Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Whidbey Island and Port Townsend, WA

After leaving our nephew and his family on Lopez Island, we took the ferry back to Anacortes, WA, and filled up the nearly empty propane tank. Margaret and I both wanted to spend some time on Whidbey Island and were pleased when we drove over Deception Pass Bridge about noon on 05 August. We pulled over and walked on and under the bridge, seeing it from nearly every angle. It was a gloriously cool and clear day, which made for lots of photo ops.

Deception Pass Bridge. Photo by Margaret.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Brown Creek Campground and Lopez Island

Following our stop at Mount Ranier, we headed to the place Margaret next wanted to camp—Olympic National Park. While stopped for gas in Port Orchard (WA), our nephew, Joshua, contacted me, surprised that we were "already" in Washington and not too far away from where he and his family were anchored on their sailboat. After a lot of back-and-forth discussion, we decided to head north to visit them, but only after a couple nights of restful camping at the remote Brown Creek Campground.

Brown Creek Campground sign. Photo by Margaret.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

La Wis Wis Campground and Mount Rainier

On the morning of 24 July, we left French Prairie Rest Area late enough to avoid the Portland commuting traffic and drove over the Interstate Bridge into Washington State at 12:30 p.m. We stopped for water, ice, and groceries in Vancouver, Washington, before continuing north on Interstate 5. We checked several sources for an open campsite near Mount Rainier; but after exhausting those sources, we decided there wasn't one available where we might be able to see it from the campground. We drove east on U. S. Route 12; and 2-1/2 hours later, after passing Mayfield Lake and Riffe Lake, we arrived at La Wis Wis Campground in Packwood, Washington.

La Wis Wis Campground sign. Photo by Virginia.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Columbia River Gorge

It's been a month since we visited the Columbia River Gorge, but traveling and camping has been the priority and not a cell signal or public Wi-Fi. So, better late than never….

We left our second time staying overnight at the Peter Skene Ogden State Park on 22 July and headed north on U. S. Route 97. We drove through miles of cotton and alfalfa fields and the pretty little town of Madras, Oregon. We had a view of Mount Jefferson to the west, while rugged volcanic cliffs were to the east; and through a rather thick haze, Mount Hood eventually became visible. I hadn't seen Mount Hood for twenty-two years! Fortunately, the closer we got, the clearer the sky became. We then drove west toward the busy metropolitan area of Portland, Oregon, because it was Margaret's birthday, and she really wanted lunch from Native Foods Café. While there are three Native Foods Cafes in San Diego (our home base), there is only one in the entire Pacific Northwest! That scrumptious lunch was served in the swanky Bridgeport Village Mall in Tigard, Oregon. We parked in the shade to eat our lunches, which meant Peaches could be let out of her crate (happy girl!). Staying for a few hours allowed us to catch up on our iPhones before it was time to go to French Prairie, a nearby rest area to park overnight.

The next morning we drove through intense traffic in Portland to get to one of the most breathtaking areas in the world—the Columbia River Gorge, where we spent the entire day in a state of wonder. (I'd been there several times when I lived in Portland back in the late '90s, but one can never experience this area too often. Margaret had only seen Multnomah Falls once, possibly in 2003.) The first waterfall we encountered on the Historic Columbia River Highway was Shepperd's Dell Falls. (We bypassed the actual first falls, Bridal Veil, on the way in and out because the parking area was prohibitively busy.) Shepperd's Dell Falls are like a winding ribbon through the rough hillside of trees, ferns, and bushes; and the terrain makes the falls difficult to see and to photograph in their entirety, as you can see below.)

Shepperd's Dell Falls. Photo by Virginia.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sisters, Oregon, and Cold Springs Campground

We left our overnight parking site mid-morning on 16 July and went south on U.S. Route 97 before taking State Route 126 west. We had only 25 miles to go; so in about an hour, we arrived in the beautiful town of Sisters, Oregon. A friend drove Margaret through Sisters back in 2002. It was so cute that she was hoping to return eventually and linger awhile. So she added it to our West Coast States Adventure itinerary.

My recollection of Sisters is different from my sister's. ;>) I spent my youth to about age 30 drooling over the photos of the gorgeous horses of Patterson Arabians in the Arabian horse magazines of the time. The Patterson Ranch was a famous landmark in Sisters. The photos of the mares in the pastures with the snow-covered Three Sisters volcanoes in the background were stunning and left a lasting impression on me. The horses were sold off in 1989, and the ranch was sold in 2017. (Here is a 2015 video of the ranch: https://youtu.be/C1sCVqnGEoI.) I didn't know exactly where the ranch was located and ended up seeing it only after Margaret had driven by—a minor disappointment, but I saw enough to get an in-person impression of the beautiful place I remembered from magazines so long ago.

Welcome to Sisters sign. Photo by Margaret.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Peter Skene Ogden State Park & Rest Stop

After our day at Crater Lake National Park and two nights dry camping at Annie Creek Sno-Park, we headed north to the big city of Bend, Oregon, on 15 July. The Roadtrek got washed, we spent several hours using the Wi-Fi at the public library, and we grocery shopped at Whole Foods (YAY!) and Safeway. We were tired and too hungry to wait until we arrived at our at-that-time-still-unknown overnight destination; so we made and ate our dinners in the Safeway parking lot. One of the really great things about having your home with you all the time is that you can do things like make a meal whenever you're hungry. :>) Margaret got busy Googling rest stops where we could overnight and found one just about 25 miles north on U.S. Route 97 in Terrebonne, Oregon. It turned out to be the most interesting and probably the most impressive "rest area" I've ever seen. The rest area is located at the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint (Peter Skene Ogden Wikipedia Page) on the border of Deschutes (duh-SHOOTS) and Jefferson Counties.

From the viewpoint walkway (thankfully with a sturdy rock wall), one can stroll along the south side of the 300 foot deep Crooked River Gorge with its basalt cliffs and gaze at the Crooked River, which is really far down there! To the west is the Crooked River Railroad Bridge, which has been in use since 1911. To the northeast are two more bridges. The first, Crooked River High Bridge, was built in 1926 and replaced in 2000 by the Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge, which runs parallel. The "old" bridge is open to pedestrian traffic and offers alternately stunning perspectives of the canyon, river, and other bridges.

The  Crooked River High Bridge (foreground) and the Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge. Photo by Margaret.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Crater Lake National Park

After our first night in Oregon (at the Midland Rest Stop), we continued north on U.S. Route 97 through miles of pastureland with grazing cattle and horses. There was ground water everywhere—irrigation canals, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. There were large Rainbird sprinklers in use the likes of which I hadn't seen in decades. We passed through the city of Klamath Falls and drove by Upper Klamath Lake and Mount McLoughlin (in the distance) before turning west on Oregon Route 62. We drove through miles of dense pine forests before stopping briefly at the Annie Falls Overlook. We entered Crater Lake National Park via the south entrance, hoping to get a first-come-first-serve campsite, only to find out that due to an overly harsh winter, even some of those with reservations were being turned away because of downed trees. Numerous campsite loops were closed for repairs and still are, as of today.

 Crater Lake and Wizard Island. Photo by Margaret.

Hello, Oregon!

It's been 18 days since we posted our last two entries (Lassen Volcanic National Park and Mount Shasta); and we've traveled through Oregon and Washington, visited numerous places, camped at several, and visited with family. Today, we are parked at a public library utilizing their rather slow public Wi-Fi. I sure hope we can catch up a bit! 

On the 82nd day of our West Coast States Adventure and several hours after leaving the Mount Shasta area on 12 July we made it to our first Oregon stop, the Midland Rest Stop on U.S. Route 97. It was nearly 9:00 p.m., and we were more than ready to rest.

I did a quick walk around, checking things out and taking a few photographs. There were only a handful of personal vehicles and quite a few semi-trucks. We both felt quite safe there.

Our first Oregon sunset! Photos and editing by Virginia.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Mount Shasta

On 11 July we headed north on State Route 89 to camp near the spectacular Mount Shasta (CA) in the southern Cascade Range of Shasta-Trinity National Forest. When I lived in Shasta County as a teen and young adult, I saw Mount Shasta every day from my home about an hour south. I had seen it numerous times as I drove by on I-5, but I had never gotten as close as I did on this day. It really is such an impressive mountain/volcano. Mount Shasta and its satellite cone, Shastina, are visible from very far away, as it towers about 10,000 feet above its surroundings!

Mount Shasta from the McCloud area. Photo by Virginia.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

After twenty-five days with our cousins in Redding, CA, we had our sights set on spending a few days at Lassen Volcanic National Park (CA); but first, errands: oil change for the Roadtrek and grocery shopping at two stores. I handed out a business card to employees at the oil change business and at Trader Joe's. Both of the ladies appeared very excited about our adventure and asked where we were headed, etc. Once stocked up on food, we left Redding where it was 88°, and headed east on California State Route 44. When we reached 2,000 ft. elevation, the temperature had dropped to 82°; and at 3,000 ft. elevation, it was 77°.

We stopped in Shingletown to gas up; and our next stop was the park entrance, where Margaret's pass got us in for free! Once we reached 5,000 ft. elevation, the temperature had decreased to 70°. While Margaret was driving, I was taking photos and videos. We arrived at Summit Lake Campground North at 4:15 pm on 08 July, and it was a cool 68°. Yay! We found a lovely pull-through site and settled in. We were surrounded by huge pine trees and were very close to Summit Lake. The campground had flush toilets, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, and very recently had the potable water line repaired; so we had drinking water, too!

Loomis Ranger Station @ Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photo by Margaret.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Sundial Bridge & Redding, CA

After leaving Potato Patch Campground, we drove to Chico and headed north on Highway 99. Driving through the miles of orchards felt very familiar to me, as I lived and worked in Shasta and Tehama Counties many years ago. Whereas the temperatures were in the 80s up at the campground, we watched it climb to 103 degrees before too long. The area has changed a great deal since I was last there, but there were enough familiar streets, buildings, and landmarks to spark quite a few memories.

We have been staying with our cousins in Redding, CA, (camping in their side yard with electricity!) for more than three weeks. During that time, we chatted, went out to dinner a couple of times, made dinner a couple of times, used the heck out of their Wi-Fi, had showers, did laundry, took advantage of the abundant variety of stores in which to shop, and Margaret had work done on the Roadtrek. We were also taken to see Burney Falls, Shasta Lake, and the stunning Sundial Bridge in the Turtle Bay Exploration Park on the Sacramento River.

Sundial Bridge from the south. Photo by Margaret.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Shasta Lake

The first time I laid eyes on Shasta Lake was in the summer of 1977. What I most remember is the huge amount of earth showing that should have been under water. The lake was at the lowest point in its history—nearly 250 feet below its normal depth! Its "full pool" shoreline length of 365 miles was reduced to about 124 miles. Such is definitely not the case now. Shasta Lake is gloriously and amply full! Since October 2018, Shasta Dam has received about 88 inches of rain, which is about 42% more than average. Roughly 90% of the water retained in the reservoir is from rain water. So, the increased rainfall did its job!

Shasta Lake (Mt. Shasta in the center background). Photo by Margaret. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Burney Falls

I think the place Margaret and I both had on the top of our "places to visit wish lists" while here in Redding (California) was Burney Falls. Margaret had planned to visit there after the stay with our cousins was over, but our thoughtful cousins offered to take us themselves to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. They've lived up in this area for many years, and John knows where everything is. It was just a hop, skip, and a jump from their home to the falls in their quiet, smooth, and cool car. We stopped briefly at the Burney Mountain Vista Point that overlooks a lush valley with Burney Creek winding through it. The backdrop was Burney Mountain, with Lassen Peak in the distance. It was quite the view!

Panorama of Burney Mountain and Lassen Peak (right background). Photo by Virginia.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Potato Patch Campground

We left Boca Campground on the morning of 09 June and continued north on State Route 89, crossing over the Little Truckee River several times. We drove through the area of Sierraville, CA, which was predominantly lush grazing land—miles of it! There was a little resort town called Graeagle, CA (pronounced gray eagle), which was adorable to drive through; but, dang, I kinda wish we could have parked and walked around a bit. There were a lot of tourists taking advantage of the cool, clear day to take in the cute little shops and restaurants—another gem I had never heard of prior to this day. Just beyond Graeagle, we turned west on State Route 70, which would take us through the Beckworth Pass to the western side of the Sierra Nevada. We stopped in the cute town of Quincy, CA, to stock up on groceries at Safeway. Before long, we were back on Highway 89 and headed north, remaining in the Plumas National Forest. No matter how many stunning sights we have seen on this trip, we are still rendered spellbound when we see bodies of water like Indian Creek near Crescent Mills, CA (pictured below), particularly when they are just there—next to highways and other "mundane" routes that people use to get from Point A to Point B. I mean, just look at this creek that was meandering along the highway for miles. I don't ever want to be so unimpressed with a natural wonder such as this that it becomes mundane for me! Margaret stopped in a nice wide spot off the highway so I could get out and take it all in—the sights, sounds, and feel of such a pristine and powerful waterway rushing by me!

Indian Creek, Crescent Mills, Plumas National Forest. Photo by Virginia.