Beachside State Park

If you are anywhere near the river in Newport you can hear the sea lions. Their barks echo for miles. They are so loud that yesterday we started to walk to the waterfront to see them only to discover that they were actually on the other side of the river at least half a mile from where we thought we’d find them.

The Bayfront area of Newport is nice. It’s still a working seafront (riverfront?), but with plenty of tourist business to go around. We stood over the sea lions for a good hour, had clam chowder at Mo’s, and picked up a bag of salt water taffy. I also stopped in at a knife shop to have mine sharpened. There just aren’t that many knife shops around these days. Now I know why. I asked the guy what I owed him and he just waved me away saying, “Just give a buck to a Shriner when you see ‘em.”

I’m not sure I even know what that means, but I told him I’d be sure and pay the favor forward.

The kids are always learning. Always listening. Always taking everything in. Today came this tidbit while Ouest pointed at a reclining sea lion, “What’s that red thing? His penis?”

In the afternoon we walked over to a long public dock that runs out under the bridge. It was packed with hundreds of people, mostly families enjoying a day out together. Everyone was gathered on the dock to catch crab. They threw their crab pots into the water, sat back and drank a beer, then pulled the trap back up. The kids were enthralled. They ran up and down the dock whenever somebody was pulling a trap in. Ouest was shouldering her way right to the front with her camera poised to take a shot of a record breaking crab. Lowe was tucked in right beside her. He’d follow her right off the edge of the dock if she led him there.

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In the morning we visited the Hatfield Marine Science Center where the kids played with the wave machines for an hour and zipped through the rest of the exhibits in five minutes.

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Then it was over to Beachside State Park. Sweet place. A few spots are actually on the beach itself. We obviously didn’t book ahead, so we were back a row or two, but it was great nonetheless. Sun, sand, and hot showers. Really a perfect combination for us.

Only downside was when the kids were told they couldn’t ride their scooters around without helmets. They’re not seventeen years old yet. Not to get started on a helmet discussion, but I do find it interesting that the park ranger office is now in the business of selling cheap plastic helmets. Everyone wants a cut of that billion dollar industry.

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We found this little bird being washed around in the shallows, struggling to breathe. We carried him ashore figuring at least he could die peacefully. A few minutes later he was gone. Ouest dug him a big hole, buried him, and wrote BIRD on top. For her age she sure seems to have a good grasp on the concept of death.

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