I am looking for whales from a 700 foot tall peninsula high over the roiling waters of the Pacific.
I don’t see any, even though some other hikers have, but it doesn’t matter much, partly because we’re so high up even a whale wouldn’t be very impressive, but partly because the sweeping view from Lookout Point a few miles south of Netarts, Oregon is stunning all by itself. A million shards of broken light speckle the surface of the vast blue waters below, and the sound of the wind and the distant surf are punctuated only by a lone seaplane that soars by below us. Gulls and pelicans skim the surface looking for tell tale signs of fish.
From our position at the tip of the promontory we can see all the way to Pacific City to the south, though our western view is obscured by a dim haze maybe 20 miles out. The sun warms my back and that’s a good thing, because the 2.7 mile hike to get here was under a cathedral canopy of old growth forest as dark as dusk. Jonathan and I take turns snapping pictures along with a handful of German tourists, and I take a deep breath from the clear salt air.
We walk back to our car about 4 PM and I almost step on a sunbathing Garter Snake before Jonathan warns me. The other trail down the mountain must be left for another day. It’s a trip I’ve done before, a pretty hard 5 mile round trip with a 700 foot vertical element, and you’re rewarded with a spectacular stretch of uninhabited and undeveloped beachfront a football field in width that you can have all to yourself, but I just don’t have time today, because Teresa is having about 10 of her closest friends over for dinner.
When I took her dog, a big Pit Bull named Klondike, for a walk this morning I stopped by the real estate office and talked to Wendy, a very slim and pretty thirty something who seemed to know the market pretty well. She indicated that prices were still heading down and had very little traffic these days.
I stopped back by after our hike and now she’s showing me a 2500 square foot contemporary oceanfront home on Happy Camp Road that would have sold for over a million dollars easily a few years ago. She says put in an offer for 500K.
It’s gorgeous inside and out. It is open, light, and bright, with the obligatory granite counters in the kitchen and skylit Jacuzzi tub in the bath. There’s a gas fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and a floor made of some kind of exotic imported hardwoods. It’s a house that would make Ceasar blush, and it has a view to die for.
It’s also indicative of the kind of gross excess that so many Americans were willing to wallow in because of cheap easy credit a decade or so ago, and very little thought was given to the sustainability of either the house or their own precarious source of income, which in most cases was derived directly or indirectly from government spending and/or the service sector. Now the party’s over, and most of these people can’t afford the monthly tax bill ($500!) on a house like this, and everyone’s wondering how things got this way. It got this way because we’re greedy, and we had a big party, and want someone else to pick up the tab. We got this way because everyone wants to believe in Santa Clause but no one had the balls to tell the infantile American people that he doesn’t exist. It got this way because way too many of us didn’t give a rat’s ass when our fellow countrymen lost their jobs overseas as long as they could keep buying cheaper goods from China or Japan. Now the only people left with a decent income work for the government, and that’s just not enough to sustain an economy. And spending even more money that way, whether for the military, or welfare, or “jobs creation”, won’t fix it either. Sorry, It didn’t work for Russia, and it won’t work for us. There’s no free lunch, and life isn’t a fairy tale. Do adults need to have this explained to them? Unfortunately, yes, that’s what we’ve devolved to.
So yes I looked at it, and decided things are going to get worse, not better, so why try to catch a falling safe? I’ll wait until the price is REALLY cheap.
Teresa makes the World’s Best Lasagna, and tonight she didn’t disappoint. We wash it down with some good Chianti Classico with some great friends. Chuck is there, and so is his cousin Paul, who has a kayak tour company. He’s about sixty, as smart as a whip, and is in better shape than most Marines. Erin and Alan are there as well, and I don’t remember who else exactly, because pretty soon another bottle of wine is open, but I’m pretty sure they were fun and weird as well.
It strikes me, as I sit here talking to these men and women, many of whom are barely making ends meet, that these people are the ones who are pulling their weight and paying the bills for America, and it’s a damned shame that we have put a yoke to our working people and told them to pull the economic cart of our country while everyone else gets free benefits and services at their expense, or they get fat salaries based on money from the public treasury. I don’t know exactly where this will end, but it’s clear the situation is bad and getting worse, and it’s even more clear that one man can’t carry two on his back. The spending at all levels has to stop, and more than that, it has to be cut, and anyone who disagrees is either a moron or a traitor, or both, or he’s so damned selfish that he’ll sacrifice his grandkid’s future just so he can stuff his own face with as many freebies as he can get.
It’s high time the few of us left in the private sector stood up on our hind legs and said “NO” to higher salaries for government workers, “NO” to their fat pensions, “NO” to bank bailouts, and “YES” to cutting their salaries, cutting their benefits, and cutting their jobs until we are saving money again. That’s the way the real world works, and if you don’t believe that, you’re either a Republican or a Democrat, because neither side wants to do a damned thing to even balance the budget, let alone run a surplus like we need to do.
Now. I feel better. Thank you. I may have alienated everyone, but NO, I don’t care if I do, because we’re very late in a losing game, so now is not the time to mince words so I can explain the facts of life in a nice way to an imbecile, but I know that’s not you, dear reader, because you’re smart enough to be reading my blog…:)) Tomorrow, we’ll be going to Crater Lake. See ya’!