The Oregon Coast – Escape From the Heat

by on June 30, 2021 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

OBceans and other Southern Californians must have breathed a sigh of relief in not being engulfed by the record-breaking heatwave that hit the Northwest this past weekend. I happened to be in Oregon visiting family and was able to experience it all.

It was 109 in the small town I was in, southwest from Portland. For three days. After spending two days mostly indoors, on the third day of the heat, we bundled everybody into two cars and headed for the Oregon coast.

And after an hour and half of driving through pristine forests, farmlands and small mountains we arrived at the beaches and land that comes right down to the sand. How could you impress an OBcean with a beach?

Oregon did. One of our vehicles was a four-wheeled drive and we were able to drive on one of these beaches – legally. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do that in SoCal. There weren’t that many people; it was windy, sandy, and fresh water poured from the nearby hill.

But it was 40 degrees cooler! That was the main thing. We went from 109 down to 69. What a relief! What an escape! The grandkids had a ball; wild orchids and other exotic plants grew out of the hill next to the beach; fresh water flowed into the sand and down to the ocean. It was a corner of paradise. Unspoiled, even by the few humans that came to visit. (If you really want the name of the beach, email me at – it’s near Pacific City. )

Wild, yellow orchids.

Yet, the one thing that you don’t do on the Oregon coast – is go into the water. Way too dangerous. So, in that sense, the Oregon beaches rank below the sands of Southern California.

A few more things about this area of Oregon. For one, the small town I was in is the international capital of the Pinot Noir wine world. I was told that there are 800 wineries in the county I visited. (Not a typo – 800!) How is that physically or geographically possible?

Also, the state and local towns are much more lenient about cannabis dispensaries. Every little town has a handful – I’m serious. I visited one and was impressed that if a grower sends in a product below its usual price for some reason, the savings are passed onto the customer. I can’t imagine that happening here in the south.

Editordude and brother of son-in-law Devin. BTW, those are not cannabis joints, but are organic, spice cigarettes, alternatives to nicotine.

Of course, the forests, the woods, the rivers, creeks and streams impressed the hell out of this beach-desert boy. Just one of their creeks has more water than in any of our San Diego “rivers.”

And the small towns, the old river towns, the old farm towns, lumber towns, mining towns don’t butt up against each other but are separated by forests so thick that anyone of them easily outmatches any we have here. A lot of these towns have their original two and three-story brick buildings – which make them prime targets for “cutesy” gentrification efforts that are slowing flowing south from Portland and north from California.

In the end, I was very glad to get back to “normal” San Diego, with its overcast and mid-70s weather, and oceans that are friendly and skies that smell of salt-air.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle June 30, 2021 at 12:34 pm

Perfect synopsis of the experience! Oregon loved having you here!


retired botanist June 30, 2021 at 5:10 pm

So glad you had a great time and that you were able to fully appreciate the “other”! :-)


Frank Gormlie July 1, 2021 at 7:56 pm

Very wonderful to see my daughter and her family after 8 months. The Portland area is so different that it definitely is a nice break from our county. Thank you


Geoff Page June 30, 2021 at 8:10 pm

Frank, there was a place where you could rive on the beach, right here in OB before they blocked off Dog Beach from cars. I remember mostly trucks and vans lining the river on Dog Beach all day and into the evening. It was much nicer when that stopped.


Frank Gormlie July 1, 2021 at 8:53 am

Sure, before the city “unplugged” the San Diego River (then called the “Flood Control Channel”) and before the bump over the little jetty was blocked off, you could drive onto the sand below the berm. Also, one could drive onto more sand on Fiesta Island (got stuck at least once) back in those days. However, getting used to driving on desert sand with a street car gives one the savvy to handle beach sand.


Geoff Page July 1, 2021 at 10:47 am

Savvy editor dude, alright!


sealintheSelkirks July 1, 2021 at 1:37 pm

Lucky you, Frank. I’m not sure my 1995 4Runner would even make it to the coast driving in this heat. No air conditioning in it, either, for that matter and driving 300 miles through the Washington State Scablands (dry semi-desert in the rain shadow of the Cascades) I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t make it!

Omak Washington was the hottest temperature in the lower 48 or so the weather weenies say, but they don’t have an ‘official’ weather station here in the lower Selkirks at my elevation. I beat the record. Whoo-hoo, what’s my prize? More heat….

This is the last six days readings from the mercury thermometer on the north-facing side of my woodshed in the shade at 3pm after mostly being in the mid-upper 90s for the last 2 1/2 weeks:

Friday 102’F, Saturday 106’F, Sunday 112’F, Monday 113’F, Tuesday 116’F, Wednesday 115’F. This is a wood-walled building facing the forest so no reflected heat sources to jiggle the readings… It was 92’F at 9am this morning.

Most people here don’t have AC, never needed it. No AC in this house, either, just fans & swamp coolers. It’s so hot that local radio stations are going off the air as their ACs blow up in the towers…

This is a more realistic view (though a very depressing read) about what this heat dome really is. It isn’t an ‘event.’ It is the ‘new normal’ except it won’t be as it will continue getting hotter every year because as a species we are ignoring the science in favor of money. I wonder when it’s going to quit snowing up here 40 air miles from the Canadian Border? I had a thermometer reading of 40’F on January 29th this year. And it rained. IN WINTER! And every month was worse, warmer until now where it’s getting unlivable.

This Isn’t a Heatwave — It’s a Dying Planet

Lethal Heat Hits the Planet
The news does not get much worse than a recent scientific report that the planet is trapping twice as much heat as it did only 14 years ago.

Climate change tipping points are upon us, draft U.N. report warns: ‘The worst is yet to come’

I am not looking forward to this…



Geoff Page July 1, 2021 at 4:14 pm

Those temperature readings way up north there should give everyone pause.

Now if that started happening to OB, I’d have to say something.


sealintheSelkirks July 2, 2021 at 11:12 pm

Don’t worry, Geoff, you’ll get to say something when the water quits flowing out of the taps. You don’t need these temps to be worried, dude, it’s enough that it’s happening elsewhere where the water comes from.

Have you seen the pics of the Colorado or Lake Mead and Lake Powell where most of OB’s water originates? Less than 35% left behind either dams last I read. After viewing those pics, take a gander at Shasta Lake up where I lived before I moved here. It’s flat GONE. Empty. There’s a boat ramp pic one of my old Kenpo students sent me from Chico who went home to Mt. Shasta for the weekend and stopped to take a few. In 2003 I was standing in waist deep water pulling a wake surfing boat off a trailer…which is now 200 feet above the Sacramento river a quarter mile away… Erase the invisible line we call a ‘national border’ and what do you get but the southwest being just the continuation of the Northern Sonora Desert right up to that dam…

Triple digits again today, smoke haze from the fires in Canada blowing in, and had the 2nd wildfire directly south of me on the same ridgeline inside 3 miles upwind in the last five days. So far no reason for any natural start on the first one. The 2nd will have a crew on it all night tonight and an investigator is already looking for the ignition point. We may have a human firebug… I’ve done so much work knocking fire breaks around this place but as dry and hot as it is will it make any damned difference? Big sigh. I live in the mountains. If I suddenly quit posting…

Hope Frank is enjoying reading my book. If he’s started it that is!



Geoff Page July 6, 2021 at 12:52 pm

You are quite right about our water situation, seal. I’ve lived though a few periods in California that were pretty bad, but we recovered. I remember in 1975 or 76 when one lane of the Richmond Bridge in the Bay area taken up by a large diameter water pipe to supply Marin County that had gone completely dry. I remember renting a ski boat and touring Shasta Lake in ’86 and the Lake was so low the ring was very visible and they warned all the boaters that island were reappearing from below the surface. And, the water restrictions we had just a few years ago. Somehow we’ve managed but if there is another dry winter, this will be a very bad one.

Sounds like it has been tough up there, I hope you and your place came through it ok.


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