Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Nehalem Falls Campground

It was 02 September when we left Barview Jetty County Campground after five nights. We were both looking forward to peace, quiet, and a more natural camping experience. Margaret had Nehalem Falls Campground in mind; so we left the coast and headed up into the mountains of Tillamook State Forest where we were fortunate to find several open campsites (there are only 20), vault toilets, trash, recycling, and potable water (hand pump). What there wasn't was a cell phone signal, per usual. The fee was $20 a night, and we stayed for two nights.

Nehalem Falls Campground sign. Photo by Virginia.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

On Friday, 30 August during our five-night stay at Barview Jetty County Campground, we decamped and drove north to the town of Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Margaret had purchased two tickets online for us to take a train ride south the handful of miles to the town of Garibaldi and back to Rockaway Beach aboard the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad (OCSR). The OCSR is a steam-powered heritage railroad and nonprofit organization run by volunteers. This route is its regular summer excursion. They have other seasonal excursions, with more being added.

We boarded the train at 12:30 for a 1:00 departure. The entire trip took about 1-1/2 hours, including the half-hour layover in Garibaldi. It was hauled by the McCloud River Railroad #25 (steam-engine) on this route down the old Southern Pacific Railroad tracks (which run parallel to U.S. Highway 101 on its west side, the Oregon Coast Highway) now belonging to the OCSR. I feel I should mention that on the trip south, it didn't actually "haul" the train cars since it backed the four cars south to Garibaldi before "hauling" us back north. The entire train consisted of the engine, one uncovered open-air car, the covered open-air car we were in, an enclosed car, and the caboose, where passengers enter and are given their printed tickets.

The weather was a cloudy 74°F; and although a bit rough and loud ("clanky sounds"), we passengers all seemed to enjoy ourselves. Welcome aboard—virtually—on the OCSR Coastal Excursion!

The McCloud River Railroad #25 steam engine at the Rockaway Beach depot.
Photo by Margaret. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Barview Jetty County Campground

It was the Wednesday before Labor Day weekend, and we were very fortunate to have a campsite for five nights. Barview Jetty County Campground is a huge and busy campground in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. The Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, as far as camping goes. Every site was reserved through the weekend, and there was a lot of traffic, activity, and noise. Margaret and I are both lovers of peace and quiet, and our campsite was right at the entrance of the campground. Even though we were both relieved to have a place to stay and appreciated the amenities, it wasn't our ideal camping experience.

The Roadtrek in our roadside campsite at Barview Jetty County Campground. 
Photo by Virginia.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Fort Stevens & Fort Clatsop

We left the Forks, WA, area via U.S. Highway 101 on a bright and cool August (26th) morning. The highway was dappled with soft sunlight; and after a short while, we had brief glimpses of the northern Pacific Ocean through the dense trees. Near the Quinault Reservation (kwin-ALT), the forest opened up; and we had a clear view of the ocean. We stopped in the town of Aberdeen, WA, for gas and propane. About 40 minutes later we drove through the "Oyster Capitol of the World," the town of South Bend, WA. Less than one hour later we were approaching the four-mile long Astoria-Megler Bridge connecting Washington and Oregon States over the Columbia River. The bridge and views were impressive, but one thing that was not was the number of dead seagulls on the bridge. It was a sad and gruesome graveyard, for sure.

The huge Fort Stevens State Park Campground was full. Margaret checked with the KOA Resort nearby, but the cost for what we needed was exorbitant. The employee handed us a printout with other places to camp, and Margaret decided to try the nearby Hammond Marina RV Park. Fortunately, they had a site for us; and she paid for two nights. They offered full hook-ups, Wi-Fi, bathrooms with showers (no extra charge), and washers and dryers. Margaret made us vegan sloppy joes and potatoes for dinner, and I uploaded hundreds of photos to Flickr using the pokey Wi-Fi.

The following morning Margaret's iPhone was still not working (hence, all of the photos in this post and the corresponding locations on pages 4 & 5 in this Flickr Album were taken by Virginia). We went to the ranger station at Fort Stevens State Park, where Margaret bought a day-parking 12-month pass that allows the holder to day-park for free in any state park in Oregon. We then drove around the humongous campground, which, in addition to tent and RV camping, also had yurts available to rent. We then drove the short distance to Ocean Beach (or Peter Iredale Beach, as some refer to it) where we walked the shore and observed all that was left of the Peter Iredale shipwreck.

Peter Iredale Beach, Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR

Sunday, October 20, 2019

La Push, Hoh Rainforest, Forks, & Allens Bar Campground

It has been over five weeks since our last entry. Sorry! Mainly, the gap was due to the lack of a constant/decent cell signal and our not being overly keen to spend days utilizing the universally pitifully slow Wi-Fi at public libraries. Another critical component in posting to this blogging service is it needs to be done on a computer and my laptop display bit the dust on our way south. We are back in San Diego (our home base), and I have my laptop hooked up to a small flat-screen TV until I can replace my display. So, it's catch-up time!

We left Fort Townsend Historical State Park in Port Townsend, WA, on the morning of 15 Aug and headed southwest on WA State Route 20 to U.S. Highway 101. We stopped in the adorable town of Sequim, WA (skwim), to do some grocery shopping and were both impressed by how clean and lovely the town was. We stopped very briefly for me to take some photos of sparkling Lake Crescent in Clallam County, WA, before continuing west. If I am remembering correctly, when we saw the first sign for La Push, I asked Margaret if we could go there first before continuing south. Happily she said yes; so we took WA State Route 110 to First Beach. It was a steely gray-sky day with only a few surfers on the small swells and a handful of people walking the shore. After taking quite a few photos, we got back on the highway headed to Forks, WA.

James Island, First Beach, La Push, WA. Photo by Virginia.

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.