Saturday, September 4, 2010


I never do this: scribble on Saturday. But given the storm, Hurricane Earl, which will be old news by Monday (it already is old news in these parts), I figured, "Why not??" Also, I just-so-happened to roll over at 6 a.m. after a perfectly restful night — no downpours, no screaming wind — and saw that it was (is) a beautiful day. Not exactly what I was expecting. So out I went.

First stop: First Beach (logically enough). The waves were big, but not that big. Yes, I realize that's hopelessly unspecific; I have no idea what they measured in feet. All I can say is that they really weren't as big as they appear in foreshortened images (rather the opposite of that warning in the rear-view mirror).

Second stop: Second Beach (ridiculous, but true). Surfers' End, specifically. The parking lot was closed, and policemen were standing all about preventing gawkers like me from parking on the side of the road — while surfers were arriving on foot from all directions — but I could get just close enough to see one of my favorite street signs in all of Newport.

Third stop: Ruggles, just beside The Breakers, a bustling early-morning scene. There was surf — again, it was big, but not that big (I heard last night's was bigger) — and an equal number of people watching as participating. More surfers showed up every minute with boards strapped to roofs or resting in the beds of pick-up trucks. Wet-suited men (most younger, a few older) were waxing eagerly along the curb.

I said to one of the younger ones, as I was leaving (I couldn't help it), "Be careful, okay??"

Fourth stop: Coffee.

(Look closely at the sign ... somehow, it amuses me.)