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A refreshing trip to the beach

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Editor Lindsay Keefer snapped this photo from her hotel room in Newport, where she and her husband celebrated their fifth anniversary.It has been a hectic two weeks in the Keefer household.

Not only have we been busy with our jobs, but we’ve also been looking at how to prepare for a trip to a church retreat this week (parts of which we are helping to plan) and how to deal with the aftermath of a car accident.

It was my first accident and, although I came out virtually unscathed, it was very traumatic for me, especially since my husband was out of town and the other car’s hatchback window decided to shatter less than 24 hours later.

Some positives did come out of the accident, though. It certainly reestablished my faith in God and gave me a renewed appreciation for life. It also gave my husband an excuse to go shopping for that pickup truck he always wanted.

It also gave us an excuse to say we could use a break from the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day grind. So last weekend, which happened to be our fifth wedding anniversary, we set off for who knows where in our new pickup.

I met my husband at work, not realizing he had already stopped at home and packed for the weekend — including things for me. And he refused to tell me where we were going.

When we headed in the direction of the airport, my mind started racing: Where in the world were we going? We only had two days, so it’s not like we could go far.

My suspicions were invalid, however. My husband had managed to get us a discount night’s stay at Aloft Hotel down the road from the airport. My husband, who would be a pilot in another life, was in heaven, watching the airplanes coming in for a landing from our fifth-story chic upscale hotel room.

The next day, we headed for the coast, stopping in random spots to try our hands at geocaching, a very recent hobby we’re trying to pick up together. For those who don’t know geocaching, it’s using coordinates and/or a compass to basically find a “treasure” — some are in water bottles in the hollow of a tree, others are boxes under a rock in a parking lot. It can be a lot of fun, especially when there are clues provided.

We eventually made it to Newport. We drove south along Highway 101 through Yachats and Florence, stopping at Perpetua Bay and taking pictures here and there.

In Florence, Aaron pulled the car into a parking lot to look up where we could stay the night. Yes, that’s how spontaneous — or you might say unstructured — we are.

He found us a place at the Shilo Inn in Newport, a waterfront property with average room conditions but a gorgeous sunset view. We grabbed fish and chips at a local fish market and sat at the window, watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean. It would have been romantic had the guy in the neighboring unit not decided to come out on the walkway and stand right in front of our view those last couple minutes before the sun disappeared over the water. It’s one of those things that are maddening at the time, but humorous when you look back on it.

The next day, we headed to the Oregon Aquarium. It was my first visit, and I was determined to get there in time for the otter feeding. My favorite part was when the otters tried to crack the crab shell on the glass partition. We also watched the seal and sea lion feeding, which consisted of them performing tricks for their trainers, to the delight of the growing crowds. The entire aquarium was a fun experience, but the prices are ridiculously high.

What trip to Newport would be complete without a visit to the Rogue Ales brewery and pub, since the company is headquartered in Newport. We sampled the ales and gorged ourselves on sandwiches that we were hopeful to burn off on the beach.

We headed across the bridge to Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. The sand was hot but soothing in the sun, and the ocean breeze was perfection. After a scamper through the dunes and a stroll along the shore, we decided we should head home.

Sure, this wasn’t the most exotic trip I’ve taken. And the spontaneity of it all is nothing new. But despite not knowing what we were going to do next, the trip was surprisingly refreshing, giving us both a much needed boost to push us forward after feeling knocked down by the trials of life. After last weekend, it feels like there’s nothing a trip to the beach can’t cure.



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