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Dave and I decided we should take advantage of being in Portland to see parts of the USA we have never seen. We left Thursday morning and headed to the Oregon coast. Getting there was just as enjoyable as the coast itself; we enjoy taking the road less traveled. Krista gave us directions to do just that and off we went. There were winding roads with beautiful towering trees lining either side. We drove along through the trees taking in the beauty of it all and then suddenly, bam, we were there. We found a place to park and took off down the path to the ocean. It was so very different from other beaches I’ve seen – Bahamas, Hawaii, California, etc. – no palm trees or heat.

The path to the beach had tall grass along it and then beautiful whitish sand. There were no people swimming but several running along the beach, throwing Frisbees, fishing, etc. Looking one direction all you could see in the distance was sand and water; looking the other direction in the distance you could see high cliffs.

It was quite breathtaking. We left this little coastal city continuing south. At some point the highway went back inland for a while and we ended up at Fort Clatsop National Memorial at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park. It had a neat little museum and a short walk took us to a replica of the Fort that was built there in the early 1800’s. Again, breathtakingly beautiful and educational to boot! We continued south and found the coast again but this time there were only high cliffs and trees, no beach. As the sun began to go down, we found a place to stay the night near Tillamook and a quaint little place to eat dinner.

Friday morning we started the day by going to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It was interesting and the cheese samples were delicious! Next we stopped at the Cape Meares lighthouse. The view was spectacular. As we walked down the path to the lighthouse we stopped at a lookout point. We stood and watched the water splashing against and through a huge rock for quite some time. It was rather mesmerizing and quite soothing. The lighthouse itself was not very big but it was interesting. The downstairs has been turned into a little gift shop. There was a gentleman inside that shared some of the history of the lighthouse with us. When we returned to the car we again headed south.

As we were driving along through the trees, suddenly, there was an area that was sandy. It was a fairly large expanse right in the middle of the forest. It seemed so out of place. There were signs that indicated that it was an area for three-wheelers and dune buggies. It was an unexpected surprise.

Yes! It's sand!

Friday afternoon we were driving through the little town of Lincoln City and decided that we were ready to eat. As we were driving along, this caught our eye. It brought up childhood memories of reading the book “Little Black Sambo.” Yes, I realize it is a book which has had a past of much controversy yet for me, it brings back joyful childhood memories. I always laughed at the part where Sambo gave his clothes and umbrella to the tigers and then in their attempts to “best” the other tigers they ran in circles until they turned into butter. It was such a silly thing and always made me giggle. Before I was able to read it to myself, my mother would read it to me. I would usually ask her to make me pancakes with tiger butter and laugh heartily. Of course, we had to eat at this place! It was called “Lil Sambos.” The food was pretty good and the atmosphere reflected what I remember from reading the book. The memories of my childhood and reading this book made the stop worthwhile. Personally, I never did understand why this book was so controversial, it was, after all, just a children’s book about tigers that were so uppity they ended up turning into butter.

As we headed back to Portland my thoughts turned once again to Carol. The mix of emotions was overwhelming. We had just spent two days talking, laughing and seeing such beautiful scenery yet I was feeling sadness once again. The tears began flowing; they seem to be ready to leak from eyes at any given moment. I miss my sister. Her death is always in the back of my mind. It lingers, washing over me rather like a heavy fog. It has only been a little over a week now and in my mind I realize that it will take time before I won’t think about her constantly. In my heart, I think this sadness and pain will never leave me.