Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Otter City!!!!

The California/Oregon coastline is home to an amazing number of animals and sea creatures.  Being a diver, I've seen quite a few of these beauties in person, but if you don't dive, the ocean can be a scary place.  Here's a few examples of what you would see under the waves.  Starfish, starfish and more starfish.  This one is looking at his reflection.
Wolf eels are much more difficult to find, since they like hiding in small crevices.  This one just fell out of a small cave in the rocks ... and immediately headed back in.  At about 3-1/2 feet long, it took quite some time for his tail to disappear into the small space.
Anemone everywhere ... on this coast they are a beautiful soft green color, standing out against the brown/rust colored rocks ... and more starfish!!
Jellies are always fun to watch, floating around so elegantly ... and fun to photograph.
I think these are the most photographed jellies on the Pacific Coast ... and you can see why!!

A face only a mother could love ... abalone!!  Very tasty if you hammer the meat to tenderize it before frying.
There is a whole array of puffins.  Their orange beaks and feet make it easy to see them flying underwater.  They don't paddle, they actually move their wings as birds do when flying.
And of course otters!!  These guys like to play and their antics can be hilarious!!
Munching on fish, clams and octopus, these big guys were well fed!!  
Taking a big bite out of a small fish!! 
As you can gather by now, we are at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport!!  It was feeding time for the otters, which gives the handlers an opportunity to check out their health.  It may look like they are just doing tricks, but the nose touching and twirling around give them a chance to see that everything is well with the otters.  It's interesting to note that Oregon does not have a permanent population of otters, as does California.  
Next up were my home namesakes ... buzzards!!  They can smell rotten meat miles away!!  This one doesn't have to hunt any more however, as ground up meat is provided for him as the handlers educate the public on this necessary but pretty ugly critter.  They clean up a lot of roadkill and otherwise dead animals.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a great place to visit for $17.95.  Kind of pricey, but it goes for a good cause!!
A short drive afterward, found us in Old Town with absolutely no available parking between the few small shops and the big fisheries.  The magnificent bridge is readily accessible however, and makes for beautiful images.
Back at the ranch, the rest of the evening was spent watching television.  The resident chef provided a delicious dinner of pork stir fry and rice, which preceded the usual Ben & Jerry's and puppy play time.  Today I'll get out my cleaning supplies and touch up the rig.  Her wheels are looking pretty sad.  By the way, does anyone have a recommendation for a wheel polishing product???  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pacific Coast Camping -- NEWPORT OR !!

Dan said we're not in a hurry ... but by 9:00 yesterday morning, we dumped the tanks at the Elks Park (which I highly recommend ... the park that is) and turned North towards Newport.  Sections of the road are very narrow with overhanging rocks and bushes, so hang to the left.  Especially when going through the tunnels ... you see the sign, but it doesn't register that the curved roof is MUCH lower on the right hand side.
There's nothing like driving the beautiful coast on Highway 101!!  We didn't have far to go, about 50 miles, but what a drive!!  It was hard for me to keep my eyes on the road!!
Just before Newport is Whalers Rest Thousand Trails park where we plan to stay two weeks.  Totally hidden away, you would never know there is a huge park here.  It paid to get here this early too ... although people don't have to leave until noon, we had a great bit of luck that in the North section which has full hookups with 50 amps, one space was empty and one camper just pulled out.  We backed right in ... and there are NO TREES so we both have TV.  My MiFi seems to be working, although rather slow.  Dan's doesn't want to connect but the lodge with WiFi isn't far away.
By now, it's LUNCH time ... which I never miss!!  We headed out to a rather scruffy looking place called South Beach Fish Market.  The line was out the door, but the service was extremely fast.  On top of that, they have great fresh fish and crab to purchase and cook yourself.  I see crab and halibut on my plate in the near future!!
Here's the halibut, seven pieces minus two Dan already consumed.  Mine was gone before I could get a picture!!!  Patty had a crab cocktail, but watch out for the sauce ... it's mighty spicy!!
Of course Patty and I made a quick stop at the quilt store ... the one and only here.  Not much in the way of fabrics, they concentrate on applique quilting patterns ... some of the most unusual and beautiful I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, there is WAY too much work involved in this type of quilting for me since the patterns are very detailed.  I did pick up one simple pattern called Totem Tales ... it has totem designs (each image tells a story) by Tlingit Wood Carver Tommy Joseph.  It's very interesting to know the story behind the designs ... which come from Alaska.  

We'll be tourists today checking out the local sites, including an aquarium.  For now, there's lots of washing and drying going on!!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Now I realize everyone's idea of treasure may be different ... some seek diamonds, some seek gold, but Patty and I seek sticks and stones.  I'm sure you have seen those crazy people out on the beach, bent over and picking at the sand.  Yup ... that's Patty and I!!  You'll be thankful that I didn't capture us doing that with my camera.  What I did capture is MUCH prettier (no offense Patty)!!
It's just fun to walk along the beach looking for treasure.  One day it just might be something good!!  In the meantime, we are looking for perfect pieces of driftwood to make hanging mobiles.  When we get to the next Thousand Trails park, I'll get out my drill and show you an example.  People really do pay good money for things like that, not that we plan on selling, because it's a nice reminder of the time we spent here.  This is what the local store looks like.  It's funny how we find ourselves getting really picky about what we pick!!
In the meantime, you get to see ocean-made sights like this one.  Pretty amazing that the receding tide can make such beautiful images in the sand.
This is also ocean-made, even though it runs horizontal to the ocean.  The way the tides come and go, makes for this interesting architecture in the sand behind the sticks and rocks.
Once our bags were full, we headed back to the RV park.  Along the way we stopped for a couple more shots of the lighthouse, when one gentleman asked if we saw the sea lion.  Here he is ... not really sure if he is lounging on his back for the sun or because he's not breathing any more.  Even though I enlarged this many times, I still can't tell.  Pretty sure I've never seen one on his back however.
For dinner, we had received an excellent recommendation for the Waterfront Depot Restaurant in Florence from the local gals at the Elks Park.  Reservations are a must and it took two days for us to get in.  It was worth the wait ... even the 30 minute wait for our table ... because the crab encrusted halibut was amazing and only $14.00, including a caesar salad.  At that price, we also had crab cakes, crab stuffed mushrooms and clam chowder.  It was the best seafood I've had in a long time!!!  And the Oregon Berry Cake was a nice end to the meal.  No pictures .. we inhaled everything too fast!!!

Back at the RV park, I watched Jurassic Park Lost World for the 10th time.  I've seen every Mummy movie, every Jurassic Park, Ice Age and two of John Wayne's 20 on this DVD.  Definitely hoping for satellite at the next Thousand Trails park in Newport where we are going this morning.  I understand there is no WiFi except in the lodge ... so we may miss a blog day or two.

Moving on .........

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fabulous Florence Oregon!!

It's our "shopping" day in Florence, so Patty, the ice chest and I headed out to find the local Farmers Market.  We seem to be starving for fruits and vegetables, having lacked anything fresh in Alaska.  We hit pay dirt down in Old Town, where a local farmer has plots (plum/apricot cross), every kind of squash imaginable, green beans, corn, tomatoes ... and marionberry pies.  I bought TWO!!
Vegetables stashed away, we decided to check out both kitchen stores, where I scored!  Not cheap mind you, but things I had been looking for, like a collapsible strainer and a salt grinder.  I found a solar powered chime for the RV, but decided that dinging constantly as I drove down the road probably wouldn't be a good idea.

Across the street is the bridge that you drive over coming into Florence on Hwy 101.
We stopped at two quilt stores and found more beautiful fabrics.  I'm going to have to open a store at my house to sell all the fabric I have purchased on this trip.  At the very least, I'm turning one of my bedrooms into a fabric room!!!

Back at the mobile ranch, we latched on to Dan and drove North to the Heceta Head Lighthouse.  It's quite a walk up to the lighthouse proper, which we did not do.  Definitely bring your jacket with you every day.  The towel in the back seat just wasn't enough for me!!
There are many more antique stores here that we did not check out ... I get depressed that the "antiques" are what I use everyday at home!!  One more day here at the Elks park, where neither Sprint nor AT&T phones work, and we will again head North.

The Waiting Game .... Then on to Florence OR

I'm not good at it--the waiting game!!    I checked in at the desk for the third time, and finally around 8:15, someone came to my rig to go over the problems.  I had totally forgotten about the dogs and what I would do with them.  No problem, it should only be a few hours.  That was my first mistake she said laughingly!!

I started out in the waiting room, but Patty and Dan were in the same room with their kitty Gracie.  Jessie just wouldn't let it go, so I went outside, put the dogs in my vehicle and sat in the shade.  At 2:30 they came to tell me the jacks worked fine ... figures, but at least I had Dan's backup on this one!  I had passed the time by reading all morning ... my second mistake.  When the phone is dead, you can't make a call for some help with the dogs while you hit the restroom.

By 4:15 I'm pretty tired of sitting on the concrete in the 95 degree heat (no more shade for the car).  When he finally brought my rig back at 4:45, he told me about the nice dog park a couple miles away where I could have spent the afternoon.  If I had known it would take over 8 hours to do a service, I would have asked, but I didn't ... my third mistake.  It's just part of the learning curve about RV's ......

Next morning we were off to the nice cool coast of Oregon, about 55 miles.  I-Phone pics just don't do it justice.  The Suislaw River, shown here, was pretty low due to the tides, which extend way up river.
The only Thousand Trails Park here is South Jetty.  Previously, spaces were tight with tons of trees (cool but no satellite TV) and 30 amp spaces.  When Dan said he was looking for a 3-day parking space, I suggested the Elks Park.  As a member, I have a book listing every Elks RV park on the West Coast, and there are LOTS of them.  This one in Florence has 50 amp pull-thru sites with water and a dump station (which I already discovered since I took a wrong turn) and fairly good WiFi for $20.  Notice the "lack" of trees by Dan's site .. he has TV.  Notice the BIG trees by my site ... NO TV.  They do have cable here, so I hooked that up, but alas it's not working.  John Wayne's gonna be my buddy for the next three days.
A quick drive through the South Jetty TT proved they have upgraded some sites to 50 amp (for a fee) and there were several available, although not pull-through.  Next door is the local sand dune staging site for raging male hormones ... however I was surprised to see several women, one with maybe a 4 year old sitting in front of her.  Scary ..... anyway, we were entertained for a few minutes by the pickup truck at the top of the hill, with the rear wheels buried.  Shovel in hand, the driver was trying to dig himself out as lots of onlookers stood by offering advice.
We came by an hour later and he was gone ... in the meantime, we checked out the bay.  Very windy and cold here at the mouth of the river, as you can see by the whitecaps!!
Just over these dunes is the Pacific Ocean ... you can't tell in the image, but the wind is blowing the grass and making it look like moving velvet.
As usual, we're starving, so we tried for reservations at the Elks recommended Waterfront Depot Restaurant, but nothing was available until Sunday night.  So Mo's it was ... great clam chowder and even better halibut fish and chips.  Skip the fish tacos!!
A few minutes on the internet determined our stops for today ... two quilt shops (I'm pretty sure we have the Guinness World Record now ...) one yarn shop and a great farmers market!!  I'm looking to purchase Marionberries for jelly!!!  Just another day in Paradise!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What To Do .. What To Do ... At Cummins Northwest

It's been an absolutely boring day ... for once.  Patty and Dan took off early to get their windshield replaced, while I went through the truck wash.  Yes it did clean off lots of gunk, but left lots of scratches.  You KNOW three guys aged 19-20 aren't going to do a great job, but it's better than it was. Since then, I've been parked at Cummins Northwest (Coach Care) (with a complimentary 50 amp service including water) while I wait for my appointment this morning.
I got my new spinning wheel out and wasted a few ounces ... actually it IS useable ... I'll crochet something my puppies will love!!!  That will be a good test of the strength.  I've watched marathon 48 Hours, Home Cooking shows and NCIS.  I don't feel comfortable leaving the puppies for very long in this 90 degree heat, even though the AC is working.  So here I sit ..................... except for those 12 trips to the fridge.
Once both our rigs are serviced and repaired, we will be heading for the Oregon Coast where it should be 20 degrees cooler!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Spinning While We Wait!!

Finally a relaxing day in the rig!  Not really ... there was lots of laundry and cleaning to do.  After that, Patty and I went on a shopping foray to downtown Eugene.  First stop was the car wash, where with the help of the Owner, I got it relatively clean for $6.00.  That Alaska dirt just didn't want to go away.  At least I can see out the windows now!!.

In looking for a quilt shop, I discovered Eugene Textile Center. I have been looking into spinning my own yarns, with eTc being a great start.  With lots of good advice from Terry Russell (of Gypsy Journel Terry and Nick) I finally settled on an Ashford Joy 2 spinning wheel, that folds up and fits in a nice carrying case for storage in my RV.  They took the time to show me the machine AND gave me a spinning lesson with fibers to get me started.   After an hour of instruction, I "hope" I can get going on my own.
It's an easy setup and very lightweight.  
You can actually wash and card your own (my neighbors have sheep especially designed for yarn wool) but it's much easier for me to purchase it ready to go! 
Two quilt shops with some of the most interesting "different" material I have seen resulted in a few pieces and a new pattern!!  Can't wait to try it.

The rest of the day was a planning-where-we-are-going-to-stay type of day.  Since I am an Elks member, we found a couple of parks to try on the Coast of Oregon, in between the Thousand Trails we are staying at.  In the morning, I'm heading to the Truck Wash with my rig, then over to Coach Care in Coburg for some minor repairs and service.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Heading to Coburg Oregon!!

Here we are at the Mt Vernon Thousand Trails park, where the berry vines and trees make for completely enclosed parking areas.  I could have parked back another 20 feet if not for the overhanging trees.   No TV in these sites, but they are very private.
Pretty dirty cars ... from the construction and rain in both Alaska and Canada on the return trip.  Hopefully now that we are here in Coburg, we will find a car wash.  We already located a truck wash for the RV's!!  What a mess they are!
There was quite a bit of high fog when we left on I-5.  I wasn't looking forward to driving the freeways of Seattle at all.  Our original plan was to take the ferry, but after I checked out the website and discovered many of the crossings had been cancelled due to low tide, we trashed that plan.  The new plan was to head straight south to another Thousand Trails park, not too far away.
Downtown Seattle ..... it takes some doing to keep up with the Chance rig, especially when there are so many Sunday drivers and I don't know where we are going!!
Portland was even worse.  I've never seen such a mess of bridges, freeways, construction, new bridges, rough roads .... whoever designed this mess must have had too much caffeine that day!!
Finally ... good road and long straight stretches so I can relax.  In the end however, the new NEW plan was to bypass Thousand Trails, just hit it hard and keep going for another four hours straight to Coburg.  I have to admit that I have a new respect for RV drivers.  It may look like they are just sitting there relaxing, but it's soooo much more work than driving a car or pickup.  I'm tired!!!!
We are now parked at a nice, quiet park called Eugene Kamping World where the nice young man at the counter could actually multi-task and got us taken care of in record time!!  50 amp full hookups.  So now it's time to clean and clean and clean ... my least favorite thing to do!!!  On Wednesday I will head over to Coach Care to have the rig serviced and the jacks repaired.  In the meantime, are there any quilt shops around here???  Thought I forgot, huh???

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's A Small World!!

On this trip, surprisingly I've met some great people from towns very close to my hometown.  The gas station attendant in Watson Lake is married to a lady whose family is from Turlock California.  Many were from the Stockton/Sacramento area and more from Southern California.

It was totally by Chance (no pun intended) that we ended up at THIS Thousand Trails park, where we ran into Lynn and Dave Cross of the Golden Spikes FMCA group and The Escapees group.  I met them in Yuma Arizona at a rally when I still had my fifth wheel.  I have to say it's like greeting family when you run into them in a totally unexpected place.

They have a new fifth wheel and truck that is absolutely gorgeous ... yes, the truck too!!  We got the grand tour yesterday and were amazed at the custom items they had installed to make it their home.  It's just beautiful!!  Pretty cool guys!!!  We exchanged "Alaska broken windshield" tales and compared souvenirs while we caught up on who was going where.

This is part of the RV'ing lifestyle I had not expected and makes me even happier with my decision to purchase my rig.  We are attending another Golden Spikes rally in Oregon mid August and I'm so looking forward to seeing all those "family" members and catching up on where their travels have taken them.  In the meantime, I'm terribly excited to take my rig on the ferry to Port Townsend!

Happy Trails!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just Remember It's An Adventure!!!

That's what I heard as we turned down a very narrow, steep, gravel road enshrouded in overhanging trees and bushes  ......  what did you get me into??

But first, as we were leaving Prince George, we passed this Green Goddess RV.  You sure couldn't miss it coming down the road!!  It was entirely encased in pea green.
This is farm country, between Prince George and the Fraser River Canyon down the Trans Canada Highway.  Every acre is baled into these huge rolls for cattle and horse feed.  In some places, even the roadside grass was baled!!  
In Quesnel, we got fuel before heading out of town.  A & W is pretty popular here, as is Colonel Sanders KFC and the Dollar Store.  It says Chubby Chicken on the building ... don't ask, I have no idea what that is!
Every time we see a log cabin, I wish it was mine.  Here, they are making huge log homes, putting them together and numbering each piece for installation on your acreage.  
The ever present road construction is going on in Canada, as in Alaska.  This section was pretty narrow, with a three foot drop off if you wandered a little too far to the right!!
On into the Fraser River Canyon I noticed two railroads following the river, one on the right side and one on the left side.  Dan said there was a big fight over who was going to get the railroad right-of-way.  When no agreement could be reached, they BOTH built railroads, on both sides of the river.  
We had been driving for some time looking for a place to spend the night ... prerequisite was electricity.  My thermometer said 98.  All of the parks we passed were out of business, until Dan found one he SAID was advertised in some book.  On the word of the lady at the gas station (oh sure, you can turn around down there!!) we headed down this steep narrow road towards who knows what.  Dan says over the radio ... Nancy, just remember it's an ADVENTURE!!  I've already got my gloves on to unhook the jeep.  We passed all the "nice" buildings, and headed deeper in the woods towards the river.  
THEN came the railroad trestle we had to drive under ... I heard Dan say he thought he could make it, but to watch his AC unit ... he barely slithered through with inches to spare.  I slid over to the far right, trying to hit the low spot in the road, and had plenty of room ... well 18 inches anyway!
At last we arrived at Anderson Creek Campground.  Hmmmmm ... doesn't look big enough to turn around to me!!
Lo and behold, they actually have TWO drive through spaces with water and 30 amp electric.  Bernard, the nicest guy, helped us get lined up, then showed off his beautiful dog, four cats and his garden!!  For $25 it was perfect and I highly recommend staying here.  Hopefully you like trains, because as I said, there are TWO running down each side of the river ... one about 500 feet to the left of my rig!!
We took a short walk down to the creek that runs into Fraser River at this point and looked up at the railroad trestle we had just driven under on the short end.  This is a pretty amazing structure!!
Here's the creek as it flows into the river.  Must be quite a bit of water at times, because you can see the water line ABOVE the dead trees at the top left.
While checking out the river, the Canadian Pacific train ran along the far wall.
This train was far enough away you could only hear it.  The one on THIS side of the river made my rig vibrate every time one passed by ... there were 5 trains this morning between 5:30 and 9:30.
This car is right over the part we drove under!!!
On the way out, I got this shot of Dan under the trestle.  If a train had been overhead, he probably wouldn't have made it.
On to the City of Hope ... all of the towns in Canada have beautiful City signs ... some carved from wood, some rocks, some flowers.  All are beautiful!!  They have inventive names for their towns also ... we saw 150 Mile House, 100 Mile House,  70 Mile House .... 50 Mile Hotel, 84 Mile Grocery ....
Finally ... the US Border at Sumas Washington where the wait was about 20 minutes.
We fueled up at Everson WA and went south on I-5 to Bow, where we are staying one night at Mt Vernon Thousand Trails Park.  Although the sites are important, the personnel are more important to me in recommending a place to stay.  The office was staffed with two people, who pretty much ignored us in order to get a pass for a family member, get a pass for another Thousand Trails member who just came for the ice cream and to talk on the radio about how busy they were.  Finally cleared to find a site, we found two great spots fairly close together.  

Ok, I took out all the bad stuff I said about this Thousand Trails Park.  Suffice to say I will definitely be reporting it to higher ups.

Tomorrow it's off to take the RV on a Ferry!!!  Now THAT's an adventure!!!

Oh ... and the mustard wasn't mustard ... it was rapeseed, or Canola ... like the oil!!