Friday, September 29, 2017

Pacific City

Haystack Rock at Cape Kiwanda, OR...
The REAL Haystack Rock?
Pacific City, further down the Oregon coast, is home to Oregon's 'other' Haystack Rock off Cape Kiwanda. The beach is popular with surfers and beachcombers.

The far end of the beach at Cape Kiwanda...
The dune at Cape Kiwanda...
At one end of the beach is a huge sand dune which attracts hikers, sand surfers and even the periodic para-glider. That speck in the photo below is someone climbing to the top... that's how high it is.

One tall sand dune!
A small mountain of sand...
I have their live beach cam bookmarked to visit whenever I need my dose of Oregon.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sculpted in sand

Neil Young, sculpted in sand...
Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young
Taking a brief break from Oregon, these are photos from summer's sand sculpture festival in Parksville. The theme this year was Canada 150.

Neil (not so much anymore) Young is a Canadian icon. He was part of the band Buffalo Springfield back in 1967 -- 50 years ago!! Their song For What It's Worth is the go-to soundtrack song for nearly any modern movie set in the 60s trying to establish its era-specific/anti-establishment cred.

I can't remember the specifics of the sculpture below, only that I was impressed at the intricate details carved into the face. Aside from the fine wrinkles, notice the 'highlights' carved into the eyes, reminiscent of studio portrait lights.

Details of a Parksville sand sculpture...
Tiny details...

Monday, September 25, 2017

Beaches beautiful

Cannon Beach at sunset...
Sunset over Cannon Beach...
Oregon is blessed with an entire coast of beautiful beaches and the best of them have to be the beaches of the neighbouring communities of Seaside and Cannon Beach.

As I first mentioned in this blog two years ago, Cannon Beach has been rated as one of the 100 most beautiful places on Earth. The beach is dominated by Haystack Rock which is accessible at low tides and is home to all sorts of sea birds.

Oregon's Haystack Rock...
Haystack Rock in the distance

Friday, September 22, 2017

High on Astoria

Astoria, Oregon is located across the mouth of the Columbia River from Washington state. The 125-foot tall Astoria Column sits on a hill overlooking the city with 360 degrees in of the surrounding hills and the river.

The outside of the tower is decorated with murals depicting the history of the region.

You can buy small cheap balsa wood gliders from their gift shop which you can launch from the top of the tower.

Astoria seen from the top of the Astoria Column...
Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Big wheels keep on turning

That sinking feeling...
Where's your 4-wheel drive now?
The beach along the Long Beach peninsula has been described as "the longest drivable beach in the world". The sand is so densely pack along the shoreline that trucks and SUVs routinely drive it.

A local told me that the shoreline is considered a Washington State highway. I have no idea if that is true, but it doesn't mean that it's a good idea to drive it.

Unlike snow, a wheel spinning on sand will dig itself in deeper and deeper as the driver of this truck learned one early morning.

No amount of 4-wheel drive can help you at this point.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Long Beach

Delicate kites are lifted up by the stiff breezes at Long Beach, Washington...
A kite conga line at Long Beach, Washington...
Our first stop for a couple of nights was Long Beach, Washington, near the Oregon border.

As it turned out, there was a kite festival happening. We spent the day at a very windy beach watching kites spin, soar, dance and even fight(!) in the sky over the main beach.

Kites of many colours over Long Beach, Washington...
Flags and kites flutter in the stiff breeze.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Oregon Bound

Dawn creeps up on Victoria's Ogden Point...
The sun rises over Victoria's Ogden Point.
The summer wildfires in our home province of BC derailed our vacation plans to camp throughout the province. At the last minute we decided to return to Oregon. It wasn't a hard decision as we had a great travel vacation there two years ago.

So it was that we found ourselves on a ferry from Vancouver Island to the state of Washington at dawn.

On the first day, we drove hard to get down to Oregon as fast as we could. Along the way we passed through Forks, Washington which achieved a measure of fame fifteen years ago or so as the location for the vampire-themed Twilight books and movies.

Passing through Forks, Washington...
Sporx in Forks...

Monday, September 11, 2017


Pink flowers glow in the sunlight behind them...
Pink flowers catch the rays of the rising sun...
Years ago, our elderly neighbour -- a sweet Spanish lady, now deceased -- was going to toss out a small plant in a container that was struggling to live.

I offered to care for it over the course of the winter, and the following spring I planted it in her yard next to the fence that divided our properties.

Over the next few years it blossomed into this large colourful collection of pink blooms that last nearly the entire summer. We have new neighbours now and we're hoping that they don't remove this plant... it's a living memorial to our good friend.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Paradise (soon to be) lost?

A cruise ship makes its way up the Inner Passage of Vancouver Island...
A cruise ship makes its way past Parksville's waterfront...
A couple of posts ago, I noted that the Beach Club resort in Parksville may soon have a new neighbour in the form of a proposed mix of commercial and residential units on the abandoned property next door.

My wife and I have been owners at the Beach Club for years. One of the pleasures of our unit is being able to sit on our balcony and watch cruise ships pass by on the passage of water between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

If the new proposal is approved, it's possible that we may lose these views which would make us sad indeed. 😢

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wayback Wednesday: Doorway to ??

An intriguing door greets visitors in the middle of the forest on Mayne Island...
You unlock this door with the key of imagination...
On nearby Mayne Island, you'll find this mysterious door in the middle of a forest...

A half-rusted fish on the door... what does it mean?
An intriguing element on the door...

Monday, September 4, 2017


Parksville's Beach Club resort reflected in the tidal pools of the main beach...
Early morning tidal pools reflect the Beach Club resort in Parksville.
An early morning view of Parksville's Beach Club resort... In the distance, you can see Mount Arrowsmith which dominates the landscape of Vancouver Island's Oceanside district.

What you don't see in this photo is the clapped out and shuttered motel beside the resort's tower. The unsightly property has been sitting untouched for years, but it may soon get a face lift.

Locals don't appear to be happy.

When the Beach Club was constructed about seven years ago, it was -- and still is -- the tallest structure along the waterfront. At the time Parksville residents resented the loss of their ocean and mountain water views. However, they grudgingly accepted the boardwalk that the Beach Club builders financed. Today, the boardwalk is extremely popular.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Life as art

I always enjoy (and envy) people who are able to successfully incorporate art into their everyday lives.

I recently came across this home with its dramatic contrasting shades of red and green. Even the flowers and the fabric covering the settee on the veranda have been chosen to add to the impact.

Or, judging from the strand of lights along the roof line, maybe the homeowners are just big fans of Christmas.