Excursion 8, Day 7, Gold Beach to Salem, Oregon

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Locations and Destinations, Road Notes

This area of the Oregon coast is just embracingly lovely. We went into Old Town Bandon and found a Fish and Chips place. Michelle was actually able to walk on friendly sidewalks and several strangers walked Mo for us so I could have my hands free to help Michelle.

Mother Earth was at her finest.

We departed early, for us, from Ireland’s Rustic Lodges. It was indeed “rustic” and since we stayed here some thirty plus years ago, I don’t see that they have refreshed… anything! Even the carpets look to be about 40 years old. Clean enough, but in need of some TLC. The DIYer in me is similar to the Writer in a not overly-critical way. (I hope.) I’m not irritated by it, but I see a room and I can tell pretty quickly what’s missing, what needs fixin’. And, in many cases, know how to fix it. Conversely, I watch a movie, for instance, say, the latest Matrix offering, and I bombard my poor son afterwards with “notes” to the Producers. Perhaps I feel I could fix that too if only I had been in the room! No amount of paint and pixels will fix that film.

Perhaps my mind goes in this direction because I used to write movies at Ireland’s. Still and all, I slept like a baby as did Michelle, and Mo sleeps soundly no matter where he is, and we were ready for the road.

What a road it is! We had to stop for snacks, coffee, gas and such and saw the quintessential Oregon truck. (Someone please paint a masterpiece using this as a subject. You can call it Mold or The End is Near or Rust Never Sleeps. Or write a script, I will critique it for you!)

North out of Gold Beach we made for Bandon and our Honeymoon night. We were working actors and only had Mondays off and sometimes another day. We were married on a Sunday, I think, and had this one day on the coast. We decided we would split a two week-long honeymoon into a lifetime of honeymoon days. We had one yesterday.

This area of the Oregon coast is just embracingly lovely. We went into Old Town Bandon and found a Fish and Chips place. Michelle was actually able to walk on friendly sidewalks and several strangers walked Mo for us so I could have my hands free to help Michelle. Good food and a perfect breeze and the scent of the sea.

It was right in this small enclave that we were heading to dinner on October 17th, 1989 when we noticed that there were few people out and many of the shops were closed. Most were closed because it was a Monday, but it seemed unnaturally quiet. We returned to our Motel—Sunset Motel?—and I wanted to watch Game One of the World Series, only for a “few minutes.” It was a conflict, okay?

At first, we thought we were watching a “what to do in case of an earthquake” video but soon realized it was the real thing. End of Honeymoon night. Many of our friends and family who had come to the wedding were on their way back to SF and we calculated would have arrived pretty much right when this quake struck. No phone lines open, horrific predictions and the fact that the Bay Bridge was down had us fearing the worst… for days.

All turned out well, in the end, but it put the end to any fun… and no baseball either!

Full of fish and chips we headed north and finally on to highway 38 following the Umpqua river. It was just staggeringly beautiful, the whole drive. We pulled over in Elkton and it’s one of the places you think, “I could live here.”

Soon we were up to I5 and racing along with all the others, weaving in and out of the semitrucks and making North for Salem. We visited a rest stop where there was a coffee kiosk/trailer run by an organization dedicated to stopping divorced fathers from taking their own lives. The man working there said he had been “divorced several times.” I understood the need for such an organization.

The coffee was good and free with a suggestion of a donation.

We arrived at our new home three minutes before check in time. Nice little place, as fresh and new as Ireland’s is old, but low on the character scale. Michelle was worked up and had a pretty vociferous evening. We rested for an hour or so and then joined good friends from our days at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Good wine, beer and old stories in a stunning back yard filled with setting sun and gorgeous, overlapping trees and greenery.

Mo pissed off the next-door neighbor by pooping on his lawn and he came over fit to be tied but saw us helping Michelle from the Bus and I think he realized that if he went as far as he wanted to go in his tirade, he would appear to be an unfeeling a-hole. His voice lowered when I said I would clean it up. Things like that used to bother me, linger in my consciousness, replay a bit and captivate my attention. Now? meh.

It was such a great evening and I heard names I have not heard for many a year. Faces would come with the memories and Rebecca mentioned a moment when an actor dropped from a rope—part of stage business—and broke his ankle, badly. The Director, the only one I have ever despised, had volunteered this actor at the last minute to take over this dangerous climb. The other actor was doing fine at it and was actually trained in such things, but the random decision was made and on his first attempt, this disaster happened that needn’t have happened at all. “Everyone else went away but we, you and I, went and helped him,” Rebecca said. I had completely forgotten this but as she said it images came to mind and with them came the replay of memory, that strange beast. I hope to see that actor in just a few days!

This night was a wonderful new memory and Michelle never quite settled down but it felt like family and I suppose that is what this trip is all about, creating new memories to fill the gulf of time between then and now, and that is a very good thing.