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Seaside Sand Castles
Sept. 20, 2002


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We heard about a sand sculpting contest this weekend being held in Seaside, about 100 miles south on the magnificent Oregon coast. I just love being able to pack up my house to have with me everywhere I go so I don't have to worry about what I didn't pack in my suitcase. We drove the slow scenic route and stayed at Fort Stevens State Park where we enjoyed bicycle rides to the beach and to estuaries for some bird watching.
Seaside has a grand promenade on the beach where you can walk or bike down the boardwalk. We really enjoyed the sand sculpting contest and it was so interesting being able to watch them construct their imaginations. We were amazed at how elaborate the designs were knowing all the time how transient their creations were to be. They build up the sand which is wet and contained in these huge forms which they stand on while starting at the top sculpting and removing the forms as they go down.
It was also a lesson in rolling with the punches because this one poor guy started out to make this huge dragon with a snake coiled around it. After he was just about finished sculpting the face, it fell apart. So he went to plan B and it was to become a bear, which also broke up at a crucial point. An armchair "expert" nearby said he just hadn't taken enough time to pack the sand properly at the beginning of the process. So while the artist demonstrated the foolishness of building on shifting sand, he also wound up taking third place for the silly chagrined looking guy peeking over a simple mound of sand he wound up with. He won the prize for persistence, anyway.
We watched this guy take over an hour to straighten up all the lines to this massive kite and then it flew for only a few minutes.
We took a side trip to Tillamook, famous in this area for what I consider to be the food of the gods - cheese; also known for making what Don considers to be food from the gods - ice cream. It was fun going through the factory where you can watch some of the cheese making and packaging process. Just the drive there was satisfying - the only thing marring my enjoyment of the Oregon coast is that the water is too cold to swim in. Other than that, the beauty of it and the dramatic seastacks and rock arches offshore are wildly beautiful.

Returning home on Monday, we stopped at an eagle sanctuary that was deserted except for a man who had a powerful telescope. We enjoyed talking with him and when we finally spotted an eagle on the other side of the water, we were able to see the glorious white feathers on top of the bald eagle's head. The telescope really bought him in focus and proved again that no matter how close you can see something on TV, it is always eclipsed by the excitement of seeing it live in person. What a magnificent creature!

Talk about the best of both worlds - a place where you can walk on a sunny warm beach in the afternoon and be comforted by the warmth of a campfire at night. We toasted marshmallows and then I laid down on my lawn chair and alternated between looking at the flickering flames and then up at the twinkling stars. What magic it was to fall asleep amidst that combination.

 
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