I had two main goals for my summer months in the U.S. this year. The first was to eat as many berries and stone fruits and possible, and the second was to go on another drive up the Oregon Coast. Though the scenery was just as good as ever, I learned the hard way that you can’t always force a repeat experience. This particular trip involved rushing to return a rental car in time, getting a $260 ticket for a very small and quite honest mistake in one of small highway towns where the rules mean everything, and having to waste far to much money on a dingy hotel room as everyone had gone to the coast to escape a massive heat wave. Sometimes, extraordinary experiences are best left to memory, rather than re-creation.
In spite of the disasters, I did manage to enjoy myself most of the time, and found that my favorite parts of the trip were the moments when I deviated from the plan and tried something new. I stopped to visit a salmon hatchery and took a detour through Astoria, which I now love. Strawberry rhubarb french toast from Street 14 Coffee only enforced that love. The world is always best when, instead of trying to force it to be the way you want or remember, you let it be as it is, and look for the small pleasures along the way.