As I wandered through the grocery store the other day, past the nut section where they had removed Planters Men’s Health Nuts, down the juice aisle where they had discontinued or not stocked V8 tropical vegetable juice and along the beer aisle that never changes — Deschutes is not the only decent beer brewed in the PNW, people — I wondered: Brookings, Curry County, should I stay or should I go?
Confession: I am a fuss about my groceries.
But then spring sprouted and the trees greened, the rivers cleared and we began loading the kayaks up and looking for a river bar. A Jeep trip up Mount Emily proved enjoyable, and we skipped the gym the next day and hiked the redwoods for exercise instead.
Where else can one do this; where else can one plan a redwood, sand-dune and ocean-side camping trip all in the same month? Where else can you run trails on cliffs above the Pacific?
And then, I roll out of a restaurant and bam. Into a shopping center later, and bam. I bottom-out my car twice in three minutes.
Nowhere else on Earth but Curry County has as many innocuous looking driveways and parking lots designed to rip the oil pan off a car. And so the car picks up a funny noise and I need a mechanic.
“The car is making a funny . . .” I say.
I said my car has started making a. . . “
“A funny noise,” I scream.
At this point, a second mechanic saunters out shaking his head, “We ain’t much good at noises,” he informs me. “Ain’t heard much in years.”
I drive around in circles beside the two in the lot while they tip their heads and listen.
Nope. No noise.
The next mechanic I see listens as well and says, “It’s probably nothing.”
I feel much better now.
As I am deciding how to explain to my wife why I’m packing, she asks if I want to go out and have a beer and some food, and I think of a couple of the restaurants along Chetco Avenue.
Sushi, I think, or Italian, Mexican? Maybe we could hit a brewery after. A Sea of Ruin or a Thunder Rock might just. . . And by this time we are walking down Railroad Street having decided on one meal and stopping for both beers, and the whistle-buoy is hooting like a mourning dove, the bell-buoys are ringing in the waves and I am walking behind her, past Superfly. . . dreaming of a hangover bowl and a bloody Mary in the morning.
Dinner time in Brookings. Perfect. Walking in the sunshine and seeing friends along the way.
But then, after a night at one of the two local theaters — awesome — the group decides to head out for drinks.
“Um, well. . .” I can only think of three spots, and because I type the police reports as part of my job, I’m not going to two of them unless “dispute,” “assault in progress,” and “disorderly conduct” are band names.
Oh, Curry County. The Rogue River flowing under the Patterson Bridge and filled with fish the size of my leg, the sweet government of Gold Beach where democracy shines like the faces in a history book and everyone gets along, the rocky coast and swaying firs, the most beautiful drive on the planet, a place where you can stand on a point above the ocean, wonderous and unspoiled, even though they built a sewage plant on it.
I guess we’ll stay.
Reach Boyd C. Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org