After six months of beaches, trees, mountains and beauty, we made it to our final day of sightseeing. As we came out of Olympic National Park and the Hoh Rainforest, it was late afternoon and time to start looking for a place to stay for the night. According to the map we still had a decent drive ahead of us to make it to the next closest town, but if we hurried we could make it there before dark. That was until we came upon the sign for RUBY BEACH and made a three-hour detour!
Ruby Beach is situated about an hour and a half north of Aberdeen. If you didn’t have road signs pointing to beach access, you could easily drive through the dense trees not knowing you were right next to the Pacific Ocean.
This beach has everything needed to make it the perfect beach–an overlook, a small pond that reflects the sky beautifully, a full on stream coming down from the mountains meeting the ocean, loads of drift wood, shells, trees, giant rocks and lots of curves, which beckon to you to walk a little further and see what’s just beyond the next bend. Beaches like this are a fabulous find, because they take hours to adequately explore. When we first arrived, we were the only ones there and enjoyed the coastline to ourselves for the first hour.
I knew it would put us quite late finding a place to sleep for the night, but I REALLY wanted to see the sunset over this magnificent beach, so we stayed a little longer until the sun reached the water and reflected off the clouds…it was beautiful!
We eventually made it to a place to sleep for the night, and as we headed down the coast the next morning, we made one final stop along Washington’s shoreline. This was our last walk along the beach (this trip :)) and in a way a closing ceremony to our grand adventure.
After Ruby Beach the previous night, this beach wasn’t very awe-inspiring. There were no big rocks, no trees, nothing that really called to me other than I knew we were turning inland soon and this might be our last chance to play in the sand. We made our way to the sand and came upon a treasure that The Evans Family will never forget.
As we walked over the ledge and the path dropped down to the beach, there was a lone fisherman trying his luck from the shore. He stood to the right, so we turned left. We had gone no more than 30 yards, when we each found a sand dollar. And then our eyes were opened to a beach chalked full of freshly washed up sand dollars. We were surprised and delighted to find as many sand dollars as we could pick up. In fact, there were so many, we walked back to the truck to find a container.
It was almost impossible for me to walk past a perfectly shaped sand dollar and not pick it up. So, for over an hour, we collected sand dollars by the dozens…big ones, little ones, light ones, dark ones…they covered the shore in abundance!
As I collected the shells, my mind was taken back to one of the first stops of our trip in Morrow Bay, California. I wrote in that blog post a little about my fascination with sand dollars and how I have always interpreted finding a sand dollar as a direct manifestation that God is looking after me. On this day, as we prepared to return home to Newberg, where we have nothing but beautiful rolling green hills and a strong sense of community, the act of finding hundreds of sand dollars was a sure indication of good things to come into the lives of my little family. It was like discovering two hundred and fifty good luck omens signifying that with the conclusion of this adventure, the Lord is looking out for us and already preparing the way for our next undertaking. God knows us individually…and He spoke my language to me that day on the beach…through sand dollars.
As we continued south to southern Washington, headed to my friend Michelle’s house, we had two options of how to get there–turn inland, then down…or go down, then inland. Nathan mentioned how he had learned about Astoria in school and had wanted to go there for a while. So we went down, then over. Going this direction, brought us into Oregon for most of the drive.
We stopped and bought lunch in Astoria and ate along the docks next to the sea lions and pirate ships. They were having some kind of reenactment, and there were pirates roaming the town and ships sailing in the harbor. We got to go aboard a boat and see the deck hands hanging fifty feet in the air tying up the sails as they prepared to dock. This is not a line of work I would be suited to, but it was fun to watch!
Once we arrived in Portland, instead of turning south to Newberg, we went north to the quaint town of Amboy, Washington. My friend Michelle Young moved here last year from Oregon. I met Michelle about three years ago through her sister Annette, who without being asked arranged for me and my boys to stay at Michelle’s house, even though we didn’t know them. She assured me that Michelle would be a kindred spirit. And she was. Any apprehension I’d had about staying with a stranger was dispelled within just a few minutes of entering their home.
The next year, on an unplanned trip to the coast, Michelle took me on a drive through Yamhill County–with the hills and vineyards and astounding beauty of Oregon’s wine country. Two weeks later, I closed my shop in Idaho and moved to Oregon.
The trip to Amboy didn’t include any sightseeing, just a visit with a dear friend, a couple of long walks and the introduction to some really yummy raw tacos and banana nut oatmeal! Delicious!
Michelle is a life coach, and it is always fun to talk with her about goals and plans, schemes and dreams, thoughts and feelings. She always knows the right questions to ask to draw out the perfect solutions to life’s ruts. Sometimes you just know when a calling is meant for someone in life. She was born to help people attain their highest potential. She’s just so good at it!
From Amboy, we drove the hour and a half home to Newberg, where much to our surprise, the town seemed to have functioned just fine while we were away! 😉 With the town going on about its business, the Evans family slipped right back into normal life that afternoon with two hours of scouts and a baseball game. What a nice feeling…to be home again. 🙂