Posted by: bkivey | 26 September 2021

Vacation 2021

Regular readers know that I take vacation during my birthday week toward the end of September. Something to look forward to, and a chance to wind down in a busy year. Past vacations have included excursions to far places, but this year, a bit of a change. l just wanted a few days of no-commitment, no-obligation, so I shoved the usual emails and VM’s and texts to the end of the week. A few days where the biggest decision was what time to get out of bed. Still had to convince myself that nothing had to be done before next week.

20 September

Slept for some time. Puttered around the house.

21 September

Car Day! Smogged a company vehicle. Fixed the lighter socket on the Mercury; replaced a taillight and driving light on the Mazda. I have had an unreasonably difficult time sourcing a repair manual for the Mazda. All work on the car has been based on experience with other cars. Not ideal, but good enough, so far. Finding a manual is moving to the top of the list, because I’d like to put a turbo on it.

22 September

I am a cat. Slept late. Forecast called for rain: not the case. Oh, well. Wrote some. Didn’t have to go to work!

23 September

My birthday! And a great Northwest day! Clear and mid-80’s. My plan for the day? Uh, sort stuff on the lower porch and in the hobby area. Middle-age, baby. All those things you’re ‘too tired’ to do after work? This week.

24 September

Another great Northwest day, and by the looks of the forecast, quite possibly one of the last good days this year. You just know I had to drive somewhere. I decided to lunch in Netarts, as one does. James, bring the Mazda ’round.

The idea was to take US 26W to Timber Road, then turn left and enjoy the highway until OR 6, and thence to Tillamook and the coast. I have made this drive a few times, but somehow zigged when I should have zagged, and ended up on logging roads in the literal middle of nowhere, if the map was right. Halfway between US 26 and OR 6 in the deepest Coast Range.

I have no idea where this is

There are vehicles for that, and none of them are named ‘Protege5’. I have driven unsuitable vehicles over terrain, but there were a couple times when I feared for the oil pan. Mazda engineers lived another day.

Back to pavement, and an easy run into Tillamook. Tillamook is thought of as a coastal town, but it’s nine miles, and a range of hills, from the surf. Nevertheless, there are tsunami warning signs. This seems odd, but the Tillamook River estuary extends clear to the town, so a near-sea level access for ‘harbor waves’.

Tillamook mostly smells like cow manure, and likely smells like money to the residents. The manure is the byproduct of the primary suppliers to Tillamook Creamery; famous as far as Ghana, according to one person I talked to, who had seen product. They do make good stuff, (ice cream!), and are widely known.

OR 131 runs to Netarts (Nee-Tarts), or, as some businesses would have it, ‘Netarts-by-the-Bay’. Yes, the town sits on a bay, but this seems a little cutesy. Your monkeys; your circus.

Pulled over at a wide spot and ate the fare from the Fred Meyers deli. There are restaurants open, but the mask thing is off-putting. A nice view.

Netarts proper on the left
Netarts Bay and Netarts Spit

Man, that sun flare is everywhere. The break is well offshore, but there’s a cross-break running right-to-left toward the Spit. While admiring the view, a woman drove by and yelled “Don’t jump!”. I smiled, but did not have the presence of mind to simulate jumping.

Because the westward trip on Timber Road had been a bust, I was looking forward to the eastward attempt. 50 miles or so East of the coast, I made a left onto one of my favorite roads. Right behind a school bus. Just a couple of minutes earlier . . . I figured the bus was going to Timber, and it was. Slowly. The most entertaining parts of the road were taken at a near standstill. I modeled responsible behavior for the kids. It is what it is, and nowhere to pass.

So, not much in the way of driving excitement, but I did get to spend a nice day with a fun car in one of my favorite places. Felt warm and fuzzy the rest of the day.

Did some work for a few hours Saturday, because I had to go back to work Monday, and didn’t want to do anything Sunday. And, that’s how it worked out.

So I didn’t really go anywhere, or do much of anything, but I didn’t have to be somewhere or do something. Like, catch a flight, or be on time for a tour, or make a reservation time. American culture is that if you don’t Do Something on your vacation, it’s somehow . . . not a vacation? I understand that people want to do things they don’t normally have time for, but maybe we need a different term. Going on trips is fine and dandy, but involves about the same work a job does, with the added stress of operating in an unfamiliar environment. Vacation is maybe the letting go of responsibility and obligation.

I enjoy going places and doing things, but this year, the cat life was the one for me.

Great Moments in Education


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