Archive for July, 2010

A Cold Day in Newport, Oregon, Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21, 2010 - 4:29 pm 1 Comment

We had a great night’s sleep last night. The fog rolled in from the ocean and we were snug as a bug in a rug. This morning the fog was still over the ocean and the temperatures are cool (52 degrees). We had a good breakfast and decided to take the city shuttle into the Nye Beach area. This is the historic area of Newport Oregon and has many quaint buildings that reminded us of the history of the area. The area was named for John Nye who claimed a 160 acre parcel in 1866. Many of the original buildings are still standing and are now gift and art shops.

We spent the morning looking around the area. The wind is blowing and the weather is very cool and damp. We stopped at a restaurant right on the beach called “Chowder Bowl”. We had a great bowl of clam chowder which they are famous for, and we topped it off with a dessert of chocolate cake and ice cream. Don’t know what happened to us—we’ve been good on this trip with what we eat, but we were cold, tired, and hungry today and it just hit us. And yes, it was as good as it looks.

We hopped on the shuttle and came back to the RV park this afternoon by 3:00 p.m. I’ve spent some time today mapping out the next few days. Tomorrow we will leave Newport and drive down about 100 miles to Winchester Bay, Oregon. Then we will cross into California Friday for a weekend of driving through the giant redwoods of northern California. We are also making plans with Ben for the next weekend when we reach Sausalito.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

Hello from Newport Oregon, Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010 - 4:07 pm 1 Comment

We left the Phoenix RV Park this morning after first stopping at the office and trading out a couple of books. They had a great selection to choose from. We really enjoyed our stay at this park–it’s one of the best we’ve seen in all our travels. We left Salem and headed toward the coast which was an easy 60 mile drive.

We stopped at a stand on the side of the road and picked up some fresh cherries (they grow very well around here and they are totally sweet) and strawberries as well. We haven’t seen any fresh vegetables yet as their growing season is way behind ours. The temperature is still relatively low–we are wearing jeans and jackets again today.

We first hit the beach at Lincoln City, Oregon and then we turned south to drive along the 101 toward our destination for tonight, Newport, Oregon. I called ahead to get reservations at a beautiful campground called “Premier Resorts of America”. They are all over the USA, but this is the first we’ve stayed in. This really is a resort. There is a beautiful clubhouse where they have all sorts of activities. There is a guard in a guardhouse at the entrance who checks you in. The office folks gave us all sorts of information about the area. We are going to stay a couple of nights here so we can do some local sightseeing tomorrow. A shuttle bus stops in front of the resort and we can take it all over town tomorrow. The resort issued us a couple of free passes for the shuttle, as well as a discount card for many of the shops and restaurants in town.

The setting is absolutely beautiful. It is somewhat like California, but less rugged, at least the part we’ve seen so far. The Pacific coast is cool and the water is cold. The clouds roll in late in the day and stay early in the morning. The middle of the day is clear and crisp. The resort has a walking path near the ocean, although high on a cliff, but we have beautiful views of the area. There are several lighthouses along the coast of Oregon as well which we will enjoy.

We expect to rest well this evening because the park is quiet and beautiful.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

Happy Anniversary Allan and Catherine, Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010 - 5:22 pm No Comments

Allan and Catherine, we hope you have many more happy years together. Can hardly believe you’ve been married 4 years!

We spent the entire morning at Freightliner getting an oil change for the RV. They managed to cram a 30 minute job into a 5 hour ordeal. Nothing else to say about that.

After the ordeal, we went to Fred Meyer (my new best friend) and bought groceries. The high point of the day was coming back to the Phoenix RV Park where we stayed last night. We will spend another night here and tomorrow we will head for the Oregon coast to spend a few days. We are looking forward to seeing the Pacific Ocean once again.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

Mt. St. Helen- An Unexpected Thrill, Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18, 2010 - 6:33 pm No Comments

We had a great campground last night and we enjoyed it very much. I decided to do laundry so I went over to the laundry room and while waiting for the laundry to wash and dry, I read a book. Greg came over toward the end of the drying, and he sat down in a chair next to me. In a while, a man walked in the door of the laundry room, appearing to check out the facility. Greg looked up and exclaimed “Pete Studer”! Pete looked at Greg and they both just yelped! Greg and Pete worked together at TVA in Knoxville early in their careers as well as when they both moved to Chattanooga to finish their careers. Pete and his wife are traveling in a 31′ Airstream trailer. They had not been to Alaska, but they have been visiting national parks in Utah, etc, and are on their way over to Glacier National Park in Montana. We enjoyed a friendly visit during the evening and we both left the park early this morning. What a great surprise!!

We drove 48 miles to view Mt. St. Helen. The morning started out cloudy and foggy, but as we drove up the road to the viewing areas, the clouds lifted (just like yesterday) and by the time we got to the viewing areas, the sky was clear and we had wonderful views of Mt St Helen. The eruption was in 1980 and you can see signs of the devastation everywhere on the road. Fallen trees, all laying in the same direction as the ash blew them out of the ground. Further away from the blast, the trees were left standing, but they were charred right where they stood. There has been a concerted effort to plant new trees since the 1980’s and the trees are flourishing. We had a real treat while we were viewing the volcano—-the lava dome actually belched and let off steam which we could plainly see. Be sure to look closely at the photos and you can see the plume of smoke coming out of the dome. In 1980 the volcano spewed ash miles into the sky and the valley below is now buried in 700 feet of ash. Lakes were completely covered over. 57 people lost their lives, including a young geologist who was on a ridge about 5 miles away from the volcano when it erupted. His last communication is part of the history of the visitor’s center. The visitor center is named “Johnston’s Ridge” in his honor. It’s just a beautiful area to visit and we were surprised to see the volcano so clearly.

After spending the morning at the volcano sight, and watching a film about the eruption, we had lunch before leaving the visitor center. We arrived in Salem Oregon around 5:00 p.m. and what a great surprise we have in our campground. It looks like a Florida retirement village. Manicured streets and lots, beautiful grassy areas with each site, etc. I’m afraid our RV looks out of place—I bet we are the only ones who are coming back to the lower 48 from Alaska. We look like we’ve been in a war zone. We’ll enjoy our evening walk tonight in such a beautiful park.

Tomorrow we will take the RV to the Freightliner Dealer here in Salem for an oil change. We’ve hit 10,000 miles and Greg wants to get the oil changed before we move on.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

Mighty Mt. Ranier, Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17, 2010 - 4:48 pm No Comments

We left Everett this morning under cloudy skies. As the morning moved along, the skies cleared and we had a beautiful day to drive to Mt. Ranier. We drove through Seattle while it was still so foggy we could hardly see anything. We did find the space needle from the World’s Fair many years ago in the city’s skyline.

We made it to Mt. Ranier National Park before noon. It’s a beautiful national park, just as they all are. Tall large evergreens lined the 2 lane road going into the park. We drove up to Sunrise Point, the highest point in the park to view Mt. Ranier (6,400 feet). Mt. Ranier is one of 5 volcanoes that lie between southern British Columbia and northern California. Mt. St. Helen’s is near us tonight so we will visit it tomorrow. Mt. Ranier National Park has many hiking trails (thinking of you, cousin Dale). You wouldn’t believe the number of hikers, bikers, etc that we have seen today. The weather is absolutely perfect for outdoor activities—clear skies and high of 72 degrees. No humidity. I know you all are suffering around home but the weather here is just not to be believed!

We are staying tonight in Mt. St. Helen’s RV Park. We are about 48 miles from the park visitor center where we will go tomorrow. We were told there is a great movie about the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption and the gentleman, Harry Truman, (no kidding) who owned a lodge and campground at Spirit Lake at the base of the volcano. When the volcano was about to erupt, he was encouraged to evacuate, but he said he would not leave. And sure enough he did not leave, and so he is buried under all that volcanic ash, along with Spirit Lake, also buried. I’m sure hundreds of years from now the site will be excavated and he will be found once again.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

Back in the Lower 48 – Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16, 2010 - 7:30 pm 2 Comments

We had a quiet evening at the Acacia Grove RV Park. Two other units came in before dark so we were not alone in the park. Speaking of dark, we are actually having darkness now by bedtime, which is a welcome relief.

We drove through mountains the entire morning—beautiful scenery with a river beside us and huge mountains all around. We came to the town of Chilliwack, BC around lunch time. We found a Safeway Grocery store where we spent the last few Canadian dollars on Cherrios and Wheat Thins. Then we stopped at a Canadian Tire store to buy another bulb for the headlights. The left headlight was out yesterday and the right was working fine. Greg replaced the left light last night, and this morning, the left light is working fine but the right light is out. So we had to get another light, which he will replace this evening. After our errands, we stopped at a Burger King for lunch.

I can’t describe how strange it has been to be in all this traffic. Chilliwack is a large town and there is traffic everywhere, tight lanes, horn blowing, etc. After having been in extremely remote areas for the last month where we were the only ones of the road, this has been an adjustment.

At any rate we got to the USA border around 1:00 p.m. and had no difficulty getting through customs. It was exhilarating to cross the border because we know we are back in the USA with the same currency, road signs, and same items in the grocery store we are accustomed to.

Driving into Washington state gave way to lots of dairy farms and farmlands full of corn and such. I hope we can find some fresh vegetables as we drive south. We are thinking about a good supper of fresh things.

Well tonight I will put away the “Milepost” and get out other books to guide us down through Washington, Oregon, and into California. We are looking forward to this part of our trip. The temperatures are mild and nice.

We are in Everett Washington tonight in the Maple Grove RV Park. We are having pizza delivered for supper. Yep, we are back in the good ole USA.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

Heading for the border, Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15, 2010 - 7:03 pm 1 Comment

We left our campsite in Hixon, BC this morning around 8:30 a.m. The temperatures are moderate, although cool, so we thought we could try to leave with shorts on rather than having to change at lunch from jeans to shorts. Good decision, because the temperature was 89 degrees by supper. This is the highest temp we’ve had since we left home in May. By the way, we’ve now driven over 9,000 miles on this trip. We have been on the road for 2 months and we’re starting the third and last month of the trip. We expect to be home by mid-August.

We both need a good haircut. Greg shaved his beard because he does not want to frighten Olivia when we get home. Tomorrow we will spend the last $17.92 of canadian currency we have before crossing the border into the United States.

Tonight we are staying in Acacia Grove RV Park in Spences Bridge, BC. A british couple own this place and it is a neat little park. We are the only ones here tonight. The owners invited us to pick as many apricots from their trees as we would like. We’ve never really known what a fresh apricot tastes like, so we gave it a try. They are very sweet and the texture is like a peach. So we picked a handful or so and we will have them with our cereal for the next couple of days. I also exchanged a couple of paperback books for some new ones. The book exchange idea is a great one for an RV Park—take one, leave one, and you always have a book to read on the road.

We are now turning our thoughts toward visiting Ben in a couple of weeks. Before that, however, we’ll see a lot more beautiful scenery. We plan on visiting Mt. Ranier National Park in Washington state in a couple of days. Then we will cross over to the coastline and drive down the Oregon coast toward California. We look forward to seeing a beach!!

Stay tuned. Bonnie

An Evening in Hixon, British Columbia, Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14, 2010 - 6:11 pm No Comments

I’m not kidding, we are in Hixon (different spelling) BC tonight. We were going to drive a little further today but when we saw a nice little park in Hixon, we figured it was fate to stay here.

We left Telkwa this morning around 8:30 a.m. The drive today has been nondescript in that we are just driving—not much interesting scenery but we are enjoying nice weather as we drive south. Today was sunny and 75 degrees so we are in shorts again. Will be glad to put away those jeans and jackets although we may hit some cool temps in Oregon and California.

We stopped in Vanderhoof, BC for lunch because we saw a restaurant advertised as the home of the “famous” hamburger and we thought we might enjoy a hot meal. The hamburger was ok, but we got tickled at a couple of 20 something girls who came in and sat next to us. While we waited for our meals, they ordered a big old piece of chocolate pie. I thought they must be skipping “lunch” and having pie instead. Well they are young, I thought, and they can get away with it. Well they enjoyed the pie (looked scrumptious) and then their lunch came—2 big plates of hamburgers, fries, and onion rings. Well, haven’t we all wished we would have eaten a big old piece of chocolate pie BEFORE the traditional lunch? Good for them! LOL Also Vanderhoof is the geographical center of British Columbia. We find out all kinds of little tidbits as we drive across these areas. Every little town has an interesting tidbit on their “welcome” sign when you enter the city.

We talked with Don and Sandie who are now in Calgary preparing to fly home tomorrow. They will attend the Calgary Stampede tonight–not sure what that is but it sounds like dinner and a show of some kind. They did say the traffic now in Banff and Lake Louise is bumper to bumper. That breaks my heart because when we were there in early June, there was hardly any traffic or tourists. By this time of the summer, the tourists are out in full force and it makes us want to run for cover.

We hope to make it to Cache Creek, BC tomorrow night and then we should cross into Washington State either Friday or Saturday. We have our sights set on seeing Benjamin in California in a couple of weeks or less. We expect to see some great scenery in Washington and Oregon as well.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

A Full Day of Wonderful Things, Tuesday July 13, 2010

July 13, 2010 - 8:13 pm No Comments

Last night we were taking our evening walk and a truck rolled by. A couple from Texas was in it, and they were asking about a place to stay in “town”. Luckily there was one “inn” right across the street from where we were walking. She introduced herself and asked where we were from. When we said “Chattanooga”, she said “I’m from Rockwood, TN”, which is near Knoxville. Small world!

I also forgot to mention that last night we stopped at a little seafood restaurant suggested by the owner of the RV Park. It’s called “The Bus” because the lady actually cooks in an old school bus. It’s sort of a walk up “take out”, or express diner. She cooks whatever fish her husband brings in that day. Well yesterday she made a seafood chowder, so we thought we would give it a try. It was the best chowder we’ve ever had! Rather than clam, which we are accustomed to, it was full of halibut, with a cream base. We really enjoyed it. I also forgot to mention that there is a terrific wildlife watching area in Hyder. A wooden platform is over a creek where the chum salmon come to spawn. We missed seeing this activity, because the salmon are “pooling” at the head of the river, meaning they have come out of the ocean into the beginning of the river, ready for the swim upstream. The park ranger said it would be about 2 more weeks before they reach the spawning area. At any rate, when the salmon come to this area, the bears come to eat them. So the viewing platforms right over the river keep you safely away from the bears, but you have a full view of the activity on the stream. We were so sorry to miss seeing this part of nature.

We left Camp Run A Muck this morning after a quiet night’s sleep. Right out of Hyder, we took the road up to the Salmon Glacier, the 5th largest glacier in the world. We had to drive 20 miles up this little road, which was dirty, full of rocks, and was so rough we only could drive around 20 mph. So the trip up to the glacier and back down took 3 hours total. But it was well worth the effort. We’ve never seen such a huge glacier up close. And the ride up to the top had the most beautiful waterfalls and mountains. The road was narrow at times, but we never encountered a problem because we were driving up there around 8 a.m. this morning. Just imagine, we only went to Hyder as a second thought, and it wound up being one of our favorite places. Unlike the other small villages, Hyder does NOT cater to tourists. They are completely content to just live their lives. Hyder had a general store, a restaurant/bar, and a gift shop with Alaskan artists’ work. I stopped in the gift shop on our way out of town this morning and talked with the owner. She is also the artist. Very interesting lady who lives in Hyder year round. She makes her jewelry during the winter and keeps her shop open during the summer. We also stopped in on the restaurant/bar to get a cup of coffee before leaving town. You will see a sign taken in the bar which I thought you “working folks” might get a kick out of.

The rest of the day was spent driving on very good roads toward Prince George. We are in Telkwa, BC tonight. We’ve had an absolutely beautiful day of driving and temperatures reached the mid 70’s. Off with the jeans, on with the shorts AGAIN.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

A Great Day on the Cassiars Highway, Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12, 2010 - 6:43 pm No Comments

We left Dease Lake around 9:00 a.m. and the temperature was 43 degrees!!! We slept comfortably in our RV but wow, is this weather cool! Even the locals say this is unusual for this time of the year.

We are still driving on the Cassiars Highway but the roads are much better today than yesterday. Also, the scenery is more dramatic with mountains, lakes, glaciers, streams, waterfalls, everywhere we look there are more beautiful sights. We saw a black bear on the side of the road and were able to stop and just watch him for a while. He was very close to the road and was just eating in peace. We didn’t disturb him—just watched. We also saw a cub, right on the side of the road, just peering up out of a ravine, but we didn’t get a photo.

We stopped at a rest area at lunch time and a gentleman from Montana was there. He and Greg talked for a while. He was a bicyclist, around 60 years or so, and said he was riding his bike to Montana from Alaska. We’re not sure how he got to Alaska, but he was very nice and said he couldn’t believe how cold it was. He said he had a friend who did this ride last year and the weather was hot and dry. You just can never tell.

We passed a beautiful glacier, Bear Glacier, when we were nearing Stewart, BC. This glacier is in Bear River Canyon which was beautiful. We stopped in Stewart, BC for diesel. We were told the postal zip code for Stewart is VOT1WO—Very old town, one way out. I didn’t verify this information, but she said it with a straight face.

Hyder Alaska is literally down the road from Stewart, BC. Hyder is the farthest point in Alaska (south) you can go. The only way in is by air, water, or this road. The road is one way in, one way out, so tomorrow we will drive back out this road to get on the main highway.

We are staying in the Camp Run-A-Muck Campground tonight. This is for real. The owner says they don’t care what you do as long as you don’t “encroach” on your neighbor. So far everything has been very quiet, but you can see by the name of the park that this area has an attitude of “live and let live”. The campground also has a book exchange, which I love, because I’m in need of a book.

Stay tuned. Bonnie

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