Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Unexpected Pleasure of New Friends

August 12-15, 2017
Olympia, Washington

Bill's cousin was living in Olympia when I included the city in our route. When we found out she moved I remembered that a nice couple we met in Colorado also spend their summers here (they're on the road the rest of the year) so I kept our reservations. I figured we could see a little of a new area, and have a fun meet up with Michael and Rebecca.

Our Wednesday drive takes us into Washington, following Hwy 101 to Hwy 8, and a few miles on I-5. We arrive at Land Yacht RV Park mid-day where we back into our spot in the gravel parking lot. Spaces are defined by white lines and there is just enough room for the house and the Jeep - just. This was originally an Airstream-only park, pre-slides. The sewer connection is uphill so we don't bother, there's a dump and we're only here four nights. 30 AMP and good water pressure. Park WiFi doesn't connect, plenty of sky for satellite. It's a quiet park, close to town, and our friends' park is five-minutes away.

Rebecca invites us to their place and then dinner at their son's pub on Thursday evening. At cousin Penny's recommendation we check out nearby Boston Harbor during the day.

What a wonderful place!! Nothing more than a little marina and store/patio, and the cutest homes with beautiful gardens.

Music jams here on the weekends too :-)

Small boats in a small marina.

The dock needs a little work - could be a sobriety test?

The sweetest cottage with views of the harbor. I love it!

Garden art.

Many of the gardens are terraces, giving you more to look at.

Not the roof of a house - its the whole house.

This big ship stands out among more traditional homes.

In, not out, got it!
In the afternoon we make the quick drive to Lost Lake RV Resort, a beautiful - really beautiful - private park with a variety of covered and uncovered spaces, and park models. Although some have sadly removed trees, it is still a lush forest.

Rebecca meets us at the gate and she and Brutus lead us back to their home.

Hard to see, but Brutus is keeping an eye on us from the back.

         Piper's parents live here!!

I fail to get pics of their lovely covered deck - it is a comfortable and inviting place. We're already thinking we could land here some day :-) They give us a walking tour of the park and surrounds, and on the way to eat we drive to the little lake. It's beautiful. Lucky Rebecca also has her art studio above the lodge overlooking the lake - she is very talented!

We enjoy dinner and brews at West Side Tavern, a wonderful "dive" bar that their son manages. Because we're with Brutus, we have reserved seating! Everything is delicious, we'll be back!

When you know the right people dogs!

Our host.
We've only met these folks for a short visit along the Arkansas River in Colorado, and Rebecca and I are Facebook friends. After our time at their place, and over yummy eats and drinks, we know these are really great people whose company we enjoy - a lot :-) Before going home, they take us to the gallery where Rebecca's work is displayed. Splash is a lovely place showcasing 17 local artists with a diversity of mediums. 

Wish I had the space - Rebecca's pieces are gorgeous.

Bill's favorite.
Rebecca suggests she pick me up on Friday for the Olympia Market and I'm in! The market is Thursday - Sunday all summer, and includes fresh produce, prepared foods, baked goods, artisan wares, and other cool stuff. After we pick up a few tasty bits, we enjoy lunch outdoors on the harbor at the Budd Bay Cafe. A couple more quick stops and we're back at our house. 

So many textures, smells and colors.

Soap, not candy ;-)

Lovely lavender.

Rainbow Chard

Our lunch view.
We've all had such a good time together, and their invitation to join them for dinner at their place means we get to have some more!

After enjoying our meal on the large covered deck, we relax around a nice fire pit with views of the Olympias through the trees. The more time we spend here, the more we like the idea of something similar in the future.

Saturday we get some needed errands run and other boring adult stuff. Then one more get together with our new friends at Dirty Dave's Pizza where we somehow find even more to talk about :-)) Hugs and good-byes-for-now.

Michael, Brutus and Rebecca - thanks for such a great time!!
We didn't know what to expect of Olympia, had no plans for anything in particular to do. What a nice surprise to spend time with a couple who we have a lot in common with, and whose company we enjoy so much. Tessa and Brutus were happy to share their space with each other, just hanging out with their peeps. Olympia is also a wonderful city - progressive, diverse, eco-conscious, college-town, lots of water, that mountain!, and just weird enough for us to really like.  

Next up, we're off to the Seattle area to see our only "doesn't live in Southern California" son!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Top of Oregon at the End of the Columbia

July 8-12, 2017
Astoria, Oregon

Surrounded by the Columbia and Young Rivers, Astoria is a beautiful little port town with an artsy yet sophisticated feel. This is our second visit, and once again I didn't give us enough time to see everything.

When I couldn't get reservations at Ft Stevens State Park for our four night stay, I was happy to return to the Lewis and Clark RV Park and Golf. The 9-hole course provides beautiful open views from the front-in sites. Although we don't golf, we really like this park. Gravel roads and sites, level with 50 amp FHUs, fast park WiFi, propane for sale, friendly staff and perfectly maintained grounds. The bullfrogs serenade every night.

Another sweet view.
Sunday we spend some time along the water at Ft Stevens SP, but don't visit the fort this trip. While the site of the Peter Iredale shipwreck is crowded on this Sunday afternoon, we find few others at the Wildlife Viewing Bunker. 

Abandoned on the Clatsop Spit in 1906 where she ran aground attempting to reach the Columbia River in a severe storm.

A very popular location.
Clouds roll in over the Columbia River.

A quiet beach along the river. 

The Columbia meets the Pacific around this corner.

A single singer joins us along the shore.

Wildlife Viewing Bunker - looking very bunkerish - but the grass is so high there is no visibility from inside.

Past the bunker the path meanders through tall grasses.

The path narrows as the grass gets taller.

Tumbled splinters from nearby decaying docks become a spongey walkway along the beach. 
Astoria watches huge ships from all over the world pass by on the Columbia River. It looks somewhat like a parking lot from shore.

Near the RV park I enjoy another eagle sighting. I don't think I could ever tire of seeing these beauties.

So majestic.
Monday we again make a day trip recommended by friends Laurel and Eric. Across the Astoria-Megler Bridge, we turn west to Cape Disappointment to visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It is a wonderful center, and well worth the $10 per person and $5 parking. A short quarter mile trail up the hill takes us to a beautiful viewpoint and the museum dedicated to telling the full story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

I always think of their exploration just being the two of them with Sacajawea. Instead, there was a large group of 33-50, including Clark's slave, York. 

The center does a wonderful job of "walking you through" the nearly 4000 miles of their journey. From manufactured boats, to Indian ponies, to canoes they dug out themselves, to walking, we travel with them to a cold and inhospitable Dismal Nitch on November 15, 1805. There is a lot of information on the areas they crossed and what and who they saw. Try This options at each exhibit are well done and enhance the education in a fun way. We try most of them!

When it came time to return east they had an historic discussion on which route to begin. Historic in that both York and Sacajawea were included in the decision. I like that :-)

A personal panel for us - last summer we were at these head waters in Three Forks, Montana :-))))

I am unsuccessful in loading more than one layer of cargo in the dug-out canoe :-(

The first collection of books to cross the continent, the captain's collection was carried by the expedition's men, including three portages of the Columbia and one at the Great Falls of the Missouri.

In addition to the books, large trays of hundreds of new flora were carried by the expedition. Information that would fill new books in the future.

Difficult to get an inclusive photo, this exhibition explained in several ways how they fed themselves. The menus differed depending on the game and plants of each area. The squares on the board show how far away they could shoot certain game, and how many people each could feed. The modified abacus allows you to count how many of your expedition you could feed from a day's hunting. 

In addition to the horses, the expedition traded for other useful items including baskets and leather bags. This is a Chinook Spruce Root and Beargrass basket.

One of only a few original pieces from the expedition, this hatchet head was carried by Sgt. Patrick Gass.

Planning to return along much of the original route, the men buried caches of supplies for use on the way back. All were found and used  - all without GPS or metal detectors :-)))

The center provides amazing views of the cape from the second floor,

and the outdoor platform.

This beautiful First Order Fresnel Lens served as the Cape Disappointment Light from 1856 to 1898, then moved to the North Head Lighthouse where it served until 1935. It was displayed outside until it's last move to the Center in 1975.

Turning the ceiling into art.

Cape Disappointment Light reflected in the panes of her old lens.

Not the pessimist one might think.

Automated in 1974, her light still guides ships.

In need of some TLC - a tourist gives a hug to help out.
From the center we drove to Oysterville to pick up yummy smoked salmon and oysters - another spot-on recommendation from our friends!

The clearing skies enhance the beauty of this little place on the Willaby Bay.

A stop for lunch and a long drive on the beach in Long Beach rounds out our day. Once past the busy" entrance" area, we have a nice stretch of beach to ourselves.

There's a lot to see in this area, and one of the places we didn't see last time is the Astoria Column

Completed in 1926 by artist Attilio Pusterla, the column depicts three historic events of the area: the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Captain Robert Gray's discovery of the Columbia River, and the arrival of the ship Tonquin. Painted in a spiral, the mural would be 500 feet long if flat.

You can climb to the top of the 126 foot column. Not me, but you can!

The technique is called sgraffito.

Lovely detail.

Replica of native boats used by the Expedition on the Columbia River.

A few weeks ago we were at Saddle Mountain, visible to the southeast.

Wonderful views of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
The River Walk is busy along the pretty harbor. We enjoy a tasty lunch at Baked Alaska before heading home.

Yummy field greens and the best Calamari I've had in ages.
I can't believe our time in Oregon is over for now. We'll be back late next month to witness the Solar Eclipse, staying in the shadow. But Wednesday we move on to Olympia, Washington, where we'll meet up with another traveling couple.