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Winter Storm Watching on the Pacific Ocean

When I was young, my Grandmother had a house on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean, with a view that was amazing. There were no curtains (which trust me, I HATED as a kid!) and we’d fall asleep to the light from the Cape Meares lighthouse sweeping through the downstairs. My Mom loved going down to visit in winter, which I realized later on is something I share as well. Winter storms are amazing. Horrid when backpacking, but amazing if you are in a cozy and warm building where you can watch them fly by. My Mom would get up and walk down to the beach (it was a freaky steep “trail”) and go beach combing, once the storm broke. Tucked away I have a small collection of glass floats my Mom and I found.

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My Grandmother sold the house in the mid 80’s and moved farther North, from Oregon to Washington, moving to the Island I’d call home for 13 or so years. But no beach property that time. Ah well. It was a wonderful 12 or so years I got to enjoy it! Still, no matter how many years has passed, I love a big winter storm. And in Washington State that means going to Kalaloch Lodge on the Olympic Coast, in the Olympic National Park. There is nothing else out there, besides a few rare in holdings. In summer the place is crowded with tourists and costs a small fortune to stay there. But go in the umm…less pleasant months, and you can score deals often. This visit we snagged the $75 for the 75th deal. In past visits we stayed in the Kalaloch cabins, where it is a semi-private bedroom, living room, kitchen and more – many of the cabins are singles (not duplex-style) so are wonderful when you have a crying baby along. This time I noticed I could snag the 2 bedroom Seacrest hotel suite for the deal. Oh hello! Now, for most people the cabins have more allure because they are closer to the water. By like a few yards. Snort.

We left on Friday and got there after dark (there is no fast way there!) and checked in. Bonus? Our hotel room was WARM. Normally the cabins are very chilly, they have tile floors. We went to bed in comfort, listening to a storm approaching. It rained all night and we woke up to no rain but howling winds. Perfect. Just what I wanted!
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One of the first views visitors to Kalaloch get when they pull in is the creek emptying out into the Pacific. Ford, Walker and I braved the winds to go get lattes at the small store they run. The latte machine was something nice added in the past year, when the gov’t contract changed on who runs the lodge. The new group managing, DNC, has done a lot of turn around on the property. Things are being fixed, upgraded and they employees seem a lot happier. I have noticed this on our visits in the past 3 years, and it was very noticeable on this latest one. From the check-in, where I was given a gorgeous hand blown ornament by the General Manager to the staff treating us so well – and get this, I was “Mrs. Kirkconnell”. I kept looking around for my MIL to materialize next to me 😉 You know how great it was to not hear “Hey guys”. Ack! I was dancing inside with happiness.

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The best part about the hotel suite over the cabins? The deck. Um yeah. It had a great view of the ocean (we were on the second floor), but sat back enough the wind barely fazed you. The cabins don’t have that, so in high winds you have to look out the windows. I was out on the deck for hours! So were Alistaire and Walker!

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A pano from the deck (the ocean is straight ahead)

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And a pano of our deck. It was kid safe. I loved it. And it had two really comfy lazy-chairs. Oh yeah, that is the master bedroom through those windows! Our view from bed was the ocean. For $75 a night.

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It was a little apartment really, with one of the biggest bathrooms around! It had 2 bedrooms (with closets), and the living room which had a futon couch and a futon chair, a dining table, frig and a toasty fireplace (you get 2 bundles wood every day delivered).

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The parking lot is on the other side.

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Saturday we braved the winds and went out to see the sights!

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We stayed in the top right. There are 2 2-bed and 1 1-bedroom suites and the rest are studios. The only drawback is the hotel doesn’t have kitchens but that didn’t faze me.

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And the glorious beach, looking North. Even at high tide it is still gorgeous. In howling 30-40 mph winds.

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Why? Because there is a warm room waiting for you! I carry a kit for cooking, that we use for car camping and cabin stays. I can cook pretty much anything I desire. Outdoor cooking is my business 😉 The box is my spice kit I made with Stage 1 glass baby food jars, tucked into a carrying box. It goes with everything else into a bin with locking lid (stove, fuel, pots, tools, and many other items).

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I cooked our meals out on the deck. Oh, the kitchens are nice, but it wasn’t that bad! And all that room to lounge around in, reading books, magazines and napping? Worth it. No internet, no tv’s, no phones.

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Low tide came, and we took the younger ones down to dig in sand. Oh, they had their tools packed early! Shovels, rakes, buckets…. found a wind break and hunkered down. They had so much fun.

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Selfie on the beach….

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When I was a kid, my brother and I would hit each other with the sea whips. Bonus points if they popped and coated your victim with stinky sea water. Hah!

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Alistaire being very cheezy!

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Mr. Crabby met the sad fate of so many of his brethren: the hungry Sea Gull 😉

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It was crazy weather: sunny and warm if sheltered, howling, knock over the baby once you came into the wind. I ended up having to carry him back as the wind was too much.

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While Kirk snoozed on the couch, I sat outside on the deck and watched the sun set. Wow.

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Simply wow. And the wind kept howling all night. Woke up Sunday morning to near quiet and skies turning blue.

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Kirk and I took the boys down to the creek.

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I have a photo of me, when Ford was a year or so old, standing here. Hard to believe like 15 years has gone by so fast. And that I stood there with my youngest, who is the same age as Ford was then.

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We splurged and had breakfast in the restaurant. The menu changed sharply when DNC took over, and focuses on more healthy and local foods. Our waitress was very nice and brought Alistaire a bowl of plain Greek yogurt and jam – since it isn’t easy to find much he can eat with his allergies. I was freakishly bad and had the smoked salmon hash with poached eggs. I think Kirk was turning green a bit. This plant-based diet eater has a bad guilty pleasure. Once every few years I love having undercooked poached eggs. Over the hah. My Mom would have been with me on this one – she taught me how tasty a poached egg could be, with buttered toast on the side. Kirk is a “cook ’em hard” guy if eggs are on the menu.

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But you know what made my weekend more than anything? Wild roses blooming. In November. They are there every year. Always so pretty. And an amazing Sunday morning. Where I took the boys hiking…..

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And that can wait till the next post 😀

5 thoughts on “Winter Storm Watching on the Pacific Ocean

  1. I loved this post! My (becky) grandma had a place at the beach (hilton head) and I spent so many months there as a child. I miss it so much. We still go back there now for our vacations & I am excited that the kids will grow up like I did. I loved those pictures that you shared, too.
    Thanks for sharing on the BOTS Facebook page today- I’m so happy to come across this post… fond memories! 🙂

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