Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hasta La Vista Washington

I awoke on Tuesday realizing that day would be our last in Washington until next year....actually, upon further thought, we will be in Vancouver, WA for a few days in late August to visit friends.  We spent exactly 2 months in the great state of Washington, and loved the low temperatures for that two months....other than a few days in Spokane at the end of our stay there when it got over 100, we enjoyed temperatures mostly in the 50's, and 60's, with a few in the 70's.  That was our hope when we decided to spend our summer in the Pacific Northwest, and we were not disappointed!

I took these three pictures to illustrate how tight this park (Pacific Holiday Resort RV Park) was......Elaine likes the expression "cheek by jowl", and that is exactly what this park was.  You can see how close our awning comes to our neighbor's slide out!

As I wrote yesterday, we were able to drop our trailer directly behind our coach, so it was a cinch that it would be easy to pick it up again, and it was!

They really pack them in here.....most rigs were over 40' long that pulled into the park yesterday.

We were getting ready to leave this morning when we realized the U.S. Women's Soccer team was playing North Korea in the Olympics, so we postponed our departure and watched the entire match....it finished just a few minutes after 11am, and we were on the road by 11:15am.

Our total driving distance Tuesday was around 63 miles.  We headed back into Long Beach on HWY 103, and eventually it turned into 101 southbound.  We cruised south at 50mph on smooth blacktop, and eventually the Astoria-Megler Bridge......most bridges don't bother me, but this one has that certain pucker factor.  Tuesday, however, they were doing work on the bridge so for most of its 1+ mile length it was one way, and one lane.   Southbound traffic would cross while northbound traffic waited their turn.  This worked out well for me as I didn't have to worry about oncoming traffic.  We were across the bridge in 5 minutes, and headed toward Warrenton, OR where we planned on stopping at the local Costco, and Home Depot.  BUT, before we got that far I saw the local Fred Meyer Supermarket was selling diesel for $3.74!  That is the lowest price we have seen in some time.  An added bonus that we had credit on our Kroger card (Kroger owns Fred Meyer) and that nocked another 10 cents of each gallon.  We purchased $300 worth, thank you very much.  The net $3.64 we paid was the best since El Paso, TX way back in February when we paid $3.59 at a Union 76 station.

 Astoria-Megler Bridge

Hello Oregon! 

Glad that's over!

After that we stopped at Home Depot to stock up on some mechanics gloves I like to wear when working on the coach, or bikes, then over to Costco for some wine, and coffee.

After our fuel and store stops we only had 30 miles to go to our next destination, Jewell, a little country town about 20 miles east of Canon Beach.  This is the home of a good friend, Cathie Fulton, at whose home we have parked our coach in the past, most recently 2.5 years ago.  Here we are all set up for 2 weeks.  We dropped our trailer on her neighbor's property as you can see in the second and third pictures.

That's the end of our first day in Oregon.  Still enjoying cool temperatures, and looking forward to more adventures....stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 30, 2012

World's Longest Beach

The last time we came through the Olympic Peninsula we just waived at Long Beach, WA as we turned left to continue on HWY 101.  This time we determined that we wanted to spend at least a day in this cool seaside town that boasts on it's sign (above) that this is the "World's Longest Beach", but according to Wikipedia that honor belongs to a beach in Bangledesh.  Since it is the height of the summer season, and the website for the park we wanted to stay at required reservations I broke down and called a day ahead and got a reservation with no guaranteed site.  I knew we would have to drop the trailer again, but we wanted to stay near the ocean on our last night in Washington.

Daybreak Monday, unlike Sunday, was sans fog, and the temperature was balmy.....I use that word advisedly as the definition of balmy along the Washington coast is very subjective.....to me it seemed balmy.....lol!  We wanted to get an early start as the park we were destined for had a large club of 40' Class A motorhomes coming in, and if I wanted to get a site that worked for me I needed to get there early.  Pacific Holiday RV Resort assigns the pull throughs on a need basis.  The distance was only 45 miles, so this would be our shortest one day drive of our adventure.  I didn't say easy, just short.  I think we hit 55mph a few times, but spent most of our time around 40mph due to the windy, twisty nature of the road.  I wish I could have enjoyed the view more, but I kept my eyes riveted to the road, and multiple NARROW bridges....why is it every time you hit a narrow bridge a logging truck going the other way hits it at the same time?

We ate a quick breakfast of dry cereal, and hit the road by 9am headed southwest on HWY 101.  We were just south of South Bend when it began to rain, and it rained all the way to Long Beach.  We made it to the RV park by 10:20am (although it seemed like it took 3 hours) and were quickly checked into our spot, #30.  Directly behind our spot is the dry camping section, and "they" had me drop the trailer there directly behind our coach, just on the other side of the interior road....perfect!

Just seconds before it began to rain

After hooking up our water, electric and sewer (need to dump the black tank tomorrow) we took a walk down to the beach.  This is the first time since Florida that we have had our toes in the sand at the beach.   We had barely taken a couple of pictures when it started sprinkling, so we beat a hasty retreat back to the coach, and quickly put the patio awning out.  By 3pm it had stopped raining, so we got the bikes out and took a ride into town to do some grocery shopping.  We have found we like shopping for our dinner meal each day...that way we don't have to plan very far ahead, but can go with what strikes our fancy from day today.  The local IGA market was about 4 miles back into town, but the road had a nice shoulder, which made it easier to tolerate the large traffic volume one would expect at this time of year in a beach resort town.  Today our fancy dictated fresh salmon, corn, and potatoes.   After stowing our dinner in our panniers we headed back to a place called Scoopers....a cool icecream place that boasts 48 flavors, and they indeed do!  I got one scoop of black cherry, and one scoop of "death by chocolate"....WOW!!

The ride back was quick and uneventful, and we arrived back at our "home" around 5pm.  While Elaine prepared the fish, and started cooking the corn and potatoes I got out the BBQ and turned it on.  What a yummy meal.....I BBQ the salmon for 8.5 minutes at around 400 degrees, and it came out perfect!  The corn was fresh, and very sweet, and the mashed potatoes were exceptional.

I went to bed around midnight last night and was up at 6:30am this morning so I was tired, and it was time for a nap after dinner.  

That was our brief, uneventful day.....no drama, just living and enjoying life and each other.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What I Saw Today.....

For some reason I was wide awake at 6am this morning.....:-) .....so I got up, poured a cup of coffee and watched some Olympics coverage.  It's funny to me that things I have no interest in  the other 47 months in between Summer Olympics I suddenly find interesting......synchronized diving, ping pong, field hockey, beach volleyball.....OK...the women in beach volleyball always have the best uniforms,, and who isn't interested?  The Lovely Elaine awoke around 8am, and we decided we would ride for breakfast.  

We picked up the bike path that runs right by Raymond RV Park and headed south into, what else, South Bend to Hamp's 101 Restaurant where we enjoyed an eye opening decore, and a nice breakfast.....they give you your own coffee pot here!  I think the table was looking at me the entire meal!

After a great breakfast we headed back north on the bike path into Raymond, then north on HWY 6 to the little town of Menlo.  We had no particular reason for riding to Menlo, other than it was a good turn around point for our ride.....6 miles out from Raymond, and 6 miles back, with a couple of climbs thrown into the mix.

I love rides like this.....there are so many things you see riding a bike at 10mph that you would not notice at 55mph in a car.......like the cool barn above, or the iconic Rat Rod below.

Or this Historical Landmark with a compelling, touching story.....

These signs bring back memories from my childhood......

On our way through Raymond on our way out to Menlo we passed this Carriage Museum that wasn't open until Noon, so we went in on our way back through town, and we are glad we did....they have a collection of restored carriages that will knock your socks off!

This "C" Spring carriage was just one of dozens...the restoration is amazing....it is a work of art, along with most of the carriages on display here.

We stopped off at the local supermarket to pick up some chicken to BBQ later on in the evening, and then headed back home where we watched some more Olympic coverage, caught up on the blogosphere, and took a short nap, before getting out the BBQ to burn some chicken....and that is what I did....lol!  Our total cycling mileage for the day hit 24.

Another "Day in the Life" in the books, and a big smile on my face.

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - OK, I know you're thinking....why didn't he show more of the carriages......well, here you go!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Everybody loves Raymond

I had noticed an old steam engine display at the local park on the way into town and thought we should ride our bikes down there first thing Saturday before we left Forks to check it out. On the way I noticed this cool totem pole about a block from the park so got the Lovely Elaine pose in front of it for this picture.

The old steam engine is Rayonier #10......below you will see a write up on this unique steam engine, but essentially it was the first all wheel drive steam engine.  Very interesting.

After loading the bikes back in the trailer, and then the car we departed Forks around 10:15am heading west and south along HWY 101.  We quickly passed the turn off we had taken the day before to the Hoh Rain Forest.  Eventually we came out of the forest and immediately caught sight of the ocean, and a rare sun break!  The island in the center is the home of the Destruction Island Lighthouse, which if you look closely, can be seen a little left of center on the island.

Yep, we are smiling....it's sunny!

As you know, we do not make reservations unless there is no choice.  It has been a long time since we made a reservation at an RV park, and today was no exception.  We had a general idea that we wanted to stop for the day no farther than Aberdeen, but we reached Aberdeen just around 12:30pm, and it was too early to stop, so instead we found a parking place for our 62' and ate some sandwiches Elaine had made the day before.  After a short break we decided to push on for Raymond, WA where we had stayed 2 and a half years ago at Raymond RV Park.  I called the owner as we were leaving Aberdeen to see if they had any spots available still, and was told there were several.....just come on down and pick one out, so we motored another 27 miles and snagged this great spot facing the Willapa River.  It was cloudy when we arrived, but by 5:30pm the sun came out lit up the colors around us.

The Willapa River

Site #3 at Raymond RV Park....everybody here "Loves Raymond!"

Elaine made spaghetti with a side of spinach salad dressed with her world famous bleu cheese dressing.

We'll spend a couple of days hanging out here and riding the bike path that runs by the park south into South Bend, and back north into Raymond.....apparently the bike path follows an old railroad right of way (Rails to Trails), and goes almost all the way east to I-5!  I don't think we'll be riding that far, but we'll get on the bikes and see how far we go.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hoh, Hoh, Hoh...

I was up at my usual time, 6am...Friday was moving day and my mind was spinning like a top with the things I needed to do to get us on the road by 8:30am....an early start time to be sure, but we would be glad later on we got an early start! 

Elaine and I have really got our departure duties down pat.  She handles the securing of the interior of the coach for movement, and I take care of the outside.  Before we knew it we were on the road and the clock was one minute shy of 8:30am!  We cruised westward on HWY 101 taking our time.  Before we knew it we were passing along Crescent Lake.  We had passed by a few years ago, but didn't have time to stop, so we made time today.  It is a beautiful place.

Our destination for Friday was Forks, WA, about 63 miles west from Port Angeles.  The drive was very uneventful, and all of a sudden we saw the sign for Forks and it was only 10am.  We didn't make reservations, as usual, so we spied Forks 101 RV Park across the street from the local ACE Hardware store so we pulled into the ACE parking lot and got out to walk across the street to see if they had any pull spots long enough for us when I happened to glance down at the tires on the passenger side of the trailer and noticed the right rear appeared to have an unusual wear pattern.  Sure enough, upon closer inspection I determined the tread was beginning to separate.  The other 3 tires looked good, and were not displaying any unusual patterns like the right rear.  We continued on across the street and met Bob, the owner, and he advised that his longest pull through was just becoming available as the tenant was leaving, which was exactly true, as he was pulling out of the spot.....SCORE!

I asked Bob if there was  local tire store and he said we had passed the only tire dealer in the area on our way into town......West End Motors.  I called them, and gave them the tire size including load range, and he said they had them in stock.  After settling up with Bob I jacked up the trailer and removed the bad tire.  Elaine helped me load it in the trunk of the T-Bird and I was off......the guys at West End Motors had the new tire on and ready to go in 5 minutes.  Just in case you wondered, we do carry a spare tire for the trailer, but it is used, and is intended solely to get us to where we can have a flat fixed, or a tire replaced, so I'm glad we were where we could just replace the tire, and save the spare for an emergency.  The great thing about this was we had arrived in town at 10am due to our early start, and by Noon the tire was replaced, reinstalled on the trailer, and we were on our drive in the T-Bird out to the Hoh Rain Forest.  It was 12 miles going south out of town to the turn off to rain forest, and then another 18 to the National Parks Visitor Center.  Since this is a National Park, our admission was free with our senior pass.

Me in front of a 200+ foot tall, 550 year old Sitka Spruce.  I felt smaller than a Hobit!

The Lovely Elaine standing by the Hoh River.

A spring fed stream.....the water was sooo clear, 
and my picture does not do it justice.

Many of the trees in the area of the forest are draped in moss.

We spent a couple of hours hiking a couple of miles two trails (The Spruce Trail, and the Hall of Mosses Trail) around the visitor center, oohing and awing as we went.  There was GIANT Sitka Spruces, Hemlocks and Douglas Firs everywhere......many over 200'.  The visitor center parking lot was packed.....glad to see so many people out enjoying one of America's great resources!

We arrived back "home" around 5pm, and settled in to watch the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in London.  Tomorrow we will move on another 60+ miles and see what adventures await us.

Thanks for stopping by!

Port Angeles

We slept in until almost 8am.......wait......I have to take a moment to really appreciate what I just wrote.....in my life since college I have rarely slept past 7am, but I am beginning to appreciate now that I can just turn over and go back to sleep at 6am with no feelings of guilt, or that I am "burning daylight".  OK, I realize it's taken me the better part of 6 months to get to that point, and maybe, just maybe I am there now.  Spending the summer in the Pacific Northwest has made that transition easier because there is SO MUCH DAYLIGHT up here!  It starts to get light around 4:30am, and gets dark around 10:30pm, so that's like 16 hours of daylight.....lol!

After a leisurely breakfast I got the road bikes ready for our ride into Port Angeles.  There is a bike path that runs from Sequim (we passed through there a couple of days ago) past Port Angeles, and it is a very nice bike path.  The entrance was about 1 mile from Conestoga Quarters RV Park so we headed out about 10am for the 12 mile ride into Port Angeles.....if we had ridden the highway (101) directly into town it would have been 8-9 miles, but I wouldn't trade one mile of the bike path we rode on yesterday for 101, which has a lot of traffic, and noise, although there is a LARGE shoulder on which to ride.  

Every time we head out on a ride I mentally debate what to bring in the way of extra clothing.  Occasionally I get "arrogant" and just bring what I am wearing.  In Washington that arrogance is always met quickly with a change in the weather which makes me regret what I didn't bring with me.  Thursday, as we followed the tree walled bike path through the local forest toward the coast we rounded a corner and were met with a wall of fog.  Mind you, when we left the RV park it was sunny, and about 65 degrees.....when the fog rolls in the temperature drops about 15 degrees quickly.  So there I was, once again, in a short sleeve Tshirt, and fingerless gloves wishing I had brought a long sleep shirt along, and my finger gloves, and maybe some ear muffs!  The Lovely Elaine, who is always very thoughtful about what extra clothing she brings along was prepared, and I rode the last 7 miles into town in the fog cheering on the sun to break through and thaw my extremities out.

 Before the FOG

 A long bridge over a local river, and over a protected habitat.

 Nice view of the still snow covered Olympics

 Into the FOG

Eventually the trail found its way to the coast, and although it was cold (for me) we did enjoy the uninterrupted views for several miles.  We finally arrived in Port Angeles around 11:45am just as the sun was winning its battle with Mr. FOG, and, at my suggestion, made our way directly to the local Goodwill Industries where I picked up a $4.99 red long sleeve Tshirt that I wore for the rest of the trip.....lol!  

After our visit to Goodwill we rode around town for a while enjoying the sites, and ultimately ended up at the "Next Door Gastro Pub".  We chose this pub using the Droid Yelp app on my phone.  This pub has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating and it lived up to its billing.  The first order of business was to order a Steam Train Porter while Elaine ordered a 9 lb. Porter and an appetizer tray of fish tacos which we shared.  The Porters were delish, and the fish tacos were cherished bite by bite.  We sat in the sidewalk patio enjoying the now sunshinny skies, and the passing rush of humanity through downtown.

I took this picture on our way back.....we stopped at the local Safeway Supermarket to pick up some half and half.  As I waited for Elaine (while watching the bikes) I was struck by how much snow is still visible on the peaks of the nearby Olympic Mountains......a lot for late July.

We arrived "home" around 3:15pm, spending the next few hours reading with a little napping (by me) thrown in for good measure.  Around 6pm I pulled out the BBQ and grilled two bison burgers while Elaine made some yummy squash and mushrooms.  We spent about 20 minutes after dinner talking via Skype with our daughter Sharon.  We are so thankful for Skype keeping us connected to our kids.

Well that was our Thursday.......today we continue westward about 63 miles to the town of Forks, WA where we will spend the afternoon in the Hoh Rain Forest.

Thanks for stopping by!