A Perfect Day

I know I’ve been writing about some of the ups and downs I’ve had lately. This blog entry is a response to that and to the wonderful adventures I had during a trip to the beach yesterday. A couple of weeks ago, when I was bummed about my original drop in white bloods cells, I asked my friend Anna if she wanted to make a day trip to the coast. We made a basic plan and then headed to the Oregon coast with the intention of taking some photos and seeing where the day took us.

We hit the road, windows down and sun shining, talking about many things along the way. It was that ideal day for feeling the wind blowing through your hair, or across my bald head. We first stopped off in Tillamook to enjoy some food and ice cream at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. A large bus full of high school football players pulled up right before us and a mass of young fellas lined up for food. We decided to head back up the road to eat at a little taco stand I had eaten at once before. No waiting and we sat and enjoyed our lunch in peace. We then headed back to the cheese factory for ice cream a couple of photographs together. If you don’t document your food consumption, it didn’t happen, right?

Anna and I

 It had been decided that we would head to Manzanita, north of Tillamook, for our beach adventure. We hit the road again and enjoyed the winding path of Highway 101 and the minimal traffic we encountered. Once to Manzanita, we parked and got out and headed down to the water. I brought my camera and we had both agreed that we would take photos of each other, topless, facing the water. This has kind of become the signature of many photographs I’ve been in lately and I thought it would be fun to continue documenting me like that, bald head and tattoos and all.

We made it

Photo by Anna
My feet


 There were people on the beach, but not so many that I felt like we were going to cause a scene. Honestly, I’m kind of over thinking like that, now that I have cancer and am learning to not care what others think of me. I took off my bra and shirt and faced the water. Click, click, click and I was done. Anna followed suit. It felt amazing, to be free like that, with the sun shining down and the ocean breeze blowing. It really isn’t fair that guys get to experience that whenever and wherever they want to. I recommend trying it, just be aware of your surroundings and crazy people. After we finished and had spent some time with our feet in the chilly water, we decided to lay on the sand in the sun for a bit. I took more photos and tried to absorb how good it felt to be there, in that moment.

There’s nothing like the Oregon coast ❤

We were here
Fools enjoying the sun
My sandy arm
My sandy tattoo

We made our way back to the car and headed north again with the intention of driving through Astoria on our way home to avoid traffic in Portland. While we were chatting and enjoying the ride we saw a vintage black convertible ahead of us that said “back in black” on the back of it. The only thing we could tell about the driver was that he had a bald head and no shirt on. I said something about how I wanted to sit in the passenger seat with my shirt off for a photograph. Wouldn’t that be cool? Well, we then ended up following him through traffic, trying to keep an eye on him and where he was heading. He made a right turn and we though we had lost him when we were cut off by another car. The only thing we could see was a Costco and sure enough, he was in line to get gas.

When we were following Jan I took a quick photo

We pulled up and I jumped out and approached him. I told him what I had in mind and he immediately introduced himself as Jan and shook my hand. We were a go! We pulled into the parking lot and when he was finished he drove over and was kind enough to move his surfboard from the passenger side so I could sit next to him. I took off my shirt and Anna took photographs. I wouldn’t recommend doing this kind of thing with a stranger, but I immediately knew Jan was not a creeper. I felt completely comfortable and then we were done and ready to hit the road again. Jan gave us his email to send the photos to and as he re-secured his surfboard, he told us he was on his way to go surfing. He hugged me and said, “You now have a friend at the beach”. It made our day.

Me, shirt on
Jan and I, shirts off
Just having a friendly conversation

Our last stop was in Astoria for Thai food and coffee and then we made the beautiful drive back home. It was a day for adventure and overcoming fear for both of us. Mission accomplished. Every day I’m challenging myself to think outside of the box. My life in a way has become my art and documenting moments with photographs and this blog are my outlet. As I said yesterday, “You don’t know how things will turn out unless you ask.” There was a 50/50 chance that Jan would have thought I was crazy, but he didn’t. It was an adventure for all three of us and I’m so happy that it went the way it did. Nothing can take that away from me – not cancer, not everyday life and its ups and downs. Once again, I am grateful for life and all of its experiences.

A breathtaking stop before arriving in Astoria
Perfection, sigh


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