The year was 1972. I had received enough money in my “Congratulations Graduate” cards for a decent road trip, and I wanted to do something “wild and crazy” to dip my toes in the waters of adulthood.

My mother had other plans.

“If you’re going to be driving any distance, you need a co-pilot. Why don’t you take your sister along?”

I had several dozen reasons why my not-quite 16-year-old sister should not accompany me, but it looked like I had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out the door alone, so I begrudgingly agreed.

This was years before I’d find myself living near the ocean, but the seashore has always called my name. Waving farewell to my mother in Lynnwood, and promising to be back in a week, I turned the car westward.

Ah, the open road! How fabulous it was to put miles and miles, literally and figuratively, between me and the constraints of high school! Free at last, free at last!

I’ve always loved the small and quirky places along life’s highway, and we found a quaint little cabin right on the beach approach in Grayland for $9 a night. Perfect!

Flash forward 40 years— The cabin is still there, although the ownership has changed. The new owners carry the tradition of “beach people”—friendly, helpful, and fun to talk with—quite well. The price for the tiny cabin is now $58 a night. I don’t know how that figures into the inflation index, but for a quaint little room with sand right outside the door, I’m thinking it’s still a very good deal.

No longer do my sister and I try to get the car stuck in the sand so some cute boys will come push us out. No longer will we visit the grocery store across the street to grab packaged powdered donuts and orange soda for our walk to the shoreline. No longer does the tag on the owners’ dog read “It’s ok if I go to the beach with you.”

But the ocean still calls my name, and I’m blessed that for 35 of the last 40 years, I’ve lived close enough to answer its call any time I wish.