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Road Trip Memory, Cannon Beach

“I’ve got to get my shot!”

AAA Washington member Deborah Gardner and her husband took a quick getaway in late December 2019. On a grey and windy day on Dec. 30, they left their home in Des Moines, drove to Longview and then down the Oregon Coast to Seaside and Cannon Beach.

We headed west on U.S. Route 30. Our first stop was Fort Stevens State Park in Hammond, Oregon. While spending a few hours exploring this beautiful park, I attempted to get that award-winning shot of the wreckage of the Peter Iredale — and tried not to get a soaking from those unpredictable winter waves.

After slowly making our way down the coast and stopping to explore some of the smaller state parks along 101, we finally made it to Seaside and the Cannon Beach area in the early afternoon. There we spent some time at Ecola State Park enjoying an overcast view of Haystack Rock and Tillamook Lighthouse. A chill was in the air and the winter wind was getting stronger. That night the rain and wind pounded against our beach-front hotel room waking us several times.

By the morning the rain had let up a bit but strong gusty winds continued to blow. Determined to get a shot of Haystack Rock we headed to Cannon Beach again. We pulled into Tolovana Beach State Park and sat for a minute watching the weather. The winds gusted at 20-30 mph or more, and it was just beginning to spit rain. Undeterred, I told my husband, “We came all this way — I’ve got to get my shot.”

The winds were so strong that I struggled to walk the whole time. I walked north maybe a quarter of a mile or so along the beach to get a bit closer to Haystack, and shot several pictures. The sand was blowing about a foot or two off the ground. It was crazy: Fighting this wind and seeing the blowing sand felt like I was on some other planet but the whole time I kept thinking, man this would be a cool shot if I could capture this blowing sand with Haystack in the background.

I couldn’t resist. I had to do it. With the blowing wind I had a hard time standing up, let alone keeping the camera still. By this time the rains had begun — not just a Northwest drizzle but the motherload of rainstorms. When I finally got back to the car I was covered with blown sand from my knees down, and the rains had soaked me.

My husband was patiently waiting in the nice dry, warm car. He smiled and said, “You done yet?” This is one New Year’s Eve photo shoot I will never forget. We made our way back to Des Moines to enjoy the Space Needle fireworks show on TV. But the weather condition cancelled the fireworks, with winds gusts up to 45 mph!

– Written by AAA Washington member, Deborah Gardner
– Photo by Deborah Gardner

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