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When I was a small child, pre-1940's, my family spent a lot of time at the beach fishing. The depression was still in it's throes, and I guess that fishing was both a pleasant pastime, and a way to put food on the table. It was usually a Saturday evening trip to either Huntington Beach or Newport Beach, both were within easy driving range from our home in Alhambra. Beach Boulevard was just a two lane street with what they called truck farms on either side of the road. Usually we were accompanied by my grandparents, my uncle and my aunt, or some other relatives. They would set up some lanterns along with their fishing equipment, and a blanket for me to sleep on. Those are my fond memories of going to sleep laying on the sand and listening to the roar of the waves. The Southern California beaches have always been very special to me from that early childhood. In later years after WWII, my father would take me out on a sport fishing boat, sometimes just off of the H.B. pier. There was a ladder leading down from the pier that the boat could pull up to, and as the swell would push the boat up past the end of the ladder, someone on the boat would grab you and haul you into the boat. It was exciting. One story sticks in my mind. One day we went out on a boat called the "Elsie I", and it was a converted ex-LCI (landing craft infantry). There were three young guys running things. When we came back in the surf was running pretty strong, so getting off of the boat was going to be tricky. Just as they were maneuvering into position near the pier, the engine quit, and we were rapidly being pushed toward the shore. One guy yells: "get the spare gas can". The other guy yells: "where is it?" In the end, each guy had told the other guy to get a spare can of gas, but none of them had. Solution? They opened up the engine compartment, took off the air filter, and used a pint sized can of lighter fluid one of the fishermen had to spark the engine enough to make a tie-up to the pier. They got the engine to start, and the guy kept squeezing squirts of lighter fluid into the carburetor. You talk about running a business on a shoestring.
In later years we would take a full day boat out of Newport Harbor, sometimes leaving early in the AM, and spend the entire day cruising fishing grounds around Catalina Island. In my High School days, it was going to Balboa during Spring break. There was the Fun Zone and parties to be found. In my later years, I had my own boats to explore the same waters and harbors. When I moved to Oregon I found the beaches to be much different than those in Southern California. The temperatures are cooler, but the sun is actually hotter. In other words, you can freeze and get a sunburn. The wind usually blows pretty strong, and the population of Oregon is less than that of SoCal. The result is that there are some very beautiful beaches in Oregon that are usually deserted, something you will not see in SoCal. My love for the Ocean hasn't left me, and in the years spent here, I have taken quite a few pictures of the Oregon Beaches.
The beaches in Oregon are spectacular for viewing, but definitely not the warm sunny beaches of SoCal. For the most part the shore line is very rugged. These first pictures are just general scenes from various beaches along the coast. The important fact to see in these pictures is the lack of people on the beaches (if you can see them, they are miniature in size). That is what always amazes me, is the fact that here is this beautiful beach with hardly anyone on it. One reason for the apparent lack of people on the beaches compared to SoCal is that there are only some 3+million people in all of Oregon. Compare that to the statistic I used when banner towing in SoCal: 1+ million people on the beaches any day when the temperature was 70 degrees or more.
The beaches do get a lot of tourists during the summer months, but other than that, picking a camp spot right on the beach is usually not a problem. This is a plus feature to be able to essentially "own" a nice beach front for a day or so. One of our favorite spots was Cape Lookout, on the scenic point around from Tillamook bay. Occasionally we stay at one of the resorts along the beach. Because of the forest growth right up to the seashore, it is not uncommon to see various wildlife. Oregon has many State owned airports some of which are right in town as they were in SoCal years ago.
Oregon has many rivers that run to the sea, and this means many bridges to span those rivers. One of the most impressive is the bridge crossing the Columbia River from Astoria to Washington. Astoria is a nice tourist town and features a class restaurant on a wharf that I like to frequent. The bridge is almost 4 miles in length. From the restaurant one can watch the large boats passing by. Each of the rivers terminate at some harbor town. Every one of these towns present an interesting assortment of marinas, sea food restaurants, and shops.
One of the spectacular sights along the shore are the giant sand dunes. This is like an enhanced Pismo Beach. Driving on the beach is also allowed in most places in Oregon.
With the rugged shoreline of Oregon, there were many shipwrecks early on. And thus it is that the Oregon shoreline is lined with Lighthouses. Most of these are open for viewing. There is usually a nice hike associated with getting to the sites.
A short drive across the Columbia puts one of the world's longest beaches. In fact, in Washington it is called exactly that. What criteria determines making that distinction is not spelled out, but Long Beach, WA is one very long beach.
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