Sunday, January 29, 2012

Look Out For That Speeder!

Zipping along the railroad tracks one day between Wheeler and Rockaway, we saw three railroad motor cars also called "speeders."

photo of speeder on oregon coast by Nancy Zavada

Not a clue what they were at the time, we chased them nearly all the way taking photos until I am sure they decided we were stalkers.

photo of orange speeder on oregon coast by Nancy Zavada

The passengers were nestled in blankets keeping warm with coffee as they took in the sights along this beautiful stretch of track.

I consulted my railroad expert (also known as Dad) who told me they were used to inspect the tracks or move equipment and men along the tracks in earlier times. 

He had hilarious (and somewhat harrowing) stories to tell about his railroading days when he and fellow workers rode in the little cars.  Seems they were no match for the huge engines and the pilot had to be very vigilant about knowing when the next train was coming down the track.

His advice was to make sure you didn't meet one going over a high trestle--the speeder would lose.  Dad also mentioned they pick up quite a bit of speed going down the steep tracks in the Oregon Coast Range which was problematic at times.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


When a high-wind advisory, a coastal flooding advisory, a high surf advisory and a king tide combine, the results can be quite exciting. The wind tossed the truck around today as we adventured out to survey the scene.  The photo above of wild water was taken at the Rockaway Beach Wayside.

photo of Barview Oregon by Nancy Zavada
Next to Barview to check the bar into Tillamook Bay.  
The waves had jumped the jetty (upper left) and were threatening the parking lot.

photo of waves at Barview Oregon by Nancy Zavada

The rogue surf, carrying tons of driftwood as if they were toothpicks, were crashing on the shore next to the campground.

photo of garibaldi Oregon by Nancy Zavada

This pier house in Garibaldi is usually at least 20 feet out of the water.  Today it appeared to be standing on its tippy toes to stay dry.

The no-wake sign into the normally peaceful harbor was struggling as well.

photo of Garibaldi Oregon by Nancy Zavada

This flag and the waves coming over the seawall said it all, "Fisherman stay out of your boats and on land."  Note:  The Ghost Hole Tavern was packed before noon with local fisherman trying to cheer up.

High water closed our favorite restaurant in Wheeler and Highway 101 (officially underwater) stopped our progress.

Reporting to you from Storm Watch 2012

Risks and Rewards

With IQs apparently only slightly higher than seagulls, Bob and I headed to the beach during yesterday's weather.  The sun had come out and we were anxious to walk next to the waves.  At the farthest point of the walk, suddenly it started to hail/snow like crazy.  No place to run, no place to hide.  We were drenched in seconds complete with ice pellets all the way to our scalps.

Feeling a little guilty for tricking us, Mother Nature rewarded our fortitude with a rainbow.

photo of rainbow over Rockaway Beach Oregon by Nancy Zavada

Saturday, January 21, 2012

IQ Test Results Are In

There's a lot of weather today: rain, hail, even some sun breaks.  The howling wind is the one constant with some pretty impressive gusts.  So much wind, in fact, it appears to be an IQ test for the local birds.

Take for instance, the small wrens and chickadees.  They are confining their movements to hopping between branches or short flights between trees, nothing more. Seems like a fairly cautious, well thought out plan.

The crows, showing superior intellect, have decided it is much too windy to even risk flight and are happily walking up and down the street.  Seriously, dozens of them have paraded by in the past several hours.  They step aside when an occasional car comes down the quiet road and then resume their foraging.

The only species of birds still flying around are the seagulls.  Yep, they are in the sky bouncing around, being tossed this way and that, completely out of control. The gulls aren't getting anywhere for all their flapping, in fact, they seem to be losing ground and certainly aren't finding their next meal.  They resemble a bunch of drunk frat boys on a Friday night after finals. All afternoon I watch and still, they don't land and sit this one out.

I have always had my suspicions about seagulls and they were confirmed today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Words to Remember

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only LIGHT can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only LOVE can do that."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 13, 2012

We Interrupt This Winter...

photo of surfer at pacific beach california by Nancy Zavada

To bring you palm trees, warm breezes and sunset surfers.

Now back to our regularly scheduled season, sorry.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

After Holiday Special

When finished with a busy holiday season of cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, entertaining and decorating/undecorating, you deserve a little rest and relaxation. 

Treat yourself to something special!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


photo of a couple on a sand dune in Pacific City Oregon by Nancy Zavada

I couldn't resist shooting this photo of a couple who climbed a tall sand dune in Pacific City.  My friend took one look at what the shutter had captured and added just the right words.

A little perspective is always welcome. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Polar Bear Surfers

Photo of surfers at Pacific City Oregon by Nancy Zavada

The first day of 2012 was sunny and warm (for the Oregon Coast) with a just light breeze.   Sun-starved Oregonians headed outdoors to celebrate the new year and these wetsuit clad surfers provided the entertainment in Pacific City.

We all gave thanks for the daylong break from the gusty wind and driving rain.

Holiday Houses

There are homes in Rockaway which are occupied full time and if you live in one you are considered a "local."

There are homes in Rockaway which are occupied part time and if you live in one you are considered a "weekender."

I have recently noted there are homes which are only occupied during the major beach holidays: July 4th, Labor Day Weekend and New Year's Eve (with a nod to Memorial Day).  Interestingly. these houses are not usually inhabited on any other weekend throughout the whole year.  When they are occupied though they are full to the brim and then some--several big cars parked in front, tents and picnic tables outside, kids frolicking and fire pit revelry all day and into the night.

I am not sure what locals call them, but I suggest "holiday houses."  They make our little community come alive and even the houses themselves seem to proudly beam with joy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Yo Ho, Yo Ho...

January 1, 2012, Associated Press headline reads (and I am not making this up)....

"Pirate-themed cruise ship runs aground in Fla."

To add insult to injury, the party boat, "Pirate's Ransom" passengers were rescued by a second vessel named, "Island Times" which also ran aground as it attempted to take the festive passengers to shore. No one was hurt in either shipwreck and fog was said to be the culprit.

Wouldn't it have been a surprise to be standing on the beach as over 100 drunk, costumed pirates came swaggering out of the fog just after midnight? 

And, do you think the "Double Shipwreck Package" was more expensive?