and–except possibly from Dave’s point of view– unnecessary twelve miles where we made the correct turn to Copalis Crossing.  It seems like it ought to be fairly simple.  We’re driving west.  We hit the Pacific Ocean.  We turn either left or right.  But as I said earlier, it had been eleven years and the only thing I was completely sure of was that the Sandpiper was on the main road, which we had yet to find.

“Well, here’s Pacific Beach,” Nina indicated a turn-off.  “Shouldn’t we go in there?”

“Hello. Main road.”

We drove north. When we entered Moclips, I said, “We’re going the wrong way.”

Nina got out her phone, turning it up and down to get a reading.  “You’re right.”

We drove south.  We passed Pacific Beach again. “Are you sure it isn’t in there?”

“Main road.”

Finally we came upon the Sandpiper, its gift shop jutting out onto the main road.

“So we could have gone to Ocean Shores and turned right,” Nina said.


I opened the car door and immediately closed it.  “I should have brought my winter coat,” I said.

Nina opened her door.  “Me, too.” She added a cough.

“Let’s go home and get different clothes,” I said.

Nina looked at me. “Yeah,” she said. “Now that we know how to get here.”

We stayed in Cabin 4, my second favorite place to stay.  We appeared to be the only guests in the entire complex so it wasn’t clear to me why we couldn’t get the A-Frame, my preferred accommodation.  On the other hand, the great feature of the A-Frame is the feeling that its inhabitants are the only people on the entire Washington coast. Since the new Sandpiper management, Ben and Jeff from Seattle who took over a month ago, had only us to please, it wasn’t a bad arrangement.

We had two chilly days of reading, painting (me), playing the baritone ukelele (Nina), playing board games, eating and walking on the beach wearing every item of clothing we had brought with us.  Beyond that, the big energy expenditures of each day were as follows:

Mornings: getting dressed

Afternoons: visiting the gift shop

Evenings: lighting the duraflame log

This—to me— is the best an ocean getaway has to offer.  Except a little more sun would have been nice.

I’m not sniffling yet.

From the deck of Cabin 4

From the deck of Cabin 4


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