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August 28, 2005

Hood to Coast

This weekend I volunteered at Hood to Coast, a relay race starting at Timberline and ending on the beach in Seaside. It's a huge event, drawing adventure-race teams from all over the country. Each 12-person team requires 3 volunteer (non-race-running) staff, and my coworker's team was short one volunteer. I agreed to step in, since I enjoy volunteering at cultural events, and the idea of partying in a beach house on Saturday night, eating good food, and meeting new folks seemed like a great way to spend half a weekend.

I arrived at around noon on Saturday. Half the team had already arrived at the house, while the other half was finishing the last leg of the course. We spent an enjoyable afternoon on the patio, eating fresh homemade salsa, drinking beer, and telling amazing stories. As the last runner approached the finish line, we walked down the promenade to cross with her. There was a huge crowd at the finish line, so we collected all the team members and headed back to the house for some much-needed dinner. The rest of the evening went much like the afternoon, with much beer and good conversation. The tired runners declared bedtime at 9:30.

I awoke early in the morning to perform my duty of cleaning up at the finish line. After a quick cup of tea, I dashed out the back door to walk up the promenade.

The beach was beautiful at dawn, slightly misty but not typical Oregon-coast cold. I helped pick up trash, stack chairs, break down tables, load equipment in trucks, and other post-festival tasks. The volunteer crew was very efficient. We were consigned to work from 7:30am until noon, but we finished at 10:45! I was very glad to be off early, since I was worried about worsening my slight sunburn from the previous day. I'm one of those people who always pinkens unless I'm able to reapply SPF 30 every 2-3 hours, or stay out of the sun during the hours of greatest exposure.

When I returned, the house was neat as a pin, having been vacated by the other residents after breakfast. I packed up my belongings and briefly considered napping on the couch for a few hours, but decided against it. The cottage was very comfortable and well-appointed, but the idea of napping alone in a strange house made me feel weird, even though I had been given permission. So I loaded up my stuff and locked myself out of the cute little cottage, having confidently expunged my brief Goldilocks fantasy.

With only a cup of tea and a handful of trail mix to tide me over at breakfast-time, I was ready to treat myself to a nice meal before making the drive back to Portland. Luckily, business was booming on a Sunday morning in the town of Seaside, and almost every restaurant had a sandwich board advertising brunch specials. I went to Granderson's, a gift shop/tearoom that I had spotted on the way in, and decided that it woud be just the perfect thing. It's always time for tea. The tearoom was pleasantly decorated and busy with customers, although they had plenty of room for me to pick a seat, and no one batted an eye at my coming for brunch alone. In addition to an appetizing menu of teas and foods, they offered a Sunday brunch special of salmon eggs benedict with herb potatoes. I ordered the salmon eggs benedict and found it to be amazing. The egg was poached fluffily, and the potatoes were terrific. I am not a connoisseur of hollandaise, but the sauce was not too thick, and it was liberally seasoned with tarragon. Paired with a pot of organic ceylon tea, it was a fantastic brunch for a tired girl. They even accomodated my request for an iced tea to go, so on my way out, I had the Monk's Blend to energize me for the drive home.

Posted by mara at August 28, 2005 3:36 PM