Friday, November 8, 2013

Perfect Coast Weekend, Part 2: Arch Cape

Perfect Coast Weekend, Part 2: Arch Cape

First thing to do if you are going to the beach for a wonderful sunny weekend is to find yourself a nice bed and breakfast. The Arch Cape Inn is nice. So is the Inn at Arch Cape. They are just across the street from each other at Arch Cape Beach. It is pretty amusing to see the “Lodging at next exit” sign coming up as you drive South from route 26.

<<< Arch Cape Inn
Inn at Arch Cape >>>

Arch Cape Inn

We ended up staying at the Arch Cape Inn (because we turned left). This is a lovely little bed and breakfast that was the perfect place for a romantic getaway. Well, except for the murder.

I mean, imagine our surprise when we left our wonderfully large corner bedroom to enjoy a cup of coffee and sunshine in the lounge, only to find the dead body of a French maid strewn across the divan. “Oh,” said my partner. “I guess we should have our coffee over in the tower nook”.

I disagreed, “I want to sit on the couch in front of the fireplace and look at that huge coffee table book on photography.”

“Well,” she said, “Then be more careful in your writing, you just left a dead body on the divan, which is the couch, you know. “

“Dammit. I was afraid of that. hmmm.  But I haven't specified the state of the body, maybe it is a bloodless death.”

“You told me it was going to be a knifing. Blood and such all over your precious divan.”

“Well, hmmmm. Ok. Then it is going to have to be a blunt instrument.”

“They can still be bloody.”

“She is draped over the west side of the divan. We can fit on the east side.”

“Further from the Sunny window.”

“Closer to the coffee.”

She thinks.

“Done, I will get the coffee. You save our spot.”

So I sat down on the very comfortable quasi euro style divan and pulled out my laptop to do some blogging and facebooking. The Arch Cape Inn has Wifi throughout the facility. My partner and I found that that the hotspot that required a password wasn't working, but the one that was open access was just fine. My partner brought our coffees and sat down beside me.

“You know,” she said, smiling sweetly at me and gently stiring her coffee, “The other guests are going to notice the body.”

“Dammit, Woman, This is my first murder mystery! How am I supposed to keep track of stuff like this?”

And then the other guests arrived.

Promptly at 9:00.

Right when breakfast was supposed to start.

You see, the Arch Cape Inn is a Bed and Breakfast, and the breakfast is a wonderfully cozy affair in the little morning room off of the kitchen. The Inn has 9 rooms, and since it is an Adult Only place, each room has 2 adults. So there are 9 little tables sprinkled around the breakfast area. If you want one of the best tables over by the windows looking out over the herb garden, you had better be there promptly at 9:00 (or perhaps a little before). Also, the first course of one of these elegant little breakfasts rolls out promptly at 9:00. You don't want to miss that. So imagine the chagrin of the other guests when they arrived at 9:00 only to find that I had written a dead French maid into the sitting room they had to pass through to get to their breakfast.

I mean, they couldn't exactly ignore her. Not in those fishnet stockings...

“Well, I say,” said the distinguished English gentlemen, “What is all this then?”

“Apparently a dead French Maid', said the sharply dressed buisness woman from room 3.

“Oh”, said her rather flighty husband, “this isn't in the guide book!”

The buiness woman (who I later learned was named Linda) gave her husband a somewhat ungracious look and then announced to the room in general, “Has someone called the police?”

By this time there were a good dozen adults in the room and at first all of us just sort of looked around in shock. Then 12 hands went into their pockets and 12 cell phones came out and 12 people hit 911.

And very quickly 12 people remembered what the nice lady had told us when we checked in, “There is no cell reception here at the Inn”.

No cell reception? Sure enough, none of us could call the police, Not the Verizon customer, nor the T-Mobile customer, not even me with my AT&T service. We were all stymied. 

“MY God,” said Linda, “With out the ability to use our cell phones, this could very easily be the perfect Crime !!”

“We could walk down to the end of the split rail fence, where the notice says you can usually get cell phone reception,” said her husband.

“Oh, do please shut up dear, the grown ups are talking. What about you, mister 'I am wearing an MIT sweat shirt' man.”

Looking at my chest, I realized that she was talking to me, “Well,” I said, “Clearly the only reasonable thing we can do is to solve the mystery ourselves. I mean, otherwise we are just going to have to go back to Portland, and this is probably going to be the best and last sunny weekend of the year.”

“Hear Hear,” Said the English Gentlemen. “I say, we certainly can't let a little murder get in the way of such a awesome..... err... I mean splendid Oregon Beach Weekend.”

My partner leaned over and whispered in my ear “He did it, didn't he? Can we eat breakfast now?”

“As I was saying,” I said, sayingly, “We must solve the murder. But first, we should eat breakfast, and maybe go out and do a little art shopping in Cannon Beach. Then we meet back here after dinner and solve the mystery.”

“That is all well and good,” said another of the guests that was too boring to remember anything what so ever about, “But what shall we do with this body?”

“Oh,”, I thought for a moment, “Is anyone here a forensic scientist?”

 It turned out this one guy from Florida was a blood splatter expert and said he would be happy to take care of the body. So. That problem solved, on to breakfast.

Breakfast is served in three removes. The first course is a sort of cereal course. Perhaps some yogurt and fruit and granola, and lovely carafe of orange and something juice. Perhaps Grape Fruit? The next course this morning was an omelet sort of thing (though made in a pan for 20) combined with some delicious sausage and potatoes. The third course was a sort of fruit and dessert thing. 

Today it as peach halves with a little cheese and some sweat sauce on drizzled over the top. And, of course, the coffee is kept coming. The talk in the breakfast area is rather quiet and mostly between the couples at their little tables. I don't know if that is because of the natural romantic setting and the desire to be alone with their partners or because of the dead woman in the next room and the natural discusions of which of the people casually eating their pears was actually a deadly killer. Either way, a nice peaceful and very yummy breakfast.

After that, out the door for a beautiful day of sunshine. My partner and I were off to Cannon Beach to do some art gallery visiting, but first we wanted to stop at Hug Point beach and see if we could get to Hug Point to see the road that is carved in the rock there. We parked in the little lot and put on our Fivefingers and ventured out into the sand. Do you know Fivefingers? Those are the little sandle shoe things that have 5 individual toe things for your.... well.... for your toes. Wearing them feels very much like going bare foot, except that you have a thin layer of good plastic under your feet so you can walk on the barnicles without screaming.

The Ocean was just a little past high tide and going down. We were able to get around the first part of the point (wading in knee deep water and taking a wave to my thighs) and that let us see the very neat little fall at the end of Fall Creek. (I am doing some research to see why they call it this). We took a good look around the next point, but there really wasn't anyway we could get around it without being smashed on the rocks. We agreed it would be better to wait until low tide later that evening.


This is how you would get away from the rising tide.

My partner and I have visited Cannon Beach before. On this brilliant Saturday our goal was to look around for some potential Christmas gifts (would my son like some art?) and just enjoy the day and perhaps find a Gallery that neither of us has ever visited. Ever been to Cannon Beach?  A very upscale tourist destination. Not a great place to bring teenagers unless you are trying to cram a little class into them. Take the teenagers to Seaside, leave them at the arcade, and take yourselves down to Cannon Beach and be amazed. As I have stated previously, I think touring the galleries in Cannon beach rivals the art in most of the art museums I have visited (my New York City friends are probably giggling now and thinking that I have never actually visited a real museum. Frak you).

Today we found two venues of interest. One was a gallery of several different artists. Most of the art is “Cannon Beach” prints. You know, oils and lithos of Hay Stack Rock and other Oregon Coast favorites. But there were a couple of special items. One was a painting (well, perhaps a signed print, but a big one) of an WWII air craft carrier with a B-25 launching off the deck. The guy running the place asks if I have any questions.

I point at the painting and say, “This is the Dolittle raid, Right?”

He replies, “That's right. That is the USS Hornet and on April 18, 1942 Dolittle led his men on a bombing raid on Tokyo. That is a limited print and has been signed by the survivors of that raid.”

I turned to my Partner, “This is pretty cool, these guys are taking off from a carrier. But you can't land a bomber on a carrier. This is a one way mission”. Check it out: Dolittle Raid.

The other thing we found there was a number of old Black and White prints taken over a hundred years ago around Oregon. Lumber works. Steam Engines. Fighter Planes. Old cars driving down the mud streets of Hillsboro. Cool Stuff. I got a couple of shots. One of the train line that I hiked during my epic adventure down the Salmonberry. An other one was a circa 1910 shot of a wagon being moved around the point at Hug Point. Where we are going to be walking and taken modern pictures later today.

After a bit we wandered across the street and found a very large and well appointed gallery dedicated to a single artist; Jeffry Hull. This place was really nice, with some incredible water colors and prints. I guess I could have afforded some of the prints, and they were very magnificent. But where would I put them? Still, I am going to have to go through the literature and pick out one of the nice ones and find a wall for it. Maybe for Daniel for Christmas..... (one of my personal flaws is that I buy other people the thing I most want for Christmas. My mother has such a nice set of power tools).

Here is a picture from the Gallery that I liked. I am stealing it from the HullGallery web site and copyright is Jeffrey Hull. Is this legal? I mean, the link was on the web so it must be fair use, me being an international reporting agency and all.

"Reflections" by Jeffrey Hull

Afterward we strolled down the street and got some locally made ice cream (cash only, hey, this is the same place as in Seaside, where we left the kids!!) and enjoyed the view of the beach from the end of the street.

“Well,” said my partner. “Do you think the tide is low enough for us to make it to Hug Point?”

“If not, we are going to have to go back to the Inn and solve that Murder.”

“Let's try Hug Point.”

Hug Point is sort of funny. This entire area around here is sort of the last hard point to get around before you can get to Tillamook and the cows and farmers. Once you get there, you can get lumber and cheese out to Portland and rich people and booze into Tillamook. So much effort was made to get around these last few points. 100 years ago, some intrepid souls blasted away the rock on the point and put in a little one wagon wide road around the end of the rocks over the ocean. They paved it with the little round black rocks (basalt) that are ubiquitous down this part of the coast mixed with concrete. Even this road was only usable during the low half of the tide cycle. In face, there is couple of hundred yards, from Hug point to Fall Creek Falls that is down right dangerous during high tide. The waves are crashing up on the cliffs and if you were walking there you would have no safe place  to run to. You would have to swim out in the water or be dashed on the rocks.

Hey, that is the old Bearded Guy !!

A close up of that cliff wall, looking Vertical.

But we were going at about an hour before low tide and things looked very different than they had when we wandered down at noon. We could easily get around the first corner to Fall Creek Falls and  to the little cove just south of Hug Point. Here we found some extra bonus attractions; Some very nice tide pools and wave action formed caves.

Pretty high tide

High-ish tide
low tide

The tide pools had a good selection of anenome and some star fish. One big one was hidden up in the very shadow of the cliffs. The rocks around it were all encrusted with barnicals. It was a good thing we had our 10 fingers on. If we had been climbing barefoot we would have cut ourselves to ribbons. It was a little painful even as we were.

shadowy figures lurk everywhere

hmmm, this is me. Not the old Bearded Guy.

Back up in the largest sea cave we could walk 30 or 50 feet in. There was one good sunbeam that followed us back into the rock to light up the huge old tree trunk that some storm had wedged in there. 

Cave Bear

Log inside the cave

Then we followed the century old wagon path around Hug Point to the Cannon Beach side. Ta Da !!

Road Around Hug Point

cement and beach rock paving

I don't know. Something to assist getting around the point.

My own little beach art

You are my sea anemone enemy

We had actually timed this excursion to be on the beach at sunset. We were hoping for one as awesome as the one we JUST MISSED last night. But, though the sky overhead was still blue blue blue, on the horizon was fog and that hid the sun from us for the last bit of the set. Still, I took a bunch of pictures until my battery went dead and my Partner took my hand and said, “Enough Already”. Adventure partners can be very demanding. Still a gorgeous evening for a walk on the beach.


When we got back to the Inn we avoided the other guests and snuck back to our room, which I have utterly failed to tell you about. I did mention that this is a themed B&B. Actually, each room is themed differently, though I think they all have the general idea of “couples getaway”. Our room was the Tapestry Room. It featured a replica of an old tapestry and card that told you about it as well as a tapestry rug and bed cover. It also had a large sort of doll house in the corner that was there to hide the mini-fridge. There was a gas fireplace with a little sitting area in front of it and a curious little reading nook (that I think used to be a walk in closet). Off in the corner was a door leading to the really neat thing about the room; a huge bathroom with tile shower and 2 person sunken soaking tube. We had scored bath salts when we were in Seaside dropping off our imaginary children and we may have tried out the tub. Just for forms sake, you understand.

“You know,” My partner may have said, if she had been in the tub with me, “You are going to have to stop fooling around eventually and solve this murder.”

“Why me?” I asked, washing an errant foot that might have been up by my head. “Why can't that guy from Florida, oh what was his name? Dexter... why can't he solve it?”

She game me a exasperated look, “Because he is one of our chief suspects, Silly! We can't let the suspects solve the murder. They will just pin it on the butler.”

“Good point.... Hmmmm. You want some more hot water?”

“Please. And anyway I think your story would hold together much better if you had... you know, clues and such and used your marvelous MIT deductive powers to absolutely prove who the murderer must be.”


“Oh, Whatever.”

“Ok, I like the MIT deductive powers stuff. Though, frankly, it would be easier to hack into the hotel security system and replay the tapes from last night.”

“You can do that?”

“I could if there was a security system.”

“Can't you just write that in?”

“I don't think that would be very true to the romantic element of this quaint Inn. For instance, where would the camera be that is recording us right now? You want this on YouTube?”

“Ah..... ok...... good point.”

I closed my eyes and sunk a little deeper into the tub. “So, do you have a suspect yourself?" I suggested, "Perhaps some of your own observations and reasonings”

“Well,” she responded, suddenly very serious, “Your aren't just asking that so you can steal my ideas for your blog, are you?”

“Perish the thought”

“Ok, well then, I was thinking about that old bearded guy we saw here yesterday. He was looking at me very strangely and then he just up and disappeared.”

“Old Bearded Guy?


“Looking at your Strangely?”


“Then he just disappeared?”

“Yes,” She said. “I find it very suspicious.”

“Ok, I will look into it”

From 4 to 6 was happy hour, and though I find that I am now forced to time travel to fit that into the narative, we put on some respectable meeting persons clothes and went down to the sitting room for a glass of wine and some cheese and to confer with the other guests, or as I have come to call them “murder suspects”.

The first person to great us was the Florida blood splatter specialist, Dexter (Have I milked this enough yet?). He handed me a written report and an object wrapped in plastic which he referred to as “my share”.

“Here you go”, he said. “I have listed the causes of death and how I imagine the thing went down."

The list read:
  1. With a candle stick in the Parlor
  2. With a rolling pin in the Kitchen.
  3. With a fire poker on the Divan.

“On COME ON!”, I yelled. "This is getting silly. We aren't playing 'Clue' here. I can't just pick one of these as the murder weapon and hope I am right."

“Oh, it isn't one of them”, he insisted. “It is all of them”.

“All of them?”

“Yes. The French maid was first hit over the head with a candle stick in the parlor. She was then carried into the kitchen where she evidently revived and was struck down with a rolling pin. She then crawled into the sitting room and up on the divan where she was struck and finally killed with the poker from that nice cheery fire.”

“Wow, you are one great Forensic Specialist.”

“Better than those damn CSI guys, that is for sure”.

“So, do you have any idea who did it?”

“It had to be that old bearded guy. But no one has seen him since this morning”

Yes, it had to be the old bearded guy. But he was GONE.

You have all of the clues. Be the first to solve this mystery in the comments section below and win a special prize walk on visit in a future blog.

Sorry, but I just have to stop writing this silly murder mystery.

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