Monday, November 29, 2010

As you saw in the last blog the view was lovely but we didn’t bring our snow shoes.  We did intend to stay in the Coos Bay area for Thanksgiving; as we enjoyed the setting, the town and the RV Park which was very good.   

But we needed to move South as it was cold brrr brrrr. So we headed for Gold Beach. The camp site we stayed at overnight was run by Germans, accents and all. This is a place where gold was found on the beach in powder form and men set up a system whereby they could extract the gold from the sand. I don't think anyone got too rich there.

Our next stop was to be Klamath however, when we called to reserve, the person we spoke with was not interested unless we intended to stay more than one night; so I said we would stay three. We arrived on Thanksgiving around 3.30pm and opened the gate as no one was in the office and 2 more RVs followed us in, they stayed one night and next day we were the only customers. That night Ray (the owner) lit a big fire in a large recretation room for us and told us where to go in Crescent City to get Thanksgiving dinner. We had a lovely Seniors Thanksgiving meal - the whole works, soup and pumpkin pie included; we enjoyed our meal as we were hungry. 

The following day we visited the Trees of Mystery, rode the gondola to the top of the mountain; hiked down a very steep, and in places difficult trail to the bottom and then rode up and down again to experience the ride down. At the top we had spectacular views of snow covered mountains to the East and the Pacific to the West.

On our last day we went looking for elk (Roosevelt Elk - the largest elk) and saw quite a sizable herd after we had hiked Prairie Creek Forest which was beautiful. We dropped into a CA State Park information center and met a young man sitting inside; we had passed a bike on the way in. We got chatting and he told us that he had cycled from NC to CA to see the Redwoods; he had the book with him showing an enormous redwood that had inspired him to undertake his cycle-trek across the USA to see these lovely trees. He hopes to cycle back and go back to college.

On our last night Ray gave us smoked salmon that he had caught and smoked himself. Then he took us in an all-terrain vehicle, all over his property, right down to the area where the original town of Klamath used to be. 

Klamath and its bridge were washed away in 1964. Some of the original bridge is still standing. If you drive across the bridge on 101 that has 2 gold bears (one either side) this is the replacement bridge; however it is further up the river than the original and twice as high. Since then we've discovered that a lot of small towns have been washed away over the years by rivers in Northern CA.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow video

You need to hit the little arrow at the bottom of the picture to turn on video video

Snow

Little did we think we would be waking up to a scene like this
The view out our window yesterday

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rainy Sunday

Well, we got the weather that was forecast.  Lots of rain, we now think we should have purchased an ARK. We are still beside The Mill Casino at Coos Bay.

As we came into to Coos Bay area we were stopped by the police.  All the works "BI BA BI BA" PULL OVER, we wondered could that be us, we are going 30 mph so it cannot be us but no one else is around so we pull in to the side. Another BIG LOUD announcement NOT ON THE FREEWAY so now we know it is us. Tom is driving and we pull into a side road. We get out of the RV to be met by a policeman that could have been my grandson.  He informs Tom that he drove through a School zone at 30mph and he should have been doing 20mph. Tom got a warning and I told the policeman this was Tom’s first time to be stopped by the police in 50 years of driving. Now we crawl through town in my bug hoping we will not get stopped again.

On a different note, there is a Theatre in Coos Bay town that is a Listed American Heritage Building. Friday was the 85th anniversary of its opening and to celebrate it showed a silent movie “The Cat and the Canary” accompanied by a Wurlitzer Organ with the original music.  It was fun and free.

Saturday night there was a Variety Show with local talent and it was very entertaining.  During the interval there was coffee and birthday cake.  This all cost us $5 a head, the fun and entertainment was well worth the price.

Knocked on the Door of another RV just like ours to discover they were both from England but living in Canada, they head for Arizona every winter so I have met my first Snowbirds".  Also, met another man from Australia who also lives in Canada; he answered lots of our question regarding "life on the road".

Thursday, November 18, 2010

photos


RV book for Dummiies needed

We are now in a lovely RV Park beside a The Mill Casino on Coos Bay, OR.  We have the use of the facilities, indoor pool, hot tub, gym, several restaurants and of course we can lose lots of money in their slots.

Weather better than expected as a big storm was forecast and got sunshine instead. What weather will tomorrow bring ? We intend to stay here for Thanksgiving, we will miss family around the Table in Moody's and will drink a toast to all family and friends and hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving Feast.

We now know how to extend the awnings. Once again out came" the book", this time it was our fault as we did have the awnings demonstrated to us but we could not remember "diddly"  If we were to pull gently or with force on the tape, wheather the lever was to be forward or back, we were afraid it would come flying down in top of us, anyway we worked it out and were delighted with ourselves. 2 days later we need to get the awnings back up.  Loosen all the nuts and then do we pull gently or will it ... you guessed...go flying up; should the lock be forward or back?  OUT with the book, we don't want the awning fluttering in the breeze as we go sailing down 101.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oregon Coast continued….

We explored Cannon Beach on Sunday, a quaint little town that’s a mix of Carmel and Mendocino; wonderful art and crafts shops, a veritable menu of eateries with friendly, interested and chatty people.

And, the beach…well what can we say about it – it goes on forever. The real attraction however is the Haystack which is a large island like rock about a mile off-shore; which nostalgically reminded us of Scelig Micheal off the Kerry Coast. The day was beautiful, if chilly, and we walked the beach before lunch and again afterwards.

Monday morning Adele played her on-line Bridge and afterwards we loaded BlueBug onto the tow dolly and took the short 50 mile trip to Tillamook. That afternoon we went sightseeing, we started by hiking to Munson Creek Falls – quite spectacular waterfall at 319 feet hidden away in a rain forest; then we traversed the Three Capes Loop to Cape Meares Lighthouse. What fascinated us however was not the lighthouse but rather Three Arches – a formation of offshore rocks with, yes! Three Arches! Not unlike Natural Bridges near Santa Cruz.

Tuesday we visited Tillamook Creamery and took the self-guided tour of their cheese making facility – well worth a stop. We had a really great lunch of Clam Chowder and a Bacon Cheeseburger in their cafeteria and purchased a couple of pounds of their Extra Sharp Cheddar; as it’s the closest we can find to Irish Cheddar or a Leicestershire Red. From there we paid a quick visit to the Blue Heron Cheese shop where we picked up lovely Brie.

Wednesday we traveled, again a short way to Lincoln City where we had arranged to meet Adele’s friend Becky. And, what a treat that turned out to be! Becky called and suggested we meet her at Otis Café in Otis.

I missed the turn as the co-pilot/navigator was busy speaking with Stella (of Tony & Stella fame) discussing Christmas arrangements. The consequence of this was that I had to drive through a Safeway parking lot to turn back.

To get to Otis take Hwy 18 off Hwy 101 towards Salem, it’s about 3 miles east of 101.

Our individual brunches were freshly prepared and cooked from all local ingredients; we agreed that this was the best brunch we’ve had. For anyone touring Oregon or en route on 101 North or South this is an absolute MUST STOP Café experience.

We parked the RV outside Becky’s and stayed the night in her home. The following morning (Thursday) we took Becky’s collie Grantley for a walk on the beach, still don’t know who enjoyed it better, Adele, Grantley or me.

Then we got on the road again a little further down the coast to Newport where we self-checked into Beverley Beach State Park. Very quickly we un-hooked BlueBug from the dolly and (as it was raining) visited the Newport Aquarium; we arrived a little too late to fully enjoy the many exhibits there, those we did see were interesting and informative.

Friday started bright and sunny, so off we went for a long walk on the beach after which Adele spent 30 minutes doing Yoga while I sat, meditated and solved the ills of the world as I watched a boiling see rush to shore.

For lunch we decided to take another of Becky’s suggestions and took the short journey to La Maison in Newport. La Maison is Bakery/Café tucked away on 315 SW 9th Street, Newport, OR 97365.

Adele ordered a Turkey Croissant sandwich (Turkey, cranberries, hazelnuts, tomato and lettuce) she pronounced it “melt in your mouth” and “the best sandwich” she’s ever had; I ordered what was billed as a Mediterranean sandwich (ham, salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato) on a Ciabatta bread – without a doubt the very best sandwich I have ever eaten! And, before I forget…the sandwich orders included a bowl of Clam Chowder. As value for money this takes the prize!

If you are in Newport or passing through do yourself a large favor and stop at La Maison for breakfast or lunch – its open from 9 to 3 everyday, this is a very busy and popular venue so call ahead (541) 265-8812.

As the day was still fine we walked the beach once more. Then as the forecast for Saturday was rain, we loaded BlueBug onto the dolly.    

Saturday did in fact start rainy yet by the time we had finished breakfast and the pre-drive checklist it was fine enough for another walk on the beach.

Our journey was another relatively short one – Newport to Florence, and, again on the edge of the pacific with just amazing scenery all the way. A disappointment was that the Sea Lions were not in residence at the Sea Lion Caves just north of Florence – it does, however, give us a reason to return in sunnier times.            


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are we having fun yet??

A full week on the road and, in spite of some first-timers teething problems, we are also having fun and learning the rich history of the Northwest of the US.

Our first stop as you know was in Westport, WA – we understand it’s a tourist mecca in the summer and early fall. The Tourist information people suggested we visit nearby Tokeland, particularly the Hotel which is a National Historic Landmark – there’s a fine history available “Tokeland Hotel, A History” by Ruth McCausland. We had afternoon tea and a tour of the Hotel by the owner. This “is the place to get away from it all” no phones, no television and with beautiful bedrooms as they were in the 19th century.

The following day after visiting Gray Harbor Lighthouse which at 109 years old is the oldest working lighthouse, certainly in the Northwest, we returned to Tokeland Hotel for dinner of Cranberry Pot Roast; a melt in the mouth dish which we followed with a Marion berry cobbler, yummy!

Westport has a long tradition of fishing; some of which we sampled on Saturday night in The One-Eyed Crab, the clam chowder was the best we’ve tasted, thankfully, we had decided to share an entrée of Halibut Fish & Chips which was superb and sufficient.

From Westport we traveled to Long Beach, WA which journey we’ve already written about.

While in the Long Beach area we visited Cape Disappointment on the North side of where the Columbia River meets the Pacific – the bar at the mouth of the river has to be seen to be believed. Here we visited two more lighthouses, literally 2 miles apart, North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. However, the highlight was our visit to the Lewis & Clark Interpretative Centre; a MUST VISIT for anyone visiting this area!

We left Long Beach, via Astoria for Cannon Beach, OR. Our stopover in Astoria was to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum; to try to understand the river, the bar at its mouth and its maritime history; this again is a MUST VISIT.

Yesterday, as you know we played golf at virtually our own private course Gearhart Golf Links, a very tight, challenging course that we thoroughly enjoyed; the scores were both respectable. Enough said!

One of our ambitions is to visit as many National Parks as possible and today we visited our first the Lewis & Clark National Park and Fort Clatsop. The highlight for me was that for the second time in 2010 (the first time was on a bus in San Francisco) I was “carded” to prove that I am over 62 when I wanted to purchase a Lifetime Pass to all National Parks – tremendous value  at $10 for both Adele and me. 4 hours later we left still wondering at the tenacity and perseverance of the Lewis & Clark party.

So…yes, we are enjoying ourselves.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Golf

We are now at Cannon Beach, OR  having crossed the four and a half mile Astoria bridge.

On our way here we stopped off first to visit the "Museum of the Columbia River" in Astoria. In all, we spent 3 hours there marveling at this magnificient and dangerous river; the mouth of which is the most treacherous in the US and has taken in total almost 1,000 lives.
 
This morning I had a swim in a heated seawater pool here at the RV park and then this afternoon we played golf at Gearhart Golf Links about 10 miles away - believe it or not we had the course to ourselves, which we played (walking) in a little under 4 hours. It was a lovely course and great value at $20 each. 

47 more states to go!!.

Turning on the oven took the two of us and the book of instructions.  It took us quite a while to discover that the button had to stay pushed in while one lit the pilot light.  I don't like to cook by gas and it shows. Then we had a lovely meal.


This is a very nice area and prosperous. Lovely seaside homes. 

On our way back from golf we drove our bluebug on the beach - a first for all of us, Tom, me and the Bug.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Our Scary Halloween

As the weather was too bad to travel, we stayed an extra day in Westport; in fact the rain was so heavy we were beginning to think we should have bought an ARK. 

On Nov 2nd we hitched up the dolly, drove the bug onto it, no easy thing to do and off we went. Driving along 101 S looking at the scenery which is beautiful.  Really awsome. Then Tom notices that the engine temperature is very HOT almost on the red. So, we pulled off to the side.

The computer on the RV had been indicating "check coolant" we were also seeing a "change engine oil" message and consequently ignored it as computer error as we had earlier called the service garage having just had the RV "dewinterized". Incorrectly, we assumed they would have looked after everything under the hood. So...we decide the computer is correct, check the coolant resevoir - EMPTY! Take the car off the dolly and away Tom drives back to the nearest town to buy coolant for the engine. We pour the fluid into the resevoir, put the car back on the dolly, strap it securely, chains for extra safety and head down 101 once again. 

In about 3 miles the engine starts to get way too hot so we have to stop again. We call AAA for road side assistance to hear that we were responsible for towing after which AAA will reimpurse us $200. The tow company would have cost $1,000 at least. AAA put us in contact with a Tow company who were unable to help as we were too big for them to tow; and "no" they can't recommend anyone.

It is now getting late and we are facing spending the night on the side of 101. We decide our only option is to drive back to town and buy more coolant so the car must come off the dolly again. As Tom is driving away I hear a chain noise as I realised I had left a chain around an axle so I run after the car as Tom drives away, thankfully, he hears the chain and stops; we unwind the chain from the axle - no damage done.  While Tom is gone I re-read the instructions for the coolant and realise we should have added equal amounts of water. OMG. So I add the water and I pull out my deck chair and enjoy the scenery and resign to the idea that this is were we will spend the night. Tom arrives back with 3 more gallons of coolant and we pour coolant and water into the engine and decide to "limp: to the next campsite; we decide it is too much trouble to hitch the car up as we will probably just get down the road a few miles and will be stopping again. I drive behind Tom the rest of the journey and we make it to the RV park just as the sun goes down.

It looks like we have solved the problem all by ourselves.

We are on the road again tomorrow.....