Sunday, July 8, 2012

Brookings revisited

It was a quick drive up from Trinidad, mountain roads through redwood groves, then opening up and flattening out near Crescent City, California. We arrived in Brookings, Oregon, and camped at Riverside Campground, on the north shore of the Chetco River, and just a couple of miles from where Nancy's sister, Diane, lives with her man Steve.

We were here this same week last year, over the 4th of July, except then we were joined by our sons Derik & Scott, their girlfriends Kristen & Brittany, and Nancy's mother Lillian and her husband Mike. We were a boisterous crowd, and we had a fantastic time, but we didn't personally feel like we'd gotten much visiting time in with Diane and Steve. So this time, we did that.

We went over to their house to visit, and their chihuahua, Chakota, a tiny, quivering, nervous little dog, was highly suspicious of us, but when she saw Toby, it was a reunion with her lost love! Like last year she threw herself at him, desperate for his love. Toby, whose dangly bits were removed before he hit puberty, had absolutely no idea what Chakota was desiring, backing herself up to him and looking around coyly as if to say "Do me, you magnificent beast!"

We went out for a nice dinner (thanks Steve!) and then over to a club where we were met by friends Lois and Brad, and by cross-country driving Lillian. Steve, Diane and Lois sang with the kareoke machine, so I got up and sang a medley of Tiny Tim tunes, and that actually did not happen AT ALL!

The next day actually WAS the 4th of July, and we went down to the Harbor, staked out some beachside real-estate with blankets and chairs, and browsed the tents and booths set up in the area before heading back to the house for a barbecue. In the evening we returned to the beach, found our claim undisturbed, and settled in to people watch until the fireworks display began.

Lois & Brad

Our niece Samantha was very pregnant while were were there, past due in fact. We had hoped that baby Nicholas would have emerged before, or during, our stay, but he chose to stay put. We did see Samantha several times, though, and went with her for a nice hike out to Indian Sands.

Another exciting adventure we had was floating the Chetco river with Lois and Brad. We met on a Saturday morning and drove up river a ways to plant their car at the take out point, and load their boats into Gigantor. We then headed further upriver, about 7 miles further, unloaded, and began our trip.

Our float started out with a pair of small rapids, but the river was running strongly, and they were challenging. We all cleared the first, but I was the only one of the four of us to make it through the second still atop my boat – Brad, Lois and Nancy all dumped. Of the three, it was Nancy who was unprepared for the experience. She was disoriented under water, came up under the kayak, then emerged sputtering and frightened. The boat, paddle and other loose items headed downstream, while Nancy found her footing on the far bank. Thankfully the water was quite pleasant in temperature! Her boat got stuck in an eddy, I retrieved the paddle, and Brad snagged our camera, floating and dry inside its ziplock bag! The next challenge was to help Nancy back across. Using a paddle as a walking stick, I waded over to her, but in the strong current getting her across was difficult, and she ended up breaking free and floating downstream a bit before she could get out. I then waded for the stuck kayak, but I too got swept off my feet and headed downstream. So, I tried a different tactic, and dragged my boat upstream of hers, paddling across to snag it. We all sat in the sun for a while after all that while Nancy recovered from her fright. We dried off a bit and had our lunch before heading back out on the river.

The rest of the float was really, really nice – we had warm sun, just enough breeze to keep us cool, and we enjoyed the beautiful clear waters of the river, and the pristine wilderness it cuts through. Nancy was nervous as we continued to float through riffles, and walked one tricky one. Good thing, too, as Brad got caught in a strainer, thankfully was unhurt, and it took him a while to extract himself. All in all it was an excellent and adventurous outing.

After five days in Brookings Sammy’s baby still hadn’t come, and it was time for us to begin our long journey home. The morning of our first eastward drive Diane took us all out to brunch at Superfly, a really cool little eatery that also distills its own vodka. We’ll have to try the vodka another time, but we did enjoy our meals, and saying our goodbyes, we motored on down the road, homeward bound.

Samantha gave birth to baby Nicholas on July 12th. We're sorry we missed it, but happy that mother and child are healthy and happy.

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