Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tootling down the Oregon Coast...

I'm way late in posting this, but we had such a delightful and unusual trip down the coast, I just had to share it!  Last year, traveling south to California, as we always do at this time of year, we visited the eastern side of Oregon, in hopes of finding a "dryer, warmer Oregon" to perhaps, consider moving there.  If you've followed me, you know that it wasn't what we thought it was going to be - quite the opposite, actually. 

This year, we threw away any idea of "searching for a new home site" and decided to just tootle down the coast, hugging Hwy 101, and enjoying the views.  We had, of course, been down this route before, but not in the RV and not for many years.

We also thought it would be warmer and less rainy, ha!  That was a fantasy!  Don't get me wrong, we had sunny days, and we didn't really get much rain (only at night, so that doesn't count, right?)  BUT, what we didn't count on was the SNOW & ICE!  I can truly confess, it never occurred to either one of us that we would face that kind of weather!  But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Just say cheese!  All the other trips through Tillamook, we never stopped, just sailed on through and said to ourselves "someday we will have to stop and check out the Tillamook Cheese Factory".   I was determined that this was "the someday"!  So, stop and enjoy, we did!  It's a "self-tour", really just windows that you can watch the workers, along with signs that tell their story and what you are seeing.  It was kind of interesting, but definitely fun!  Of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to purchase plenty of goodies, both food & T shirt wise.

We learned that there was more to see in Tillamook than the cheese, so we decided to stay over for another day.  We weren't disappointed.  Because Jack loves anything to do with WWII history, it was a "no brainer" to make a trip to their Air Museum.  The first thing you notice is the building - it's a 1940's, wooden blimp hanger.  It's supposed to be the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world.  It is huge, 6 acres huge!  I've never seen anything so big before!  Inside and out, they had quite a collection of more than 30 aircraft from a mini-guppy to a P51 Mustang.  They also had a small museum area with memorabilia, pictures, stories and posters depicting men and women who flew during the war.  That's where I learned that WASPs were never inducted into the armed services and did not receive veterans benefits until more than 30 years after WWII!  So much for "equal rights"!

Another stop along our route was at the Cape Meares Lighthouse.  What a cute little thing!  A couple of quick pictures (it was closed for the season) then a walk over to see the Octopus Tree.  What a unique tree!  The Octopus Tree is a Sitka Spruce shaped like an upside down Octopus.  The tree measures more than 46 feed in circumference and has no central trunk. Instead, limbs extend horizontally from the base as much as 16 feet before turning upward. It is 105 feet tall and is estimated to be 250 to 300 years old.  Something worth stopping to see. 

One more stop at a coastal lighthouse, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse in Newport.  This one included a wonderful guided tour by a costumed docent who gave great insight on what it was like to operate that lighthouse back in the 1870's.  Not a life I would choose, that's for sure!  Beautiful lighthouse though. 

Snow decided to join us on our trip, as early as Tillamook.  Mostly it came at night, and melted during the day.  One early exception was the snow left on the Sand Dunes in Coos Bay!  Now that's an unusual least for us anyway!  It didn't spoil the continuous beauty of the coastline - blue oceans and blue skies, with various sized sea stacks to add to the pictures.  Always lovely.  

The cold weather continued to follow on down the coast, well into California. The last night, coming down the coast, we spent at the Golden Rule RV Park in Willits - it's where the horse Seabiscuit was born and died.   That morning we woke up to frozen ice and snow all around us!  Brrrr   Driving through Humboldt, both sides of the road was covered in snow...pretty, but it just made us want to move faster south - to safer driving and warmth!  

A fun trip, but another cold one through Oregon!  Even though everyone we talked with shared how this was "so unusual" for just reaffirmed to us that as pretty as Oregon is, it's best left for "summer fun"! 
Marie in the Tillamook Baby Loaf truck!
The floor of the Tillamook Cheese Factory
Tillamook Air Museum
Jack in front of the TBM Catalina
Cape Meares Lighthouse
The Octopus Tree, Cape Meares OR
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
"1870's Lighthouse Keeper's Wife, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
That's SNOW on those sand dunes!
Sea stacks along the Oregon coastline
Snow filled trees along Hwy 101 through Humboldt CA

 ...kicking back in Northern California,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:   

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

...On the road again!

The countdown to leave began.  Thanksgiving was Thursday.  The very last of the doctor re-appointments was Friday morning and by Friday afternoon we had taken two loads of "stuff" back over to the rig for reloading and reorganizing.  Phew!  It's surprising how many things wandered over to my sister's in the 6 weeks we were over there!

Friday night was the "good-bye dinner", the last of the turkey, a few more hugs with admonishments of "no tears tho".  No need to wake up extra early Saturday, because we were only going to Vancouver Washington.  So a nice breakfast, lots of hugs and kisses, and back to the rig we went!

I couldn't believe how slow I was at "remembering" to pull in the slides, to pull up the levels, at each of the steps to hook up the truck!  Jeez, 6 weeks and the brain cells went on vacation!  What used to happen without even thinking, actually took some thinking!  Tisk, tisk.  It was more than time to be on our way!!

As I've shared before, there's nothing like the feeling of getting in the passenger seat, strapping myself in, getting comfy and seeing the road ahead and the world passing by along the side, I was smiling now!  We were on our way - somewhere, it didn't really matter where!  It didn't matter that it was raining and it doesn't matter that the campground is just a pretty parking lot with gravel sites, we're traveling again!

We're in Vancouver for a couple of reasons.  We have a couple of dear, long-time friends who moved here years ago from San Diego that we see every time we pass this way.  They are special people that we don't get to see often enough.  He just retired this last May, so hopefully now they will get to travel a bit more, so that will change (their not RV'ers tho, darn).  The other, is that we are big fan's of the Powell Books in Portland, and can't be near this area without a day visit there!  If you've never been, and you love to read, you need to add this place to your "must visit" list!  One (they have at least 3 stores) store is 4 stories high, a square block full of every kind of book ever written!  Their other stores are specialties - travel, technical, etc. Way cool.  They have new & used, so you don't have to spend major dollars either.  We only carried out 6 books this time and spent less than $50.  That's really good for us!  A really nice dinner capped the day off, then back to our wonderful, cozy home for the evening.

Sunday, we ventured over to Portland's (famous) Saturday Market (yes, I know it was Sunday, but, hey, it's Portland, they can have it on Sunday too!).  What great finds we found!  So much better than buying in stores!  Those that know me, know I really don't like to shop, especially in stores, but I do like markets, or bazaars, boutiques, anything locals hand make or put together themselves.  That, I will support.  Something really special for the new baby coming in June, a incredible vest for Jack, some very unusual earrings (always can use new earrings, right?) for me, along with another knitted ear warmer (my ears get cold and I don't like to wear hats so much) and a fire starter for his cousin that he should have gotten one for every guy "on our list"!  ;-) Very fun!  A stop for pizza that turned out to be one of the best we've had in the two years we've traveled - so, again, if you are ever in Portland, stop in at Old Town Pizza!

A search for dessert led us to Voodoo Doughnuts, of course!  Our first 'go-round' we passed it up as it had a line down the block!  So, we headed out to check out one of their local gardens, Lan Su Chinese Garden.  It was just about to close, so the nice docent let me in for free!  I quickly snapped a bunch of pictures and scooted out.  Then, we headed to the "World's Smallest Park" - Mill Ends Park.  It was created by a man who gazed down on the busy Front Avenue thoroughfare.  He turned a a utility pole hole in the median strip at Taylor Street into "Mill Ends Park"!  Later it was made official.  What a hoot!

After braving the rain and the traffic, we deserved the donuts, so off we went back to Voodoo Donuts, this time, no line!  Jack was a happy man.  A great way to end the night.
Can you tell it rained all night?  Nothing "fancy"here, but, it's camping!
Only place I've seen where someone handmade a chain-mail "tie dye" shirt!
This is the elevator shaft where "Nina" went down and still "haunts" at Old Town Pizza!
Yummy Voodoo Doughnuts on the "doughnuts go-round"!
Lan Su Chinese Garden
 Mill Ends Park, Vancouver WA
...on the road in Washington & Oregon,  Marie