Pacific Coast Highway Day 7 – Yachats to Cannon Beach, Oregon

Dear Diary,

Seven is an extraordinary number, and it would hold true for this day as well.

I had another short 4 hour driving day so I had enjoyed a leisurely morning (except for that last bit where I was going to be left alone in the haunted house, that lit a fire under me).

Pacific Coast Highway and I had become quite comfortable together. It meandered inland and back to the coast often, and every time the sea would become visible it presented itself as a new and changed panorama. Because I felt compelled to stop so many times to take photos (and quite a few stops due to road/bridge repair), the drive actually took me 6 hours.

Can you blame me?



I was looking forward to passing through Tillamook, if only because just saying the name makes me so happy. Why? Because my favorite cheese bears the same name, and who doesn’t get happy when they think of cheese?

And thinking of cheese made me think of Mexican food, and despite having left Heceta Head with a full stomach, I suddenly knew I couldn’t go on without being fortified with it. I found a wonderful Mexican restaurant and sated my craving.

The turnoff to Cannon Beach is a little confusing, and I passed it twice before I got it right. When I finally found my hotel, I was tired of being in the car and was looking forward to checking into my room.

At this point I had not laid eyes on the actual beach yet, and the business of checking-in, finding a parking space (evidently this is a popular spot), and schlepping my luggage up to the 4th floor and into my room had kept me from it.

When I finally walked out onto my veranda and laid my weary eyes on this place, I found myself looking in awe at one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Top three anyway.

William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) said it best when he first saw what would become Cannon Beach in 1806, “…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…”

The more modern National Geographic has named it in the top 100 most beautiful places in the world.

I kicked my shoes off, grabbed my camera, and hit the sand just outside of my room.

My sorry excuse for photos cannot begin to capture the splendor of Cannon Beach, but I must share them anyway.

Haystack Rock, and southern end of the beach. See those tiny specks just left of haystack rock? Those are people next to the 235 ft. Cannon Beach landmark.


And another I took from my room…

Haystack RockI still had plenty of daylight left, so I intended to walk the entirety of the 4 mile long beach. I walked in the soft sand to the wet hard packed sand nearer the breaking waves and headed south.

I made it to “The Needles” which is just south of Haystack Rock before I noticed that I was the only one without shoes on (because my feet were so cold I was actually losing feeling in them). What a TOURIST!

The Needles…

The Needles at Cannon Beach

As exquisite as this was, I was losing the fight with my will to keep going. My feet were numb, and my meager wind breaker was not living up to its name. I was dang cold.

And cold is my kryptonite.

I turned around and headed north back to the glorious view from my room.

Here is the north beach view as I stand in front (or is it the back) of my hotel.

Cannonbeach2This is when I caught sight of the lighthouse on the rock that sits far out in the ocean all by itself. Tillamook Lighthouse. Terrible Tilly.

A zoomed view…

Tillamooklighthouse1Here is another photo I took in the morning…

Tillamook LighthouseI am both fascinated and horrified at this lighthouse and it’s history. Fascinated because despite it’s extraordinarily harsh conditions for lighthouse keepers and expensive repairs, Tilly shone it’s light for 77 years.


Horrified because it is now privately owned and used as a columbarium, where for a couple of thousand clams you can rest (how restful can it be?) your ashes. Only problem is the owners lost their license due to poor record keeping (in other words not knowing who is where), ashes are being kept on boards and cinder blocks (not niches), the place is covered in guano and the roof leaks (if the US couldn’t afford the upkeep, how did they expect to?), and at least 2 urns were stolen by vandals. Ew.

I headed up to my room to warm up and watch the sunset.

I started the gas fire in the fireplace (no more real fires for me), and sat and stared at Cannon Beach’s glory so that every piece of it is etched in my memory.

And it is.

The sunset could not last long enough to suit me. Each picture I snapped mirrored a different image of the same vista, each one more glorious than the one before it until it was lost completely to the night…



Only the sound of the waves remained.

I thanked God for making this beautiful place.

I had experienced two nights of sleep lost to angst so the posh bathroom was a gift from heaven. I filled the sunken tub with hot water and bubble bath and promptly melted into it’s soothing depths.

I felt many of the twists in my too tight rubber band around my soul let go.

A preface for the epiphanies that followed in rapid succession as if they were always there and I had not noticed them before.

Maybe they were.

The secret to happiness is;  accepting things the way they are. So simple, why had it alluded me?

The root of unhappiness conversely is; wanting things differently than how they are. Like insisting the current of a river flow differently than it is. No matter how hard we swim against it, it will continue to flow the way it is supposed to.

Then the answer to the question I had so desperately sought…WOULD I BE ALRIGHT ALONE?

Yes. Yes because I am always alone, and never alone. We all are.

Always alone because it is only us who can walk our own path. Others move in and out of our lives, some stay a short time while others stay longer to walk beside us, but we can only breathe in our own breath, think our own thoughts, live our own life, and die our only death.

Never alone because we have God who takes every step with us, who loves us when we are unlovable, carries us when we fall, sustains us when we are weak, comforts us when we are hurt, and gives us hope when all else is gone.

Never alone because we have each other. A whole world of people who are human… together.

And the secret to being at peace with it all? Time.

Time away from phones, TV, the internet (ironic I know since I’m on it right now, but I wasn’t then), and the people who require so much of us; families, bosses, employees, customers, friends, etc. Time away from the sensory overload we know as routine, but is really a dangerous addiction.

Time for beauty, time for solitude, time for thought, time for God, time to breathe, time to mourn, time to find joy, time to forgive, time to be thankful, time for hope.

Our time is now. This is all we get, and to waste any of it being afraid, worrying, hating, angry, stressed, distracted, envious or any other thing that takes away rather than add to the quality of our lives is time we never get back.

Easier said than done, I know.

I think the saddest thing on Earth would be to take our last breath and realize we never lived the life we were meant to.

Don’t worry, there’s still time.

Until next post dear reader (I mean diary).