North by Northwest*

Buckingham – I can’t sleep without my old bed so I wake them up at 5ish on the premise of needing to go out.   It is still dark but he takes me out, I have a sniff around just to demonstrate my indignation of having to sleep on the floor.   We go back to ‘bed’ but I can tell that he is still awake so just after 7 we go for a beach run under a dappled red sky and to the sound of sea lions barking in the harbour.

There is a memorial in the harbour to all the fishermen who have lost their lives since WW2, they are now on their second stone tablet.   Whole families have been decimated over the years, in one incident alone 3 members of the same family were lost.   Hauntingly there are *s next to the names of those whose bodies were never recovered, perhaps not surprisingly these are in the majority.

We set off and the first song on the radio is the Eagle’s Hotel California.   It has an appropriate line – “you can check out but you can never leave” – because this is what happened this morning due to a billing confusion and Lisa was stuck in reception because the lady won’t let her leave even though the room was paid the day before. 

Today we finally leave California after 18 days and enter the Northwest proper and begin the journey into, and through, two new states –  Oregon and Washington.   The gods must be smiling on me as a few miles into Oregon and we come across this sign, they feel so guilty that we do a U turn and buy one – I am comfortable again.

The drive today is stress free and the although the GPS says that the 224 miles will take 5 1/2 hours this is due to the 55 mph speed limits imposed in Oregon and not the state of the roads.   We stop for lunch in the pretty town of Florence (they have a sign post to all Florence’s apart from the obvious one) and have lunch outside in the slightly cold air together.   Lisa feeds my valuable food to a one legged seagull.

All afternoon we have been seeing signs for ‘Elk’, eventually we see our first herd ‘browsing’ (that’s what the guide book says) by the side of the road.

We arrive at the Fireside Motel in Yachats and have a spectacular sea front room. Although the town is miles from anywhere it exudes quality and we debate whether or not we should stay past tomorrow. We go for a walk and find one of ‘the beaches’ of the trip so far – heaven.  They choose Yachats not only because the books says it’s a pretty seaside but also because Arthur Frommer named it the 7th best place to live in America.


*North by NW is a film made in 1959 (year of Mark’s birth) starring Cary Grant (who supposedly had an affair with a women near Mark’s village in the UK) and is about a New York businessman who is pursued across the country (our trip, sort of) – so many coincidences!

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