Sep 23 – Today was a good sample of RV living with no major sightseeing or National Parks on the agenda, but a mix of the mundane and the surprising. We have just a two night stay in Newport, about 135 miles south of Astoria, as we make our way back down the West Coast. Chris had some maintenance to do on the RV, and, after a lazy rainy morning inside, I took the kids to the Oregon Coast Aquarium which happened to be right next to our RV park at the Newport Marina. The Aquarium was great and the kids were fully engaged for a couple hours, but the highlight was the sea otter pool. One expects otters to be cute and fun to watch, but we were delightfully surprised when one of the four otters swam right up to where we were standing and started pounding a clam shell on the glass and trying to get it open with its paws while it floated on its back. The close encounter only lasted a few seconds, but it was wonderful (and I managed to capture it on video).
Chris brought home a seafood lunch – fried shrimp and halibut and razor clams (and a corn dog for Charlie), then the rest of the afternoon was lowkey while it continued to rain. We were all reading or playing video games in the RV, and I did three loads of laundry (lots of machines, a nice long table, and a rolling bin. Verdict: two thumbs up). Our RV park is next to the Rogue brewery – Rogue Nation’s World Headquarters, in fact – so we walked over to their brewpub for dinner. Our day would have ended just fine on that note, but we had another surprising encounter in store first.
The sun was setting through the clouds under the Yaquina Bay Bridge, and Chris wanted to go closer to take pictures. We saw some people at the public fish cleaning station, and the kids wanted to get a closer look. It ended up being three generations of a family prepping (i.e. killing and breaking apart and hosing off) the crabs they had just hauled in from the Bay. The four kids were busy, but really friendly and patient with Rita and Charlie. After watching for a while, Rita asked if she could try her hand. The kids’ grandfather gave Rita a pair of gloves, helped her pick up a crab from the cooler, and soon enough she was slamming it against the side of the metal sink and breaking it in half. We chatted with the grandfather about crabbing, and RVing, and home schooling, while Charlie took a turn.
Because of the steady rain and wind, we cancelled our plans to visit the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse this afternoon. It’s disappointing to not get to see a landmark while we’re in the area (e.g. Mout St Helens), but these unexpected interactions and experiences for the kids are some of the most memorable moments of this adventure.