Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Olympic National Park Washington 2011

The last two nights it was cold. I had to get another blanket for Doreen.
This morning it was 45 degrees F in the motorhome. During the day the weather is perfect.
We left Astoria, Oregon at 9:00 AM and arrived at Cape Disappointment an hour later.
After parking the motorhome at the State Park parking lot we drove to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. This is a perfect center for anybody who wants to learn about the Corps of Discovery. There are displays of most of the stops and difficulties the explorers encountered.
There are two lighthouses on Cape Disappointment.

At the parking lot was a small building where a vendor had a wood fired oven and made pizzas and sold oysters and clams.
We bought a small pizza and used the WIFI the vendor supplied.
After lunch we headed north on highway 101. In Long beach we took the wrong turn and went up highway 103. We noticed our mistake too late and ended up in Ocean Park, the last town on this slender peninsula.
We asked people for directions and were told that we are not the only ones who made that mistake.
I did not feel like more driving and we went to the Moose Lodge in Ocean Park.
Since it was still early we did some house cleaning.

It started to rain in the night. When we left Ocean Park it was still raining lightly.
In Raymond we stopped for a while and I took some pictures of the statues, which are located all over town. They are cute, but not as sophisticated as the statues in Borrego Springs, California.

Our next stop was Quinault, where we tried to go to the Rain Forest. First we could not find a parking space for the motorhome and car, and when we finally found a parking space, it started to rain really heavy.
So we continued heading north.
At the Quinault National Fish hatchery we learned a lot about the process of raising salmon for releasing back into the river, and how they are tagged.
Native American women, from the Quinault tribe, work at the hatchery to remove a back fin. Those salmon can be harvested when they reach a certain size. Wild salmon, with the fin still in place have to be released again.
Before the women remove the fin the salmon are calmed down. There is something added to the water to accomplish this.
All the fish are identified with a very small pin. The pin has a lot of data on it and is injected in the head of the fish. This is done with a machine.
Less than 1 per cent of the salmon return back to the hatchery for spawning.

In Forks we stopped at the Elks Lodge.
Before we got to the lodge we went into a private driveway. I had set the GPS with the address of the lodge. When it told me that I had reached my destination I saw the big flag in front of the building and a sign on the lawn which said:”Elks care, Elks share”. I missed the first driveway of the property and went into the second one. I had a feeling then that something was wrong. When I rang the doorbell the lady of the house informed me that the lodge is located around the corner, and that they are Elks, which explained the sign on the lawn.
She offered to go on the street and help me back out. When I told her that I have to unhook the car first, she told me to just go forward and exit the other driveway. She also told me not to worry about the rhododendron bush. Those beautiful bushes are all over Washington State and are in bloom now.
I proceeded and could hear the bush scrapping on the side of the motorhome. Because the motorhome is very dirty I do not know whether it actually hurt the paint, and I do not want to know right now.
After setting up the motorhome we left for the Hoh Rain Forest.
It rained off and on while we were there.
It was a proper setting for visiting a rain forest.
We walked one of the loops and enjoyed the moss covered trees and bushes. This area receives about twelve feet of rain a year. In San Diego we get about eleven inches of rain a year.
No wonder they call Washington State the Evergreen State.

Forks is a logging town and they have a fine museum.

Today we went to the Makah Museum in Neah Bay.
The museum houses all the archaeological discoveries from the Makah Indian coastal village of Ozette.
The village was covered by a mudslide about 500 years ago and discovered in 1970 when tidal erosion exposed a group of Ozette homes that had been perfectly preserved.

The last three miles we had to follow a wide load convoy. Besides the wide load truck, there was a pilot truck, a tail gunner truck and a mechanic truck. We moved about ten miles an hour on that curvy road.

On the way home we stopped at Rialto Beach, near the Indian village of La Push.
The coast is very rough and beautiful. We experienced only a few drops of rain today. The sun came out for a few minutes.

The roa.d was lined on both sides with Scotch Broom.

We left Forks at 6:45 AM. It rained the first 30 minutes. The rest of the drive was fine.
The drive along Lake Crescent was just beautiful.

We arrived at the 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim at 8:30 AM. When I went to the casino to get a parking pass I noticed they were closed. The casino is open from 9:00 to midnight. This is unusual. Most casinos are open 24 hours.
When I came back to the motorhome I noticed the check light on the refrigerator was on. I checked all the fuses and made sure there was no debris on the burner.
I went back to the casino and checked the yellow pages for a RV repair place. I found one a few miles from the casino.
The mechanic did the same checks and figured the igniter module was broke. They had non in stock and will have one tomorrow at 10:00 AM.
We went to the Rainbow's End RV Park were we have electricity to run the refrigerator.
It is a small but very beautiful park.

After setting up the motorhome we went shopping to Walmart, Safeway and looked where the gas station at Costco is located. We also found our banks and got some money.
When we came back we did laundry.
I am not happy about the refrigeration situation but we used the day wisely.

At 10:00 AM the Fed Ex truck came to the RV Park. I asked the driver whether he had a package for Peninsula RV. He told me that he had nothing for them.
I drove to Peninsula RV and asked them whether the part had arrived. There I was told that the part would come with another shipping company.
I went back to the motorhome, knowing that there was something wrong. At 11:00 AM I went back and the parts manager was not there. His helper told me that he was gone into town to get something.
Together we went through the boxes which had just arrived.
The owner of the company came and got angry and told me to bring the motorhome and they would take care of it.
When I arrived at the motorhome my cell phone rang. It was the parts manager, he told me that the part had arrived.
I know that he had gone and picked up the part at another dealer. I had planned to do that if they had told me to wait another day.
It took them 10 minutes to install the new ignition module and we were on our way.
We went to the 7 Cedars Casino, got a parking pass, and set up the motorhome. Then we drove to Port Angeles and from there to Hurricane Ridge. Up the mountain we encountered fog. When we arrived at the top the sun was shining. Unfortunately we could not see the ocean and the surrounding area.
A deer greeted us. It was surrounded by people who took pictures.
Doreen bought two hot chocolates and we sat in the cafeteria enjoying the snow capped mountains.

Tonight we had dinner at the casino. For $ 12.00 they served prime rib or salmon. The waitress brought a good sized piece of salmon. Salad, fruit and side dishes was self service. It was a very good dinner.

Our neighbor called and told us that I received a letter from the court. I told her to open the letter. I have jury duty beginning July 25.
Now I have to decide whether to try to have the date changed or go home in time to serve.

This morning, when I did my walk around the casino parking lot, a large truck came in.
He delivered a 1969 Mercury sports car. The owner met the truck here. I suppose there are not many places which have room for that big truck.
The truck had two floors. On top were a Ferrari, Audi and other expensive cars.

The weather is perfect now, just like the weather people predicted. There are no clouds in the sky. I wish we would have gone to Hurricane Ridge today.
At 10:00 AM we went to the Olympic Game Farm, where they have animals from all over the world. It is a drive through facility.
One can buy a two pound loaf of bread and feed the animals. The kids in front of us had a ball. They did not throw the bread, the held it until the animal took it.
Of course they had to throw the bread to the bears.

From the game farm we drove to the spit. Here were people digging for crabs. An old man walked around without one shoe. He had lost it in the mud.
One family had a big pot and they were boiling crabs.

We had another sunny day. In the morning we went to Port Townsend. This is one of the few Victorian towns in the State of Washington.
Just like Sequim. Port Townsend is in the rain shadow of the mountains, it does not rain that much in this area.
We drove to Fort Worden State Park. The buildings from the fort are still used. It is a beautiful park.

People in town love flowers.

In the afternoon we visited Tom Smith and his wife. Tom worked 34 years at Convair and now raises beef cattle. We had a nice visit. When Chappy found out that we were in Sequim, he made me aware that Tom lives here.

We left Sequim at 5:30 AM and had rain only for 30 minutes. Since we were early we had no traffic problems. The road winds around the water and goes up and down. It is very scenic.
Highway 101 is an unusual road. Along the Pacific Coast we went north on 101, and today we went south on 101 along the Hood Canal.
In Olympia we went on Interstate 5. Doreen had fallen asleep on the couch. I set the cruise control on 55 MPH. Suddenly the RPMs went to 3300. I turned off the cruise control and nothing changed.
This reminded me of the problem we had with my first motorhome. In Albquerque, New Mexico I had to have a tune up performed because the motorhome had no power. The tune up did not help and Doreen had to follow me, driving the car all the way home to San Diego.
When Midas installed a new Catalytic Converter the motorhome ran like a race car.
The first thing which came to my mind was that I had the same problem with this motorhome.
I limped into a rest area and walked around a bit. Doreen woke up and I told her about the problem.
Since it was a Sunday and tomorrow a holiday I thought we would be stuck for a few days.
When I started driving again the problem was gone.
We stopped at the Moose Lodge in Centralia at about 8:45 AM. When I went into the lodge they were setting up breakfast tables.
At 9:00 AM we had breakfast at the lodge. For $5.00 we had a full breakfast with three sausages. We sat with a nice local couple and had a good conversation.
After breakfast we left for the Mount St. Helens National Monument. It looks different now than in 1982 when I was there. At that time we saw only destruction.
Vegetation has come back and the National Park Service built the beautiful Johnston Ridge Observatory across from Mount St. Helens..
It is partly built in a mountain and the front side is all windows, facing the blown out north side of the crater.
We saw a movie about what happened on May 18, 1980.

Rangers give talks at the outside of the building.

Unfortunately the top of Mount St. Helens was covered by a cloud, but it was still spectacular.

Even 1931 Model A’s made it to the top.

The flowers along the road are just beautiful.

We are now at the Gateway Elks in Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oregon Coast 2011

We left Eureka at 7:15 AM and went up the coast on highway 101. The first hour we had fog.

When the sun came out it was a pleasure to drive. The flowers on the side of the road are so beautiful.
Doreen likes the Scotch Broom bushes with their yellow blossoms.
We stopped at an overlook, near Bandon, Oregon and had lunch.
At the Mill Casino in Coos Bay we parked for the night. They do not charge for dry camping.
After setting up the motorhome, and taking a nap, we drove to Charleston. The town is located on a peninsula and was totally fogged in.

We arrived at the Elks Lodge in Florence at about 9:30 AM. Half an hour later we were on our way to the Heceta Head Lighthouse. This is the most photographed lighthouse in the US.

Our next stop was the Sea Lions Caves.

On the way back to town we visited friends of Doreen. John and Betty used to live in San Diego.
We also stopped for a short time in Old Town.

Today we are staying at the Elks Lodge in Tillamook.
When we arrived it was raining for about an hour. In the afternoon we had sunny weather again.
After lunch we went to the Tillamook Air Museum. It is housed in a giant hangar which was built for blimps. The hangar is one of the largest all wood buildings. Six football fields would fit inside.

Eight blimps were stationed inside the hangar.

Now it is a museum and Navy airplanes and some other planes are on display.
There is also a Consolidated PBY, which was probably built in San Diego.

Outside the building they have a Guppy which was used for transporting missile sections to NASA.

Our next stop was the lighthouse on Cape Meares. It is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon.
The road to Cape Meares was very scenic.

On the way home we went to a thrift store. Doreen needed a shopping fix.

We had an interesting day. At 8:30 AM we were on the road.
When we came to a higher elevation it was foggy. Since we were almost alone on the highway it worked out fine.
Suddenly we saw flashing lights in front of us. I stopped and noticed a long line of vehicles in front of us.
There were flares on the side of the road.
We just happen to be at an outlook. I drove to it and set up the motorhome for a lengthy stay.

Then I walked towards the front of the line. The fire department had just finished extinguishing the fire in the motor area of a pickup truck. The cabin was burned out too.
The pickup was pulling a trailer. The trailer did not get damaged but the pickup had to be pulled on a flat bed truck.


This was a short camping trip for the owners. They had just started out.
We waited until all the traffic both ways was better and then continued our journey.
When we arrived at the Camp Clatsop County Fairgrounds we found out that there are no camp sites available.
We had passed the fairgrounds and found no gate open. In order to turn around we had to find a spot where we could unhook the car and then turn around. It had started to rain and I was not very happy.
I always check where the WINs stay on their trips. They stay at this fairgrounds. When I asked I was told that they only let groups to stay at their facilities.
We were told that there was a RV Park down the road. We attached the car again to the motorhome and looked for this place.
We ended up in the middle of nowhere. The place is in Olney, on highway 202.
There were three rigs in sites. A lady called across a meadow and asked what I wanted. I told her that I would like a site for the day. She told me it would cost $ 25.00. I asked for a dry site and she told me
$ 15.00. Everybody asks me why I want a dry site, this lady did too.
We took the site without hookups, had lunch and then went for a ride.
At Fort Clatsop Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is a replica of the fort the Corps of Discovery used for their stay from December 1805 to march 1806.
Guides in period dress answer question visitors have.

There is also a Visitor Center with a movie theater. We saw a very interesting film about the area, the Indian tribes and the journals of Lewis and Clark.
The weather had changed and it was a pleasure to go sightseeing.
Our next stop was the Astoria Column. It is 125 feet high and it takes 164 steps to get to the top.

The exterior of the column is done in bas-relief technique called sgraffito.
It combines paint and plaster carvings to decorate the column exterior with a frieze of 22 significant events that occurred in the region. It is a work of art.

In the morning we went to Seaside. This is a beautiful tourist town, south of Astoria.
We walked along Broadway Street, where a lot of restaurants and stores are located. This town is very clean.
Broadway ends at the beach. This is the point where Lewis and Clark had sent some members of the expedition to make salt from sea water. They were boiling water for two weeks
A statue of the captains is at the roundabout near the ocean.

In the afternoon we rode the trolley, in Astoria, along the Columbia River. Some of the museums are on the river front.
We had fish and chips in a small fish restaurant.