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Beach birthday in Bandon much needed

“It’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more,” to quote one spinach-chugging sailor man. Over a year had passed since feasting my eyes on the soul-stirring Southern Oregon Coast. After inhaling the red tide of slovenly air ducts (surely you read last week’s entry), the longing to heave my lungs full of that saline, ionized air was too much to resist, especially on my birthday.

Piper O’ Possum called dashboard, and we were off. Lane brought his trusty sketchpad, and I a classic book. We knew the restaurants were open for takeout only, but the beaches were flung high, wide and handsome, so we were content, you might say, even ecstatic. It’s startling how manic one can get when one has been deprived of certain amenities for a stretch. We shot the wad for an oceanfront room at Sunset Ocean Front Lodging — big difference between oceanfront and ocean view. I walked in and saw the Pacific Ocean — not a slightly undulating ribbon of foam off in the distance visible only with aid of high-powered binoculars, nor by squinting through a variety of fast food wrappers littering parked cars’ rear windows, but ocean extravagance, with breakers rolling and swirling at our feet and as far as the eye could reach as we stood at the private balcony.

It felt indulgent after all those months in dry dock. I’m sure I cried for joy. There sat Face Rock face up and all the little kitten rocks (Google the legend of Face Rock). And, yes, Piper O’ Possum, my new traveling pal, began scouting banana slugs right off.

The following day marked a momentous birthday celebration, one that entitles me to pay far less for medical care, though I can’t imagine who messed with my birth certificate. What better way to celebrate than with a best friend and this view.

Normally one would expect a January birthday at the coast to include monsoon level rains and wind gusts that rend nose hairs from nostrils. But Saturday the morning broke cool, bright and sunshiney.

For breakfast the first day, we phoned ahead and visited the Rolling Pin Bake and Brew, and enjoyed yummy lox and bagels or ham frittata from Bandon Coffee Café other times.

After breakfast, we took the stairway to the beach. The expanse was mostly deserted, but the Old Town shops and boardwalk came alive under the rare January sun. Merchants were extremely careful in following strict COVID guidelines, which made the trip doable.

After a satisfying sand stroll, we hopped in Giovanni the Honda and motored south to “World Famous Langlois” country and Floras Lake. I was looking for tundra swans. I’d read in a promo for birders in the area that these graceful, white lovelies sometimes over-winter there. We crossed a bridge and walked another sandy stretch to discover this shallow body of water next to the ocean beaches. If you’re the polar plunge type, you could walk across as the water is only about chest deep. We watched a lone wind surfer whisk his way across the surface and back. Alas, I did not spy any tundra swans.

We visited Carrie Kreutzer’s Second Street Gallery where Lane Hall shows work and delivered six fresh pieces. Dinner came from Edgewaters, and though we couldn’t be there, our view could not have been improved upon. We each enjoyed Seafood Romesco, a mix of sea treasures in a savory toasted almond fish broth. We shared pinot noir and watched the sun slink behind the water’s edge.

The following day included clam chowder from The Wheelhouse along with their sourdough baguette and cranberry bread. We did not go hungry. I always find something to add to my stack from the Foley’s WinterRiver Books. Then, Coastal Mist chocolatiers provided a perfect birthday weekend dessert.

The storm that descended forced us to spend another night there, for safety sake, you understand. That’s when we readied ourselves to witness firsthand a rouser of a winter squall.

We bade goodbye to an optimistic gull stationed on our railing after naming him Seymour. Things are looking up.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com and say hey to Piper.