What better way to spend a Federal Holiday than a day at the beach?
On Thursday, Veterans Day, I loaded up my Maserati GX-450XYZ with bikini-clad Pam Anderson look-alikes and pointed the car toward the shore, intent on a day of beach volleyball, sand castle building, frisbee, and other assorted fun in the sun.
Imagine my disappointment when I arrived at Moclips to find the following:
Since when does it rain in Western Washington in November?
Goddamn Murphy’s Law.
Okay, in all seriousness, these beaches are probably more to my liking than those found in Santa Monica, Florida, and San Diego.
Before I moved here, people insisted I would regret it due to the shitty weather, but most of the people issuing these warnings assumed that I had lived in Las Vegas all of my life. I did not. I only lived there for 5 years.
I spent the vast majority of my life in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coastal states … areas that saw routine hurricanes, thunderstorms, swampy humid summers, and heavy blizzards. I am no stranger to extreme weather. Hell, I was once hospitalized after surfing in a hurricane. I’ve always found the beach more appealing with some climate character.
As for the “gloomy” PNW weather bringing me down, it’s possible, but since I’m usually down anyway … I doubt anyone would notice. Myself included. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the sun does not have a positive affect on my mood. It never has.
While I am on the subject of sunny weather, I’ve got to tell you that I am losing patience with the “meteorologists” up here. Every day they are on the tube boo-hooing when it’s raining and rah-rahing when it’s sunny. They always make a point of trying to bring people “good news” by telling them when the sun will be out, but I find the whole thing insufferable and annoying.
Why do they think that all of their viewers want the sun to be out?
Has anyone ever stopped to consider why sunny days should be preferred to gloomy days?
Seriously, think about it for a moment.
When people go outside on cloudy days, they need absolutely no protection from mother nature. When they go out in the rain, the worst that happens is that they get damp.
On sunny days, however, humans have far more toxic reactions to the climate such as cancer, heatstroke, and sunburn. Sunny days are far, far less healthy for humans than mild and cloudy or even drizzly days.
As such, why do so many people seem to seek out the goddamn sun? What benefit does it provide them? How does it make their lives better?
Like most things, I think it’s just peer pressure. People jerk off to the sun because their friends, family, and bosses do it. From a health and fitness perspective, there’s just nothing to indicate that clear days are superior to cloudy days. To the contrary. If you look at the countries with the highest life expectancies and lowest infant mortality rates, you will find something interesting … they are all quite cold and overcast.
Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Iceland, Canada — all of these nations do just fine without copious amounts of sunshine.
Compare and contrast these countries to sunny places like Mexico, Honduras, Ethiopia, and Cambodia … then ask yourself … “Why do I get so excited about sunny days?”
If you are honest with yourself, you just might be surprised by how much your desire for sun is purely societal.
I spent most of Veteran’s Day at the beach basking in the rain and watching the powerful Pacific storms move in from the Gulf of Alaska. We watched birds dig for razor clams, and we watched the angry seas turn violent and muddy. I couldn’t take many pictures because I do not yet have a waterproof camera (“See Rex, that’s why rain sucks!”), but these beaches really are much more visually interesting than that mundane “Greetings from La Jolla!” postcard stuff. The only thing I like about tourist beaches are hoes in bikinis, but aside from that, I find them to be quite boring.
After hanging out at the shore for a few of hours, we drove back to Aberdeen for sustenance.
Now, I know a lot of people on this planet. I’m not sure exactly how many, but surely they run into the hundreds, perhaps thousands. Of those people, I am the only person I know who actually likes Aberdeen.
I’ve always liked Aberdeen.
I’m not sure if it is the shitty (by traditional definition) weather, the lack of pretense, or the overall weirdness, but the town suits me just fine.
To me, Aberdeen has always represented the end of the world. It’s the westernmost large town in the lower 48 states, and it feels like the precise spot where the continent just abruptly stops and has a flashback. After an hour of driving through nothing, Aberdeen suddenly appears complete with ghettos, upperclass areas, a downtown, strip malls, industrial areas, homeless people, rednecks, blacks, whites, mexicans … it’s just a microcosm of the entire USA perched on the edge of the continent.
(KC Riverfront Park)
Most towns Aberdeen’s size are suburbs of other places, but Aberdeen itself is just this lone outpost unto itself.
At 80+ inches of rain per year, it’s also the rainiest city in North America with a population of 15,000 or greater. Most people find it depressing, but like I said, I’m cool with the place. Hell, I even considered living here at one point.
When it comes to food, there are two places in particular that I like to stop when I am in Aberdeen.
The first is a bakery that offers chocolate-covered potato chips. These things are twenty five cents each, but given that they are smothered in a very generous amount of chocolate, they are far more filling than they look. $2-$3 (8-12 chips) will set you right and leave you completely satisfied.
The other place is my favorite fast seafood joint in perhaps all of Western Washington … Lighthouse Drive In.
This restaurant looks and feels like a typical fast food joint, but it has the best fried clams I have ever had in my life.
After filling up on stuff that was extraordinarily unhealthy, we stopped at our favorite indie produce market on the banks of the Wishkah. Here, produce tend to run about half the price of what it would cost in Seattle or Olympia, so we usually stock up on the way out.
After hanging out at the coast for the entire day, I headed back east on the Olympic Highway just before dusk, and completed the 45 minute drive back to Oly in the rain.
All-in-all, it was a very enjoyable Veterans Day.
As far as day trips go, it’s probably not what most people would envision for themselves for a vacation, but for me, it was just right.
Good weather, good scenery, good food, and most of all … good company.
In the midst of the Great Recession, what more could one possibly ask for?
When I got home, I sat in front of the fireplace and roasted my wiener while my family roasted marshmallows and drank hot chocolate.
Like Ice Cube said, it was a good day.