Sunday, May 18, 2008

days of dogs and noses

This was the weekend I got away from it all by giving another speech. At least, I was able to give it at one of my favorite get away spots: Salishan Lodge on the Oregon coast.

When I was growing up, places like Salishan were unknown on the Oregon coast. A family would rent a small cottage -- often right on the beach. Decor was a word that had no place at the beach. Accommodations were spartan. But it was the beach. It was all about sand, wind, kites, and salt water taffy. I cannot taste sea salt without bringing back over a half century of memories.

Salishan is in a completely different category. When it was built, it was seen as a luxury destination resort. For a period, its dining room was one of the only spots in Oregon to gain the highest wine and food ratings.

Time has not been kind to Salishan. There are many luxury spots on the beach, and the dining room has lot all of its critical acclaim. But it is fun to visit. It nestles in the hills away from the beach on a pleasant golf course.

What makes it special is how it seems to blend into the woods -- as if it were simply another large creature seeking its own solitude amongst the hemlocks and huckleberries.

On Friday Jiggs and I drove over in the early morning. The news reports were that the Willamette Valley would have temperatures around 95 and the coast would be close behind. All of that turned out to be true. The day was hot, but pleasant.

I spent the afternoon at my conference. Jiggs attended for about a half hour before a Salishan functionary evicted him -- health code and all. (I find it strange that all over Europe and Latin America, dogs and food establishments coexist with no problems. Come to think of it, why aren't all of us who have pets in our home dead from some sort of infestation. But, he was correct -- merely following his orders.)

My only concern about leaving Jiggs in my hotel room was the heat. The rooms are not air conditioned (it is the Oregon coast, after all) and they have huge windows. I closed the curtains, and he was fine -- just lonely.

I made it up to him that evening by taking him on several walks on the property's nature trails. Every year we go to Salishan, the trails are his favorites. He imagines himself as a wolf in search of bear or deer (both of which he could encounter), but he is usually on the scent of a wily and far-faster chipmunk. Due to his deteriorating legs, this year was a slow saunter. More than once, though, he was willing to tackle steep inclines far too demanding for a 12-year old dog.

On Saturday morning, I got through my presentation with only a few glitches. For an 8:00 AM class, it was well-attended. In fact, the room was almost full 15 minutes after we started. I actually tried to tone down my hammier side.

The conference ended at noon, but Jiggs and I decided to stay for the rest of the weekend. It is the beach, so off we went to see the ocean. It was a perfect day. The temperature had dropped back into the 60s, there was a brisk breeze, and the waves were putting on a great show. Being the two old guys we are, we headed back to the room for a nap. That evening I read.

This morning I woke up to this. It is the same perspective as the picture above.

I was not surprised. Whenever we have warm weather in the Valley, fog builds up on the coast. I waited for it to clear -- hoping to get Jiggs to the beach. But by noon it was still foggy. So, home we came. The fog cleared within a mile of the beach. Even so, we had almost bumper-to-bumper traffic coming from and going to the beach.

It was a worthwhile trip. Jiggs walked too much, but the two of us had plenty of opportunities merely to relax. A lesson taught -- and to be learned.


Anonymous said...

glad you and professor jiggs had such an enjoyable weekend.

it was 98 in ellensburg yesterday but in the early 80s today-a bit more pleasant even if it was windy.

looking forward to traveling down the oregon coast this summer. we'll have to check out salishan lodge.

have a great week!


Steve Cotton said...

It is almost 11, and the temperature is still at 72 outside. My bedroom is considerably warmer. On nights like this, I seriously think about sleeping in the back yard. But the mosquitoes are already on the prowl.

Babs said...

Your photos bring back memories of the Oregon coast and my many, many trips to McMinnville. It is so beautiful. Jiggs looks like he had a GREAT time. Your "hammier" side - NEVER tone that down!

Brenda said...

Nice picturs.
Jiggs looks like he is having a great time in that picture.

Anonymous said...

do you like to camp? why not set up a tent in your backyard-then you can enjoy the cooler temps. and the mosquitoes won't get to you.


Steve Cotton said...

teresa -- I have thought about putting up a small pavilion in the back yard with a cot. That would defeat the mosquitoes -- and Jiggs could pretend we were camping back on Steens Mountain -- looking for the wily cougar.

Anonymous said...

oops-sorry for commenting on steens mountain on the wrong post.


Steve Cotton said...

teresa -- No problemo. There are few rules in the free world of blogdom -- and that is not one of them.

Anonymous said...


thanks for the reply-glad there are few rules in the world of blogdom because i'm sure i make plenty of errors. as a general rule, i don't correct people, except on 2 things. #1 is that many people say, "no problemo" perhaps it was just a typo on your part but i wanted to let you know that there is no such word as problemo-it does not change tense, therefore it is always "problema" (hmmm, funny that it should always have the feminine tense ;-)and the correct usage is to say, "no hay problema." the #2 thing i correct people on is the mispronunciation of "tijuana." a lot of people say "tiajuana" which i'm sure you know means aunt jane and i have no doubt that you pronounce it correctly. so, there's your little spanish lesson for the day. if i can ever be of help with any spanish questions, feel free to ask by e-mailing me at i'd be happy to help.


Steve Cotton said...

teresa -- You are, of course, correct about the grammar. I fear I have fallen into the trap of linguistic humor.

A group of spanish-speaking boys at my church love creating joke phrases and words by combining english and spanish terms. Rather than say "hola" as a greeting, they have invented what they call hip-hop spanish: "yo-la." And, thus, one of their favorites: "no problemo."

I promise to watch those phrases in the future. After all, if I would not let 17-year old boys teach me theology, I should be just as careful what I learn from them in language arts.

Nick said...

GREAT pics. They remind me of my time in SoCal (okay, no hating), and June Gloom -- the period when the deserts and valleys warm rapidly, the rapidly rising air drawing the cool marine layer in over the warmer land (voila) low clouds and fog.

I used to describe myself as an Angeleno born in New Jersey. Although I don't see myself moving back, the left coast has extremely warm and fond memories.