Thursday, August 14, 2008

What to do on the Southern Oregon Coast

This week I had my pre-teen grandchild and her friend visit us from Los Angeles. Their passtimes in order of frequency are: talking to each other and others via texmessaging or phone, reading, computer activities, shopping, and sleeping.

Whatever we had planned for them to do with us, old and slow grandparents, could not interfere with above activities.

The good thing about pre-teens is that they can multitask better than anyone. So, on our drives to shopping, they would utilize their phones, computers and books. We shopped at book stores, used ones, where books are inexpensive and abundant. Besides, no sales taxes in Oregon made the purchases even more attractive.

Then, we sqeezed in some purely outdoor fun, the kind that you can only experience here on this windy coast.

We took them on a Rogue River adventure, with Jerry's Jet Boats. The whole day was spent getting wet, sloshed by waves, and avoiding dangerous rocks. Disneland has nothing like this. And yes, we saw bears, eagles, ospreys, turkeys, ducks and more wild life up front and personal. The folks at Jerry's had it all planned, including the rest and food stops and the water fights with kayakers.

The Bandon horseback riding on the beach caused the girls to make plans to move to a farm and have horses. I didn't want to bust their hopes explaining the tasks of taking care of animals. These children have grown up with virtual pets. But I think just the smell of horses brought them close to real pets.

The Floras Lake Windsurfing experience was another unexpected delight. I thought, for sure, that they would give up the lessons after the first hour, after the spills, after they began to get cold and tired. But the folks at Floras Lake windsurfing had it all figured it. They provided a one-on-one coaching, with plenty of support staff to shuffle the girls back to safe waters whenever they got a bit too carried away by the wind power. The day was actually perfect for beginners. The serious windsurfers remained on land, waiting for the wind to pick up. But it was just right for our novices. Surprisingly, after two hours or up and down and pulling and balancing on a board with a sail that they had to pull up after it fell and pull themselves up with it. after all that effort, they wanted to return in the afternoon for more. And they did. And the day was glorious for them and for us. We watched and worried. But we saw their coaches right next to them, fussing and directing their moves, encouraging, adjusting their manuvers. We were getting a front row seat view of man versus nature struggle, with none of the real dangers, and all of the fun. This experience cannot be duplicated on any lake in Los Angeles. And did I mention that they had one-on-one coaching from a grandfather and his grandaughter the same age as our girls? It could not have been planned any better. My appreciation to them and to Will Brady, the owner and manager of the outfit. After the girls warmed up in the sauna and returned home, they asked us to sign them up again for next summer. This time for more than one lesson.

These are the jewels we have on the coast that are not seen often. Most of us will collect agates on the beach and watch the surf. Those activities will be enough to rebalance us and refresh our minds. The girls will remember these riches the rest of their lives.

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