Margaritas on the Beach
Sometime around the summer of 2004, my best friend Robert and I decided, on a whim, to go to Grey’s Harbor, to have margaritas on the beach. We took my car. We took a cooler. We took a flip phone.
My car was (and still is…) a 1989 VW Golf. At the time, it was in good shape for its age. With the crisp clean lines of a pressed shirt and all the parts it was supposed to have, I was confident it would get us to the ocean and back. The air inside was warm. The air outside was warm. But when we were moving, it was refreshing which made the stop-and-go traffic miserable by comparison.
Unbeknownst to us, George Bush was in town. He was getting ready for the impending elections; winning voters. And ruining our impromptu journey south. Nonetheless, we were determined to complete our mission. Cars and trucks crawled down I405 and I5. Just enough motion to keep us from being able to get out and stretch our legs. Just slow enough to triple the anticipated travel time, at least.
Finally, we passed Olympia. The pace quickened as we continued south and west beyond the capitol. By this time, the blanket of dusk set upon us. We were still hopeful and determined to get there. Nothing would stop us.
We bought a fifth of tequila from the liquor store, which by some miracle was still open. The other provisions came from Safeway. We took them to a nearby camping/day use beach. The sun was exposing just a sliver of light, like a provocative striptease, as we poured a 50-50 mix of tequila and margarita mix in two pathetically cheap disposable cups until it was all gone; and so were we. The taste was horrible, sweetly acidic, but we made it to the beach and had “margaritas.”
Completely unprepared, we snapped two glowsticks from an emergency travel kit, to light our way. The seemingly radioactive glow was as bright to our eyes as it was to the sand. We cupped the glowsticks in our hands to shield our eyes and light the path back to the car.
We foolishly assumed there would be a campsite available… It was early summer at the beach. There were no campsites available. There was one however that was unoccupied, but reserved. We took our chances and clumsily popped up a tent in the dark; I’m sure it was only half up when we took shelter inside.
The cool ocean breeze and hazy morning light woke us early. I recall being surprised we weren’t awoken by an angry camper and happy we made it through the night undisturbed. We hastily packed what little gear we had and sped away to return home.
One wrong turn and our fortune followed. When we came to a fork, I read 101 north or Olympia.
“Well we want to go north…” thanks a lot brain!
I took 101 North, which will take you to the most northwest corner of Washington; not Bellevue. We didn’t have google maps on our flip phone or any fanciness like that. Discouragement filled the car as we passed unfamiliar landmarks and towns. Finally, we stopped to get our bearings. A visitor center lured us in and we rolled out of the car, the day growing quite warm. Gazing wearily at the wall size map, we searched for “you are here.” Sure enough, it was there, well on the way up the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.
Decision time! Do we turn around or press on?