It was a child-free weekend so when a shop in Seaside called to let Stephanie know that something she had ordered had arrived, it was a quick decision on her part to make a weekend of it and pick it up personally instead of paying for shipping. And who am I to ever turn down a trip to the beach?
The only glitch was the weather. Snow was predicted in the higher elevations (and since I live "on the valley floor", snow is a rarity in my yard but does happens more often out where Stephanie lives). We kept an eye on the weather all week and decided to go ahead and go on Saturday morning, knowing if it got bad, we could turn around.
Off we went. And we did great...not a flake in sight until about 1100ft up the mountain pass. Oh but it was beautiful! However, we all know snow in the mountains can go from beautiful to disastrous in a heartbeat.
Up, up we went. When we hit 1650 ft elevation the roads were very slick but we kept going, moving slowing in the snake-like line of cars. I slide a bit just moving forward. The brakes (which are clearly NOT anti-lock) locked and slid. I recovered control and kept creeping along.
Stephanie fed me encouragement (I'm not a fan of snow driving but turning around wasn't so much an option since it was too slick to try and towns/turn arounds are few and far between up there) and soon enough we started our downward descent. The elevation ticked lower and lower. The snow became all but non-existent and then gone. Twenty-one miles from the coast we were out of the snow and home free!!
We plotted out the best time to make our return trip the next day. The warmest part of the day...and hopefully the sand trucks and plows we passed would have done their job to make the roads safer. And time to drive as slow as we needed.
Thoughts of ice and snow soon left our minds as we turned onto the road to take us to the oasis we both love. We stopped in town and had a late lunch and then went to pick up the item that Stephanie had ordered. From there, we checked into the hotel and settled in.
It was awesome! It was cold and amazing and refreshing. Stephanie even put on long pants which is something I've witnessed only once before. She is a shorts kind of girl - no matter the weather. We walked around a bit and then went back to the room to watch the ocean in all its glory with our slider open, the heat and fireplace going. It was fantastic!
We ventured outside a few times for short jaunts and then ordered room service (appetizers and dessert because those are the best part of the meal!) and settled in to watch some TV before calling it a day.
The next morning, we headed out for coffee and a walk and were properly rewarded with a sight I have never before seen: frost on the sand! It was incredible...and beautiful!
When we checked out, the desk clerk joked "So we'll see you next month?" because well...we have been to the beach three time in six weeks and the desk staff recognizes us... and I said "No - probably not until spring because of the snow and ice in the mountains." He asked where we are from and then gave me directions to an alternate route which avoids the mountains, thereby giving us the freedom to head to the beach whenever we want all winter long. :) Sure - it's a longer route but only by about 30 minutes and it makes us both feel better to know we aren't "land locked" for the next 5 months. Options are always good.
There is one thing we both have come to realize (well - I've always known it but Stephanie now understands it and has come to need it as much as I); the fresh air, the beach and the ocean centers us, refuels us and let's us find out balance in the game of life.
Balance is good. And time to just be "us" is vital and something we don't get near enough of.