I hope that your Independence Day was as perfect as mine. My wife swept me off to the Oregon coast where we spent the holiday walking a local park filled with crafts tents where we ate Boy Scout burgers and watched swans in the pond. The rest of the day was spent cruising the Oregon Dunes in a scooter driven by an insane, funny driver. That evening, fireworks filled the sky, we ate pie and I went to sleep with a smile.
It was, in my estimation, the perfect day, with accommodating blue skies and ocean breezes, delicious chowder, and long chat with strangers from Switzerland seeing the world in their REAL Range Rover (the kind built for the African safari).
The Pacific was spectacularly calendar-picture, and we watched a near-shore whale spouting and surfacing who we named “Jefferson” in tribute to the nation’s birthday boy who wrote a little piece called the Declaration of Independence a while back.
A myriad of little flags waved us through a dozen small coast towns, and bunting was draped across the fronts of stores where we purchased souvenirs and some myrtle wood seagulls (did you know myrtle wood grows only in northern California, southern Oregon and in Israel?)
We talked with an elder artisan carver who works with the wood which he says is 20% harder than oak and is so protected now it can only be purchased via authorized auctions.
The things you learn traveling.
Despite my claim that the 4th was a perfect day, I have one disclaimer: the woman who sang from the boat along the dock as we waited for fireworks to being. She should not be allowed to sing ever again. I will never hear “I’m Proud to be an American” the same again.
Along the way my wife shook hands with veterans (she does that a lot) and said thanks for serving. We also spoke with a couple of policemen who told us about the economic impact of the loss of the timber industry along the Oregon coast (but the spotted owl is fine, thank you), and the effort to replace the income with tourist dollars.
We did our share.
One thing I am noticing in traveling is a lot more dogs. More businesses allow them in, and there was a lot of petting going on. What’s cuter than a puppy? Perhaps the Paris syndrome is finally reaching the Pacific shore. Dogs are allowed in even the finest Parisian dining establishments.
The smell of BBQ filled the air in parks we stopped by for a view of the ocean, and kids were screaming in public pools overflowing with tots, teens, ‘tweens and their parents.
We also took time to visit a roadside veterans’ memorial, established there by locals who laid a brick stone walk with the names of departed service personnel.
MIAs and POWs were also honored there among the warriors who served in WWI, II and beyond. I felt we should visit a Revolutionary War cemetery, but not many exist in the West.
Still, we have a day to remember our independence and all of those who won and kept it.
We are in your debt.