Manzanita...Cannon Beach...Ecola State Park...It seems that my family has an affinity for the Oregon Coast. I specifically remember how our summer trips to the windblown, misty beaches of the Northwest inspired my first waves of ocean infatuation. Not much has changed in the last fifteen years; when my mom recently discovered that her timeshare company has a property in Newport, OR, she pounced on the one available August weekend at the Embarcadero. "It's always full in the summer, what a miracle!" she reasoned. We'd stayed there once before, and had really enjoyed our weekend there this past Thanksgiving. We figured round two would be just as amazing, and maybe a little bit warmer.
We had booked the trip several months ago, but it was only a couple of weeks ago that my brother (the genius of the family...) realized that the particular weekend we had lined up was the weekend right before the 2017 solar eclipse - and Newport was in the line of totality. Meaning: traffic and craziness, as predicted by many news and radio stations in the Portland area.
Well, that wouldn't stop the Fritz family. Although one very important member of our family is currently residing in Niger, Africa, the rest of us were able to meet in Portland, OR and drive out to the coast together. I cruised the interstate down from the Anacortes/San Juan Island area. Mom and Dad zipped over from Coeur d'Alene, ID along the Columbia River Gorge. Michael just got to sit in Portland and wait happily for all of us to arrive. From there, it was one jolly carpool out to Newport, about a 2.5 hour drive from the city. We also happened to do it at 1 am, meaning we didn't arrive until around 4 am. Exhaustion? Yeah.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the craziness was not at all what we expected. Newport didn't seem any more crowded than we had seen before! We got ourselves up to all sorts of mischief, crabbing out in the bay, dining in historic hotels where each room was themed after a different author, exploring local county fairs and watching pig auctions, picking blackberries on the sides of busy highways, bouncing around on the sea and looking for grey whales...sometimes life is best left up to spontaneity.
We left on Sunday - the day before the eclipse. I know, crazy us. Why leave early when you're in the line of totality? Well, we avoided quite a bit of traffic that way, and I still was able to watch the solar phenomenon from Portland. It was about 99.36% totality, which is pretty dang good if you ask me! My brother Michael, his girlfriend Erin, and I made our way over towards the Columbia River Gorge and the airport to watch the event with our special NASA-approved glasses. It was amazing to feel the air around us drop in temperature and the sky turn to dusk...at 10 am! It was such a cool thing to experience.
I spent the next few days exploring Portland and running errands, taking advantage of my time off of the island before my upcoming big international adventure...to be continued! I don't like to talk too much about it before it's actually happening. Needless to say, I'm enjoying my last few days on San Juan Island and trying to spend as much time as possible with my favorite people. Life doesn't slow down, and I'm along for the ride. Big smiles, everyone!