Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Oregon - Two Stops on the West Coast

Tillamook - 1st stop

A very rainy December 17, 2015 was our travel day to Tillamook, OR. It rained all the way, which makes for a very long and tiring drive. We drove Hwy 101 and did get to see some of the ocean along the way when the fog and haze lifted a little.
Some sections of the road were a little water covered and a few spots were washed out, but we were still able to get through. 
We crossed the Columbia River at Astoria, OR, via the Astoria-Megler Bridge. It is a beautiful bridge and really long, Nancy's favorite kind- Not!

Setting up in the rain is never fun, and by the time we were done, both of us were soaked to the skin. We stayed at the Tillamook Bay City RV Resort, which is in Bay City, just north of Tillamook. Fairly small park, well maintained, but flooded right now. Sites were a little close together and just long enough for our rig and car. The laundry room was clean. Didn't use the restrooms, or showers, but the showers require quarters, one for every 3 minutes. 

The Tillamook Cheese Factory was a must visit for this stop. You do a self-guided tour where you can see some of the operations in the cheese making and packing process. Cheese samples await you at the end of the tour. They have two gift shops, a cafe where we enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and an ice cream shop.

Portland, OR was so much fun, we visited on a Saturday and got to explore their Saturday market. Vendors galore, with arts and food. Voodoo Doughnuts lived up to their reputation and Good Things do Come in Pink Boxes. The building inside and out is very eclectic and colorful. From the glitter brick, with coins stuck in gum, to the pink doors you know the inside will be wild. 

Lots of color, stained glass, posters, art and a huge doughnut chandelier. 

The doughnuts were delicious, and yes that is bacon on one of them.

Next door to VooDoo Doughnuts is the Kit-Kat Club, our daughter Katrina's nickname! 

The Saturday Market is held across four blocks, one section is through these arches.
When taking pictures of buildings in a busy city it is always best to watch out for their electric trains. It would probably hurt if they hit you. 

Of course we had to check out some breweries while in town. Nancy was excited to find Natain Brewery, they have a nice logo! Unfortunately we couldn't find their tasting room. We did get to Burnside Brewing, it is in an old building with high ceilings, which allowed for a very tall tree. Beer was good, and food was very tasty.   

All the white spots are
new trees

The road into Portland took us through the mountains and of course we hit some rain and fog. We followed the Wilson River all the way and passed a number of logging sites where new trees have been planted. 

There are so many towns, parks and beaches along Hwy 101 that it is hard to get to all of them but we gave it a good shot. 
Rockaway Beach

Ecola State Park - the beach was a mix of sand and pebbles. The seaweed roots are amazing. As we walked the beach we came across this puddle that had bubbles coming up, as first we thought it was clams but after watching it we think it was air and water bubbling up. 

There was a small cave and a very giant rock off shore.

Girabaldi train

 We had never seen orange
railroad tracks before.

Arch Cape - The tree tops are all blown in one direction from the wind - there is a light house on that rock way out in the water. 

Everyone told us we had to go to Cannon Beach, once there we understood why. What a cute town. We stopped for coffee at the Sleepy Monk Roaster, the barista thought it was funny when we told her our favorite bar in Asheville, NC was the Thirsty Monk. Next door to the coffee shop is the Screws and Brews, brewery and hardware store! Lots of cute shops, and plenty of places to eat and drink. Fun statutes and sculptures throughout town. 

Manhatten Beach was the last stop of the day, Mielikki had fun as always jumping over driftwood. 

You can see amazing rock formation all along the coast. 

Birds were coming in to roost for the night on this tree growing out of the rock. 

We don't know the name of this rock but it can be seen from a number of the beaches we were on. If it was a little warmer than 38 degrees we may have ventured out to explore it up close. 

The area surrounding our campground was perfect for walking the dog, even on the mornings it was raining. This double rainbow was so beautiful. Later when looking at the pictures we discovered that it looks like it is coming out of our RV. There is even a third row trying to form - don't think we have ever seen a triple rainbow. No, there was no pot of gold at our end of the rainbow.

The views made walking that much easier, and the neighbors were quite friendly. 
Oregon Sand Dunes

Sutherlin - 2nd stop
Bridge over the Umpqua River

On December 22, 2015 we headed to Sutherlin, OR. We chose this town so we could go to Bend, OR and Crater National Park, well neither one of those trips worked out due to snow in the mountains. So this turned out to be a resting stop. The drive here was with out rain until about half way, so once again set up was in the rain. 

We stayed at the Hi Way Haven RV Park. A fairly large park with a number of permanent residents, but all are well maintained. There is a nice community room that has tables and chairs, and a perpetual jigsaw puzzle in the works. The laundry room is very clean and they have the cleanest restrooms I have ever seen, plus a poster of James Dean by the sinks! 

Mielikki loved the two fenced in dog runs.
Each site has a cement patio with a metal table and chairs and it is surrounded by a wooden fence to offer some privacy, really nice idea. 

The best and most unique part of the park is they have a drive-in move theater. If your RV is in the right area you can watch from the comfort of your RV and listen over the radio. This site was the towns drive-in theater and the people who bought the property kept the screen. Tim Allen's Santa Clause 2 and 3 were showing while we were there.

We did venture into downtown Sutherlin which is not a very big town. We are so glad we went into the Magic Mushroom Gift Shop.  A hippie haven if ever we saw one. The owner Linda is super nice and they have a lot of local art work for sale. It is on Roadside Americas website as a must stop, and we agree. 

While driving around we came across another oddity, every time we see a Volkswagen we think of our nephew Jim.

We celebrated Christmas here, a very quiet day. We continued our movie tradition this year with a movie marathon at the Roseburg Cinema's. We saw Mockingjay 2 and then Star Wars in 3D. We really enjoyed both of them. 

It certainly was a different Christmas than what we are used to but we did enjoy it. We have a small tree, some Santas and jingle bell decorations. 

We received gifts from Nancy's friend Gail, she even sent one to Mielikki. A little bit of Michigan here in Oregon. 

Leaving Oregon and heading to California. Looking forward to seeing the sun again! 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You. 

TIps and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Propane. In a blog from Michigan we suggested checking prices of propane as the per gallon price can vary drastically.That still holds true, as we paid $2.10 a gallon in Sutherlin and when we arrived at the next location it was $3.79. A few other words of advice regarding propane. 
1. When making reservations ask if they have a filling station, and if so what time it closes. This way you can plan your arrival accordingly. Twice now we have had to unhook the day after set up so we could move the RV to have the tank filled. Not a lot of fun. 
2. Ask the price so you can compare to where you are at, and also watch prices while on the road so if you see it for a lesser price you can stop. 
3. If they don't offer it on site ask for the names of local places so you can contact them to check on prices and times. We have found a number of them are not open on the weekends. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Washington 5th Stop


Who knew it would take five stops to get through Washington? On December 13, 2015 we left Hansville and headed to Elma, WA. We stayed at the Elma RV Park, a quiet little park. There are a number of permanent residents but all of the sites are well maintained. The laundry room was clean and they have a propane filling station right on site. The grounds were all decorated with lights for Christmas which made it very pretty. We received homemade cookies when we checked in, it's the little things that make a difference! Nancy forgot to get a picture of our site, but they were a little bit wider than normal so not right on top of your neighbor. 

To get to the coast you have to drive through Aberdeen and you cross this bridge each time. It is the funniest looking bridge, it reminded Nancy of an overloaded wagon.

The Pacific Ocean was calling again, thinking that will be a recurring theme over the next few blogs, and we are perfectly fine with that. First day out we drove Hwy 109 up the coast to Taholah, a small town on the Quinault Indian Reservation

First stop was in Ocean City, were we played on the beach for a bit, until the tide started coming in. Wandering around town we found a great Irish gift shop, Galway Bay, and later we came back to eat at their pub. 
We also stopped at Copalis Beach.  

This tree house was in a neighborhood in Seaside, it looks like a fun place to hang out.

Second trip out we took Hwy 101 north all the way to Forks, which by the way is the town the "Twilight" series is based on and where parts of the movie were filmed. No vampires or werewolves were spotted. 
We went through the Kalaloch National Forest and stopped at a couple of the beaches.

There is an overlook at Beach #1 that is right off the parking lot. You can also take a trail down to the beach, highly recommended. A river runs along side the trail and when you get to the end of the trail, you cross a beautiful wood bridge that takes you over the river onto the beach.  

The path is lined with lots of trees, ferns and moss. It always amazes us how resourceful trees are and the crazy places they grow. 

This is where the river comes out from under the bridge - it didn't even look real, the flow of water can accomplish quite a lot over time. 

Like most of the beaches this one had ample driftwood and rocks. 

The rocks were full of holes. They are drilled by Piddock Clams, they use a rocking motion to burrow into the sandstone. There were also large groupings of small rocks in the walls lining the beach.

The tide was coming in while we were there and Nancy found herself a little close to the waters edge while trying to get pictures of the waves. She ended up with very wet shoes and pants.

Les looks pretty small standing next to this giant.       Can you see him peaking through the trunk?

The Kalaloch Big Cedar tree is the stuff legends are made of and looks like a tree from another realm. In March of 2014 a storm took down this giant that is 19.8 feet in diameter and was 175 feet tall. What is left after the storm is still pretty impressive to see.

The roots are spectacular - can you see faces in the left end picture?  

The Duncan Memorial Cedar Tree in Olympic National Park is 178 feet tall and 19.4 feet in diameter, according to one source it is the largest tree in the world, another says third largest, either way it is a very large tree. It was outside of the National park and part of logging company property, but legend says that when the loggers reached this tree they couldn't bear to take it down, so they saved it. It has been damaged over the years by wind and storms but there is still some life in it. 

This entire area is known for it's abundance of rain, but sections of the park are actual rain forests. We visited two of them. 
The Hoh Rain Forest has a nice visitor center, after entering the building and wandering around for about 10 minutes we discovered they were closed for the season. There were people working on the building and they forgot to lock the door! 

The road in was quite magical.

The trees are draped in a velvet shawl of moss, making every where look like a fairy tale.
The sign on the crossbeam has an arrow that shows where the rain fall would be if it filled the patio area. 137.60 inches annually - that's a lot of rain. Based on our experience while in this area it never stops raining.

The path behind the visitor center takes you past a small river and pond surrounded by more moss covered trees, stumps and lots of ferns. The pond is full of plants and the tree reflections were in the perfect spot to make it look like they are covered with the plants. 

These "chia" pet posts were just adorable. 

The Quinault Rain Forest was as mossed covered as the Hoh Rainforest and also offered us some waterfalls. The waterfalls were all road side which made for easy viewing. 
If you want to get close to Merriman Falls it is a very short walk on either side of the bridge. It is a beautiful little spot.

This tree looks like it is ready to take a walk across the river.

We followed the Quinault River on the South Shore Road and saw the Bunch Falls and a small water fall that doesn't appear to have a name. 

No Name Falls
Bunch Falls 

We crossed over the river and drove the North Shore Rd back out of the park. 
Stopping at the Quinault Big Cedar Tree. It is a short hike into the forest, once we got to where we think the tree should be we discovered a tree has taken out the stairway. We loved seeing the fallen tree with all of the trees growing out of it. The fallen trees that host new growth are called "nurse trees". 

There are lots of fun things to find on the forest floor, and more than enough moss covered trees to keep any photographer happy.

This is our last stop in Washington, next we will be heading down the Oregon coast on Hwy 101 to Tillamook.

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to you!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Mold. Our new bane of existence. After being in the rain for over two months now we are experiencing problems with mold. The last tip addressed dehumidifiers, which are helping but we are still getting some mold in places. One of those places is the wall behind our couch. The couch is bolted down so that it doesn't move while driving, which is a good thing, but makes cleaning behind it rather difficult. The couch is a sofa bed and even opening it up it is still hard to reach certain places. 

Our solution was to wrap paper-towel around our Swiffer(r) floor mop. We sprayed the mold cleaner on the paper and washed the wall like we would mop the floor. So far it seems to be working like a charm.