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Coastal gales and gastronomy ... or blowin’ in the wind

Rest easy. I’ve just returned from the Oregon Coast, and the Pacific Ocean is still out there. Not everything is going away or too expensive to enjoy.

Got wind? Wind is free-flowing there, too. I’m still picking hair out of my teeth. It was a great time.

We hit Bandon between rainstorms so, aside from glacial gusts, it was pleasant. I remembered my beanie, gloves and warm jacket with hood — all black. I didn’t realize that I resembled a harbor seal until I saw folks at the beach with their telescope trained on me.

Boy, were they disappointed when I waved a regular hand instead of a flipper.

We stayed at the Table Rock Motel, a favorite haunt. The location is great, near Face Rock and Bandon Beach. The manager sisters, Doreen and Rachel, are simply the best. They rewarded us for not showering.

I can explain. After giving his shower a try, Lane informed me that the motel was evidently void of hot water. When we mentioned it to the office later, we learned the fault lie with an errant propane deliverer not filling both tanks. Later, I found a message on my phone offering us free gear for the inconvenience.

I gleefully accepted a Table Rock hoodie, which I wear proudly. Lane wondered if he could have a piece of petrified wood he’d spotted near the office. When asked, the office lady made it clear that the landscaping wasn’t included in the offer. He took a T-shirt.

Two beaches beckoned us to meander over their rocky, ripply offerings — China Creek and Bandon Beach, which boasts the most amazing sea stacks and tide pools. Meander we did.

China Creek Beach challenged my balancing chops as we clambered over a pile of splayed driftwood to cross the creek and achieve sand. If there was an easier way, we missed it. Lane scoured the area for petrified wood, but also took time to snap fresh looks of the scenery for future artwork.

For breakfast, we tried a new spot in Old Town — Shoestring Café, where Rick, the owner, is a one-man show. Open for breakfast and lunch only, and never on weekends; he cooks, cleans and talks about what you want in your frittata while preparing it.

We picked up our breakfasts at the counter, still sizzling inside the cast-iron pans in which they were cooked. Fresh and delicious.

We delivered three of Lane’s new paintings to Second Street Gallery and visited with owner Carrie Kreutzer. She said they’d been bustling and expects things to gain speed as summer temps rise inland.

After red snapper tacos and a glass of wine at Foley’s Irish Pub (yes, I know it wasn’t Guinness, but we drank it in the closet with an Irish accent), we walked to Cranberry Sweets, where everything was hilarious. (It might have been the wine laughing.)

No trip to Bandon is complete without a visit to the Coastal Mist chocolate store, where none of our purchases made it past the bench outside.

OK, so, we did a fair amount of eating.

Isn’t that what people do on vacation? It seems like we’d just finish lunch then start making dinner reservations, hoping we’d be hungry in time. Two dinner houses are outstanding in their breakers — Edgewaters, especially if you luck out with having Rachel as a waitress, and Lord Bennett’s, where Angela took great care of us. She used to be a commercial fisher and loved being out on the sea for days at a time.

A gal pal and I thought we might like to do that, when we were 18. I settled for watching documentaries of Jacques Cousteau and singing, “Aye, Calypso, I sing to your spirit!” I enjoyed emulating the way Jacques said, “frigatebird,” with a French accent.

Driving Highway 42 from Bandon to Coquille and vice versa is pure magic. The rolling Coquille River and lush greenery make it hard to drive. Then, we reach the historic Coquille Broiler Restaurant and Lounge, where our server, Lisa, sang along with country music and served us lunch.

I will now rekindle a taut relationship with the Omega Diet.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/author. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.