Friday, October 31, 2008

More Exploring

Our first stop this morning was the post office to pick up our mail. We use a mail forwarding service in South Dakota called Americas Mailbox. Whenever we are going to be in an area for a few days, I email them and they package whatever mail they have for us and ship it General Delivery. Today, we got the registration for the Jeep and immediately put our South Dakota plates on the car. Now we are all legal!

Again, the day was cool and drizzly but we decided to drive south to Cannon Beach. Our first stop was at a historical marker along the road. We love to stop at these. It gives us a break from driving and what a fun way to learn history. This sign told us about the Cannon Beach history.

And this is a replica of a cannon that washed ashore from a ship that had crashed on the rocks. That's how Cannon Beach got it's name.

Before we got to Cannon Beach, we turned off to check out Ecola State Park. It's pretty much just a day use park but wow oh wow. We drove for miles up a windy (barely two lane) road that was lined with huge Sitka spruce. We thought we were into the Redwoods at first. When we reached the top, we found a lovely park overlooking the ocean.

We followed the paths to the overlooks just as patches of sun broke through. But as you can see from Doug's jacket, the wind never stopped. Thank heavens for digital cameras. Doug took over a hundred photos of the spectacular scenery.

The rocks below the cliff are where sea lions and birds find sanctuary. We didn't see any sea lions, but the pelicans were plentiful.

It's hard to describe such views.

When the wind became too much, we drove down to Indian Beach. And to my surprise found a lone surfer. We watched him for a while but the wind and tide was so strong that he couldn't get out far enough to catch a good wave.

Finally, we drove into Cannon Beach. It's a major tourist trap. But, we saw lots of nice restaurants and shops, though we didn't do any shopping. We found an access to the beach at the end of a road where we were staggered at the sight of thousands of birds. This picture shows only about one fifth of the birds. And when they took off it was amazing.

It was a nice day, but by now, Doug has my cold too. We felt crummy and decided to go home. A quick stop at the store for milk and soup and back to our humble abode.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fort Stevens - Oregon State Parks

Lots of pictures today! First I wanted to show you another shot of our coach in the park.

Around noon, we drove back to Fort Stevens. We were so fascinated yesterday with the little bit that we saw, we had to return. First, let me tell you, we are so impressed with the Oregon State Park system. They are well maintained, very beautiful and reasonable (dollar-wise). When we arrived at Fort Stevens, we were going to purchase a $3 day use pass. But after visiting with the volunteers inside the museum, we purchased an annual pass for every Oregon State Park for only $25. What a bargain!

We spent an hour in the museum and learned a ton about how the west coast was shelled by the Japanese in 1942. The museum had displays of uniforms and weapons, information and brochures and even a video about the attack. Doug took about 100 photos but I just couldn't post them all.

In spite of the cold, windy day, we toured as much of the fort as we could. The batteries are built into the side of the hill and were virtually invisible to the submarines. Visitors are allowed to enter most rooms, climb ladders and steps and photograph anything.

This was the command post. It sat at the top of the tallest hill and has a view of the mouth of the Columbia that is breathtaking.

Looking out from the command station. It's hard to see the water in this picture, but it's spectacular.

The fort depends on donations to repair and restore the facilities. Unfortunately, in many places, the buildings are crumbling and dangerous. I discovered an interesting difference between Doug's idea of exploring and mine. He prefers to go as deep and far as he can inside the buildings.

And, I prefer to climb to the highest points I can find.

After the fort, we took Buddy to the beach for a run. Doug caught this gorgeous picture down the beach with the clouds and mist and grey, grey, grey.

While he was busy taking pictures of me.......

I took pictures of him and Buddy!

When we arrived back at the park, we saw a coach that looked just like ours. As we got closer, someone waved and we discovered our good friends Mike and Charlotte Gamble were here. They have an Alpine Coach that looks almost identical to ours outside. It is a little newer and I'm sure a lot tidier.

We visited for a few minutes, but by then the cold that I have been fighting started to win. I have almost lost my voice (but I can still type) and am coughing like crazy. The only upside to it is Doug gets to take care of me. He fixed a weird combination dinner for me (that I requested) and kept me warm and comfortable all evening. What a guy!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Exploring the Coast

Here is our site at the Seaside Thousand Trails park in Oregon. It's a large park with beautiful facilities. There is a swimming pool, spa and sauna. A nice cafe, store and clubhouse with internet access are available too.

In the morning, we set out to find a Les Schwab to get new tires for the Jeep. They were pretty well worn and we were having to constantly put air in them. We sure didn't want to take a chance of a flat while towing.

After the tires, we drove through Seaside exploring. We found the aquarium and couldn't resist. It's a small aquarium, but had a nice variety of displays. We saw an octopus, crabs, anemones, sea bass, sea lions, lots more and my favorite below.

This is the wolf eel. I put his picture in the blog because I was sure that Jacob would think he is pretty cool.

Here's a close up of his head. Not too pretty, but very cool!

After the aquarium, we took a drive on the beach. The weather was cool and breezy so I didn't spend much time outside. I am fighting a cold and was content to just ride in the car.

After our drive on the beach, we went north on Hwy 101 to Fort Stevens State Park. This is a huge park. First we drove through the camping area (very nice), then followed the signs to the beach at the mouth of the Columbia River, then found the Fort Stevens historic military bunker. We will be going back tomorrow because we ran out of time and camera memory. It is well worth our time.

The beach was loaded with jelly fish! That's Doug's foot next to one so you can see how big they are. We saw about ten of them in one small area.

We also ran across this driftwood shanty. It was drafty, but large enough to provide shelter in a storm. I prefer our coach.

We had a great day and can hardly wait for more!

Double the Travel, Double the Fun

Well, we left Yakima about noon and stopped for diesel. It is now down to $3.19 a gallon and 10 miles further down the road, we found it for $3.09. Our plan was to follow Hwy 97 south to the Columbia River, then head west toward the coast. We found a couple of Oregon State Parks online that sit right on the river and would be perfect. (Oregon State Parks are half the price of Washington State Parks.)

The first hitch in our gitalong was the bridge where we planned to cross into Oregon is closed for construction. So, we followed the river on the Washington side and finally crossed at The Dalles. The first park we were interested in was Memaloose State Park. When we arrived, there was a big sign saying "closed". So, we continued to the second park, Viento State Park. This time, the closed sign was so small that we missed it until we were in the park. And, guess what! There was no way to turn around. Doug had to unhitch the car, turn the coach around, and hitch the car back up. What a pain in the neck.

At this point, we spoke with a maintenance person at the park and discovered that most of the parks along the Columbia are closed for the winter. Sure wish they had said that on their website.

So, our next plan of attack was to continue on to the coast. This doubled our expected travel time and we ended up going through Portland during rush hour. That was exciting. Doug did a great job driving and we finally arrived at Seaside Thousand Trails just as it got dark. By the time we found a site and set up, it was too dark for pictures. That will have to wait until tomorrow.

We have had our little mishaps but that won't slow us down. We still have 45 state to add to our map!
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Yakima Part II

We finally got a hold of our friend Dave who has a ladder for us and two cabinet doors that we wanted replaced. But, he couldn't meet us until 4pm after work. So, we took a ride to the local RV parts store and browsed a while. The only thing we needed were some vacuum cleaner bags. Then we drove to the other side of the freeway and checked out the Yakima Sportsman
State Park. Wow! We should have stayed there. Above is a picture from inside the park. It is beautiful. There are not a lot of sites, but what a setting.

Later in the day, we drove to Dave's house to pick up our items. There was a small problem with the doors, so Dave and his wife followed us back to the park to take the old doors home with them so they could get the hinge cutouts just right. We also picked up our ladder and when Doug set it on the back of the coach, it is too long. (Sorry the picture is so blurry. I was in a hurry.) So, the ladder was returned and we will have to find one somewhere else. Western RV raised the height of their coaches by 5 inches in the last few years and we are one of the shorter coaches. Oh, well.

We will get our new cabinet doors in the morning and then we will head south.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008


We left Wenatchee in the morning and the hook up for the Jeep went just fine. However, our first stop was at a gas station in Cashmere to put air in an extremely low tire on the Jeep. We will have to watch that one carefully.

It was a beautiful day for a drive over Blewett Pass. Blue sky, changing leaves.....and a sense of freedom. Our next stop was Yakima. It's not the prettiest place on the face of the earth, but we are hoping to pick up our ladder for the back of the coach. We haven't been able to contact the guy that has it but we will give it a day or two here.

We checked into the Circle H RV Ranch based on what I found on the internet. The website is misleading. It is small, old, and full of permanent residents. The spaces are very tight and it sits right next to the freeway. We probably won't put it on our list of places to stay. However, for two nights, we will survive.
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Doug got us hooked up and set up the Directv dish, then we made a quick trip to the store. It was a quiet evening (discounting the freeway noise) of watching tv and relaxing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sweet Day in Wenatchee

We spent another day in the crisp, fall air of beautiful Wenatchee. The clouds from the previous evening had all disappeared and the blue sky brought some cool temperatures. It was invigorating!

Bridgit and the kids spent the afternoon with us, just talking and playing. All of the normal things that families do when they aren't living close to each other. Jacob and Emma finally understood that we would be gone for a while but seemed content with us sending lots of postcards and updating the blog regularly. Thank heavens for technology! I won't miss their growing up and they will always be able to keep track of us.

We had a quiet evening and leftovers for dinner while Doug learned his new program, Microsoft Streets and Trips (with included GPS). He planned several alternative routes and discovered that there is still a lot to learn. So, tomorrow, we will head towards Yakima to have a ladder installed on the back of the coach.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Day with the Grandkids

Our whole purpose for visiting Wenatchee before heading south was to see the grandkids, Jacob and Emma. And one of Emma's favorite things to do is throw rocks into the river. She and I spent a good part of the afternoon before Jacob got out of school at the river's edge.

Her second favorite place to be is the playground. Go figure, a five year old likes the playground. Bridgit (my daughter) was in charge of turning the carousel so Emma could ride.

Later in the day, Jacob joined us. They are a couple of monkeys when it comes to climbing.

And, of course, they both had to pose for me.

It's pictures like these that I will treasure until we come back in the spring.

We had a great visit. Bridgit had to work in the evening, but Chad (my son-in-law) stayed for a fun visit. We fixed breakfast for dinner and played Wii all evening. The kids played car racing, tennis, skiing, boxing, snowboarding and their favorite, bowling. Jacob whupped us soundly bowling! I have to admit, a motorhome is a little cramped for space when you have a nine year old and a five year old swinging the Wii remotes around. There were a couple of minor accidents but we had such a great time, we have decided to stay another day and play some more.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wenatchee Bound

Today was the first time we attached the Jeep to the motorhome to tow. Doug followed all of the instructions and the pin wouldn't fit through the hole of the hitch arm. Aaaaargh, is anything going to go right????? Fortunately, Doug had a file and was able to remove the burrs inside. The pin slid in smoothly.

And here we are in all of our glory, ready to tackle Stevens Pass.

We had heard that there was snow the night before, but this was all that we saw. The roads were bare and dry and it was a gorgeous day for a ride. Doug was a little cautious since it was the first time towing the car and we just took our time and enjoyed the day.

The colors were outstanding. My pictures don't do justice to the blue sky and colorful foliage.

We wanted to be south before the weather changed, but a day like this was worth every minute.
We made it to Wenatchee (actually Monitor, just outside of Wentachee) where we checked into one of our favorite parks. It sits right on the Wenatchee River and is well maintained. There is a train that runs on the other side of the river and the soft train sounds are actually soothing and comforting.

We set up in record time and Doug snapped a picture as Buddy and I came out to check the park.

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We have settled in for a couple of days and can hardly wait to see the grandkids. Doug is waving to all of our good friends and family. Thanks to all of you for help, advice and lots of love.