Archive for May, 2011

Enjoying a beautiful evening, Memorial Day

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Enjoying some sunshine

Westport celebrates the day with a blessing of the fleet and a celebration at the local war memorial.  Here in the park we celebrate all weekend with lots of campers.  We even give them a old fashioned hayride!  Well there is hay in the trailer and it is being pulled by a tractor!

The fog burned off, rain stopped, clouds left and all we were left with was a beautiful evening.  About 8:45 pm I realized all this and decided to hurry to the beach to watch the sunset.  Driving the 1/2 mile to the beach access I had to stop so the deer could cross the road.  I made it in plenty of time, the sun doesn’t set here until about 9:10 pm.  And beautiful it was.

looking over the dunes to the East is Westport Marina

When we arrived there was 2 surfers still catching waves and a guy and his dog enjoying the evening also.  Duke loved the puppy and they ran on the dunes until the sun set.

Hi, Whats your name?

Favorite shot of the day

May your Memorial Day be beautiful

It’s Raining!

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Several days it has threatened to rain and finally it did rain.  It makes for some beautiful skies and I was hoping for a good sunset.  When the sun comes out it is so bright and the sky is so blue.  So far it has not rained a whole day and we see the sun everyday.  It is windy so walking is only with lots of layers and I have had to get earmuffs as my ears were so cold.  My other investment in the Northwest is going to be a wind breaker.    The beach is awesome to walk on and Duke loves it, Paul not so much so we will leave him home most of the time.

It promised to be a good one

The evening was shaping up for a  great sunset; lots of white and gray clouds along with a lot of sunshine and blue sky.  So we jump in the car about 8:30 pm (yes it gets dark really late here, about 9:30) and headed for the beach.  It is only 5 minutes away and by the time we got there and drove out onto the sand the sky turned dark and the blue sky was gone!  Oh well, it is still fun to watch the waves and  the storm form.

Between the rains we have been busy around the RV park and Westport this week.  Paul finally got his fishing license and a crab net.  We went down to Float 20 where all the fishermen go and tried our luck at crab catching!  Paul would put his net in and after 10 minutes he would pull the net up and there would be anywhere between 6 and 10 crabs!  Yeah, we are going to have crab for dinner!  Wait, you have to measure them.  They have to be 6 inches long and male.  It was hysterical watching Paul try to pick them up,  turn them over to see what sex and then try to measure them.  We fished for about 1 hour and got 3 that we could bring home.  When you get them home you have to put them into boiling salt water and cook for 15 minutes.  Yep, you put them into boiling water alive and yes they try to escape.  This is all very interesting but wait there is more, you have to crack and clean them before you can enjoy the tasty meat!  From 3 crabs we got about 2 cups of great crab meat!

First Catch

Are they big enough? Boys?

Sitting on the docks is not all fun and games, in fact I thought I would just relax and soak up some sunshine.  Nope, you have to wave off the sea lions and sea gulls from your net.  We had one sea lion that wanted to take Duke for lunch.  He came up to the dock and was staring us down until Duke saw him and then the stare down was on.  Duke was barking and growling and then the Sea Lion was spitting at us and growling also.  Some people say that if your small dog is loose the sea lions will attack! Great, I guess I won’t relax for the rest of our day and neither did Duke!  Duke will be staying home next time.


Another day in my life…

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

I am getting settled in and Paul is tired of driving so much!  I made him take another road trip this week to the south.  We drove south to Willapa Bay and to Cape Disappointment which borders the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River.  It is about an hour and a half each way.  The weather was promising to be another sunny day and I hate to waste the great weather so off we go.

Long Beach, a quaint touristy town with lots of T-Shirt, Whirligig and Souvenir Shops was our first destination.  Lunch was clam chowder in a cute bakery.  Dessert was a chocolate dipped macaroon – Delicious but now no calories left for dinner!!!  Long Beach claims it has the worlds longest beach.  It was really nice and had a wooden boardwalk across the dunes so that you can walk along the beach without touching the sand, perfect for Paul.  They also have picnic tables right on the beach with wooden wind protections built around them – very cool for those that insist in having food on the beach cause it is so windy here you are going to have sand in the potato chips even with the wind block!

Skeleton of a Grey Whale

This was one of the attractions on the beach.  It certainly didn’t look as big as I would expect for a whale.  It was mostly intact.  I find the dunes in this part of the country pretty cool.  They start out as wetlands and turn into sand dunes and then the beach.  There are lots of grasses growing on the dunes along with wild strawberries and sweetpeas.

Near Long Beach are two lighthouses that help sailors find the opening to the Columbia River.  The North Head Lighthouse and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

North Head Lighthouse


View below North Head

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Neither lighthouse is open for tours so we just walked around the outside of each and enjoyed the views from up so high.  Cape Disappointment was about a 1/2 mile hike uphill which seemed a lot longer.  At one point you can see Willipa Bay and the Pacific Ocean from the trail.  A nice place to take a break on this uphill trail.

Coast Guard training center

Cape Disappointment has a Coast Guard training center in the Willipa Bay.  They are a big presence here as nagivating into the Colombia River can be quite trecerous at times.

We returned home in time for the evening activity at the park!  Texas Hold em.  We had never played nor do we like to gamble much however we decided we should be socialible as all the workampers participate.  It cost $5 per person and beginners luck we came home with an extra $6.50.  I was the big winner at the ladies table.  I will probably give that back in the weeks to come as it seems this is very much a game of chance and chances are I won’t win again!  Who knows, I could become a shark and take it all this summer!


Fresh Salmon for dinner tonight

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

The sign says to go to Float 8 if you want fresh fish so off we go this morning.  Arriving at the dock we see the sign and proceed until we see a meat counter and then a guy gutting and fileting a really big fish.  He is cleaning a really large Salmon and I say “that’s the one I want!”  So the guy says “How much do you want?”  Quickly Paul says “1 lb”  The guy lays his knife on the filet and says “this much?”, slices it off and hands it to the girl to wrap and says this fish was swimming at 5 am this morning!  It was 1.7 lbs and cost me $26.00.  That is expensive for one meal but how cool is that to watch him filet it and then I get to buy it!

At home, I decide to freeze half and grill the rest for dinner.  Excellent!


Quinault Valley, Lake and the Rain Forest

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Another sunny day and off we go to explore the northwest coast of Washington.  The Olympia National Forest or is it the Olympia National Park,  the boundaries are not noticeable but you can take your dog in the forest but not in the park!  You enter the Forest first and immediately the landscape changes as there is no longer any logging taking place on public lands.  The rain forest is lush and very green.  At the ranger station you could hear the running water of what we hoped would be a waterfall.  Waterfalls were what I was hoping to see today.

Armed with maps, we headed into the rainforest for a 2 mile hike to see two waterfalls.  As soon as we stepped into the forest, away from civilization Duke and I see a snake.  It was a long, black, very skinny snake that quickly disappeared into the bushes.  I squeal in fear; Duke sticks his nose into the bushes and Paul finally turns around!  I am deathly afraid of snakes and even though I can hear water falling I am not sure I want to continue.  I get myself together and decide to just keep my eyes on the path but move along.  It is a beautiful day and the water falls should be special.

Quinault Rain Forest

We are the only ones on the trail and soon we hear water, turn a corner and there it is…

Not exactly what I was hoping for!

It was  a stream and the water is falling over the rocks, so I guess it counts.  Moving on we cross a series of bridges, climb several hills, see lots of beautiful foliage and then finally we see the falls that we have been hearing for 30 minutes as we walked.

Falls Creek Falls

It was pretty and I could sit all day and listen to the water run but there were no benches and you couldn’t get down to the water so we continued along the trail.

Taking a break on a log

The forest was pretty dry as it hasn’t rained in several days.  In the Olympia Forest, the rain forest averages 12 feet of rain every year!  There were lots of tiny, wildflowers growing along the paths.  They were so small they really didn’t make much of an impact compared to the tall trees and the ferns but I captured them anyway.

Rain Forest flowers

Pink flowers

After our two mile loop we found Lake Quinault and the Rain Forest Resort.  What a beautiful old structure with beautiful grounds and a beautiful view.

Quinault Lake

This place is probably bustling with families come summer but today’s weather is as nice as any day in the summer.  The water is cold but not as cold as I expected since you can still see lots of snow in the mountains above.  Continuing along the path that goes along the lake we finally came upon another water fall.  This one was not very big but the water was falling into a pool and was an emerald green as it fell.

Colorful pool

From here we returned to our car for  an auto loop to a couple of other sites along Quinault River.

We will stop for just about anything!

Worlds Largest Sitka Spruce Tree

This tree was not anywhere near as tall as our California redwoods or as big around as a giant sequioa but it was big and not the prettiest tree but worth the half mile hike to see it.  Moving along we found the river where there were lots of logs crashed along the shores and lots of gravel beds.  The water was moving quite fast.  If you look carefully at the picture you can see the snow on the mountains.

The road becomes a gravel road and finally we see the largest falls of the day.  This falls was right on the road, I didn’t even get out of the car.  Amazing.

Bunch Creek Falls

Finally after about 10 miles we find the bridge that takes us across the river so that we can continue back down the river and find our way back to civilization.  We saw only one car in about 10 miles of this trip today.

A lone bear

Coming around a bend, I look across this meadow and there is this black spot that starts to move.  As we got closer he stopped eating long enough to make sure we were not exiting our vehicle and then he was back to eating.  I can’t believe I have seen 3 bears in the past week and not one deer!  Paul promises me there are deer right in our RV park as he saw a doe yesterday.  I hope so!

We finished our day with another stop on a beach that you could drive on and tried to get out of the car and take a walk along the beach.  It was getting late and the wind had picked up so that I was not getting out of the car.  Duke really wanted to play on the beach so we let him out but since we were not willing he decided to just get back in the car.

Favorite rain forest flower of the day

Another great day in my life!  Some days I have to pinch myself just to make sure this is real.


American Sunset RV Park

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

We made it!  The Park looks amazing and the town looks perfect for summer exploration!  We settled into our site and got things organized before heading out to explore.  The weather was perfect and since we have been promised lots of rain this summer we will take advantage of any day with sunshine!

Westport is a fishing, tourist town with a waterfront on the Gray Harbor Bay and the Pacific Ocean on the western side of town.  There are places to buy fresh fish right off the boats; restaurants that cook the fresh fish; places to clam, walk on the beach or even drive, and even a variety of gift shops and bars!  This is going to be fun.

Today we ventured out of town after a drive on the beach!  Grayland Beach is only a few minutes from our home and is definitely going to be a regular spot to hang out.

What is that? A crab!

Duke loves the beach but he wasn’t sure about this creature.  We think it was dead but he jumped a couple of times before moving on to the next great find.

This area is also know for Cranberry Bogs and Ocean-Spray has a processing plant nearby.  We tried to find some bogs but it is too early and all we saw were the empty fields.  The bogs were not really very impressive and some of the buildings around the bogs were pretty ruff looking and I can’t wait to see the cranberries when they are actually growing.

While we are here we hope to see a lot of Northwest Washington so today we drove south along the coast to the bay that is at the bottom of the state, near Oregon.  The coast of Washington is not picturesque like Oregon or California but it is still exciting.

Willapa Bay

We made it as far south as the town of Raymond were we found this fun little store to explore.  It was a antique store with lots of cool stuff and some real JUNK!!!  Of course Paul had to find something that we just could not live without.

Ugly Ed's & Debs

The big sign only had Ed’s name but the smaller sign and the signs inside included Deb’s name!  I think Deb was tired of Ed getting all the credit for the Junk they have!!!  Our find was a new heater to keep us warm!

We also located the closest golf course, 20 miles away so probably won’t golf every week.  We also located the post office, quilt store and a local traveling potluck church benefit!  Stay tuned, this is going to be fun!

A new state to add to our map, Washington

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
The sky is threatening to open up all day as we traveled inland through Oregon on our way to Camas, WA to see our Mesa friends, Gene & Kerri Manger.  We have been warning them since winter that we would visit them and they still gave us directions to their home!

We fit perfectly infront of there RV garage

The view from my front window

We will be spending 2 nights here before we move on to our summer spot in Westport, WA.  Kerri & Gene were excellent hosts and we spent our first evening chatting about Mesa and all the things we love and miss, especially the weather!  It is cold here in WA and very rainy.  Sunday morning we woke to even more rain but since it is our only day we set out to see some of the Columbia River Gorge.  We had been up the gorge many years ago on a business trip so some of it was familiar.  The gorge is huge and beautiful with amazing vistas, even in a rain storm.  We stopped at the Bonneville Dam.  We talked Paul out of the full dam tour.  We watched the Salmon run the ladder and that was pretty amazing, even little baby salmon were making their way upstream.

A turbine Blade for the generators

Bonneville Dam- a mini Niagara Falls!

We drove up the Washington side of the gorge, crossing at Bridge of the Gods and returning to Camas via Portland.  On the Oregon side there are lots of waterfalls to see along the steep rock wall that runs along the gorge.

Multnomah Falls

Cold & Beautiful

The rain just would not let up so we headed back to town and Lunch!  Returning to Camas we found a great restaurant on the waterfront, The Beaches.  A great place for lunch or dinner and the views are great too.  We even got a free dessert because they sent Pauls soup (his lunch) out before our meals!  This dessert was too big for the 4 of us to finish.  Decadent Chocolate layer cake with Ice Cream and B-52 sauce!  And then when the waitress brought our bills she brings them in her comment book!  What a cool idea, you get to comment on your experience and you can read what others have written.
Monday morning we woke to skies that were promising a perfect day!

Central Oregon Coast

Friday, May 13th, 2011

We left Port Orford this morning and are heading toward Westport WA where we will be spending most of the summer.  The Oregon Coast is almost as beautiful as the California Coast with beautiful vistas and quaint little towns.  Highway 101 is quite windy and narrow but traffic is very low so we had a good day of travel.  Our first stop was in Coos Bay to look at some pretty cool boats.

A private yacht

While looking at the yachts we saw this seaplane taxi along the bay.

We decided to stay on the coast as it was a beautiful day and moving inland to I5 just didn’t seem like that much fun.  So we found a spot at a day use Federal Park and enjoyed lunch and a walk along the dunes.

Oregon Dunes

That's far enough! Sand gets everywhere!

After lunch we headed north along some of the most beautiful coastline, between Florence and Yachats.  The Heceta Head Lighthouse was sitting on this little cove that was just beautiful.  Nowhere to stop and take a picture but I will not forget.  We decided to spend the night on the coast and found ourselves a nice campsite in  South Beach State Park just south of Newport.  From our site it is a 1/2 mile walk through the dunes to the beach.  Duke and I were ready for some exercise so we headed to the beach, Paul rested from the drive or maybe he was playing on the computer?  About the same for him!!!

The only ones on a beach the size of The Boardwalk Beach!

Duke was loving the beach, running in the waves and chasing himself but then it was cold and time to head back! Duke went crazy when we got into the soft sand and …..

and now he is trying to rub the sand out of his eyes!

It was so funny watching him run in circles, dig holes and then stop and look at me before going again.

When we arrived back home Paul had been busy checking the area out via the internet and a call to Neil, his friend from French Camp that he knew had been to this area before.  Neil suggested we check out a seafood restaurant in Depoe Bay called the Tidalraves.   It is right on the ocean and has spectacular views.

The view from our table

We were not planning to eat out but we are very glad we did.  The views were amazing and the food was spectacular.  Paul had red snapper that was prepared perfectly.  I had the special because it was something I had never had, Black Cod with a Thai sauce!  Really, really good.  This place is a must!  Every table has a great view.

After dinner we took side roads back to the campground which was about 12 miles.  We saw a lot more great vistas of the Oregon Coast and we saw some wildlife.

Mama bear eating some berries

First we saw the baby right in the middle of the road but by the time I could get my camera out he was already over the railing and into the weeds, but Mama bear was not ready to leave, she just sat there eating berries with me trying to take pictures.  This is barely zoomed in!  She was in the bushes about 6 feet off the pavement.  These bears are really small.  The baby was about 1/2 the size of Duke and the Mama was barely bigger than him!

These Rhododedrons are everywhere and in every color

And then of course we have an Oregon Sunset looking out to the ocean from the Newport Harbor.

Newport Bridge


Port Orford, Oregon

Friday, May 13th, 2011

This is our second trip to Port Orford to see our friends Ed & Peggy.  Port Orford is a sleepy little town north of Golds Beach on the Oregon Coast.  Ed & Peggy have called it home since retiring from San Jose a few years ago.  We arrived around 4 pm to the RV park and quickly set up and then it was up the hill to their home.  We were suppose to have fresh crab but Paul happened to see the “Free Soup” night put on by the volunteer fire department!  The crab was put on ice and we all went to the hall for Turkey noodle, beef stew, or beef barley soup along with salad and some delicious homemade desserts!  It was all you could eat and Paul was in heaven!

Port Orford has a great beach for Agate hunting and Eddie is an expert.  He has several hundred pounds of beautifully polished Agates that he has found on the beach.  I wanted to learn how to hunt for Agates so he picked me up Wednesday am and off to the beach we went.  He warned me that it gets cold and today they were predicting rain.  He also said you get wet and the way to get to the good Agates was by way of his jeep, that by the way has no brakes, windows or seat-belts!  This is going to be so much fun….

Bundled up and ready to go!

The beach is only 5 minutes away so I am thinking this is a piece of cake.  We head to the beach but when we get there Eddie points the jeep down this cliff, through the weeds and sand making our way onto the beach.  But then when we get there we start heading down the beach for about 2 miles before he stops.  We get out of the jeep and he hands me my tools for the hunt, a spoon on the end of a hand carved stick!  I am to use this to scrap the gravel and look for Agates!  Agates can be very small or larger than a golf ball.  They all look like gravel to me but after a while I get the hang of it and actually find some agates myself!

I found some!

Wait till we polish them

It was quite the experience and after 2 hours I was wet from splashing in the waves trying to find the perfect Agate that we decided to head home. Eddie usually stays all day on the beach looking for the perfect find.

In the afternoon I met Peggy at the quilt shop and got an introduction into the costs of these quilts that are so beautiful!  I am making my first real quilt that is called The Hidden Nine Patch with fabric that is called Basicgrey Layer Cakes!  It is all very technical!  I started cutting and sewing Wednesday afternoon and then on Thursday Peggy & I spent the day at the quilt shop quilting!  I didn’t finish the quilt as it will take me awhile but when I do it will definitely get a page in my blog!!!

Dinner  Wednesday was the fresh crab and it was fabulous!  And then we watched American Idol!  I love watching that show and find Steven Tyler fascinating.

After our long day at the shop quilting Peggy made us a wonderful dinner again!  Latin Pork Stew.  It was a new recipe and I thought it sounded wonderful except I noticed there were sweet potatoes in the recipe and Paul won’t eat sweet potatoes!  I told Peggy to not tell him as they look just like russet potatoes once she diced them up.  Everything was going great, no one was mentioning the dreaded ingredient until I noticed he was eating them!  I open my big mouth, tell him what he is eating and then he can’t eat them!!!  He tried but he just couldn’t!  We laughed and talked about what foods we just can’t eat.  Meatloaf is mine.

Filled with great food and some nice wine it was time for the American Idol results show.  I was way wrong on this one!  I was sure James was going to win the whole thing but then I guess America is with me and Heavy Metal just isn’t main street.  My new pick is Lauren but wouldn’t it be fun if Haley wins after her rocky start of being in the bottom three so many weeks!  She does have an amazing voice and I enjoy watching her perform.


Friends, Family and more Friends

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Since we have been home we have taken the time to see the kids as much as possible.  Last Saturday was Amy’s birthday and she was able to get away from her audit to enjoy a great dinner at Buca di Beppo.  Nick’s mom was in town also so we got to meet her and her boyfriend, Jeff.  Dinner was great, of course too much food and then we went home for dessert and the presents!  Even at 24, Amy had the look of the birthday girl while she sat on the floor and the gifts were presented to her.  I always love that part!  So glad I have girls cause they truly love the whole ritual thing also.

Last night we had dinner at Famous Daves BBQ with friends.  Excellent!  And if you go there definitely have the Feast and someone has to  be having a birthday, preferable someone that doesn’t blush too much!  Thanks Donna, I am sure it was at least as much fun for you as it was for the rest of us!!!  And Candy, the roses are still so beautiful this am, Thank you for a great evening.