On the Road with West Falls: Kalaloch Beach, Washington

by Nina Myers McCammon


Kelly Shea and Brendan Banks of West Falls, a creative studio on wheels, are crisscrossing the country in a restored 1984 VW camper van until approximately Thanksgiving and sharing a weekly diary and gorgeous photography with 50 States of Style readers.

This week, Kelly and Brendan traveled to Kalaloch (pronounced clay-lock) beach in Washington State, where they were treated to the Pacific Ocean breaking upon driftwood-and crab-shell-lined shores. But not just any old driftwood: gigantic driftwood, which made for a truly unique sight. A natural playground, of sorts. Enjoy, and have a lovely weekend. x

What we saw:
Growing up in Rhode Island, my family would collect driftwood at the beach all the time.  It would be turned into castles and forts, Christmas tree ornaments, and endless hours of entertainment.  But the pieces were generally on the small side and a piece larger than a person was a rare sight.  At Kalaloch Beach, we saw massive piles of driftwood as far as the eye could see, as though giants were playing games of pickup sticks across the sand.  

Who we met:
Here we met dozens of seagulls. Even more abundant than the seagulls, were the shells of crabs that they had devoured earlier.  The shells made stripes along the beach, giving a pinkish-gray color to the landscape.

What we ate:
After our usual camp breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee, we decided to pack up our campsite and head to the Kalaloch Lodge for lunch.  We had passed it on the drive to our campsite on the Hoh River, and it was completely fogged in.  On our second encounter, we had an unobstructed view from the dining room of the lodge, straight out to the beach.  I had quinoa-stuffed peppers and Brendan had mussels in a subtle cilantro sauce. There's no better way to eat seafood than with an ocean view.

On the radio...
This American Life #218: Act V

Van start time:
4:00 p.m.

Where to next?
Portland, Oregon

Life Lessons:
The balance between driving and stopping (for adventures, photos, or even the bathroom) is a delicate one. There are always miles ahead, and a lot of them. There are always places to stop, but not always a good reason to pause. Sometimes when the time is right, you will find yourself stopping for almost no reason, but there you will discover something new.  Driving and stopping is a new constant for us and it has become pleasantly repetitive.  With repetition comes confidence and comfort; and with confidence and comfort comes enjoyment and relaxation.