City, June 28
Imagine you've entered a marathon
foot race, you've completed 25.7 miles and you're coming into the finish
line when some joker turns a garden hose loose on you. Well, that
was last Friday at the official ending of my coast-to-coast, Pacific
City to Atlantic City to Pacific
City "Drive of A Lifetime." I got the TRADITIONAL Oregon welcome
home, Alyce: RAIN.
It started sprinkling when
I left Portland and it was in a full blooming crying spell by the time
I hit Tigard (that's a 'burb to ya'll out-of-towners). I had on my
Maine fishing gear look but all those stupid stoplights, now installed
at nearly every intersection in Tualatin, King City, Sherwood...when were
all these stoplights installed? The countryside didn't open up until
after Newburg. This is not good for Roadster Ala Rain where waterdroplets
form on both helmet and windshield (no wipers, remember?).
I had an entourage for these
last 89 miles from Portland to Pacific City. The cushy Cadillac with
automatic windows and HEAT stayed behind me MOST of the time, driven by
the ever present Howard Clark. I've known Howard for 20 years and
he has survived over 10 years of Alyce Escapades, poor guy has appeared
in places he never thought he would be--like drag show beauty contests,
pagan Equinox festivals, parades, ghost towns, hospital intensive care
units, Red Hat Society events and youth hostels.
He was followed by a big, fat
I'm-classy-and-you're-not flamed baby Freightliner. I say "baby"
because it may be the econo size to this trucking company but it is one
BIG truck next to Seno, who looks more like a kid's peddle car by comparison.
"Flamer" is home to Dave and Alexis who periodically drop into the Alyce
Life and either instigate an adventure or just plain participate in whatever
might be going on. These two will climb into the most outragous costumes
and allow themselves to be photographed all in the cause of good, clean
fun. Well, here they are (one is a nationally recognized psychologist
and the other is a former assistant police chief) cruising along to Pacific
City bringing up the rear to what must be one of the most unusual caravans
EVER. Their truck is white with really sexy flames on the nose
and it is supposed to pull their house--fortunately today they left their
shell somewhere and this was just the turtle.
I don't know why things take
longer in a roadster but they do. Not just my imagination.
Took Highway 22 (and eventually Howard, D/A did too) to the Nestucca Highway
and it was one of those waltzing sort of roads where your tush slides back
and forth as the road twists from left to right and back. An old-fashioned
surprise: one-lane bridges! I think there were 4 of them and
a pretty shot would have been the Freightliner going over one of them.
Passed a work crew cutting down a tree and the aroma of cedar--well, I
felt like I was driving through a cedar closet. The pouring rain
freshened all wonderful forest smells. Despite the difficulty
of not being able to
see much and the intense concentration
required to find the road and stay on it, if I paid attention and stayed
in the "now" moment, it was a beautiful drive. By the time I hit
Highway 101, I was fantacizing about hot clam chowder, however, as I was
feeling the wet soak through the two coats I was wearing, including the
Cameras started going off the
minute I pulled into the one space left at betwixt and between gallery
in Pacific City--now they use all lower case so I will too. If you're
an avid reader of this trip journal you may recall Sherry and her daughter
from the April "beginning" of this trip. Now I got to meet Gary Lesniak,
Sherry's spousal unit. They own this unusual and delightful store--I'm
particularly fond of it because it has unique mermaids, lots of truly wonderful
things that would cozy up both your home and garden. Some glitzy
goodies in the case too. Just go there. You can't miss it at
the crossroads of downtown.
Nancy Bush of the Kiwanda Kapers
newspaper was waiting and asked me the ever-popular question: WHY?
Well, I had arrived at 1:30
just like I said I would (good thing we started early--I probably hit every
one of those blasted stoplights). HUGE SURPRISE: Robby, in
rain gear, appeared under the store's "porch." You may remember Robby
from the Vassar entry back in New York! And there was his dad--Topless
Web Guy! (When we invited people to send in their photographs to
this web site to his dad, we said to address them to, of course, Topless
Web Guy!) How much support from this big ole angel can I possibly
take? I have no arms big enough to hug and thank Robby's dad for
all the things he has done for me over the years--but creating and caring
for the GoingTopless.info site has really been above-and-beyond!
And now, here he was standing in heavy rain in Pacific City to help officially
"end" this thing!
Gary said, "wait 5 minutes
and then follow me." Don't they say things like that in old western
movies? So we did--the roadster, now thoroughly soaked both
inside and out, the Caddie, the Freightliner and the pickup truck.
We crossed the little bridge and turned right (I'm telling you this so
you can do it too) and within minutes there was CAPE KIWANDA. Ray
Atkinson, the famous photographer, calls this spot the BEST piece of coast
in all of America! He spent months of his life photographing it.
Cameras were out on this grey
Friday too and all pointed at Seno and the dory boat, hauled to the beach
just for this occasion! (Pacific City is "Home of the Dory Fleet.")
A dory is a specially designed boat that can be launched directly into
the surf--they have a distinctive bow so they can "hit the beach running"
The rain had become a fine
spray--like being hit in the face with a garden mister. There were
checkered flags being waved and camera lens being coated with salt water.
I hope at least ONE picture turns out! Stuck to the wet seat,
I was in no position to pull out a camera altho video of all of them photographing
me and Seno would have been GREAT FILM!
We clustered under the little
roof that protects a large map of the Cape's area and broke open champagne.
You'll find this spot right next to the Pelican Pub (and the source of
my food fantasy for the last 60 miles of this journey!) The Prez
of the Chamber of Commerce, Everett Longanecker, was there for this commemorative
moment, and Gary is V-P. Then there was Mr. Gilbert, the owner of
the Pelican Pub and all manner of Pacific City dignitaries to RECEIVE my
gift to the City: a "Welcome to Pacific City" sign--about 3 feet
by 4 feet, sandblasted wood and created by Cliff Bryson of The Woodcarver
Signs, 525 S. E. Pine, Portland (503-239-8950). Sherry had already
guessed that it might be a sign (they didn't have one, they needed and
wanted one, so I figured, what the heck! they should HAVE one!) but
they didn't have any idea that it would be a) this big, b) this cool.
The Pelican Pub (good time
folks, for sure!) presented me with a case of their national award-winning
beers and ales and stouts along with a sweatshirt which was immediately
pressed into service because it was now the only DRY thing I owned!
The Haystack Fishing Club gave me a certificate for a Dory Ride!
The Riverhouse (34450 Brooten Road, Pacific City) generously gave me a
gift certificate for dinner! And a special keepsake--a clear red
glass heart, courtesy of Susan Jackson of Soaring Crane, located at the
Inn at Cape Kiwanda--stays on my desk as a happy reminder of a wet but
Then, finally YES! let's go
inside. I may forget things from time to time but my stomach has
an infallible memory. Just mention the Jade Cafe in Wyoming and I
get cravings for cinnamon rolls. Just ask me to remember Ocean City,
Maryland and I'm salivating for crab cakes. Talk about White Junction,
Vermont and I can smell the Everything Bagel. My appetite has an
elephant's memory. Yours, too, will always remember the clam chowder
at the Pelican Pub--they spare no carbs or calories to make this ambrosia.
Jackie Edwards reporter from
the Headlight-Herald joined our jolly
group at the Pub's table,
getting a few questions answered while we all enjoyed a warm, dry room
and bowls of chowder all around.
If you can be happy in a state
that welcomes you home with a baptism by near submersion (and you STILL
want to live there), then you must be truly home. I thank my friends
for sloshing thru the rain forest to see me to the finish line and I thank
all the amazingly sweet people of Pacific City, Oregon for all the effort
and gifts to provide the finish line on June 28. To say that this
has been one Big Adventure is an understatement. Give me a few days
to go thru 60 pounds of accummulated mail, fill my hot tub, wash the Yellowstone
grit off of Seno and I'll begin writing the account of "Going
Topless: Across America in a Topless Car". The distributor
says he has already begun to receive orders for the book.
Remember 2 things: Life
should not be measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number
of MOMENTS that take our breath away." and "Life is short but it's
Now go do something you've
always wanted to do!