Saturday, July 14, 2018

No WiFI in Sate Parks so Infrequent Posts

Sunday 6/24 Florence, OR

Slept in a bit this morning and then a nice walk around the Winchester Bay peninsula. A very pretty morning, light breeze an low 60’s. Took our time getting going, we have to be out by 11 AM, but we wanted to record Fareed Zakaria at 10 AM, could not get the earlier broadcast as we were recording both CBS Sunday Morning and the F1 race. Watched the beginning of the race and then got hooked up and left right at 11. Easy trip 20 miles north to Darling’s Marina and RV Park. Once again we did not bother to load the car so Nancy followed along behind me. Not as much fun without her in the cab with me!

Darling’s is a small fishing camp style campground, although they had a large back-in site for us. Situated right on a very pretty mountain lake surrounded by pine forests. We had lunch here in their little cafe, sitting with a beautiful view out over the lake. Also had a nice view from our site, but unfortunately it is on the side of our trailer with almost no windows.

Another really pretty day, high sixties and sunny. As I said earlier it was very nice early, then about 10 AM, when we were still in Winchester Bay, it suddenly turned quite cool and fog rolled in from the ocean, dropping visibility to less than 100 yards! Then just as quickly the fog dissipated and it warmed back up. Very strange.

Monday 6/25 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

A bit foggy over the lake and drizzling rain this AM, but it cleared off by the time we got going just about 11. Beautiful and spectacular scenery along the way. I was regretting that I had not loaded the car because Nancy was following me and would not be able to take in the scenery as well as she could in the truck, plus I could not share it with her.

Some pretty twisty roads around the headlands, but I figured if the truckers can haul those big loads of logs on these roads I can haul the trailer! An amazing number of RVs on 101 around here, we have been noticing it all along and it seems that there are more every day.

Arrived at Beachside State Recreation Site a little after 12, only 37 miles, but more than an hour. Our site is too short for the trailer and truck but more than adequate for the trailer and car. There is overflow parking for the truck just a little ways away. 

Great site, in the trees but our satellite dish hooked up fine, and we can actually see the surf from our windows! Only 42 yards from our door to a beautiful beach with crashing waves that runs as far as the eye can see in either direction! We could hear the surf from our trailer all night long. Here is the view standing in the door of our trailer! 

Drove on into Waldport, had a hot dog and salad at Chubby’s food truck and checked out a used book store. Not much else on offer at Waldport other than a decent looking grocery store. 

Took a nice walk on the beach, only 0.6 miles, but we stood and watched the surf for quite a while. Quite spectacular surf here, even though the tide is going out right now.

Tuesday 6/26 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

A bit cool this morning, 48 at 7 AM. After breakfast we headed down to toward Heceta Head Lighthouse. Along the we stopped at a number of overlooks, amazing views out over the ocean. Beautiful day with warm sunshine but a chilly wind out of the north most of the day. 

Around 9 AM we drove south through Yachts (ya-HOTS) stopping first at the Devil’s Churn Wayside to watch the waves surging up into a narrow chasm. We left fairly early in order to see these places during the flood tide. This is such a pretty area with wonderful views every place you look. 

Our next stop was the Cape Perpetua Overlook which was really mesmerizing. We spent the better part of an hour just watching the waves crashing over the rocks as far up and down the cast as you could see. It was mesmerizing!

Then we went on south down to Heceta Head Lighthouse. We had found a listing for a hike to the lighthouse form a wayside just north of the regular parking lot that starts at the access point for Hobbit’s beach. We started up the trail and I quickly regretted forgetting to put our trekking poles in the car! It was fairly easy going, but uphill most of the way so we knew coming down would be difficult. In the end we stopped a little more that 400 yards along the trail and turned back. It took us over a half hour to go less than 900 yards!

Drove down to Devil’s Elbow State Park, the regular lot for the lighthouse, but decided to put off the short walk up to the light until Thursday when the interpretive center is supposed to be open (Thursday through Monday). The official name for this park is “Heceta Head Lighthouse Viewpoint”, the name bureaucrats came up with in the 1990’s in an ill-advised effort to purge “satanic references” form state names, to but locals still call it “Devil’s Elbow State Park”.

Back in Yachats we stopped for lunch at the Green Salmon Coffee and Tea House. Unusual and good sandwiches and we tried a root beer drink infused  with CBD hemp. They will infuse any of the drinks! Stopped into the Mercantile store just looking around and found a small hardware with and amazingly varied stock of everything hardware related that you could think of! And a lot of non-hardware items as well. Bought a pair of rubber work gloves like ones I have been looking for quite some time.

Walked around town, checked out a couple of eateries and little shops. More to offer here than in Westport. Disappointed that the bakery was closed, we’ll check it out on Thursday. 

Back home for a while. First thing I did was put the trekking poles in the car! We went back to Yachts for a nice dinner at The Drift Inn. Parked just out of town where we had decent cell service to check out our e-mail and other stuff. No WiFi in the state park and the cell service there is really spotty.

Wednesday 6/27 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

Fairly quiet day today. Mid-morning we drove 17 mikes north to South Beach State Park, our destination on Friday, to check out the viability of our site. Large park with a lot of sites. Our site looks good, pretty easy access and as a bonus the trees around it are smaller than a lot of the areas and out satellite dish should work fine - F1 race this weekend. First time in a very long time that they have run three races on consecutive weekends. A bit farther from the beach this time - signs on trails said 1/2 mile to beach!

Drove on into Newport to look around, pretty good sized town. Stopped at bank to replenish cash supply, then sat in bank parking lot for the better part of an hour to catch up on our e-mail and news. We miss our morning papers without connectivity in the current park.

Back home for lunch and relaxed. Update some of Nancy’s info on my family history program, she’s hoping to get some info from her Aunt Charlene when we see her in the Portland area.

Late in the afternoon we drove into Yachats for dinner at Yachats Brewery & Farm Store. Good beer and an unusual menu. Light rain while we were eating, but cleared off later.

Thursday 6/28 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

Less breezy this morning. Last couple of days there has been a pretty stiff breeze, nothing uncomfortable and it seemed to be creating some pretty spectacular surf against the cliffs south of here.

Drove into Yachats and stopped at the Bread and Rose Bakery. Turned out to be more of a coffee shop than a bakery, although we each picked up a snack for later.

Went on down south towards Heceta Head Lighthouse. Stopped at the overlook at Cape Perpetua, but the surf was nowhere near as spectacular as earlier in the week. Still a few hours before high tide as well.

Went on the Heceta Head Lighthouse, walked up the (easy) path past the keeper’s cottage and to the light itself. Still operating, but not open for tours like Umpqua Light. Wonderful view up and down the coast from the promontory, exactly where you would expect a lighthouse to be! Halfway back down we stopped and took a short tour of the Assistant Keepers house. Interesting info. The lighthouse keepers house was sold, disassembled and moved in 1940.

Back to Yachts, noticeably more (and slower!) traffic on 101 today compared with Tuesday. Still a lot of RVs! Had lunch at The Drift Inn, stopped in the Mercantile Store and bought another pair of rubber work gloves. When we stopped here Tuesday I found a pair like I have been looking for for months and they were only $5.95! Decided to buy a second pair to guarantee that I don’t lose or damage the first pair! Of course I can also have one pair at home and one pair in the trailer.

Stopped in at the Green Salmon Coffee and Tea House again for a CBD infused root beer and a chocolate filled croissant (for me! Nancy exercised her will power!). Walked over to the Post Office to mail a postcard, and then the grocery store. Back home a little before three. 

Another really pretty day in the 60’s, blue sky and a few clouds. We are REALLY enjoying this weather. Tomorrow we move a little ways up the coast to South Beach State Park, should be more of the same weather, but next week we are moving inland and up toward Portland where it promises to be in the 80’s.

Dinner at home and quiet evening.

Friday 6/29 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

Took our time getting going this morning, check out time in the state parks is not until 1 PM, so no point in getting to the next park very early and it is only 17 miles up the road.

Left about 11:30, arrived at Southbeach State Park to find the expected line at the dump station. No station at the Beachside so we had to dump on the way in. While I was waiting Nancy went on in to see if the site was vacant, which it was.

Turned out to be a bit of chore to get backed into our site due to an unfortunately placed tree/bush that made it hard to swing the front of the truck. After three or four attempts I finally got it into the site, but needing some jockeying to get it straight. At that point the folks in the space opposite us came back and were nice enough to move their car which made the final jockeying a lot easier. In the end we are in the site amazingly straight! The last place was tighter, but this one was harder - go figure!

Headed into town, first stop was the Newport Visitors Center where a very nice young lady made excellent suggestions for dining and sightseeing options. Also noticed that there is a dump station right there! An alternate place to go if there is a line at the state park when we are leaving.

Drove over to the Nye Beach area along the ocean front where we had an early dinner (skipped lunch) at The Taphouse at Nye Creek. Excellent beer, I had a pretty good pizza and Nancy had nice rockfish tacos. Walked through the area, stopped at a cannabis dispensary and picked up another package of DCB ointment, this time in a stick form. This stuff works great! Walked down by the beach and watched the beach activity for a while. Pretty view with the Yaquina Head lighthouse in the background. Stopped at Panini Bakery and picked up some sweets, then drove along SW Bay Blvd., another eatery and shopping strip along the north shore of the bay. More touristy and crowded. Headed back home and relaxed.

Saturday 6/30 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

Up and at ‘em fairly early as we wanted to go to the farmer’s market in Newport. Did have time to watch F1 practice 3 and the first round of qualifying before we left. Nice morning, low 60’s. Nice little market with a lot of produce and fresh fruit as well as several bread places. Picked up some fruit and unique bread.

Then back to the south side of Yaquina Bay to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Got there just after opening at 10 AM and spent two hours. A bit pricy but well worth the price of admission! Some really spectacular displays, especially the ones where you can get real close looks at live critters and plants in the tidewater areas. Mesmerizing! Probably one of the best aquariums we have ever seen.

Drove over to SW Bay Blvd. Very congested with heavy traffic and scarce parking parking places. However, at the end of one block there was a 3/4 sized space just perfect for a smart car!

We were looking for a specific restaurant recommended by the girl at the visitor’s center, but it seemed to be gone, Pacific Seafood at the address we had. Walked back down the street to Rouge Ales Public House, but we were not impressed with either the menu or the beer choices so we moved on to Moe’s Annex, which proved to be the perfect choice! Crowded, noisy, good food and good beer, our kinda place! Nancy had a blackened salmon sandwich with fish chowder, I had a huge Caesar salad with pink shrimp - lots of pink shrimp - and excellent beer. Hard to find a bad beer in Oregon! Other than restaurants the street consists of commercial fish packing operations and kitschy gift/souvenir shops.

Took a short drive on the south jetty for nice view of the Bay Bridge and the bay, swung by the Rogue Brewery just to see what was going on. Lots of beer for sale, some souvenirs, and a restaurant with what looked like a long wait! Tours were only every two hours and lasted 80 to 90 minutes (!) we had just missed the start of one and we have seen breweries before so we headed back home to finish watching F1 qualifying and relax.

Took a nice walk through the woods towards the beach from the campground. Stopped at the last range of hills before the beach as we didn’t feel like climbing the sand dunes. Nice view of the harbor and the bridge from there, not too far from the end of the south jetty where we went in the afternoon,

Sunday 7/1/18 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

Watched the beginning to the F1 race and then went into town to do laundry. Dryers were lass than adequate so it took longer than it should have. Dropped laundry back home about noon and then went up to the Nye Beach area for lunch. Had a nice lunch at the Chowder Bowl, checked out some of the shops, Nancy found a few treasures and I picked up a couple more of the great cupcakes at Panini Bakery!

Next we drove along the beachfront drive of Newport where the view of the ocean has unfortunately been obscured by an almost unbroken line of mid-rise hotels and condos! We went on into the Yaquina Bay State Park where we took a tour through Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, as opposed to the newer Yaquina Head Lighthouse, which replaced this first one in 1874. This light is actually in a turret on top of the rather large light keepers home. Nicely restored with an informative video. Then back home to watch the rest of the F1 race and relax.

Monday 7/2 Beachside State Recreation Site, OR

First thing in the morning I made a quick trip into Newport and had a propane tank filled at Newport Rental Service. (which just happens to be close to the western terminus of US 20, a road that has played a prominent role in my life. I went to college at SUNY Morrisville, on US 20 in NY. When I lived in Hudson Lake, IN I drove to work every day on US 20. When I lived in Geneva, IL for many years I drove to work on US 20!) Then we went into town and stopped at Medication Station. Nancy had come across a coupon in one of the tourism magazines, so we stopped to get more CDB lotion. This time Nancy got another stick type, but this one is 50/50 CDB and THC.  Went back to The Chowder Bowl for lunch, then drove up to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. 

Pleasantly surprised to find that our Golden Age passes covered the $7 per car charge since it is a BLM property. Pretty spectacular setting for the lighthouse out on the head and another very nice visitor’s center with excellent displays on the history of the light and the lighthouse service. After perusing the visitor’s  center we drove around the head below the lighthouse. We had not planned on taking the tour, good thing since they were all booked for the afternoon!

After a stop at the grocery we went to the Hatfield Marine Science Center, much smaller than the Oregon Coast Aquarium, but admission is free. It is run by the University of Oregon Marine Sciences Department. The also have a fleet of marine research vessels, at least one of which is based out of Newport. A lot of interactive displays appropriate for children of all ages.

Late in the afternoon I took the truck into town and put 50 gallons of diesel on board to carry us until we hit a Flying J on the way east at the end of the month. First time I used the diesel pump at a regular gas station and it was SLOW compared the high volume pumps in the truck stops. Took as long to put in 50 gallons as it usually does to put in 200 gallons!

Heading off to Champoeg State Heritage Area tomorrow, about 100 miles so we loaded the car this afternoon, ready to hit the road in the morning.

Tuesday 7/3 Champoeg State Heritage Area, OR

Got hooked up and on the road about 9:15, line at the dump station in the park, so we went on into town where the dump station at the visitor’s center was wide open. Nice drive up the coast past Lincoln City, as along most of the way the scenery was beautiful. Headed east on OR 18, only issue being a wrong turn that took us through McMinnville instead of around.

Champoeg (Native American name pornounced Shampooie with a slight 'g' sound at the end) is a really pretty park, in the Willamette Valley, just south of the Willamette River. Our spot was a bit more accessible than the one in South Beach and (patting myself on the back here) and I did a much better job backing in this time. I think I figured out what I did wrong last time to screw it up so badly. Site is too short for the trailer and truck this time so I moved the truck to an overflow parking spot where there was room to unload the car. We have a beautiful view out over a meadow from our back window, best view we’ve had this trip.

Nancy did some internet searching and found a Costco and a Trader Joe’s fairly nearby. I did some checking on Yelp and found a likely looking restaurant in Newberg. Before backtracking to Newberg we drove through the tiny nearby town of Donald, not much there at all.

Drove into Newberg, 4:30 and the traffic was horrendous! Somehow I had the address of the restaurant messed up, right street but wrong number. We ended up walking several blocks each way before we found Recipe Part Deux. Turned out to be well worth the effort! Excellent meal off a very unusual menu with nice wine for a quite reasonable price! I had steak tartar and Nancy had an unusual house-made Italian dish. 

On the way out of town after dinner the traffic jam was still massive. We decided it was traffic headed for the rodeo in St Paul, a town south of where we are staying.

Our site in Champoeg is tree covered so the satellite was unable to connect. We are able to get Oregon Public Broadcasting over-the-air so we will be able to get the last two parts of a six part mystery we have been watching on Friday, will have to stay up late to watch it though, since we are unable to record it. I tried to set up the DVR for receiving the over the air signals, which it is supposed to do, but it turns out that will only work if it receiving satellite signals first! How stupid is that? This was confirmed by a senior tech at Dish Network.

Wednesday 7/4 Champoeg State Heritage Area, OR

A bit overcast this morning, the sun started to burn through while were out on a short walk around the campground. Drove into Portland to visit Powell’s Book City. A really impressive and almost overwhelming bookstore. Spent a couple of hours browsing, I don’t know how many books we actually bought, more than we should have! 

Walked down to The Crown on Broadway for a pretty good pizza for lunch, then stopped at Trader Joe’s in Oswego on the way back home. Turned out to be a pretty good day to go into the city, stayed overcast most of the day so it did not get as hot as it has been lately and due to the holiday the traffic was fairly light.

Back home in late afternoon, a bit of light rain after we got back. We just vegged out and relaxed. Guess I am spoiled from living in Tucson, but I sure don’t miss expressway driving!

Thursday 7/5 Champoeg State Heritage Area, OR

Headed out mid-morning to Oregon City to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive & Visitor Center. Spent considerable time there perusing quite interesting displays on the Oregon Trail and early settlement in Oregon. The hardship these people endured is hard to fathom. Most of them walked the entire journey and 20 miles was a good day! 

There was a story about one lady who, being afraid of snakes, insisted on unloading their wagon every night so the children could sleep there. Her husband thought it was foolish so he refused to help. One day she walked 20 miles, swam a river, cooked dinner, did laundry, unloaded the wagon and put the children to bed, and a little after 10 PM gave birth to a baby girl!

Another woman walked 500 miles carrying a newborn whose mother had died in childbirth, searching out a nursing mother every evening to feed the child.

Stopped at The Verdict in Oregon City for a mediocre lunch, checked out the overlook of the Falls of Willamette, which was not really worth stop, falls have been dammed, channelized, locks built, and have abandoned heavy industry buildings all over, pretty grim looking.

Crossed the river and grabbed I-205 back to I-5 and stopped at Costco. Coming back off I-5 near the park the traffic was backed up out onto the interstate due to the two truck stops there and a bad traffic pattern. Scoped out a different route for when we return tomorrow.

Dinner at home and a quiet evening.

Friday 7/6 Champoeg State Heritage Area, OR

Somewhat lazy morning. We took a short walk through the park to Kitty Newell’s grave, indian born wife of an early pioneer who died in 1845. Really pretty path through deep woods with towering pines and oak trees. 

Drove up to Happy Valley to see Nancy’s Aunt Char. Instead of taking the interstate we took US 99 through Oregon City with a short stretch of I-205 after that, a much more pleasant drive.

Spent most of the afternoon with Aunt Char, a really nice visit. She is living with her son and his wife in a very nice house in Happy Valley.

Traffic when we left about 4:30 was horrendous! We could not get out of there fast enough. Stop and go for the short stretch of 205 to Oregon City where we had dinner at Oregon City Brewing, nothing fancy, just good beer, brats and fries. Much better than the previous meal in Oregon City though.

Coming back on US 99 I diverted onto country roads that avoided the interstate interchanges and took us through the small community of Butteville near the park. Only one wrong turn when I thought I had missed a turn, actually I had not and had to turn around a second time, so two wrongs do make a right in this case!

Saturday 7/7 Champoeg State Heritage Area, OR

Another beautiful day! We have had great weather this trip, a bit on the cool side and mostly sunny, just what we were looking for. Thursday was a bit overcast, but we were in the car anyway.

This morning I tackled diagnosing the intermittent winch issue. When I loaded the car last Monday the winch was cutting on and off while pulling the car up the ramp. I suspected the handheld controller and umbilical cord, so I brought that back to the trailer and checked it out. Found that one of the wires was making an intermittent connection somewhere in the umbilical cord. No sign of damage on the outside of the cord. I always carry a small box of light gauge wire and connectors, so I fabricated an additional wire to run outside of the cord to replace the defective one.

Took a nice long walk through the park and up to the “pioneer kitchen garden” near the park visitor’s center. A really nice, diverse garden and small apple orchard between the existing barn and the former home site. The barn is thought to be the oldest building in the state as it appears to have been built using the remains of one of the original houses from the town of Champoeg which was totally wiped out by the flood of 1861. It was reported that some of the houses floated away and this barn appears to contain the framework of one of those houses.

Zipped over to the village of Aurora for a nice lunch at the White Rabbit Bakery, good sandwiches and of course we could not resist picking up a Marionberry Cinnamon roll for breakfast tomorrow! Stopped and picked up a pizza for tomorrow night’s dinner and back home via the back roads again.

Early in the evening we loaded the car, winch repair worked fine and the car went up smooth as silk!

Dinner at home, second half of the sandwiches from lunch. Only about a two and a half hour drive tomorrow back northwest to Fort Stephens State Park at the Northwest tip of the state.

Sunday 7/8 Fort Stephens State Park, OR

On the road about 9:30 AM, stopped at the Flying J at I-5 and used the dump station. The one in the park is closed for repair. Up I-5 and OR 217 to US 26 west. Traffic was not bad, but spent quite while in a long line of traffic behind a ridiculously slow motor home! Eastbound traffic headed back to Portland from the coast was pretty heavy most of the way and when we got onto US 101 going north the southbound traffic was also quite heavy.

Got to Fort Stephens State Park at 12:30. Check-in said the site was not confirmed available yet so we left the truck & trailer at the check-in parking lot and walked over to our site, It was open and looked like the satellite would work(!), unexpected. Went and checked in and drove to our site  and realized we had looked at 109 instead of 107! Oops, no way the satellite would work in 107. Oh well. Patting myself on the back here again, I did a sterling job backing into this site, never had to pull ahead once!

Site is not large enough for the truck, but there is a parking spot about 40 yards away with room to unload the car., Nancy leveled the trailer and hooked up the electric while I was parking the truck and unloading the car. 

Not as pretty a view as we had in Champoeg though, sites are pretty close together and we could not get deep enough into the site to park the truck because of big pine trees. However, beyond the single row of pine trees behind us is the main road through the park and across the road is a playground. Oh well, nothing’s perfect. Lots of families and kids around, park is pretty full.

No satellite, but we are getting over the air Oregon Public Broadcasting, ABC and NBC, plus we have a lot of recorded stuff on the DVR. We were not able to get the possible reruns of the F1 race, but we will be able to watch the PBS shows we are following and get NBC evening news.

Relaxed the rest of the afternoon, it was a relatively short drive, but two lane road in 9th gear w/o cruise a good part of the way, so I was tired. Nancy took a short walk around the park loops where we are. Spent some time going through our guide books and deciding things we want to do and see in the area. I thought I had gotten a little carried away with the books - Oregon Off the Beaten Path; Day Hiking the Oregon Coast; Hiking Oregon’s History; and Oregon Coastal Access Guide - but we have found some really interesting things to see and do as well as good places to eat from them. We have found multiple things of interest in each of them.  Oregon Coastal Access Guide has been great for mile by mile info on US 101 as well as great sections on a whole series of interesting things in general about the coast; Oregon Off the Beaten Path has been good for places to eat and sights to see, while the other two have helped us find interesting places to walk, even if we have not taken any ‘real’ hikes.

Monday 7/9 Fort Stephens State Park, OR

Out early for a walk down to the beach. There were a few bugs going through the woods but after almost a mile we were attacked by swarms of mosquitos! Never even thought of using bug spray when we started out, this is the first we’ve seen of them in Oregon! Moved from the paved path over to the road and headed back, bugs not as bad going this way. Walked 1.6 miles. Then we  got in the car and drove over to the beach, which is pretty but not as nice as the one at Beachside State Park. On the way back we turned north to the east picnic area along Coffenbury Lake. On the way out we came across a doe and two very young fawns grazing on the shoulder of the road. They did not seem at all disturbed by the car and we sat and watched them for 10 or 15 minutes. One of the fawns had walked away from the doe and when we started to move he went back to his mom at a dead run!

After breakfast we headed into Warrenton to the Lewis and Clark Winter Encampment. In the process I turned the wrong way on US 101 and we ended up on the bridge to Astoria! Slow crawl across the bridge in massive traffic jam, maybe because the draw bridge had been open (?).

So … since we were in Astoria we located the Visitor’s Center and received some good info from the host there, particularly some maps so we can find our way around, and picked up a bunch of brochures. Using his info and the maps we found a better way around to avoid the bridge we took into Astoria.

Decided to hit the Columbia River Maritime Museum first since it had been recommended in a couple of the guide books. On the way there Nancy spotted Josephson's Smoked Salmon which she had read about in Nick’s Blog. So we U-turned and went back there. Good choice as we bought a couple of types of smoked salmon (they had salmon cheeks!) and cod.

Then on to the Columbia River Maritime Museum which was an excellent recommendation. Really nice museum with a lot of video exhibits. I have a newfound respect for the Coast Guard and the Columbia River Bar Pilots!  They had an exhibit of Motor Lifeboat 44300 (with the actual boat on a rather dramatic display) which was the prototype for the well-respected 44 class motor lifeboats which were the mainstay of the service for decades. 

The exhibit included details of a couple of rescues on the area and an excellent action video of Coast Guard and specifically life boat service training.

The bar of the Columbia River is considered the most dangerous crossing in North America, and the Coast Guard station on Cape Despair is the training location for the Lifeboat Service. A lot of other good exhibits in the museum as well.

Overcast most of the day, with a little sprinkle, but not enough to bother anything. After the museum we went to Astoria Coffee House (another book recommendation) for an excellent lunch. Sat there and caught up on e-mail and news since our Verizon hotspot connectivity is almost nonexistent in the state park.

Nancy found a grocery co-op a few blocks from where we parked, so we stopped there and then headed back home a little after four in the afternoon.

Tuesday 7/10 Fort Stephens State Park, OR

Overcast and drizzling rain this morning. Left about 9:30, stopped to check out laundromat just outside park entrance and one in downtown Warrenton, which looked better. We’ve figured out a bit shorter way of getting into town other than the round-about one we have been using.

Went on to Fort Clapsop National Monument to see the Lewis and Clark exhibits and the reconstructed fort where the expedition spent the winter. Once again our America The Beautiful Senior Passes saved us the entrance fee - one of the best 10 bucks we ever spent! Watched the movie about the expedition from the Native American point of view. Interesting, but a bit simplistic, almost seemed aimed at a grade school audience.

Much better was demonstration of the loading and firing of a flintlock rifle by one of the park rangers, of course he hammed it up a bit, but it was generally very well done. Viewed the replica of the winter quarters, Ft Clapsop, and the displays in the small museum.

Stopped at small Mexican restaurant right near the back bridge on Buss 101 into Astoria, La Cabana d Raya, then went on into Astoria to check out a couple of pedicure places for Nancy. 

Back home to load up the laundry and then back into Warrenton to the laundromat to get the washing done. Seemed like a pretty good place. I spent the time on-line, paying a few bills and checking e-mail. We still have plenty of data left (partly due to poor Verizon connectivity in the last two parks!) and it rolls over on Friday.

Wednesday 7/11 Fort Stephens State Park, OR

Early morning walk through the woods, headed for a “wildlife viewing platform’, but before we got there we were about worn out and knew we would not be able to stop there due to the mosquitos! Ended up walking 3.6 miles anyway.

Headed into Astoria a little after 10, while Nancy had her pedicure I sat in the parking lot right on the pier and caught up on e-mail and news. At one point the river Pilot boat came out of slip just the other side to the building I was parked by, swung around and came up alongside an incoming freighter, putting two pilots on board.

Had lunch at Baked Alaska in the same building as the pedicure salon, took the self-guided tour of the Flavel House, a nineteenth century ship captain/businessman’s mansion, and then drove up around Astoria tower. Neither of us were very enthusiastic about climbing the tower! Then back home in late afternoon. 

After the overcast day yesterday today was picture perfect, clear sky and sunshine, high in the upper 60’s! Did I mention before that we are loving this weather?

Thursday 7/12 Fort Stephens State Park, OR

First thing this morning I called the Cannon Beach RV Resort to see if we could stay an additional night next Sunday. We already had a reservation for Saturday night. The lady said, “Give me a moment to check,” then she came back and said “The site you are in Saturday night is the ONLY site open on Sunday night!” Great!

Then I called and cancelled our one night reservation at Nehalem Bay State Park for Sunday night. When I made our reservations last December I had set up four nights at Nehalem Bay first as it is a popular spot. After doing all of our reservations I ended up with two open nights, Saturday and Sunday this week. I was able to get into Nehalem Bay for Sunday, but in a different spot than the rest of the week. Then I made the reservation at Cannon Beach for Saturday.

Thinking about it this week I decided it was silly to spend one night in CB, move to the 1st site in NB on Sunday, then move to the 2nd site in NB on Monday. Add to that inconvenience the fact that the sites in the park are water and electric only, requiring water conservation to avoid filling our grey waste tanks in five nights. It cost a bit more to stay in the commercial park in CB, but worth it for one less move and one more night on a full hook-up. Plus we get a full day to explore Cannon Beach.

Headed south this morning to check out Cannon Beach, almost overshot, not realizing that 101 goes around Cannon Beach! Entered from the south and drove north through the tourist district and stopped at the visitors center where a nice lady not only showed us where the RV park is, but also pointed out that there is a guided talk about tide pool creatures at Haystack Rock early on Sunday morning! Something we never would have heard about. The visitors centers here have been great.

Another Chamber of Commerce day on the coast, weather out of Portland shows high 90’s all over the state except along the north coast where we are! Clear blue sky with temps in the high 60’s and a nice onshore breeze! Couldn’t ask for a nicer day!

Walked over to take a look at the beach, then had lunch at Morris’ Fireside Restaurant.  After lunch we walked around a long block, window shopping and stopped at Simply Cakes to pick up a couple of the special cupcakes touted in a dining brochure. I got chocolate Meuse, Nancy got a raspberry filled one. There was a sign in the window that said “Cinnamon roll orders must be in by Saturday! Whoa! Who do you know who loves cinnamon rolls? Another advantage of staying here an extra night! They don’t open until 11 Sunday morning - perfect! We can go to the tide pool talk first thing in the morning and then stop to pick up our cinnamon rolls!

We sat in the restaurant after lunch and caught up on some e-mail while we had good Verizon connectivity, did the same in the car before we left town.

Headed back north the traffic going into Seaside was piled up at least a mile before the town! Stop and go traffic all the way through town! Stopped at Safeway to pick up a pizza for Sunday night dinner and some other groceries. 

Finally fed up with this sinus issue, when we got home I checked with the  CMH Warrenton Clinic, Columbia Medical has a walk-in clinic in nearby Warenton, so we went over there. I got checked out, yup a sinus infection. Got some new prescriptions. Pseudoephedrine requires a prescription in Oregon! (Remember when we could buy Sudaphed over the counter? And not just a prescription, it has to be the original, signed and hand carried to the pharmacy!) Then across the street to the brand new Walmart for the scrips, but they did not have enough Pseudoephedrine on hand to fill my script so we had to go over to the Fred Meyer store. That was the biggest store I have ever seen! It was huge and had everything. Pretty quick service for the script, 15 minutes!

Back home we had salmon cheeks with pasta for dinner.

Friday 7/13 Fort Stephens State Park, OR

Decided to check out some of the things right here in the park where we are staying. It is the largest state park in Oregon, with a military history museum, an old fort and a lot of trails.

We drove up to the north end of the park which is on South Jetty There is an observation tower there and there was a ranger with a map of the river mouth and the jetties explaining how they were built. If you were to look at the mouth of the Columbia River on the map you would see how the south side ends before the north, Cape Disappointment reaches farther west on the north side.

As a result the ocean currents washed across the mouth of the river, creating dangerous and unpredictable sand bars. In the late 1800’s it was decided to build a jetty out into the open ocean to protect the mouth of the river. Early attempts were washed out by winter storms and it was determined that they needed to make the jetty much larger and longer than was first planned. Standing out at the end of the spit you can see that the rocks forming the jetty are the size of compact cars!

As you drive up to the tip of Clatsop Spit you can see the remains of the railroad trestle that was built for construction of the jetty. The ranger explained that they blasted basalt rock out if the walls of the Columbia Gorge, carried the rock down to Hammond on boats, then loaded it on railroad cars to carry it out to the jetty.

The RR cars were built to dump on either side, so they built the trestle out the length of one car, dumped rock on both sides until the build-up was sufficient, then built out another car length and repeated, etc. The jetty is now 6-1/2 miles long!

Where we were standing on the observation platform the jetty looked to be 20 or 30 feet above the water. Looking out into the distance, five miles from where we were standing,it looked to be the same size, be he said out where it turns to the west it is actually 90 feet high! We could also see the white water breaking over the Columbia bar from the observation platform.

Then we decided on the spur of the moment to go across the Astoria-Megler bridge to Washington and check out the Long Beach Peninsula. The bridge is 4.1 miles long, the longest three span truss bridge in the world. When it opened in 1966 was the last link in the border-to-border route of US 101.

With no map of Washington or the Long Beach Peninsula we kept our eyes open for a visitor’s center. As we headed northwest off the north end of the bridge we were able to look across the mouth of the river to the south jetty where we had been standing just an hour or so earlier.

In the small town of Chinook Nancy spotted a visitor’s center sign so we turned around and stopped. In a former elementary school the small place had exactly what we needed. The volunteer running the center had her office in the former principal’s office and she said her Aunt had been principal of the school!

Drove on north through the towns of Ilwaco, Seaview, Long Beach and Ocean Park We were headed for a restaurant in Ocean Park that was noted in our guide book - closed! Looked like it had been for awhile. The place was right at the end of a beach road and when I turned into the sand to turn around it was really soft, almost got stuck but the little Smart dug itself out thanks to traction control!

Back down through Long Beach, a prototypical ‘beach’ resort. Trinket shops, eateries, amusement parks, a carousel, slow traffic, crowded sidewalks, everything you would find in a beachside resort! Kind of looked like a lower budget version of Cannon Beach! In Long Beach we had a decent linch at Lost Roo, also in our guide book, but it was nothing that you would not find in a sports bar in almost any city. They did have a big selection of local beer on tap, something that is not hard to find in this part of the country. 

On the way back after lunch we detoured out to Cape Disappointment State Park, just drove through without stopping. Overall not much to see on the Long Beach Peninsula, glimpses of the ocean here and there, but straight flat road much of the way.

Back in Astoria we stopped by the river and sat for the better part of an hour catching up on our e-mail and news before going back to the park were we have pretty limited Verizon connections.

Saturday 7/14 Cannon Beach, OR

Electricity still off when we got up this morning. They had told us some time ago, way before we arrived, that the entire area would be off from Midnight to 6:30 AM. We went for a 2 mile walk through the campground (they spray for mosquitos in the campground!) through a large family area with lots of tents and when we got back at 8:30 we had electric back on.

Hit the road a little after 11, no hurry as we are only going 20 miles to Cannon Beach RV Resort. Good thing too, traffic was atrocious gaping through Seaside. Not as bad southbound as northbound though, the northbound lane was backed up all the way south to the US 26 junction! About three miles!

Arrived around one, got parked. Managed to squeeze the truck into our site as the overflow parking is tight, easier to put the smart there. Head into Cannon Beach about 2, nasty traffic here as well! Cut down a side street to the south side of town as we wanted to scope out beach access for tomorrow morning’s tide pool talk.

RV park is east of 101, but there is an underpass and it is only about a half mile to the center of town. 

Parking was really tight, but as usual we were able to find a half size spot on a corner where the smart would fit! Had a late lunch at Pelican Brewing, good beer (hard to find bad beer in this state!) and good food.

Took a ride to the north of town to check out Ecola State Park since our park pass from Fort Stevens is good until the end of the day at all state parks. On the way we stopped near Simply Cakes and Nancy ran in and picked up a couple of cupcakes. Pretty drive in but close to the parking area there was a looong line of cars just stopped! Like a couple of others, we just turned around and went back out. Middle weekend of July, so the traffic is not surprising. Back home Nancy did some laundry while I caught up on web surfing with the campground WiFi. We rolled over 2 gig on Verizon yesterday, so we used 8 gig last month and have 12 to work with this month. I know that does not add up, but we may for 8 gig and get 2 gig bonus plus any rollover from the 8 gig base.