Monthly Archives: October 2015


October 31, 2015

welcome to CA

Welcome to California! ¬†or not…

The first thing we encountered was a “road block” – a mandatory pass through from The Department of Agriculture. ¬†The inspectors wanted to know if we had any wood/lumber, fresh produce, or plants. ¬†Mind you, we were coming from Oregon, not a third-world country. ¬†Oddly, when we said “no”, the inspector looked back at the trailer, with a look that conveyed a note of disbelef – like ¬†– no fruit in that trailer, right… ¬†no matter what she thought – or I think she thought – we were waved through.

Trinidad, CA 208_thumb

I didn’t plan very well for our first night. ¬†We wound up driving around …and around… searching, in the ever darkening sky. ¬†We found one place that seemed promising – Patrick’s Point State Park. ¬†Once inside, it was shrouded in mist, and completely dark, so dark we couldn’t see anything, save for what was directly in our headlights. ¬†It became impossible. ¬†Finally we saw a tad of natural light which turned out to be a picnic area overlooking the sea. ¬†Clearly this section of the park was closed…we were alone for miles. ¬†No sooner had we stopped, than a young, thin woman with flowing hair, emerged from the mist, passed by our car, and walked back into the mist.


Who the heck was she? ¬†Where did she come from? ¬†Where was she going? ¬†She never turned her head to look at us. ¬†Too eerie for me. ¬†At this point, all I wanted to do was get out of this park, and get on the road. ¬†Which we did. ¬†A few miles further on, we stumbled upon Emerald Forest RV Park. ¬†It was now about 9pm, and the office was still open. ¬†That alone was weird because park offices usually close by early evening, ¬†before dark. ¬†Whatever. ¬†We found our assigned spot. ¬†Tim was well-armed with a giant flashlight. ¬†He managed to hook us up with power and water very quickly. ¬†Once inside, we locked the door, had a quick bite, and got into bed. ¬†Need I tell you that all night, I had dreams of people coming out of the misty woods, trying to break into the trailer door and windows, and…eat us. ¬†Yep – eat us! ¬†I think I should stop watching “The Walking Dead”, don’t you?

walking dead

It was a bad night.

The next day found us in Eureka, where we had to do a few chores. ¬†We didn’t want the day to be a total bust, so we checked out attractions¬†in Eureka, and found this.

Carson Mansion

This fabulous Victorian creation, ¬†the Carson Mansion, was built by a redwood baron in 1885 ¬†for the sum of $80,000. ¬†The Ingomar Club purchased it for $35,000 in 1950 . ¬†Another oddity! ¬†I looked up the Ingomar Club to find out what it was all about. ¬†Still don’t know. ¬†But what I do know is that it is a private, for men only club, dedicated to preserving the mansion, and providing fine dining experiences for its members. ¬†Well la-ti-da!¬† Can you imagine that such a thing exists in 2015? ¬†Well, it does. ¬†I’d like to know just what goes on in there. ¬†Is it where they create¬†“Stepford (Eureka) Wives”? ¬†Do they have dungeons and chains in the basement? ¬† Just what (who) are they eating? ¬†Again, I just don’t know.

happy hallween


Friday, October 23, 2015

This is a long one, but hang in there because it gets pretty exciting.

Today was a strange day. ¬†We stayed in a hotel last night to reenergize (and color my hair). ¬†Check out was 11:00 am. ¬†Late as usual, we didn’t have time for coffee. ¬†On the road, we decided to stop for donuts. ¬†“Happy Donuts” left us feeling quite unhappy, because the sign said ¬†closed – ¬†sold out. ¬†Onward. ¬†A few miles further was a sign for “Henry’s Donuts”. ¬†Believe it or not, ¬†they too were closed, also sold out. ¬†Here’s a hint for Happy and Henry – make more donuts! ¬†If anyone is looking for a business, open a donut shop in Oregon. ¬†I checked the internet, and found The Roseburg Donut and Bagel Factory.

Roseburg Donut

They had to have donuts, right? ¬†Not quite. ¬†The counter person said they were sold out, and if we wanted donuts, we had to arrive before 10 am – like that will ever happen. ¬†Ok, so here’s where it gets good. ¬†I walked out of The Donut Factory, and six police cruisers and motorcycle cops with lights flashing pulled into the parking lot, along with a few unmarked cars.


They jumped out of their vehicles. Watching them “lock ‘n load” their automatic rifles, Tim and I scurried inside the business next door. ¬†All of the store employees, as well as several customers, including us, stood looking out the window at the drama unfolding right before our eyes. ¬†Next thing you know, a policeman comes into the store and tells us all to take cover in the storage section, away from the windows. ¬† Was I afraid? ¬†Not really. ¬†We all stayed at the window, ready to duck and run. ¬†I guess because it just didn’t seem real. ¬†A few minutes later, in comes the policeman again, who said we had to leave the store, and get out of the area, “not optional”. ¬†Because the situation seemed to be heating up, he didn’t have to ask us twice. ¬†We ran to the car, hopped in and drove away. ¬†But not too far. ¬†We went into the parking lot across the street to see what we could see. ¬†The man they were after finally came down the steps from the upstairs apartment of The Donut Factory, walking backwards, with his hands up.


Then the police closed The Donut Factory, and encircled it with neon yellow Do Not Enter / Crime Scene tape.  Whew- that was a close call (and just a teeny bit exciting).  By the way, this incident took place in Roseburg, Oregon, the same town where 10 people were  murdered at their community college  earlier this month.  And yes, Roseburg is a town that seems to embrace their weapons.

Oregon has not ceased to amaze us, and is chock full of surprises.. ¬†After the close call at The Donut and Bagel Factory, we were still in need of a cup of something. ¬†We had passed many, many, many drive-thru espresso places – did I say many? ¬†We saw one called Dutch Bros., and decided to give tt a try. ¬†They were so busy, they had a runner who passed down the line of waiting cars and took our orders on her hand-held computer. ¬†We got to chatting, and we told her we had never seen anything like this – drive-thru coffee shops. ¬†She informed us that for newbies/first-timers to Dutch Bros., the order was free. ¬†She added that since it was free, we may as well order a large. ¬†Heck, yes. ¬†I ordered a large hot chocolate with whipped cream, and Tim a ¬†large wet cappucccino – and yes, they were both free – isn’t that amazing? ¬†The staff appeared to all be high school age – friendly, funny, smiling, interacting with customers, and actually enjoying their jobs. ¬†Are we in an alternate ¬†universe?

dutch bros

We followed the Umpqua River to our destination, The Winchester Bay RV Park, in Winchester Bay, Oregon.

winchester bay

Here’s the view from our campsite – and it’s only $27 for the night with full hook-up – meaning water, electric, sewer, and free WiFi. ¬†Oh, and did I mention there’s a special promotion this weekend? ¬†Stay one night, get one night free.


Tomorrow we’re going crabbing and wine tasting at a few wineries. ¬†Pinch me- I must be dreaming.



Thursday, October 22, 2015

The drive to and from Crater Lake was just lovely. ¬†We stayed at Crater Lake RV Park, in Prospect, Oregon, which you can read about in our campground reviews. ¬†But before we get to that, travelers will appreciate this little nugget. ¬†The log-in name is “Crater Lake RV – no movies”, and the password is – “no movies”. ¬†Upon check-in, the lady explained the basics about the park, and then said she hoped the info about WiFi was self-explanatory. ¬†To which I responded, “I was wondering if you have any movies we can rent”? (teehee)

crater lake rv

Once again, we drove through beautiful country Рcattle ranches, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and  gorges Рaround every bend.




¬†We passed through Union Creek, home of Beckie’s Cafe, touted on every attractions list for Crater Lake. ¬†Their specialty is pies – about a 12 different kinds baked fresh daily. ¬†Of course we were all about the pie. ¬†Tim enjoyed his blackberry pie, and I, my very berry pie. ¬†Oh, and lunch was good as well.


How can I describe Crater Lake?  Well, about 7,000 years ago, a volcano named Mount Mazama erupted.  When the cones of the volcano collapsed, the result was 1,946 feet deep Crater Lake.  The pure water is a gorgeous deep blue, fed by rain and melted snow.  Wizard Island is a volcanic cinder cone, that sits in the west side of the lake. I would love to know the thoughts of the first person who discovered this beauty.




Leaving no stone unturned, we stopped in a little town called Butte Falls. We assumed there was a waterfall somewhere around. ¬†Our search almost seemed futile, until we saw a weather-beaten wooden sign ¬†that said “Old Mill Historic Sight”. ¬†Mills -water – right? ¬†So we drove down a rutted road, following tire tracks of former seekers. ¬†We even passed the town water treatment plant. ¬†Not a pretty site. ¬†But on we went to the bitter end. ¬†And there it was – Butte Falls, a very pretty waterfall, and ¬†well worth the trek. ¬†A perfect ending for a glorious day!



October 19, 2015


photo by Kurt Shaffer

We’re on our way to Crater Lake – it’s a little further than we expected. ¬†Well, not further exactly, but longer in time because of all the twists and turns, and slow speeds, going up and down mountains. ¬†We found a beautiful RV park called “Seven Feathers”. ¬†Isn’t that a great name? ¬†It really “tickles” me. ¬†Which got me thinking about names – some we love, and others not so much. ¬†But this is my favorite story about names that I just wanted to share.

A number of years ago, Tim and I were on our way home to the Caribbean. ¬†This plane sat three across, and in our row, at the window seat, was a very lovely, very old woman, who looked at us with a huge smile and sparkling eyes. ¬†We noticed she was wearing a tag that said, I GET¬†OFF IN ST.CROIX”, indicating, of course, that she needed a little help remembering just where she was going. ¬†She didn’t say much, but did tell us that she once lived in the islands, and was making this trip to visit her daughter. ¬†She spent most of the time smiling, and gazing out the window. ¬†At one point, she looked at Tim, who was next to her, and asked him the name of the island we were flying over. ¬†Tim looked out the window, and seeing the dark reflection of a cloud on the sea below, replied, “Oh, thats just a shadow”. ¬†The old woman thought for a moment, smiled, and said,” Just A Shadow, isn’t that a lovely name.” ¬†To this day, whenever I fly and see a shadow, it brings me great joy.

NOTE: ¬†This photo called “Pacific Clouds #1”, was photographed by Kurt Shaffer, who has been taking pictures of nature for many years. ¬†If you’d like to see more of his wonderful work, please go to: ¬† ¬†


October 12, 2015

We stayed close to home today, seeing Ecola State Park, and Cannon Beach Р the town.

Ecola was splendid.  Even though there was a mist, you can see that these views are mesmerizing.



We walked the few short trails to see the sights from different viewpoints.  One other thing you can see from Ecola is the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.



The above color photo is ¬†clip art that I “borrowed”. ¬†I certainly couldn’t get that close, but I wanted you to see it in all its glory.

The story is brilliant. ¬†Tillamook Rock Light is located 1.2 miles offshore, on less than an acre of basalt rock. ¬†Construction started in 1880, and finished 500 days later in 1881. ¬†It’s nickname was “Terrible Tilly”, because the commute for both light keepers and suppliers was so dangerous. It was decommissioned in 1957, and purchased by private owners. ¬†But this is my favorite part – it is an unofficial columbarium. ¬†A what? ¬†Well, a columbarium is¬†a structure of vaults lined with recesses for cinerary urns. ¬†In other words, a storage place for “cremains”, or what is left after a cremation. ¬†I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better place to spend eternity.

Next up – Cannon Beach – the town. ¬†This is a very pretty little upscale community right ¬†on the coast. ¬†We visited the Cannon Beach Distillery, did a tasting,and bought a bottle of rum. ¬†Bruce’s Candy Kitchen had mouth-watering salt water taffy with flavors like root beer, which was Tim’s favorite, pomegranate, blackberry, and salt – and yes, we did buy a few. ¬†i wanted to take a picture of the pretty colors of taffy, but we ate them before picture-taking time. ¬† We visited a number of other shops, all very charming. ¬†The homes in Cannon Beach were not McMansions, but lovely cedar, beachy homes. ¬†It’s too overcast this evening for a sunset, so we headed home early


October 13, 2015

Continued the drive south on 101.  There are just are not enough adjectives to describe the Oregon coast.  It is breath-taking.  It makes you grateful that you are lucky enough to witness this wondrous earth.

At Cape Meares State Park, we saw the Cape Meares lighthouse.


Last but not least is a photo of “Octopus”. ¬†It is a huge Sitka Pine, that is about 250 years old. ¬†The base of the trunk measures 46 feet in circumference. ¬†It was so named because it looks like an upside-down octopus. ¬†Each of it’s limbs is about 12 feet around, and extend about 30 feet horizontally before shooting upwards. ¬†Amazing!


Time slipped away, and we wound up pulling into Chinook Winds Casino Resort (parking lot)  at night Рfor free.  When we woke up, we realized that we were sitting at this site, between the lodge and the casino buildings.


This is the view from between the buildings (above).


And this is the view when you actually walk down to the beach, as well as from some of the hotel rooms.

Continuing south, we visited Depoe Bay, and drove the Otter Crest Loop, and wonders of wonders – what did we see – A WHALE. ¬†Not one, but several, playing and spouting just outside of a wonderful bay called, “The Devil’s Punchbowl”, right next to “Cape Foulweather”. ¬†Aren’t these names terrific?


That’s what I’m talking’ about. ¬†Patience is what it took, and a watchful eye.



Saturday, October 10, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been quite sure how to pronounce the name of this state. ¬† ¬† ¬†Wonder know more – check it out.

Note:  If you want to hear the pronunciation of Oregon again (and not Chipotle), hit the circle on the lower left of the screen.

We entered Oregon by way of the  Astoria-Megler Bridge.  It required a decade of planning and four years to build. At just over four miles long, it is 4 times the length of its nearest coastal rival, the Coos Bay Bridge.  Quite a feat.



We need gas- and lo and behold, up jumps a man to pump РOregon pumps!!!  and the gas was only $1.99 at Costco Рthe least expensive on our route across the states. The only other state that still pumps gas for you is New Jersey.  And, not that I care, but Cannabis is legal in Oregon.  I already love this place Рbecause of the gas, of course.

We are at the Circle Creek RV Park. ¬†We took our time today getting up. ¬†Wait – don’t we take our time everyday? ¬† Oh retirement, how I love thee. Finally up and on our way – first stop Blue Heron French Cheese Company for cheese and wine tastings.


This was a bit of a disappointment. ¬†I thought it was going to be a sit-down, formal tasting and explanation of cheeses. ¬†But no, there was a young woman behind a counter who clearly did not like her job. ¬†No smile for anyone. ¬†I asked how the tastings were done, and she said you tell me what you want to taste, and I’ll give you a taste. ¬†Hmmm. ¬†You make your choice, she puts a tiny bit on a crumb of bread, and there you have it. ¬†We love brie, and these were quite delicious despite the uninspiring “tasting”. ¬†The wine tasting was slightly better. ¬†The woman was working alone, with tens of people waiting for tastings. ¬†Unfortunately, they were a tasting room only, ¬†selling other people’s wines. ¬†Note to self – winery must have a vineyard for us to spend our precious time.

Next up – Tillamook County Creamery Association. ¬†I won’t be negative, I’ll just say that we two cheese lovers left empty handed.


A stop at Pacific Oysers in Bay City proved worthwhile. ¬†Tim and I shared a bowl of clam chowder, a dozen oysters on the half shell, and a Dungeness crab cocktail. ¬†Maryland blue crabs – you are ¬†still #1. ¬†And the clam chowder at Chowder at Pike’s Place – you remain in the top slot.

The gold medal winner of the day was the drive down Pacific Coast 101 from Seaside to Tillamook.  Haystack Rock, in the ocean at Cannon Beach is a wow!  It is probably the most photographed ocean site in all of Oregon.


And the sunset?


Not to be believed Рoh, the colors, the red in the clouds looked like an on- fire lave flow, with  blues the color of the Caribbean Sea.  We stood there with our mouths open in awe, feeling blessed to have witnessed this end of day ritual in such a dramatic fashion.



October 8, 2015

Our planned travel route was to go as far west as we could, ¬†get to the Pacific Ocean, and then turn south before the winter’s bluster caught us. ¬†So today, in fog and light drizzle, we left Elwha RV Park ¬†and headed for the coast. ¬†Mind you, we decided not to attend the Port Angeles Crab Feed (Yes, they say feed, not fest), celebrating the Dungeness Crab. ¬†I didn’t care what was being celebrated, I had to get to the coast.

We were able to pick up Coastal Route 101 just outside of Elwha.  The first sight to behold was the absolutely gorgeous Lake Crescent, located entirely in Olympic National Park.  On this day, the lake was as still as glass, and mirrored the shoreline.


The dark line in the middle is the shore, upper part actual, with  the lower half  a mirror image.


Here’s Tim checking things out up close and personal.

Driving on, we decided to visit Hoh Rain Forest, also in Olympic National Park.  It is one of the largest temperate rain forests in the US.  It is extraordinary.  Most of the trees are covered with moss.  But, not just the trunks,  every limb, twig, leaf, and pine needle.  We decided to hike the Hall of Moss Trail.

After hiking for 5 or 10 miles Рoh, wait Рwhat Tim? Рokay he said, 5 or 10 minutes, not miles (well you could have fooled me).  So after hiking 5 or 10 minutes, we reached the trailhead, for a 3/4 mile hike.  I would like to add that it may have only been 3/4 mile, but Рthere were steps, and they did go up and down, and up and down again.  So give a little credit Рsheesh!  I did grab an old limb to use as a walking stick, because not only were there steps, but they too were covered with moss, as well has the rocks I had to clamber over Рok, ok, step over.  You know what? It was fantastic!


Eerie, isn’t it?


The picture above shows not only a limb covered in moss, but check out the creek running under the tree.


I thought this was a cool picture – a very close-up of a tiny part of tree trunk.


I’m not a botanist, but I think this point is very interesting. ¬†Because it is a rain forest, these 200′ ¬†to 300′ trees don’t have to put their roots deep for water to survive. ¬†in fact, their roots are so shallow, that with just a little blow, the trees topple over. ¬†As in the picture above, you see fallen trees criss-crossing ¬†that have fallen on top of each, a common sight throughout the park.

And then on the drive out of the Hoh Rain Forest, we saw this magnificent creature. See his antlers and face in the tall foliage?    Does it get any better?



Yep – when he emerges.

Continuing south on 101, we took the road that said Ruby Beach.  BINGO!  Our first view of the Pacific Ocean.  Just as we had hoped.  A very long, white, wide, sandy beach.  Tons of driftwood at one particular spot,  and of course gigantic rocks, that looked like long ago headlands.  Just beautiful.  All of this made better by being able to Facetime our grandsons, and share our first view of the Pacific with them.  Shout out to Timmy, Daniel, and Matthew!


Tonight we’re in Hoquiam RV Park. ¬† What a delightful spot right on the Hoquiam River. ¬†Lovely, even though our luck had run out on sunshine – a temporary glitch I’m sure.


Plus, the showers, restrooms, and laundry are spotless. ¬†And – the WIFI is the best of any park we’ve stayed in. ¬†Star ratings for this little gem.

October 9, 2015

I found a great pub that I thought we would enjoy РGalway Bay Irish Pub. So we stayed at the Hoquiam RV Park another night so we could indulge. We donned green shirts, and drove the 30 minutes to the pub.  It was a lot of fun, but seemed odd. It never dawned on me that there would be large Irish complex in a little beach town called Ocean Shores. It had a game room, a room set up with cozy furniture in front of a real wood-burning fireplace, where a woman was reading a book and sipping her drink.  It also had a shop with all Irish imports, Irish food, and a full bar. Best of all, they had Irish music from 8pm until midnight, complete with a bagpiper, who also played the bodhran (Irish frame drum) in the band.




The Guiness Beef Stew was amazing, especially alongside a Guiness brew with a shamrock design swirled in the foam.

Tomorrow we leave for Oregon.



Wednesday, October7, 2015

We stayed at the Swinomish RV Park on an Indian Reservation. ¬†While there, we met the great couple camped next to us from Vancouver, BC, Canada. ¬†Shout out to Carol and Bob, who’ve been traveling for a number of years, and gave us great tips for the Oregon coast.

These are the views forward of our campsite.



And this is the view from the rear.


Wait just a second…what is that building? ¬†OK – Time for full disclosure. ¬†For those of you who know me, or will know me in the future – you must know that, I love casinos. Specifically, penny slots. ¬†I know it’s a vice. ¬†I know it’s crazy to throw away your money…but I like it anyway! ¬†We’ve spent the last three nights at the Swinomish Casino and Lodge – and RV park. ¬†That rearview building is a casino. ¬†Could it be any closer? ¬†This must be heaven.

The first night Tim and I ate in the casino – a Prime Rib and Crab Buffet – not too shabby. ¬†Then I played my penny slots and won $200 – now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. ¬†The second night, I was back at it ¬†– and lost the $200 I had won. ¬†Darn! ¬†Luckily, Tim doesn’t like (read hates) gambling, or we’d be broke!

Third night, I didn’t play at all. ¬†I decided that breaking even was a good thing. ¬†Where casinos are concerned, if you go home with what you came with – you’re a winner. ¬†But…baby will have to wait for those new shoes.




Sunday, October 4, 2015

Today we’re leaving Whidbey, headed for Anacortes, which has ferry lines to the other islands in the San Juan chain. ¬†But first, a visit to a cheesery, specifically, Glendale Shepherd.


What a trek to get there Р over hill and dale, on winding, single-laned, rutted roads, through the southern Whidbey forest.  At some points, the trees were so close, we had to inhale to get through the tiny spaces.  A few times Tim wanted to go back, thinking we could really get stuck.  How would we ever get out?   But we were determined, continued forward, and finally came upon a unique clearing.  We were met by multiple wooden out-buildings, with one fabulous building in the center.  The place where the magic happens.  From one edge of the property came Stan Swanson Рowner, and an intern that will be working with Stan and his wife, Lynn, for one year.

IMG_0096 IMG_0097¬†A A bit eccentric, but oh so sweet, he gave us a little history about the property, and then lead us into the “tasting room”. ¬†One little snag – no cheese! ¬†Well, a few crumbles of this and that. They too have sold out. ¬†But from the crumbles, we decided to purchase a wedge of cheese called ¬†Saratoga Passage, which is delicious. ¬†He told us to come back in March, and they would be fully stocked. ¬†Sorry Stan, that’s highly unlikely, but you just never know. ¬†When we got in the car to leave, Tim told me he should have left breadcrumbs to help him navigate his way back on to the road. ¬†I think you know how the breadcrumb thing would have ended up.


Time to check out northern Whidbey, and drive on to Anacortes. The northern part of the island was a bit disappointing. ¬†You may as well have been in Anytown, USA, complete with McDonalds, Wendy’s, and of course, Burger King. ¬†Not what we expected. ¬†So onward to the final stop on Whidbey – Deception Pass.

WOW -WOW РWOW!  Quintessential Washington !!!  When you think of Washington state, this is what you think of Р I cannot describe the utter beauty of this place.


And as an added bonus, we watched a pod of harbor seals frolicking in and out of coastal caves.  We considered camping in this glorious location, but we expect the weather to change soon, and we have to move on.