After saying goodbye to the family, I drove west from Portland to the Pacific Coast. The Oregon coast is stunning -- the cold Pacific relentlessly beats against a craggy shoreline, lighthouses stand like silent sentinels over tidepools full of crazy critters, and gray whales migrate just offshore. Thanks to a far-sited government in the 1910s, the entire Oregon coast is public land dotted with over 70 state parks and federal land. I've lived in landlocked places my entire life (you don't count Chicago's Lake Michigan, right?) so the ocean always seems like the end of the earth to me. I must have pulled my rental car over 1000000 times on the 70-mile drive from Tillamook to Newport -- it was hard to pay attention to the road when all I could do was gawk.
My destination was Beverly Beach State Park, where I was interviewing for a job. I reached Newport the day before my interview, so I spent the afternoon exploring the park. It's in a really amazing location, about 6 miles north of Newport, right on the coast. You can walk right from a gigantic campground (250 campsites and 21 yurts!) to a big sandy beach. From the beach, you can see Yaquina Head Lighthouse and the headlands of Otter Rock.
In the evening, I went to check out the Oregon Coast Aquarium. I saw otters, a giant octopus, and the jellyfish room. It was definitely a switch from my land-locked desert critters! That night, I walked along the bay and grabbed dinner at Noodles, a small restaurant with fantastic Asian food located right on the waterfront. Good stuff.
On Tuesday, I had my interview at Beverly Beach State Park. It went well enough, although I don't think it was a slam-dunk. This park is reeeeally popular and gets some huge numbers. It's probably too big of a jump for me to seem superqualified. Oh well -- it was still a good experience. I got to introduce myself, practice my interview skills, and learn a little about a different state park system. It's something to work towards!
On my way out of town, I stopped at the Rogue Brewery for a tour. The tour was really casual and low-key. Afterwards, I grabbed a beer at the pub and hit the road to go see my buddy, Mitty, in Eugene.