Ten things I learned vacationing on the Oregon coast

No, this is not grammar related. So what? It’s my blog, I’ll do what I want.

I learned a lot while I was traveling the Oregon coast last week. Like, how lighthouses operate, the names of all sorts of fish, the history of boating on the Columbia River, and how Tillamook cheese is made. I also learned some things I never thought I’d have the need to know, and those are the things I want to share with everyone. Here are ten random things I learned while I was on vacation.

1. Strip clubs are “amusement parks”
I used my mother’s GPS as I traveled along the coast. She’s programmed it to make certain sounds when you pass fire stations and amusement parks. We passed several strip clubs along the way, and each time the GPS horns sounded off to notify us we were in the midst of an amusement park. Well done, TomTom.

2. Vacation calories don’t count
My shopping cart always consists of veggies, fruit, hummus, and high-fiber, unsweetened cereal—foods that make most people cringe. I am, shall I say, a health nut. On vacation, I ate giant sugary muffins and handfuls of gummy bears and cookies during the day, and my dinners consisted of things like fettuccine Alfredo and butter-soaked bread filled with melted cheese and bacon. I weighed myself when I arrived home, convinced I’d gained at least five pounds. NOPE! I lost two pounds. Apparently, calories consumed during vacation are null and void.

3. Water is coin-operated
The entrance to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is bordered by a stream and lush, vibrant foliage—typical for any place you visit along the coast. However, this sign sits along the bank of the stream:

It’s a good thing the sign was there, or else I might have done something stupid like ask an employee where I could find the meter in which to feed my coins.

4. Less is more
A majority of the road signs along the coast contain only one word. Rocks. Elk. Congestion. Slides. Deer. Slow. It was a nice change from Idaho, where the signs are more likely to read, “Watch out for rocks on the side of the road that just might tumble down and squish you like a bug.” At least in Oregon, the highway district understands that you can only read so much (safely) while traveling 55 miles per hour.

5. Sea lions sound like old, gassy men
We visited the Sea Lion Caves, which is where you travel 200 feet below ground into a cave with an amazing view of a gathering place for hundreds of sea lions. Though they are beautiful creatures, when a hundred sea lions pile up on one rock, they sound like a room of gassy old men who can’t control their flatulence.

6. Rain is “UFO piss”
The first several days we spent on the coast were sunny and warm, but eventually it did start to rain. Shortly before the storm rolled in, my boyfriend had been joking about UFOs flying over the ocean. When it began to rain, I sarcastically shouted out, “Oh come on, what is this?” and my boyfriend responded (very nonchalantly, I might add), “Well, it’s UFO piss.”

7. Sometimes you have to make up your own names for things
On our way to the Sea Lion Caves, we drove through a town called Yachats. We tried out every possible pronunciation of the name, but none of them felt right. Finally, we gave up and decided to call the town Yahtzee. Thus, the town of Yachats was referred to as “Yahtzee” for the entirety of our trip.

8. No one under the age of 70 dines out in Oregon
Every time we dined out, we were the youngest people in the restaurant (we are 25 and 29). You’d think that over a span of a couple hundred miles of tourist towns, there would be young couples and families dining out left and right. Yet if I had to guess, I’d estimate that 90% of our fellow diners were 70 or older.

9. Some people have too much money
Houses in the towns along the coast start around $300,000, and that’s probably if you want a piece of crap with no view of the ocean. We cringed every time we passed a mansion right on the beach, contemplating the various crimes we’d have to commit to get the money to own such a place. Not only that, but a speeding ticket in Oregon can cost you up to $400, and in safety corridors and construction zones those fines are doubled. If you think that would deter speeders along the coast, you’re wrong. Oregon residents along the coast have a terrible problem following the speed limit; if you can risk an $800 speeding ticket, you have WAY TOO MUCH money.

10. On a serious note, it is possible to wake up and not hear traffic
I live right behind a grocery store on a busy street. Every single day, I awake to the sounds of cars running, horns honking, and semis idling. For the first half of my trip, I woke up every day to nothing but the sounds of the waves crashing in the ocean. For the second half? I woke up to the distant barking of sea lions. THAT is bliss.