Monthly Archives: May 2018

Seaside, Oregon May 20, 2018

After four days of heavy clouds and cool temperatures, we left Pacific City and headed further north up the coast to Seaside, Oregon (pop 6,500).  Seaside first welcomed vacationers in 1850 and is Oregon’s oldest ocean resort community. IMG_20180521_202928

We arrived at our campground for a fourteen day stay and finally saw sun in the afternoon! We have found that it is usually cloudy in the mornings and clears up by noon. IMG_20180528_145425IMG_20180521_205002

Seaside is a charming beach community.  Can you find Bill in this picture? IMG_20180528_160129IMG_20180528_155956a

Seaside has a promenade nicknamed “The Prom”, a 1.8 mile concrete walking path that parallels the Pacific Ocean. There is a statue there of Lewis and Clark and Lewis’ dog Seaman. This area of Oregon was the final destination of Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery after their 1804-1806 westward journey.  They wintered at nearby Fort Clatsop and during that time several of the men came to Seaside to build a salt cairn to boil water from the ocean and remove salt which they used to flavor and preserve meat. IMG_20180521_202800IMG_20180521_202855

One day we drove north to nearby Warrenton to get together with an amateur radio group for brunch. It is always nice to meet other amateur radio enthusiasts around the country and learn firsthand about their community.  If you want to know the best places to eat, shop or visit, just ask a local. On the way home we stopped by Fort Stevens State Park in Hammond. Fort Stevens was named for Territorial Governor Stevens, constructed during the Civil War and remained active until shortly after World War II. The Fort guarded the mouth of the Columbia River from Confederate gunboats during the Civil War and included eight concrete gun batteries. The post later was Oregon’s only coastal defense fort during the Spanish-American War and both World Wars.  IMG_20180522_134836IMG_20180522_161957IMG_20180522_162250

The fort is the only military fort in the United States since the War of 1812 to be fired upon by an enemy during time of war when it was attacked by a Japanese submarine on June 21, 1942. IMG_20180522_133431

We enjoyed taking the self guided walking tour of the Fort and found several geocaches as well as nice views of the Columbia River. On the other side of the park was the Pacific Ocean with the Wreck of the Peter Iredale. This shipwreck was a ship which ran ashore in 1906 and is one of the most accessible shipwrecks of the “Graveyard of the Pacific”. IMG_20180522_171421

A geocache led us to this historical marker, the site of a Japanese shell explosion that was one of seventeen fired in June, 1942. IMG_20180522_173425

On Memorial Day we spent the day exploring Cannon Beach south of Seaside. The picturesque town is named after a cannon that washed up on the beach in 1846.  As expected on a holiday the beach was crowded. IMG_20180528_114646-EFFECTSIMG_20180528_115010

We especially enjoyed seeing the famous Haystack Rock and “Terrible Tilly”, the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. IMG_20180528_124525-EFFECTSIMG_20180528_125349

Built in 1881 because ships needed guidance to get around Tillamook Head, the lighthouse is located a mile offshore.  The conditions there were so physically and mentally grueling that light keepers were assigned shorter rotations than other light keepers. After 77 years the lighthouse lights were turned off for good and today it is not open to the public. It looks rather lonely out there by itself.

While in Seaside we had our teeth cleaned.  We were very pleased with the dentist and his friendly staff.  Our dentist was very thorough in his exam and drove a pickup truck with a surfboard in the back!  Fun!

One of our main reasons for visiting Seaside was so Bill could attend the largest amateur radio convention in the northwest.  It was conveniently located right in Seaside at the Seaside Convention Center. IMG_20180602_122028IMG_20180603_130428

Seaside may be small but they have learned how to take full advantage of their beautiful location.  In the days before the convention Bill volunteered to help with pre-convention set up. He really enjoyed attending seminars and talking with other radio enthusiasts.

He had already met members of the local Seaside amateur radio club and twice met them for breakfast at a local restaurant.  Friday evening we attended their spaghetti dinner fundraiser. Bill won a big box of salt water taffy which was great since we had talked about buying some at one of the beachside shops. Since we had just had our teeth cleaned we each ate a couple pieces and gave the rest away!

We had a great two weeks in Seaside and the days flew by.  The weather was for the most part sunny but still very cool with lows in the upper forties and daytime highs in the upper fifties to low sixties.  Such is the late spring weather along the Oregon coast. IMG_20180521_202951-EFFECTSIMG_20180521_204810

Next stop will be in Washington state.

Pacific City, Oregon May 16, 2018

We left Salem and headed west toward the Oregon coast on narrow, winding two lane roads for most of the two hour drive. We drove through the Siuslaw National Forest including 5 one lane bridges.

We arrived at our campground in Pacific City (pop 1,035) and found a nice site for a four night stay. We couldn’t see or hear the waves but we were within walking distance of the beach and the campground provided a nice walking trail to the beach. IMG_1851IMG_1855

We saw signs throughout the campground warning of bear activity but never saw any, just several adorable bunnies. 20180517_142331IMG_20180518_105943

They must be used to people because they were totally unafraid of us taking pictures but we respected the fact they were not pets and didn’t get too close.


With the hope that the weather would improve the next day we stayed home for the first day and I did laundry. The better weather advertised by the Weather Channel never materialized and as you can see by the pictures the weather was cloudy, windy and chilly during our entire stay with heavy cloud and fog cover. With only two days left to explore, we had to ignore the weather, bundle up and set off exploring this part of the Oregon coast. IMG_1775IMG_1778IMG_1780

We had a long list of things to see so we headed north up the coast. Sometimes the road took us right along the coast and sometimes we were more inland. Not to whine, sometimes we would stop at an ocean overlook and I would just imagine how beautiful this would look on a bright, sunny day. IMG_20180516_143634IMG_1787IMG_1792IMG_1840IMG_1843

We did lots of hiking and geocaching both days. We loved seeing the huge rocks in the ocean, so typical of the Pacific Coast. We especially liked the rocks with windows and arches eroded from the waves and wind. IMG_1796

You can see that even though the population in these coastal cities is small, they appear congested as people want to build houses close to the water. Who wouldn’t with those amazing views! IMG_20180518_155151

We drove past the Tillamook Cheese Factory where they give tours to more than 1.3 million people a year but didn’t take the time to stop. We did purchase some Tillamook ice cream at the local Safeway which was really really good.

Highlights of our two drives were:

  • The Octopus Tree which measures 46 feet in diameter and has no central trunk. Instead the limbs extend horizontally from the base as much as 16 feet before turning upward. It is 105 feet tall and is estimated to be 250 to 300 years old. The cause for the octopus shape is still being debated. Was it caused by natural forces or by Native Americans. What do you think? 20180518_162638IMG_1789
  • This Big Spruce, a Sitka spruce, was designated the state champion in 2008 for being the largest of the species in Oregon. It is 144 feet tall, 48 feet in circumference, fifteen and a half feet in diameter and is estimated to be an amazing 750 to 800 years old! IMG_20180518_172817
  • The Cape Meares Lighthouse which was lit in 1890 and at 38 feet is the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast. The light beam is an alternating red and white light as it turns which distinguishes it from other lighthouses. 20180518_164356
  • While at the lighthouse we saw a mother whale and her calf playing in the water for quite awhile, a real highlight for us! IMG_1808IMG_1810 The above picture is an animated collage of the two whales.
  • Munson Falls, which at 319 feet is the highest on the Oregon coast. IMG_1848

Over the two days we loved our hikes through the forest with the tree limbs covered in moss giving the area a very eerie feeling. IMG_1846

As we drove along the Three Capes Scenic Loop we found geocaches overlooking the ocean along with views of kayakers on waterways where sand spits separated the ocean from the bays. IMG_20180519_144702

Of particular note is the Tillamook Bay, an “estuary of national significance”, one of only twenty in the country. Five rivers flow into the bay which then mixes with the salty waters of the Pacific. IMG_1782

Bill was happy to find a geocache at the entrance to a Boy Scout Camp called Camp Meriwether and Camp Clark. IMG_20180519_124823

Another geocache took us to the marker for Captain Robert Gray, the first American to circumnavigate the globe. IMG_1784

The area is known for fresh delicious seafood and Bill had a delicious halibut lunch at a small food truck along the water.

As you can see cars are allowed to drive on the beach. At one county park we found the dunes crowded with ATV vehicles. IMG_20180516_144647IMG_20180519_132433

Despite the weather we enjoyed our time along the section of the Oregon coast.

Next stop:  Seaside, Oregon for hopefully sunny weather

Salem, Oregon May 9, 2018

After leaving Grants Pass our initial plan was to spend four nights in Eugene and three nights in Salem.  The day before our departure we decided to skip Eugene and go straight to Salem, the state capital. It made for a longer than usual travel day but the idea of spending nine nights in one spot without having to move really appealed to us. One of the great things about not having reservations is the ability to change plans at the last minute which we have done several times already this year.

We pulled into the Salem Elks Lodge and were directed into a long full hookup site.  Really nice. Along with sightseeing, the long stay gave us a chance to get labwork done, order several things we needed through Amazon, make some dental appointments and do some planning, cleaning and maintenance on the RV. Somehow we managed to get a chip in the RV windshield so one day we had Safelite come out and repair the chip.

On Friday we drove three miles to the Oregon state capitol building to continue our goal of visiting all the state capitol buildings in the country. We were given a tour by an excellent tour guide. The building was constructed from 1936-1938 and is the third capitol building after the first two were both destroyed by fire. It is an example of Modernistic architecture and looks very different from most state capitol which are usually modeled after the U. S. capitol. Only four other states have Art Deco state capitols – – Alaska, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Dakota. The base is granite and on top is the 23 foot bronze statue gilded in gold leaf of a pioneer. IMG_20180511_131850IMG_20180511_132000IMG_20180511_132028

The pioneer faces north and looks west. IMG_20180511_142730IMG_20180511_142801

Inside the capitol building is a dome with 33 stars painted on the ceiling to recognize that Oregon was the 33rd state admitted to the Union in 1859 after first becoming a territory in 1848. IMG_20180511_132902

The paintings and sculptures in the capitol focused on Euro-European settlement. 


Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with Party at Celilo Falls on their way to the Pacific, 1805


We visited the Senate and House Galleries where around the top of both rooms are the names of 158 people significant to the history of Oregon including Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacajawea, Washington Irving, John Quincy Adams, and James Polk. IMG_20180511_141019IMG_20180511_134807IMG_20180511_141010

In 1843 the people of Oregon territory drew a line in the dirt and the frontiersmen stepped on one side or the other. One side was to remain British and the other to become part of the United States. We know which side won and the concept of a government with open democratic voting began in Oregon.

The Oregon state seal has 33 stars, an eagle with an olive branch and arrows symbolizing peace through strength. Two ships, one American arriving and one British ship leaving symbolize Oregon becoming part of the United States. Oregon’s economy is symbolized with timber, grain, pickax and plow. The covered wagon symbolizes pioneers on the Oregon Trail and the mountains and elk represent Oregon’s natural environment. The state seal is somewhat in the shape of a heart because it became a state on February 14, 1859.  One of the trees growing on the capitol grounds came from a seedling which went to the moon and back! IMG_20180511_140121

We found time to do some geocaching, including finding some very unusual ones! 20180513_140229IMG_20180513_153604

The trees, bushes and flowers in Oregon are just beautiful this time of year. 20180511_131837

We passed several fields of red clover as well as Christmas tree farms. 20180513_141509IMG_20180514_142854

Toward the end of our stay in Salem we drove thirty miles east to Silver Falls State Park, the largest state park in Oregon. It became a state park in 1935 and we enjoyed the trails thanks to the work of 200 CCC workers and skilled workers of the Works Projects Administration. IMG_20180514_142959IMG_20180514_110846We spent the day hiking to several beautiful waterfalls, enjoying the lush environment which included moss covered trees. Two trails even took us behind the waterfalls for a unique view.  We hope to return someday for more hiking.

We visited the South Falls first at 177 feet tall. IMG_20180514_114654IMG_20180514_114926IMG_20180514_115313IMG_20180514_115503IMG_20180514_115705IMG_20180514_123345

The Upper North falls is 65 feet. IMG_20180514_131140IMG_20180514_131809IMG_20180514_135950

We had time for only one more of the ten waterfalls – North Falls at 136 feet. IMG_20180514_133412IMG_20180514_133936IMG_20180514_134400IMG_20180514_135215IMG_20180514_133915IMG_20180514_140410

Next up we head west to spend some time along the Oregon coast.

Below is a link to a waterfall video we made, enjoy the sound of the falling water.

Grants Pass, Oregon May 4, 2018

After saying farewell to beautiful Mount Shasta, we headed north towards Oregon. 20180504_105430

We passed over Siskiyou Summit which at 4,310 feet is the highest point on Interstate 5 in the United States. Immediately everything was greener and just gorgeous. 20180504_11161520180504_114359
We arrived in Grants Pass, Oregon, population 34,500. Located along the Rogue River, the town was named after General Ulysses S. Grant. IMG_20180505_143148

The town’s motto is “It’s The Climate”, a reference to this region’s Goldilocks climate: not too hot, not too cold but just rightIMG_20180504_154217

I loved the huge lilac bushes around town as well as the gorgeous white and pink dogwood trees which reminded me of my home state of Virginia. The dogwood is Virginia’s state tree and state flower so Grants Pass reminded me so much of home. 20180504_150810IMG_20180506_140719
While in Grants Pass for three nights we did a lot of geocaching around the town, including one found at the site of the town mascot, a caveman.
One day we drove to Valley of the Rogue State Park for some hiking and geocaching. IMG_20180505_143222


This Mural was found in the city of Rogue River

This bridge crosses the Rogue River where a ferry once ran. IMG_20180506_143616
Next stop: Salem, Oregon