Thursday, September 18, 2014

Friends on the Oregon Coast

After three days in Armitage County Park, with Scoopy's annual service complete and our groceries replenished at the nearby Trader Joe's, we were ready to head back to the coast. We had two days in Florence, which unfortunately turned out to be not the best weather days. The marine layer wafted into town and just stayed there. Still, there's lots to do in this area, and we managed a few outings.

Scoopy sitting pretty at the Elks campground in Florence.

We stayed at the Elks RV Park about five miles north of town. What a great place! We were in a long pull-through and very secluded. We happened upon a car show in town while on the hunt for some yummy fish and chips, which thrilled Steven to no end. He loves photographing old cars and these were in top notch shape.

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Lots to see at the vintage car show in Florence the day we arrived.

Two days isn't much time to visit and this was our shortest stay yet, but we were looking forward to our next stop in Port Orford and were ready to move on. Port Orford was all about socializing, walking on the beaches and warm, sunny weather - and brisket!

We stayed at the Port Orford RV Village right next to our friends Gordon & Juanita. It was wonderful to see them again and catch up with all the goings on. Gordon has a couple of smokers and I requested a brisket, and he obliged. Pretty delicious chow for this Texas gal. Gordon also has a fleet of flying machines, so he and Steven managed to get out with their Phantoms for a bit of practice.

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Scoopy at Port Orford.                                            Steven is happy to be flying his Phantom again!

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Battle Rock Beach in Port Orford where our pedometers, Pedro and Podrick, were very happy!

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Battle Rock Beach had wonderful views and was a great place for us to get our walk in.

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Our feet got a workout; walking, paddling and making shapes in the sand.

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Gordon prepares the sacred brisket.                        Gordon and Steven share flying tips and strategies.

Friends Gordon and Juanita.

There are a few folks whose blogs we read hosting at the lighthouse at Cape Blanco, so we made plans to get together with them. As it turned out, there were quite a few RVillage folks in the area, so it became a full-fledged party, hosted by Chris and Cherie (Technomadia). They, along with Paul & Nina (WheelingIt), Clarke & Elaine (What's Newell) and Gary & Angie (Grandma & Grandpa Squirrel) are hosting at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse in September and October. It's a great gig, but one I'm not sure I could handle. It gets pretty windy up there. We managed to break off from the party long enough to get a tour of Clarke and Elaine’s Newell. That is one awesome rig, and it has so many cool features my mind is working overtime trying to figure out how I can incorporate their awesome foot-of-the-bed wine rack in Scoopy! Nina also offered a tour of “The Beast”, which is indeed beastly, but considering the 12 paws that travel with her and Paul, it seemed a homey and comfortable space. After the event we drove up to the lighthouse, and when Steven opened the car door it very nearly flew off. It's no secret I don't like heat, but I don't like wind either!

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Get together with fellow fulltimers.                          Cape Blanco Beach at sunset.

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Linda watching the sunset at Cape Blanco.             It was super-windy up at the lighthouse.  

Steven attempts the Riverdance at Cape Blanco Beach.

Cape Blanco has an amazing beach and just before sunset we took a short walk. But since it was kind of chilly, we made plans to return. I never did, partly because of the wind, but also because of the wind. :)  Steven went back and got some gorgeous photos and in the process logged a bunch of steps. I hate it when his little pedometer is in the thousands and mine is not, but I need a day at home every now and again to get stuff done and basically just be lazy.

Thursday morning we made a short drive to Humbug State Park to visit with Keith and Brenda (Damn Near Perfect Couple). We had met them at the RVillage gathering, but didn't get to spend much time together. They are wrapping up a summer-long volunteering stint teaching the Junior Ranger program. As we were leaving, I happened to mention that I needed to stop at the store for fresh herbs. Brenda said, "whatchu need?" We walked over to her little garden and she loaded a bag with beautiful herbs - everything I needed for my French potato salad and more.

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With Keith and Brenda at Humbug State Park.             Brenda’s herbs put to great use!

Brenda has inspired me to learn to grow things and figure out how to travel with them. In fact, I already made my first purchase. Now, I might well kill this beautiful basil plant before we hit Texas, but it was cheaper than buying the fresh stuff in a package, so I figured at the very least I'd get a bunch of leaves from it before it keels over. We'll see how it goes.

So far, Basil is doing well!

Port Orford marked the end of our time in Oregon. Our next destination, Eureka, California is significant for us because it is new territory and a final break from the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Goodbye Washington, Hello Oregon!

Considering we didn't start traveling until August 1st, we sure have packed in a lot of activities during our first month of fulltiming. That's due in part to the gorgeous weather, amazing locations to visit and having wonderful friends to meet up with along the way.

Another thing that gets us out and about is our little Fitbit pedometers, Podrick (mine) and Pedro (Steven's). I could never have guessed the draw that little thing has on me to get off my butt and get some walking in each day. I live for his little smiley face. :)

The Amazing Pedometer Brothers: Podrick and Pedro

When we left Salt Creek, we meandered south on Hwy. 101 to Hoquiam for a four-night stay. Though our campground was right on the Hoquiam River, you wouldn't know it from our site. I guess every place can't offer a five-star view, but we'd already become spoiled. Still, the park was quite adequate and served us well as we headed out to surrounding towns to see what trouble we could get ourselves into.

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Our non-river view in Hoquiam                                It was only a couple of minutes away, however

Signs of Autumn along the Hoquiam River

Hoquiam is one of those little towns that, on the surface, seems quite sad. You have to look deeper to find the gems. There were a few, mostly quirky things that drew our attention. The gal at the visitors center seemed to love the place and according to her, there was no shortage of community activities she thought we should check out. At the top of her list was the first annual Gray's Harbor County Pride Festival. What's not to love about a festival? We actually walked there, so Podrick was very happy. It was a small event, but maybe now that they have the first one under their belts, it will grow in the years to come.

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Entertainment and food for thought at the very first Gray’s Harbor Pride Festival

We spent few hours on the beach in Ocean Shores and a few more in Westport, which we loved. The marina was beautiful and we had lots of fun going in and out of all the little shops. I think the great thing about living in a little ocean community is the fresh fish. Folks just walked right down to the boats to buy it. Yummy!

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The fish doesn’t get much fresher than this down at the Westport Marina

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Rush hour at Westport Marina                                Sharknado at Ocean Shores!!!

After our enjoyable stay in Hoquim, we headed to Kelso, WA for a three-day stopover. This area does not have fond memories for us, as it was here nearly a year ago that Zoe and her friends were in a rollover accident on I-5 and were brought by ambulance to the local hospital. We are still counting our blessings that they all walked away from that wreckage relatively unhurt. It was nice that we could return to make new and different memories in the area.

Our first Elks campground experienced in Kelso, WA!

Our stay in Kelso was also kind of a milestone for us because we stayed at our very first Elks Lodge facility. I only recently joined the Elks and it was an awesome place to stopover for a few days. We spent an enjoyable evening with fellow Boomers John and Connie. It was fun to get their perspective on fulltiming, and they told us all the deets on going to Boomerville in Quartzsite next January. We're definitely planning on being there as long as the weather allows us to get out of Texas in time.

With Kelso as our basecamp, we made day trips to Mount St. Helens, Cannon Beach and Seaside. We absolutely lucked out weather-wise on these trips - it could not have been more perfect. The wild and wooly Pacific Ocean has been quite calm during most of our recent trips to area beaches and Cannon Beach was perfect for walking barefoot in the sand. We really had a great time there.

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Fabulous views of Mount St. Helens               Movie theater at the Johnston Ridge Observatory

The breathtaking scale of this volcano is hard to capture in a photo

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Piggies in the sand at Cannon Beach, OR                When we arrived, there was fog everywhere!

Linda looking epic against the foggy backdrop of Cannon Beach

From Kelso we headed to Pheasant Ridge RV Park in Wilsonville just south of Portland to hunker down over Labor Day, and to spend a week with our friends, Glenn and Kris. We took some amazing hikes and a day trip to Hood River, visited the Portland farmer's market, cooked some great food and generally enjoyed the company of our wonderful friends. Our week in the Portland area flew by.
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Scoopy in Wilsonville, OR                                       Glenn, Kris and Linda at the Portland Farmers Market

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Cute eggs at the Farmers Market                            Glenn and I got lost at the mall trying to find ice cream

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Daybreak on our epic hiking day.                            Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge

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Gorgeous views of the Columbia River                                  Hiking up to Beacon Rock

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The climb up to the top of Beacon Rock was mildly strenuous but hugely rewarding

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Linda and Kris talk and walk at sunset                    Windsurfing on the Columbia River

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Last night together with our friends.                       Thank you Kris and Glenn for a great time!

Before we headed south, we stopped into Les Schwab and purchased four new tires for Scoopy. This had been on our list for a while, so we figured now was as good a time as any to get it done. Two hours later we were sailing smooth toward Eugene, where we are set up at Armitage Park. We are in this area so we can take care of some routine maintenance for Scoopy at Cummins Northwest.

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Scoopy at the RV shoe shop, Les Schwab              Scoopy at the RV spa, Cummins Northwest

This is the first time we have ever done the maintenance thing, and I have to say, the folks at this facility have been great. It is kind of weird being "homeless" while Scoopy is being worked on, but whatever. It's not like we have to be somewhere else, so there's that. Small price to pay for the lifestyle.

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Scoopy gets to start all over again.                              Only 48 states to go! 

We finally got our state map put on Scoopy's slide so we can track our voyage. So far, we have a whopping two states filled in. I always thought once we hit the road we'd make a beeline out of the Pacific Northwest, but it has taken us forever just to get out of Washington. But we are finally on our way, and it won't be long before we add California to the map. YAY!