We Needed That

 Posted by at 4:00 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 062013

As I said in yesterday’s blog, cabin fever was setting in. So we took a much needed day off and got out of the motorhome for a while.

Our first stop was at the post office in Ocean Shores to mail out a bunch of orders. We use Stamps.com for postage whenever we can, to avoid waiting in line at the post office. I was surprised that the sign on the outside drop box said it was picked up at 12:30 p.m. only, and since it was past that I went inside to drop the envelopes off and asked why they didn’t empty the box later in the day, since it’s right there in the parking lot. The lady told me it was because they empty it at 12:30. Yeah, that’s some good customer service for you! And they wonder why they’re going broke?

We made a quick stop at the beach, where riders were getting ready to go for a jaunt down the beach. I wonder if somebody has to follow along with a huge pooper scooper?

Riders on beach

I don’t ride anything I can’t put gas in, and at $20 an hour, I probably won’t be riding one of those anytime soon.

Beach horse rental

My dad spent a lot of time in a saddle at one point in his life, and he never liked or trusted horses. His favorite mount was a mule named Tony who looked a lot like this fellow. He may not have been as fast as some of the horses, but he was steady and reliable.

Horses on beach


Then we drove into Aberdeen and across the drawbridge over the Chehalis River to Cosmopolis, a small community that has worked hard to keep itself separate from Aberdeen. Back when I was in the newspaper business here, in the late 1970s and early 80s, the economy here was pretty good but the tree huggers were working hard to stop logging and people wanted to shut down the lumber and pulp mills because they made the air stink, and they got their way. Today the downtown area is full of empty buildings and the stores that are open are hanging on by a thread. And instead of the smell of the pulp mills there is the brackish smell of the bay at low tide, with a strong element of despair to add to the flavor. Maybe it’s a combination of a week of cold dreary weather and all of the rundown part of the twin towns of Aberdeen and Hoquiam, but we both acknowledged a feeling of depression and don’t think we’ll be in a hurry to get back here.

We drove out to the fishing town of Westport, which lies at the south entrance to Grays Harbor, as opposed to Ocean Shores on the north side. While it’s only about four miles across the water, it’s fifty miles by road.

At one time Westport was the Salmon Fishing Capital of the World and anglers came from all over the country to take charter boats out after trophy fish, but these days things have slowed way down. There are still a lot of boats, and even on a cold, gray Monday afternoon there were a few tourists wandering around the waterfront, but nothing like in the old days.



Back in Aberdeen we stopped at WalMart for a few things, then had dinner at a Chinese place called Ocean Palace that was highly recommended on Yelp. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. I was a little taken aback that a refill on my soda was $2. What’s up with that?

They did have some awesome carvings on display that were for sale. I wanted to take Buddha home with me, but Terry said looking at one of me was enough, she didn’t need two.

Tree carving

Tree root sculpture


We had a good time just riding around together sightseeing and we needed the break. Today it’s back to my desk to work on the new issue of the paper.

Thought For The Day – The secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.

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  13 Responses to “We Needed That”

  1. Don’t know what your father rode back in the day Nick but it wasn’t a mule and neither is the horse in the bottom picture. Mules will not wear a saddle and won’t tolerate a rider. I believe the animal in your picture is a Ukrainian or one of the other large saddle horse breeds.

  2. It’s sad when a once thriving community crumbles into industrial decline. My own home town of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, was the most productive iron works in the whole world in 1844. Coal mining took up some slack but it’s been 150 years of decay since then. That’s what happens when a town expands around a single industry.

    It seems that Cosmopolis has suffered a similar fate. Back in the late 50’s, most people were ignorant of the dangers of asbestos commonly used in industry. Nobody worried about the chemical waste they were pumping into the river and the effect it had on downstream ecology was ignored. Reality finally caught up and the community is paying the price.

    Come on Nick. There is a much better story story to tell here. Blaming it on the “tree huggers” is less than I would expect from clever guy like you.

  3. Henry there are thousands of mules road. Go to Grand Canyon as Nick said sure footed and considered smarter.

  4. Carl beat me to it. Apparantly Henry has never been out west. He needs to watch more of the travel channel. or RFD channel.

  5. Or watch Gunsmoke. Festus rode a mule named Ruth.

  6. “… because they empty it at 12:30.” Typical “I can’t be fired” govt employee response.

    And here’s another. Yesterday I went to the “Customer Service” desk at a suburban New Jersey Wally and asked where I could mail a letter. The clerk’s response was “why would you want to do that? She stumped me…I couldn’t think of an answer to her question.

  7. Nick,
    If you’d like a change of pace, take a little trip into Pacific Beach……drop by Emily’s and have some homemade pie or maybe the special of the day. Jim and Colleen are the owners and are only open for breakfast and lunch. Great little place. Across the street is Paddy’s Restaurant. Paddy and his wife own the restaurant and he is really unique. He does not serve more than parties of six and has signs everywhere warning parents about their unruly kids. The food is great! He’s very gruff but feeds the town drunk’s dog every day. We were witness to that. His wife said the dog’s almost 20 and slowly walks over twice a day for food.
    Pacific Beach has a good Military resort including ocean front RV full service sites so maybe you’ve stayed there before.
    We drove to Quinault Lodge from there which is only about 30 minutes. Beautiful lodge and lake.

  8. Uh guys, not to be argumentative, but have you ever heard of the 20 MULE teams? Have you ever heard of MULE trains? MULE SKINNERS? Mules are pack animals and draft animals. You are confusing mules with donkeys, which are ridden and used at the Grand Canyon. Yes, Festus rode a specially trained mule on TV. But that was TV.

  9. Nick, I’m a longtime blog reader who plans to be on the road in our MCI bus conversion as soon as we finish the conversion. Hopefully by the time the snow falls. Today’s blog struck a chord with me because I lived in Hoquiam back in the 60s and 70s when the lumber mills were going strong and a man who wasn’t afraid of hard work could make a good living. And you are right, the environmentalists fought the timber industry tooth and nail until they won the battle. And we all lost the war. Today the mills are closed and what timber is cut is loaded on ships to be sent overseas to be milled, then they send it back as lumber for us to buy. And if you can find a job in the Harbor it’s going to be minimum wages and not a full 40 hour week so they don’t have to pay any benefits. We seldom go back but when we do it’s heartbreaking to see what has happened to a once thriving community.

  10. Hey Henry, google “riding mules” and see what comes up. I know a couple of people that have mules and they use them for packing into hunting camps……and they also ride them. They won’t ride horses.

  11. That was the hardest thing to get rid of before hitting the road as full timers. Our horses. If only we knew that daughter would end up buying the house, it would have never happened. We sure miss those guys. Gosh, I’ve always wanted a mule someday. I was hoping to ride the dang thing!

  12. Nick, a follow up to your comments several day’s ago about Flying J in Montana. I checked my Flying J/Good Sam directory. Got it at the Rally last year at Daytona Speedway. All of the Flying J’s in Montana are “Dealers”. None of them have RV islands, propane, or RV Parking. The only discounts they offer are “in the truck diesel lanes” and not at all stores. This directory does a great job letting you know what to expect before you drive in. Reduces surprises and you know how we all love surprises. I highly recommend it. If you had one you wouldn’t have to stop in to get disappointed, you could just brag in your blog about how that $**? Flying J Dealer didn’t get you this time as you flew right by that d$$$m location. PS The horses are glad you won’t spend $20 an hour.

  13. Ummm…Henry…my husband and I owned a mule which is a cross between a donkey and the mare of choice. Ours was a Tennessee walker; 16 hands tall and a beautiful ride. She was a beautiful animal and lived to be almost 30 years old. Saddles for mules are special built. Check out Mule Days in Bishop, CA in May and watch mules in action.

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