Monthly Archives: June 2014

June 30, 2014 Mount St. Helens, Washington

We left Bainbridge Island on June 29th which was the first year anniversary of our new life living on the road in our RV.  From the beauty of Picture Rocks and Sleepy Bear Dunes in Michigan, to walking among the Gila Cliff Dwellers in New Mexico, to camping among the giant saguaros in Arizona, seeing the breathtaking Pacific coastline, standing where Lewis and Clark looked out over the Pacific, walking and driving among the ancient redwoods, hiking the rain forests in Oregon, and seeing the power of Mount St Helens and majesty of Mount Rainier, what a truly magnificent year it has been!!  We can’t wait to see what delights our second year brings.

We spent one night on the road at a private campground in Olympia, the capital of Washington.  We got a peak at the capitol building as we passed by on the freeway.

Much of this drive was on Interstate 5, and it had been awhile since we had driven on a freeway. We hadn’t missed the freeway traffic over the past several weeks and it was not a welcome reunion.

We arrived at Seaquest State Park and to our surprise there was only one other RV parked in the full hookup section of the park. Since this is summer and the week of July 4th, we expected the park to be crowded. It remained empty during our entire stay, and when we drove through other parts of the campground they were also fairly empty. It was nice having that section of the park to ourselves, making for a nice quiet stay, very unusual for a state park in the summer. Our stay there was made even more relaxing by a lack of cell phone and internet reception in the park. Bill was able to get satellite tv.

The next day we drove 54 miles to MT ST Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Spirit Mountain Highway. We crossed the 2,340-foot-long Hoffstadt Creek Bridge, built to replace the original bridge after it was destroyed by a torrent of volcanic mud and rock traveling at speeds of more than 100 mph after the 1980 eruption. As we drove up the highway we could see the devastating effects of the 1980 eruption on the landscape and forests and the recovery efforts taking place with lots of tree plantings. After driving to an elevation of 4,200 feet we arrived at the Johnson Ridge Observatory, named for the volcanologist killed at this site.IMG_1083 IMG_1087 It was a very windy day, one of those days when you can’t keep a hat on and my visor blew across the walkway and was almost gone forever. Even though the wind was a bit of a nuisance, it blows all the clouds away that blocks visibility needed when viewing mountainous areas.





At the Johnson Ridge Observatory we saw live seismographs, geologic exhibits, and viewed an excellent movie on the eruption of MT ST Helens on May 18, 1980. The eruption was an incredible explosion with such force that it blew 1,313 feet off the north face of the volcano and blew smoke and ash 80,000 feet into the air. It released a mile wide avalanche that raised Spirit Lake by more than 200 feet and shattered forests like matchsticks. Morning became night in minutes, halting traffic for a hundred miles and covering parts of three states with a fine gray powder. Today MT ST Helens stands at 8,365 feet. IMG_1081 IMG_1086 IMG_1088 IMG_1092





























We attended two Ranger talks at the Observatory. During one talk the Ranger explained the difference between lava flows at MT ST Helens and those in Hawaii. The lava from ST Helens is a thicker, silt based gray lava whereas the ones in Hawaii are more fluid based and red. He talked about the 1980 eruption and gave demonstrations on how eruptions occur, to the delight of some school children present.

The second Ranger talk focused on how scientists watch for and monitor volcanic activity and predict future eruptions. Two months before the 1980 eruption, scientist noticed puffs of steam and ash, increased seismic activity, as well as a growing bulge on the north side that grew five feet a day. They knew it was a matter of WHEN, not IF, the volcano would erupt and took precautions, however fifty-seven people died during the eruption. Until then, the mountain had been asleep for 123 years.

MT ST Helens last erupted from 2004 to early 2008, leaving a 1,320 foot tall lava dome which is formed from the cooling of lava on the crater floor. The lava during this three and a half year eruption was enough to fill 36,800 Olympic swimming pools and replaced about 7% of the volume lost during the 1980 blast. While the mountain appears quiet, the watching and waiting continues.  IMG_1100 IMG_1095











While in the area we drove 45 minutes south to Vancouver, Washington to meet Bill’s friend Robert and his wife Sandy for dinner. Bill and Robert worked together in Florida about 15 years ago. It was nice for Bill to visit with old friends, and nice for me to meet new friends!

June 23, 2014 Nordland, Washington

We awoke to the sound of foghorns.  While not as bad as the sound of rain, it is not a welcome sound on move day.  By the time we ate breakfast and prepared everything for the move, the fog had lifted and the skies were beginning to clear.

We traveled sixty miles east to Fort Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island.  We never saw any clothing optional people regardless of what the sign said.IMG_1052




We also visited the little post office there to pick up some mail we had forwarded there.  IMG_1017






Fort Flagler State Park It is a nice little park where we had a full hookup site overlooking Puget Sound with snow capped mountains in the distance.  While we saw cruise ships and barges at Salt Creek, here we saw mainly ferry boats. IMG_1053





The beach there was mainly rocks with a lot of driftwood.  IMG_1063 One favorite pastime of many of the campers staying at the park was kite flying, and everyday we saw several colorful kites flying over the water.




Fort Flagler was one of three forts in the area begun in 1897 to create a heavy artillery “triangle of fire” with 12 inch guns.  The goal was to protect the entrance of Puget Sound from enemy naval forces, protect the port cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Everett, as well as the navy shipyard at Bremerton.  Fort Flagler was a military installation from 1899 to 1953, a period of time encompassing WW1, WW2, and the Korean Conflict.

Inside the park are barracks, officers’ quarters and a hospital used during World War 1 and  World War 2, as well as a museum housed in the Quartermasters Depot with a collection of military items along with a film about the fort’s history.  Wednesday morning we attended the Coastal Artillery tour which was a walking tour of the gun line which gave us a sense of military life and operations at the fort.  IMG_1013 IMG_1025 IMG_1031 IMG_1032





















Bill loved this sign in the little museum there!  IMG_1016Another day we drove over to Port Townsend, voted one of the “Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America” by Fox News, NBC News, Budget Travel, and Yahoo Travel.  The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only three Victorian seaports in the nation.

Settled in1851,  Port Townsend was a bustling seaport, lumber and fishing town in the 1880s and 1890s..  Town leaders and prosperous merchants built ornate homes and brick buildings downtown because of the promise of a railroad line through the town.  Unfortunately Seattle was chosen instead and the town never grew to the large city it had hoped to become.  Instead today it still has a Victorian charm that attracts visitors, artists and musicians.  The movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed in Port Townsend in 1981.  Some of those old historic brick buildings are now used as shops and restaurants.  Back in the 19th century there were gambling halls and secret tunnels where drunks were shanghaied, kidnapped and rowed out to ships where they were sold into forced labor.  Today those secret underground tunnels are the sites of underground cafes where tourists can experience the secrets of the past.  Also during the 19th century Port Townsend was a Customs station IMG_1047where every ship entering






Puget Sound from a foreign dock had to dock first in Port Townsend. Now it is a little cafe.

We really enjoyed seeing the picturesque town with a view of Admiralty Inlet, and seeing some of the historic buildings dating from between 1860 and 1900,

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including the Victorian style Jefferson County Courthouse built in 1892 with its 124 foot clock tower.

IMG_1044  It is one of the two oldest courthouses in the state and still in use today.




Later in the day we drove over to Fort Worden State Park, which was one of the other triangle forts built between 1897 and 1911.  We drove around the grounds of the fort which included barracks as well as a balloon hanger that was built to house an experimental balloon observation post which failed, and a chapel, Alexander’s Castle which was built before the fort as served as a retreat for John Alexander, a clergyman from Port Townsend.  The fort also had a building which once served as a hospital, a workshop, a gymnasium, a guardhouse, a theater which was one of the newer buildings at the fort, as well as a Band Barracks where the Coast Artillery band rehearsed every day and slept there at night.  Anytime of the day a soldier could pass by the building and here music being played.

We certainly enjoyed our stay at Fort Flagler State Park, especially our lovely view of the water!  Next we headed about an hour south to Bainbridge Island County Park, which included crossing the Hood Canal Bridge.  This bridge is 7,869 feet long and is the longest floating bridge in the world located in a saltwater tidal basin, and is the third longest floating bridge anywhere.  We had read about it earlier and we didn’t really know what to expect, especially in an RV, but it felt like any other bridge to tell you the truth.  20140627_101002





We stayed two nights on Bainbridge Island and once again we had a lovely view of the water where we could watch the ferry boats and cruise ships pass by. IMG_1080 IMG_1071 IMG_1066










The full day we were there we took a scenic drive around the island, which included a spectacular view of Seattle. 20140628_134257 Too bad it was not a bright sunny day so we could get better pictures for the blog, but it was still a great view.











We found one of the most interesting geocaches on the island which was called “Dr Who’s Sibling”.  Since Bill is a huge fan of Dr Who, we were excited to find this one.  I will only say that it involved an out of order pay phone.  While it was not a Tardis like Dr Who’s, it was close enough and all Dr Who fans will get the joke.  20140628_150755

June 20, 2014 Port Angeles, Washington

We left the town of Forks and headed northeast on Highway 101 where we passed beautiful Lake Crescent, a 650 foot deep, 12 mile long glacially carved lake that is part of the Olympic National Park. 20140620_110905 The lake is the second deepest in Washington and in order to keep it environmentally friendly, quiet and peaceful, it only allows kayaks, canoes and row boats. We turned onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway, following the shoreline of the glacial fjord connecting Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean.  The Strait of Juan de Fuca separates the Olympic Peninsula from Vancouver Island, British Columbia and reaches farther into the cold North Pacific than any other mainland point in the lower 48 states. We arrived at our campground in the Salt Creek Recreation Area.  This was once the location of Camp Hayden, a World War 2 harbor defense military base.  The campground has three tiers of campsites and our site was on the highest tier with a marvelous view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Crescent Bay, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  In the distance we could see snow capped Mt Baker, which looked more like a cloud than a mountain. 20140622_142907           Our first night there we had a cloudy, but still beautiful sunset.20140620_213908 20140620_214007     Our first full day we drove to Port Angeles and caught a ferry over to Victoria, British Columbia.  Port Angeles was a 19th century mill town and today is a bustling harbor with a population of around 19,000.  Murals throughout the town document the town’s history. IMG_0852         We caught the ferry which took us eighteen miles across the Strait of Juan De Fuca to Victoria in Canada. IMG_0836           Both on the way over and on the way back we had magnificent views of snow capped Olympic mountains.  IMG_0811 IMG_0822       On the ferry we saw many people with suitcases, bikes and tennis rackets, going for an overnight adventure.   IMG_0809                   We saw several seaplanes which transport people to and from the city of Vancouver. IMG_0812 Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, has a population of 300,000.  It goes back to colonial days with the first government building erected in 1859.  Even though it is a metropolitan city, it still had a small town feel.  It was clean and felt very safe. At one point we were stopped by a volunteer ambassador who could tell we were tourists and stopped to ask if we were enjoying our visit and had any questions. Since we decided not to take our car on the ferry, we figured the easiest way to see the island was to take the Hop On, Hop Off buses.  The hour and a half tour included the impressive Empress Hotel,IMG_0837           the magnificent Parliament Building,IMG_0835 Chinatown, Fishermen’s Wharf,         and Mile 0 which is the start of Canada’s Highway No. 1 which stretches through all ten provinces of Canada between the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts. IMG_0825           We also saw Craigdarroch Castle as well as a statue of James Cook IMG_0838 IMG_0839               and Queen Victoria.  IMG_0842 IMG_0841 IMG_0833                                   The bus driver stopped at Christ Church Cathedral and gave us time to go inside. IMG_0829 IMG_0832 IMG_0826 IMG_0828                         He pointed out the cornerstone of the church which had been laid by Sir Winston Churchhill. IMG_0830           With the price of our bus ticket we also had access to the water taxis going back and forth in the harbor. IMG_0844         We had a delicious lunch at an Irish Pub and did some geocaching and shopping before catching the ferry home.  We enjoyed the totem poles throughout the port area IMG_0845 IMG_0840               as well as a statue of a girl welcoming her father home from war which was placed in honor of World War 2 veterans.  IMG_0814         The next day we drove to Hurricane Ridge,IMG_0876 elevation 5,242 feet, in Olympic National Park         with some of the most magnificent views of snow capped mountains I have ever seen, IMG_0886 IMG_0883including Mount Olympus with an elevation of 7,980 feet.             IMG_0859                 Of course I had to have my picture taken in the snow with my flip flops. IMG_0863Bill bought a shirt at the gift shop which said “The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go” IMG_0875which is very appropriate for him since he is drawn to the mountains.  I am drawn to the ocean which is very ironic since I grew up in Virginia and Bill grew up in Florida!  We toured the Visitors Center which you can see in the background in one of the pictures. One interesting thing we learned from the movie there was that the mountains in this area were not formed by volcanic activity as are most of the mountains in the Pacific Northwest, but instead by the moving of tetonic plates which pushed the ocean floor up and formed the mountains.  They are not continuing to grow, yet they are also not eroding as do most mountains. While driving up to Hurricane Ridge we passed a deer along the side of the road, as well as seeing numerous elk and deer at the Visitors Center. IMG_0856 IMG_0879                       Knowing my love of the water, Bill ended the day by finding a beautiful waterfall in the park on the way home.  Madison Falls is a wondrous 60 foot waterfall in a peaceful setting with only a short walk on a paved trail to get there. IMG_0928 IMG_0921 IMG_0912                         Our last day in Salt Creek Recreation Area ended with a glorious sunset.  IMG_0942 IMG_0954 IMG_0991

June 16, 2014 Pacific Beach and Forks, Washington

Once again we awoke to the sound of raindrops on yet another travel day.  We headed up the coast to Pacific Beach, passing several cranberry bogs along the way.  Pacific Beach Washington is a tiny fishing village with a population slightly less than 300.  We stayed at the Pacific Beach State Park with a site overlooking the ocean.  Our first day we walked down to the beach which is a very wide beach.  There were a few people walking on the beach but for the most part it is deserted.  In this part of Washington they allow cars to drive on the beach and the we did drive our car down to one of the beach access points and enjoyed the view.

The next day we drove an hour to the Quinault Rain Forest in Olympic National Forest.  This rain forest is often called “Valley of Rain Forest Giants” because it is home to some of the state’s largest trees.  Here rainfall is measured in feet, not inches!IMG_0792






After visiting the small Visitors Center we walked across the parking lot to the historic Quinault Lodge which has a beautiful view of the Quinault Lake, a glacier carved lake.  On October 1, 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt had lunch at this lodge and nine months later signed a bill creating Olympic National Park.

We then drove on a 31 mile loop around the Quinault Lake  and Quinault River, stopping at several points along the way.  The Quinault River was very wide with large gravel bars.


20140619_103341We hiked a short distance to the World’s Largest Sitka Spruce





IMG_0787and drove past several beautiful waterfalls, including Merriman Falls.

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We finished the day by hiking a rather challenging trail to Washington’s largest tree, a 1200 year old Western Red Cedar. IMG_0802 IMG_0804 IMG_0806

















We were amazed by the epiphytes, which are plants growing upon other plants,20140619_103602 20140619_103609 as well as all the moss, lichens and ferns.








We also were in awe of the “nurselogs” in which dead and downed trees support new life in the constant eternal cycle of life and death.  IMG_0778 IMG_0783 IMG_0802













The Olympic National Forest is 632,324 acres in size and surrounds Olympic National Park which has over 901,800 acres and was created in 1938 to protect and preserve the forests and herds of native Roosevelt elk. The first people to live in this area were Native Americans who came from Asia by way of Alaska.  Archaeologists estimate they lived here for many centuries before the white men arrived.  Olympic National Park is really three parks in one with its rugged mountainous areas, the 73 mile scenic ocean strip of the Olympic Peninsula which is one of the longest spans of wilderness coast in the lower 48 states, and the lush temperate rain forest which is the only true rain forest in the continental U.S.  The rain forest has been recognized internationally as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.  The tree most often associated with the temperate rain forest of North America is the Sitka Spruce.

We had originally planned to stay four days at Pacific Beach, but when we saw all that Olympic National Forest had to offer, we decided to cut short our time in Pacific Beach and head further north to Forks, Washington so we could hike the Hoh Rain Forest before heading even further north as planned.

Fortunately our travel day from Pacific Beach to Forks was sunny and we enjoyed the two hour drive.  After arriving at a private campground and setting up we headed over to the Chamber of Commerce where a very helpful lady filled us in on all there is to know about Forks.  The town of Forks, population 3,500, is best known as the setting for author Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” book series and five subsequent movies.  Evidently Twilight fans come to Forks from all over the world to have their pictures taken at different locations mentioned in the book but the funny thing is the only part of Forks actually filmed in the movie was the town sign!  While we were in the Chamber of Commerce several people came in and admitted they were there because of the Twilight book series.  The town was quick to use this to their advantage and along Main Street are many small shops and hotels with the word “Twilight” in the name.

The next day we headed to Hoh Rain Forest, also in Olympic National Forest.  Along the way we had a view of snow capped Mount Olympus. 20140619_10490620140619_105024 How amazing is it to be headed to a rain forest and see snow capped mountains in the distance!  I told you the United States is beautiful!!







The drive from Highway 101 into the park was lengthy but well worth the drive.  We visited the small Visitors Center here which was much like the one at Quinault.  Due to the mild winters, cool summers and up to 12 feet of annual precipitation, the giant trees in this rain forest are some of the most spectacular examples of old growth temperate rain forests in the world. The trees here can grow to be up to 300 feet tall.  We hiked two trails, the Hall of Mosses which led us through an old growth temperate rain forest where the maple trees were draped with moss,

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and the Spruce Trail which led us down to the Hoh River. 20140619_124921 20140619_124735 20140619_124720 The Hoh River is 50 miles long and begins high on glacier capped Mount Olympus and descends 7000 feet to the Pacific Ocean as it is fed by snowmelt and rain along the way.  Hoh is a Native American term meaning “fast moving water”.  Members of the Hoh Indian tribe still lives in the area.  In fact Washington state has more major cities with Native American names than any other state.

We finished the day be doing several geocaches.  20140619_142946







Additional facts about Olympic National Park:

  • 60 named glaciers and many many more small ones
  • 650 archeological sites
  • 130 historical structures
  • 3,000 miles of rivers and streams
  • Butterflies are found in almost all areas of the park with some unique to this area

June 12, 2014 Ilwaco, Washington

We awoke to the sound of showers which is becoming a more frequent occurrence in this part of the Pacific Northwest.  We prefer not to pack and move in the rain, but you do what you have to do on move day.  It was not a steady rain but intermittent showers, so it could have been worse.

This was an especially exciting day because we were finishing our time in Oregon and entering Washington, the Evergreen state.  We passed through Oregon rather quickly in our quest to finish our travels before the cold weather returns in October.  We will continue our travels in central and eastern Oregon in the coming weeks and months, as we return south.

We traveled up Highway 101, also known as the Pacific Coast Byway.  The two lane road became more and more winding as we headed north, with farmland and cattle along the roadside.  We passed through many small villages advertising upcoming chainsaw sculpting contests and rodeos coming to town.  We saw a small lumberman museum but didn’t take the time to stop.  I suffer from motion sickness which doesn’t usually affect me in the RV, but for some reason this road made me feel very nauseous and we had to pull over while I took some Dramamine and waited for my stomach to settle.

We reached the large port town of Astoria, the northernmost Oregon city on Highway 101.  Astoria, the oldest settlement west of the Rockies, dates back to the winter of 1805-1806 when the Lewis and Clark Expedition made camp at nearby Fort Clatsop.  We crossed the four mile long Astoria-Megler Bridge which joins Oregon and Washington and is the longest continuous three-span, through truss bridge in the world.  When it was finished in 1966 it completed Highway 101 and made it an unbroken link between Canada and Mexico.  The Welcome to Washington sign is located about two thirds of the way across the bridge.

We arrived at our destination, Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco, Washington.  Ilwaco is a small fishing village near the mouth of the Columbia River.  This area was named Cape Disappointment by John Meares who was trying to find the mighty Columbia River. After a storm he turned his ship around just north of the cape without finding the Columbia and therefore named the area Cape Disappointment.  The area is far from a disappointment with its stunning ocean views and unspoiled beaches.

IMG_0767 We had a great campsite and certainly enjoyed staying in the park, even though we could not get cell phone service or satellite TV in the park.  It was amazing camping at the location where the Corps of Discovery had their first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.  Our campground was located in the Cape Disappointment State Park which is also part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

The park had a nearby Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and after settling in we stopped by for a visit.  It was a pretty steep walk from the parking lot but we were rewarded with beautiful views as the Center sits on a cliff with views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. IMG_0771

The Center was built here because it was also the site of Fort Canby established in 1875 to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from enemies.  The fort continued to be improved until after World War II and there are still gun batteries visible in what remains of the fort.  At the Interpretive Center we were greeted by enthusiastic, friendly volunteers and enjoyed touring the Center and seeing the movie there.


Since the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park is located in both Oregon and Washington, the next day we drove back across the bridge to Fort Clatsop in Oregon. This is where Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery ended their 4,000 mile westward journey.

Here they built a fort and

IMG_0751rested during the winter of 1805 and 1806 before their journey home.  At Fort Clatsop the Park Service has a replica of the fort as well and an interpretive center and exhibit hall

IMG_0761with an excellent movie and many interesting exhibits about their journey.   It just so happened that the day we visited was Flag Day and they had a special flag ceremony down at the fort. IMG_0757 IMG_0759 Ranger Larry gave a dramatic retelling of how Francis Scott Key, after watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, wrote the poem “The Defence of Fort M’Henry” after which part of the lyrics later became our national anthem.  We then all sang “The Star Spangled Banner” together which was a very moving experience.  Ranger Larry pointed out that without Jefferson’s vision and the bravery of the Corps of Discovery led by Lewis and Clark, we would very likely have been standing on land owned by British Columbia rather than the United States.

While in Astoria we also rode on the historic Riverfront Trolley, a restored 1913 trolley that runs 4 miles along the Columbia River.

IMG_0762 For the big sum of $1 each we got to ride the trolley and listen as the conductor gave us information about the history and attractions in the area.

We also learned that the movie “The Goonies” was filmed in Astoria as well as “Kindergarten Cop”.  The conductor pointed out the elementary school used in the film.


Some thoughts:

In the Eastern U.S. signs say “Hurricane Evacuation Route”.  In the Pacific Northwest the signs say “Tsunami Evacuation Route”.

In the Pacific Northwest a sign that says “Slide Area” can mean the hillside and rocks are sliding OR the road is sliding.  We saw a road that had slid off the side in our travels.

June 8, 2014 Lincoln City, Oregon

Today we left Yachats and headed north to our last stop in Oregon, Lincoln City, population 8,000. Lincoln City is on the 45th parallel.  IMG_0715 It is hard to believe our time in beautiful Oregon is almost over, but we will pass back through central Oregon on our way back south in late summer.

When we arrived we sat down and looked over lists of possible activities and came up with three full days of plans.  There are so many activities to choose from and it is sometimes very hard to narrow it down to a short time frame.

As might be expected the town of Lincoln City has a statue of Abraham Lincoln,20140611_111040 20140611_111011 where he is sitting on a horse and reading a book.  We found a geocache near the statue and also learned that Abraham Lincoln was offered the governorship of Oregon in 1849 but declined the offer.

Our first full day we drove an hour east to McMinnville to visit the Evergreen Air and Space Museum.  This museum is nestled amid lush vineyards, in fact there are over 300 wineries within a short drive of this area. IMG_0678 The museum is made up of four buildings; an Aviation Museum with the history of flight starting with the Wright Brothers; a Theater where they show various 3D movies; a Space Musuem, and a Waterpark.


The main reason we came to this museum was to see Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, an aircraft designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company for use during WW2. IMG_0696 Due to a shortage of aluminium the aircraft was made entirely of wood, not spruce as the name implies, but mainly birch.  It is the largest flying boat ever built and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history.  It was not completed before the end of the war and was only flown once, as proof by Hughes that it would fly, thus in his eyes vindicating the use of government funds to build the plane.  A full time crew of 300 maintained the plane in flying condition in a climate controlled hangar until Hughes’ death in 1971.  The plane had several owners and homes before ending up here at this museum.

They had a model Spruce Goose with a fake Howard Hughes at the wheel,IMG_0682 as well as the real Spruce Goose.

IMG_0702 IMG_0707We were able to go onboard the aircraft though the areas we were allowed to enter inside the plane were very limited.

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The Space Museum also had displays on the Space Age including a space shuttle and a simulator where we “launched” a rocket and felt the rumble of the engines.

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They also had many helicopters, a SR-71 Blackbird spy plane and Soviet MiGs, as well as an extensive firearms collection.




In the theater we watched a fascinating 3D movie on the invasion of Normandy at the end of WW2.   IMG_0680

We finished the day with a geocache on the museum grounds and Bill was very happy to find a tribute to Boy Scouts of America there.  The son of the museum’s owner was an Eagle Scout.  IMG_0713










The next day we hiked the Drift Creek Falls Trail.  We had to drive an hour each way to get there, some of which was on a winding one lane road in the forest.  We had read about this trail and was eager to hike it because of the 240 foot suspension bridge one hundred feet over the canyon, IMG_0719 IMG_0732 IMG_0730 IMG_0722
















and the 75 foot waterfall.








It was a relatively easy hikeIMG_0717 but with the elevation drop usually associated with waterfalls.  The only problem with a waterfall hike is it is all downhill one way and uphill coming back.





Also while in the Lincoln City area we drove down to Cape Foulweather which was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1778.  The weather was particularly stormy the day Cook arrived with winds of 100 MPH which at the cape are not unusual, so he named the area Cape Foulweather.  This area is the first geographic location named on his voyage to the north Pacific coast.  Captain Cook’s accounts of this voyage were published and aroused world wide interest which was followed by the fur trade. The views here are stunning.  IMG_0740





There are many geological novelties in this area which drew our interest including the Devil’s Punchbowl which at high tide looks like a large bowl of punch with the water swirling inside.  IMG_0748






We passed through the charming little town of Depoe Bay which has the distinction of having the world’s smallest harbor.  The bridge in the picture, built in 1927, was used in the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.  IMG_0735







Oregon Facts:

1. There are dozens of ghost towns in Oregon.

2. In 2012 there were 905 vineyards planted on 25,440 acres in Oregon.


June 6, 2014 Yachats, Oregon

Today we left Bandon and continued north, stopping along the way for groceries and fuel in Coos Bay, the largest city on the Oregon coast.  We passed the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, where the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America is located.  Some of the dunes tower up to 500 feet above sea level and this is a popular area for off road vehicles.  The dunes are the result of millions of years of wind and rain erosion along the Oregon coast.  The science fiction novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert was inspired by these dunes.

Two and a half hours later we arrived at our next destination, Yachats, population 700.  This little village is cradled between the lush forested mountains and the dramatic Pacific coast.  We stayed at Tillicum Beach Campground in the Siuslaw National Forest which didn’t seem much like a forest at all with our beautiful view of the Pacific out our front window.

With only a two night stay here we had to make the most of our time.  After arriving and setting up we walked on the beach even though it was very windy and rather chilly.

The next day we went seven miles south to the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area in the Siuslaw National Forest to do some hiking, sightseeing and geocaching.  We drove to the Cape Perpetua Headland which at 800 feet is the highest point accessible by car on the Oregon coast.  It was a fairly clear day and it was beautiful with views extending 37 miles out to sea and along 70 miles of coastline. IMG_0671 Captain James Cook first sighted the headland in 1778 and named it after Saint Perpetua.




In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt formed the Civilian Conservation Corps and Cape Perpetua was a base camp.  The CCC’s built a stone structure which we were able to stand in at the overlook.

IMG_0675 IMG_0673 In fact they chose to built this structure here because of the magnificent views.  The stone structure served as a lookout for enemy ships and planes during WWII.

We enjoyed the Visitors Center with their friendly and knowledgable staff and viewed a couple movies there on the area.  One movie showed how the area had changed over the past 100 years and was especially interesting.

Oregon Facts:

1. Oregon produces nearly 100% of the nation’s blackberries, black raspberries and boysenberries.  Oregon grew more than 70 million pounds of blueberries in 2013.

2. About 99% of the U.S. hazelnuts are grown in Oregon.

3.  The Oregon state fruit is the pear.




June 2, 2014 Bandon, Oregon

We awoke to a cloudy, foggy morning which is not a welcome sight for a travel day, but after we traveled about ten miles farther north the fog dissipated, the sun came out and the sky began to turn a beautiful blue.  We continued up the Oregon coast on U.S. 101 also called  “The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway” to Bandon, population 3,100. IMG_0614





Another quaint seaside town, its major export is cranberries, with numerous cranberry bogs north and south of town. IMG_0615 IMG_0616 Bandon is known as the “Cranberry Capital of Oregon”.  There is an Ocean Spray plant in Bandon  that receives, cleans and ships from 300,000 to 400,000 pounds of cranberries per day during the peak of the harvest season which is September through November.   One interesting tidbit is that when some of the workers work in the bogs they walk on stilts to keep from crushing the berries.  The whole process of planting to harvesting is quite fascinating but too detailed to go into on the blog.




The beaches here are very popular with rockhounds since they are strewn with agates, jasper and other semiprecious stones.  In recent years shifting sands have revealed the remains of sunken ships.  More than 100 ships, including a 1918 steamship, have shipwrecked in this area.  In fact this area is known as the “Storm Watching Capital of the World” because the beaches with their seastacks, spiers and amazing rock formations become natural theaters with wind, sometimes at hurricane force speed, hurtling sprays of water upon the rocks and shore, sometimes 200 yards straight up.  We could see the power of the ocean with the huge amount of driftwood that lay on the beaches.  We read an article where a woman described how people go to the beach and build forts and structures out of the driftwood to be enjoyed during the spring, summer and fall, knowing it will all be destroyed by the winter storms.

While in Bandon we stayed at Bullards Beach State Park, another beautiful Oregon state park.  We only had three full days in Bandon so we scrambled to make good use of our time.  The first day we explored Bandon starting with the scenic Beach Loop Drive which took us to several beautiful vistas. IMG_0628 IMG_0636 IMG_0619 IMG_0634





















Our favorite was Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint where you can see a woman’s face in the shape of the rock.  There is even a legend to go with Face Rock which was first told by Old Indian Mary, a member of the Coquille Native American tribe.  Legend has it that Seatka, an evil spirit of the ocean, caused all the storms that blew up and down the coast.  If Seatka could cause a person to gaze into his eyes, he would possess their soul forever.  Chief Siskiyou and his tribe came to the ocean to feast on the great quantities of seafood.  His daughter, Princess Ewauna, failed to heed her father’s warning to stay away from the sea.  Seatka captured her and carried her away.  She turned her face away so he would not possess her soul and she turned to rock, with her face forever turned northward toward the moon.  If you look closely at the picture you can see her face turned with her hair to the left and her nose and mouth visible to the right.

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Speaking of Native American legends, we stopped by the Bandon Chamber of Commerce to get information to plan activities during our stay.  We mentioned reading that the town had almost been destroyed twice by fire, once in 1914 and 1936.  The second fire in 1936 devastated the town, destroying the entire business district and most of the residences.  They do not know how the fires started, but the surrounding shrubs, dead leaves and trees quickly fueled the fire.  The people headed to the nearby beaches to escape the fire, with some people burying themselves in the sand to escape the flames.  Legend has it when the white men took the land from the Native Americans, they put a curse on the town and that is why the town has almost been destroyed twice.

Bill enjoyed a great lunch of fish and chips at the Bandon Fish Market and we later stopped by a little mom and pop bakery for a delicious apple turnover and Bill bought a cinnamon bun for the next day’s breakfast.  The bakery is owned by a sweet elderly couple who still use the old fashioned cash registers and is a cash only business.  It is always nice to support the small businesses, but in Bandon everything is a small business!

We ended the day by driving down to the historic Coquille River Lighthouse located in the state park where we are camping.  The lighthouse was built by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1896 and operated until 1939.  Today it is open for tours.  IMG_0631






The next day we headed inland to run an errand.  It was our first chance to see the farmland with many cattle grazing in the fields.  The evidence of timber harvesting was evident in the mountains and on the land.  We saw a couple large lumber mills and at one point we came to a river where there were many logs floating in the water. IMG_0639 IMG_0640 Since we have been in Northern Calfornia and Oregon we have seen many logging trucks on CA 1 and U.S. 101.  They were especially unpleasant to pass on the narrow winding roads of CA 1.









In the afternoon we headed to Cape Arago State Park where we stopped at a couple vistas.  At one pullout there was a volunteer with a telescope and binoculars where we could see many harbor seals on the rocks in the distance.  IMG_0643 IMG_0642 IMG_0641They were making quite a racket out there on the rocks as they jockeyed for space.






The volunteer also pointed out a small fishing boat from Japan that washed up on the beach a couple days ago and was identified as being from the 2011 Japanese tsumani.  It is hard to believe the boat has been adrift on the water for three years!  He said they went down and inspected the boat and determined it was from Japan and said they will probably leave the boat there due to the difficulty of getting it out of that location.  Bill used his camera to get a close up but in the other picture you can see how far down the cliff the boat is located in a small cove.

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Our last day in the area we drove south to Port Orford Heads State Park.  There is also a Lifeboat Station built by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1934 which is now a museum.  Orford is geographically the westernmost incorporated city in the contiguous United States.  There are a couple places in Washington state that may argue with that statement, but hey, that is what the tour book says and I guess it qualifies because it is an “incorporated city”!  Regardless, this area is beautiful beyond words.  We picked up a couple geocaches on some hikes along the coastline IMG_0654






where we also saw more seals, IMG_0655 IMG_0658










and headed to Cape Blanco State Park where the Cape Blanco Lighthouse is said to be the most western point in Oregon.  This is still an operational lighthouse at since was built in 1870 it is the oldest operating lighthouse in Oregon.

IMG_0660 It is 256 feet high and can be seen for more than twenty miles out to sea.  The day was very windy and we felt as if the wind was going to blow us over the cliffside!  In fact our entire time on the Oregon coast has been cool and very windy.  We expected some rain which we have not had, but the wind and very cool temperatures have been a surprise.




Oregon Facts:

  • There are 16 known hot springs in Oregon
  • There are 11 lighthouses and one light ship along the Oregon coast.
  • Oregon is home to 9 federally recognized Native American tribes.

People sometimes ask us how we could leave behind our stick and brick house and live in an RV full time and travel the country as nomads; this quote we came across helps to explain:

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.