“He that would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.

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Copyright 2019 by Joyce Huntington.  All Rights Reserved. 
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Last Train

                 to

Memphis

For me – this is the real thrill - taking everything I learned from reading Last Train to Memphis and checking out all the places that played a role in the life of a young Elvis Presley to set up a plan for a Traveling Book Club weekend adventure. And with Strand it's all about Mile 157. So, I’ve created an itinerary which allows you to enjoy that and the locations around it Bonnie Henderson wrote about.  Then, I've cooked up some ideas to create some memorable moments during the adventure. 

 

Strand

Sample Itinerary

 

Thursday

Arrivals

Heceta Lighthouse Inn

Dinner and Book Discussion in Lounge

 

Friday

Breakfast at the Inn

Beach Combing on Mile 157

Picnic Lunch 

Umpqua Lighthouse Tour

Dinner at Waterfront Depot, Florence

 

Saturday

Breakfast at the Inn

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Lunch at South Beach Fish Market

Search for Skates in Oregon Coast Museum

Glass Floats Scavenger Hunt, in Lincoln City or 

Whale Watching

Dinner at Newport Bayfront

 

Sunday

Breakfast

Baker Beach Hike 

Departures

 

GetTING Around

 

YOU'LL NEED a car for this adventure. The coast is easily accessible, about a two-hour drive from the Eugene Airport.  So you could fly into Eugene and travel to the coast and see the sights and then go back through Eugene.  

Making a moment

 

Call a book club meeting of your book club to unveil the book you’ll be reading for your next book club travel adventure. Only what you will really do is hand out a few items like a glass float, a Reebok and a converse tennis shoe, a toy whale, a mermaid-for the mermaid’s purse, a vial of sand, a tiny lighthouse Christmas ornament and a map of Oregon. Give the girls 24 hours to do some investigative work to figure out the book. The winner - of course - gets a prize. If no one figures it out then you can start sending out some clues.

 

First Clue:  Oregon CoastWatch

Second Clue:  Senak

Third Clue:  Mile 157

Talking It

OVER

I'm thrilled when I can have the book discussion in a place of relevance. There are some great possibilities here. It could be the picnic tables on the bluff overlooking Mile 157. It could be over the seven-course breakfast at the Heceta Lighthouse if you had the inn all to yourselves. Or you might want to ask if you can have the chat right inside the lighthouse – and order in food or ask the inn to prepare it for you. So fun!

----How does Strand change the way you think about a walk on the beach.

----Do you have any memories of those Japanese Fishing floats in your life?

---- Were you surprised to find out what they were and where they were from?

----What did the discovery of the shoe’s origin make you feel about America’s consumer culture?

----Had you ever heard of a Minke Whale?

----Does the Minke whale make you feel a little lonely? Why?

----Read this quote out loud, “All the stranded gray whales Tamara had seen in her work with marine mammals had become entangled in crab pots and the ropes that suspend them.  On some the crab pot was still attached to the tail; the animal had starved while swimming around dragging the huge trap.” 

----What was your favorite part of the chapter on the rescue off the Senak?

----Do you remember the grounding of the New Carissa in the news?

----What do you think about Bonnie Henderson’s style of writing? 

----How did you feel about the link between the New Carissa and the Mermaid’s purse?

----How do you feel about Henderson’s investigative skills?

----What is the message in th Strand.

literary 

loot

 

Strand is a book about the beach, the ocean, nature, and environmental harmony.  Anything that fits into that category would be a nice gift or prize.

 

Glass Floats

In Strand:

“Anyone who’s prowled souvenir shops or stopped for clam chowder at a café on the Oregon or Washington coast has seen glass fishing floats: sturdy, hollow spheres mostly the size of softballs but some as big as beach balls, mostly in shades of green or blue-green, sorted by price and heaped in bins or suspended on a wall or from a ceiling, some still encased in a filigree of rope as they were when fishermen attached them to their nets to buoy those nets at sea.”  Page 6

What to do:

These are a must.  You have to pick up some Japanese floats, real or fake, and give them out as party favors. I did a simple quick search on Amazon and came up with a nice selection.

 

Tennis Shoes

In Strand:

“Which made the discovery of two good as new athletic shoes, a Reebok and Converse, on Labor Day 2000 even more of a surprise.  I’d actually found a shoe on Mile 157 four months earlier, in mid-May:”

What to do:

Order a keychain with a converse shoe on it.

 

Whales

In Strand:

“Some eighteen thousand Gray Whales inhibit the Eastern North Pacific Ocean, making one of the world’s longest migrations from mating and calving lagoons off Baja California to summer feeding ground in the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska.”

What to do:

Order some whale trinkets!

 

Mermaid’s Purse

In Strand:

“Beachcombing guides call them “mermaid’s purses” — a nickname odd as it is apt.  Although I’m not sure what need she has of a purse.”

What to do:

Find some cute small purses to give away as a prize

 

Dale Chihuly

In Strand:

“In 1991 world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly—whose brilliantly colored, fantastically shaped blown glass sculptures can be seen in permanent installations from Las Vegas to London – set out to create a series of works inspired by childhood memories of the glass fishing floats he used to see on the beach after storms in Tacoma, Washington, where he had grown up.”

What to do:

It’s too bad the Dale Chihuly glasswork runs in the thousands because you could give those out as a hostess gift.  Maybe your reading travelers could settle for postcards of his artwork.

 

Heceta Head Lighthouse Cookbook

What to do:

You could order the cookbook from Heceta Head Lighthouse and give it away as a prize.

rOCKING OUT

Get that beach vibe going with your book club travelers.  Put these songs on Spotify to enjoy throughout the weekend as you drive along the Oregon Coast or create a CD to give out in a gift bag. 

Summertime’s Calling Me by Catalinas

Under the Boardwalk by Drifters

I Love Beach Music by Embers

Theme from Jaws by John Williams

Surfin’ Safari by The Beach Boys

Mack the Knife by Bobby Darren

Under the Sea by Samuel E. Wright

Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot

I’m Turning Japanese by The Vapors

Bad Sneakers by Steely Dan

The Sea by San Sebastian Strings

DIVING DEEPER

If you want to dive a little deeper into the back stories of some of the topics Bonnie Henderson wrote about in Strand, take a look these links.

 

New Carissa

In Strand:

“His records were pivotal in the $4 million dollar settlement that resulted from a spill of more than seventy thousand gallons of oil from the New Carissa, a wood chip freighter that ran aground off the mouth of Coos Bay on February 4, 1999.”

Link: You could print up this story of the New Carissa which includes a nice photo of the ship. 

 

CoastWatch

In Strand:

“You should join CoastWatch,” she continued.  It was a fledgling volunteer organization, she explained, an offshoot of the advocacy group Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition.  Each volunteer “adopted” one mile of coastline: all you have to do, she said, was visit your mile at least four times a year, briefly reporting seasonal changes and keeping an eye out for any potential problems…”  Page 2

Link: This is so cool!  Check out the CoastWatch Log for Mile 157, written by Bonnie Henderson on 11-13-10.  Or this article about Mile 157, Henderson wrote.

 

Glass Floats

In Strand:

“Escapees mostly from Japanese fishing operations, the floats used to roll in on the tides by the dozens back in the fifties and sixties, or so I’d heard.”  Page 6

Link: Bonnie Henderson also wrote about the glass float treasure hunt in Lincoln City.

Minke Whales

In Strand:

“And Minkes are small, as adults, they’re a bit bigger than Orca, but just two-thirds the length and a quarter the length of a full-grown Gray Whale.”  Page 111

Link: This is a great picture of a Minke Whale.

 

Beachcombing

Link: This is an article about how some beachcombers tracked bath toys that fell into the ocean.

 

Glass Artist Dale Chihuly

Link: Learn more about Dale Chihuly from his website.