Sunday, June 21, 2020

Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park, OR

Heading back to the Oregon Coast after visiting Silver Falls State Park, we stopped at Trader Joe's and gassed up the Roadtrek in Salem, OR, where on 06 Sep 2019, regular unleaded gas was the lowest price of our trip to date at $2.73.9/gallon! From Salem, we headed to Newport, OR, where we planned to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Whereas, I had visited the aquarium once in 1997, Margaret was very much looking forward to her first visit.

Using a combination of sources (Google, Campendium, FreeCampsites.net, etc.), we drove south for a few miles on U.S. Route 101; and all we saw were sign after sign stating, "CAMPGROUND FULL." After striking out with campgrounds, we tried RV parks. After stopping at a couple of those that were also full, we parked and called several more—all of which were full! We briefly considered parking overnight at a casino south of Newport but decided against that because it was much too far away. So after trying for several hours, we decided to give up on visiting the aquarium. (I think I was more disappointed for Margaret than she was for herself.) We decided, instead, to concentrate on finding a place to camp farther down the highway. It was getting late; and, after a long day on the road, we were pooped! 

Cape Perpetua, Yachats, OR. Photo by Margaret.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Silver Falls State Park, OR

[Note: It's been nearly four months since our last blog entry; and for that, I apologize. After five months taking in all of the scenic beauty during our West Coast States Adventure, it was a bit of a shock to arrive at home base and stay put. Since returning to San Diego County last October, we have been camping only once! Margaret did have some (ultimately, mostly inferior) mechanical work done on the Roadtrek. Early this year, both Margaret and I had some very unpleasant and long-lasting colds. We had out-of-town company stay with us for two weeks; and during that visit, our world came apart with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been sheltering in our respective "tiny homes" (RVs) for three months so far, and our next great adventure that we had hoped to start in April has been postponed indefinitely. Although this period of self-isolation would have been the perfect time to publish the remaining entries from our last year's trip, simply put, I haven't been able to commit to looking at the photos; not knowing if or when we'll be able to travel again is extremely heartbreaking, as it is. I shall try to adjust my thinking and get_them_published. Thank you for your patience. We hope you enjoy visiting all of the locations featured here.]

September 5th, 2019, was a very long day. After leaving Kilches River County Campground and visiting Cape Meares, we headed south on U.S. Route 101 to Hebo, OR, where we turned east on Highway 22 toward Salem, OR.

Winema Wayfinding Point on U.S. Route 101 near Neskowin, OR. Photo by Virginia.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Kilchis River County Campground & Cape Meares

After leaving Tillamook Creamery, we stopped at a Safeway for food; and using Google, Margaret located a campground just a few minutes away in Tillamook.

We arrived at Kilchis River County Campground on 04 September 2019 as it was getting dark. The camp host placed us in a site near the entrance and restrooms that backed up to a view of the Kilchis River. The site was level, so no need for levelers...YAY! The campground had only a few other well-spaced campers, potable water, those nice restrooms, a playground, trash, and recycling. Alas, as usual, there was no cell phone signal. (As nice as this county campground was, it was also a whopping $33 for just one night.)

We set up the Roadtrek in camping mode, put the groceries away, and made dinner. After a busy day of sightseeing and shopping, we were both ready for rest and reading time.

The Roadtrek at Kilchis River County Campground. Photo by Margaret.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Cannon Beach & Tillamook Creamery

We left Nehalem Falls Campground and headed to the Oregon coastal town of Cannon Beach on 04 September. I had visited this tourist town several times during the year-and-a-half I lived in Oregon in the late 1990s. It offered a very pleasant pedestrian shopping experience; and the beach, with its natural tide pools, was vastly different from those I had taken in prior to it.

In the twenty-two years since I last spent time there, it felt much larger and considerably busier—especially for a weekday following Labor Day weekend. We lucked out and found a parking spot on the main drag. The weather was a very pleasant 70°F; but it was quite overcast, which made for a lot of glare. Margaret and I strolled up and down Hemlock Street, stopping in Cannon Beach Bakery for some goodies and being awestruck by the photographic talents of Randall J. Hodges in his Images of the West gallery.

Cannon Beach is a charming and well maintained little town brightened by planters of colorful flowers and sporting an abundance of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and other specialty stores to enjoy.  

Cannon Beach Book Company on Hemlock Street. Photo by Virginia.

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 & 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 & 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 & 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, & 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.