A Vacation at Surfside

The view from my condo at Surfside.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

I needed a break from tiny living. I love living in my little travel trailer, but I just needed a break. I wanted to relax on a sofa with my feet up on a coffee table in front of a fireplace or take a long, hot bubble bath. Maybe make myself a fabulous meal using real kitchen appliances instead of a toaster oven and hot plate. And watch the sea rage against the shore on a stormy night. Especially that!

View from my Surfside condoI’ve been a Worldmark member since 1999, back when it was Trendwest. I haven’t really used it much, mainly because it’s hard to get reservations where and when I want, and partly because the housekeeping fees make AirBnBs more cost effective. And, Worldmark really expensive. Every year, the maintenance dues go up and up and up. What started at $325 a year in 1999 for enough points for a one-week stay was now $800 a year, with no end in sight. Earlier in 2019, I had told my ex I was tired of paying it and that it was his turn for a while. However, he wasn’t using it, either. Which meant we have thousands of timeshare points available.

Time to use a few of those points! Surfside, just north of Ocean Park in Southeast Washington, had several units available the first weekend of the year. I wanted to go to Ocean Shores, which is closer to me and also directly on the beach, but it was booked solid. But, I’ve never been to Ocean Park or that part of Washington, so I decided to check it out and booked four nights–January 1st to the 5th. And, according to the weather forecast–it was supposed to be stormy. Sweet! I loaded up Big Red Tuesday night after work and headed out first thing Wednesday morning, with a stop at River Song to check out the tree trimmer’s work.

The beach at Ocean ParkI pulled into the resort just after 5:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. The drive down Highway 101 had seemed endless. I’d never driven that part of the highway before; it was interesting and very scenic, but I was tired and dirty from working at River Song. I just wanted a hot shower.

It was already dark by the time I arrived, so I waited until morning to check out the beach. I could hear the surf from my condo, four blocks from the beach, but buildings and terrain blocked 95 percent of any ocean view from my ground-floor unit. So much for the “ocean view” I’d been promised! Worldmark almost always puts their one-bedroom units on the ground floor, so I rarely, if ever–oh, wait…NEVER!–get a view. Those are reserved for the multi-bedroom units on the upper floors.

But, whatever. I wasn’t here to buy the place. I was here to hike on the beach and relax on the sofa in front of a fireplace. And tonight, I had a sofa and a fireplace.

Truck on the beach at Ocean ParkI checked my iPhone for the nearest public beach access. Ocean Park, just a few miles south, had one. After a quick breakfast in the morning, I grabbed my rain jacket and headed out.

Ocean Park is a cute little town. A couple of stores, a few restaurants, and a Chevron station. Everything I needed! I turned right at the stop sign and headed for the beach. People were parked along the side of the road, so I stopped Big Red at the end of the queue and got out.

The wind hit me immediately. I zipped up my rain jacket to block it and wandered out onto the beach. It was very fine sand, sand everywhere, for miles, north and south. No rocks or mud; just a wide swath of hard-packed sand, gently sloping into the ocean. I’d never seen a beach like this before.

The dunes along the beach at Ocean ParkA creek spilled out on the beach to my left. It was too deep to cross unless I wanted to get my boots wet, which I didn’t. I don’t mind a little water, but I didn’t want to go ankle deep. I turned north and walked along the shore, with the pounding surf to my left. The sand was littered with broken shells: clams, crabs, and sand dollars. Grass-covered dunes to my right blocked the view of the town. It was pretty cool.

I continued wandering north for two miles, listening to the surf as seagulls circled overhead, surfing on the wind. It was soothing, like the white noise machine I used to use to help me sleep at night. Not a lot of people were out walking on the beach, but it was a workday. Curiously, people were driving trucks on the beach, using it as if it were another road. I didn’t know that was a thing. It was apparent some drivers were paying more attention to the view than to where they were going as I had to dodge out of their way a couple of times.

As I turned to head back, a headwind slammed my face with stinging rain. When my back was to the wind, I hadn’t noticed it so much. I pulled my hood up over my face. It helped a bit, but the wind still blew rain under the brim. I hadn’t worn my rain pants; my black sweatpants were soaked and covered with sand.

But it was OK. Unlike the Witch of the West, I don’t melt in the rain. I made my way back to Big Red, cranked the heater, and drove back to my condo.

Time for that fireplace again!