Due to the solstice
and wanting to enjoy the longest of summer evenings, I decided last night (somewhat on a whim) to ride my little motorcycle
out to Lincoln City
last night to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. The weather in Salem was gorgeous: it was warm (but not hot), slightly windy, and clear with the occasional small cloud floating by. I checked sun-set time (right around 9) and set off at about 7:40 to the coast, chasing the sun as it started to drop.
Let me refresh my readers' memory: I am a native to the Willamette Valley. I've lived her all my life and I love it! Over the past 28 (almost 29 years) I've grown pretty used to how things work around here, so you'd think I'd have checked the weather report before venturing coastward. Being a rocket scientist, I thought about this but completely neglected to do it.
So there I am, riding at high speeds towards the world's largest ocean when, ahead of me, springs the Coastal Range
, a small range of hills/mountains between the Willamette Valley and the sea. Hanging above these was not a clear sky, but a formidable wall of rain clouds that stretched as far as the eye could see.
"Maybe it just LOOKS like it's raining," I hoped.
No. It was raining pretty righteously in those hills and spray from oncoming cars kept clouding my helmet's visor. I couldn't see the setting sun from the road, I could barely see the car ahead of me. Let me assure you that due to the warmth of Salem when I left, I was wearing jeans and still had the vents on my jacket open. Did I stop or turn around? Of course not! I wanted to see the ocean! Were I to have had a Mensa
membership, it would have been revoked at this point.
In what can only be described as a minor miracle or a divine gift, as I pulled into Lincoln City (which is about 65 miles west of my apartment) the clouds parted and the rain stopped. The sky was by no means clear, but it was clear enough that I could see traces of the sun setting the sky on fire as it started dropping below the horizon. This trip was, in fact, worth it. Lincoln City was warm, slightly breezy, and smelled of the open sea: a perfect setting.
I stayed just long enough to watch the sun disappear and I turned around and headed home. I had closed my vents and put the liner in my jacket, so I wasn't absolutely freezing. As I re-entered the Coastal Range I was mentally preparing myself for more rain; rain which never appeared. Instead, it seems, the air was thick with bugs emerging at dusk. The wholesale slaughter of these creatures upon my visor necessitated at least one stop within the first 20 miles as I could barely see the road anymore. I should have stopped again, but I wanted to catch as much light of the fading light as possible as I sped home.
Was the trip worth it? Absolutely. Did I learn my lesson? I sure hope not...