Ellen Steen

Ellen Steen

A quick follow-up to our discussion about vehicles on the beach: A local resident reported seeing a big SUV with Idaho license plates on Cape Meares beach recently. I checked with Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department about what to do should we see something like that again. Jeremy Wright said to call him at 503-842-3182, ext. 223, with a vehicle description. He will send out our local park ranger, Simon Freeman, to educate the party. In most cases, a driver is simply confused as to which beaches in Oregon allow motorized vehicles. Some, such as Pacific City, do…and some, such as ours, do not. Prohibited motorized vehicles on our beach include electric bikes.

Speaking of motor vehicles, we put studded tires on our Honda CRV just in time. As we headed into town on Bayocean Road the day after our tires were switched, we saw a car just like ours stuck in the ditch about two miles east of our village. Gordon McCraw, Tillamook’s Emergency Manager and our local weather guru, had warned us that temperatures would get down to 30 degrees overnight and roads would be frosty; he was right. No one was in that car when we went by at 8:10 a.m. and it was gone when we returned home at 10 a.m.; hopefully no injuries were involved.

We found out from a neighbor that the CRV wasn’t the only vehicle with problems that morning. A pickup ended up in the ditch closer to the Memaloose boat ramp. Bayocean Road can be quite dicey in winter weather. We know of two previous occasions when a car landed in Tillamook Bay—and a third when one ended up in Cape Meares Lake!

This seems like a dandy time to talk about winter driving tips. Keep your gas tank topped off and winterize your emergency kit for travel to the valley or farther. Add an ice scraper, snow shovel and snow brush to go along with your usual flares, jump-starter battery or cables, and flashlights with batteries. Carry a bag of non-clumping kitty litter to use under the tires if your car gets stuck in snow. Traction devices or chains are required for many mountain passes. Always have water and food in case you are stranded in your car for some time. Don’t rely solely on your GPS! It doesn’t show roads closed due to winter weather, or it may take you on a rarely traveled road where no help would come by if you were to have car trouble.

Let’s turn to the brighter side: Hope your Thanksgiving turkey was delicious. Now it’s time to focus on Christmas. Get ready for a festive holiday party this Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. at the old schoolhouse. Bring a white elephant gift and an hors d’oeuvre; the Cape Meares Community Association will furnish desserts. It’s always entertaining to see the swapping of white elephant gifts, and there’s no better time to wish your Cape Meares neighbors and friends a happy holiday season. See you there!

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