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An attempt to explain my infatuation with Dillon Beach

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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2008 12:00 am

Everyone keeps asking me what's so great. I don't know how to explain it, but I'll try.

Dillon Beach is my new favorite place. I love the cool, moist air. I love the dogs that sprint in and out of crashing waves. I love the little store, where I buy $2 bags of salt water taffy. I love sleeping in my cozy little tent next to the sand dunes. And I don't mind that I can't check my e-mail or that my phone doesn't get reception unless I stand on a table or that there aren't any flushing toilets.

No matter how much time I spend there, I never get tired of it. That's why, this weekend, I'm going back to Dillon for the third weekend in a row (and then the next weekend too!). July is officially the month of Dillon — and (have I already said this?), I love it.

It also started with Ron and Sheryl. They had a house (not a houseboat, a real house made of wood) that floated on the American River. It floated a few feet from the property and was held in place by super-duper Styrofoam and a metal pole that was drilled deep into the ground. You had to walk across a rickity ramp made of wood and steel to get to the house. I won't say it was safe — actually, I fell through the old plywood when I was about 13 and I still have the scars from the wood that grabbed my skin and kept me from falling into the river. On the rest of their riverbank property — where they never built the house they thought they might — huge trees sent their limbs sprawling over us.

In those days, we always had a good time on the river. Tons of people would come with their tents and campers and ice chests full of things I was too young to know about. We would pull boats and jet skis up to the house and days seemed to last forever.

But once the house started to sink, the party ended. Ron and Sheryl sold the property, bought a massive motorhome and now spend half of the year on a beach in Mexico. The other half of the year, they spend in the States. This includes the month they stay camped at Dillon Beach, the only time family and friends get to see them (was that a long enough tangent for you?).

So now, these weekends at Dillon kind of remind me of the summers I spent on the river as a child. I guess it's really a combination of the people and the place. I understand why some don't think it's that great — and it's OK. It's not that you always have to be doing something. A lot of the time is spent shelling crabs caught off the pier, fishing in the bay, muddling mint for mojitos, hitting golf balls over sand dunes and reading and writing and clearing your head of everything that's in the hot, gooey valley.