Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Visiting Family and Sightseeing in Seattle

We are currently spending a week at the Thunderbird Thousand Trails Resort in Monroe, Washington.  We're about 25 miles from Seattle, but close enough to go into the city for a visit.

We have visited Seattle before, but we thought we would make a trip down to Pike Place Market.

  It was a beautiful clear day.

We have to have a picture of the colorful flowers in the market that can be had for great prices!

One of the many ferries that cruise the waters around here was carrying passengers across the water.

This is the Gum Wall. Since 1993, people have been sticking their gum on the brick walls down an alley by the market.  Once you get over the grossness, it's pretty fascinating to look at.

And of course, we went by the first Starbucks.  The line was out the door to get coffee, so we didn't stop.

Snoqualmie Falls is nearby where we are staying so we took the short drive out there to visit this historic falls.  There is a 268 foot drop and that's the Salish Lodge overlooking it.

Jim's mother grew up in Seattle and most of the family still live here.  We have enjoyed dinners with his  cousins.  It is always so much fun to reconnect after many years!

I had heard about the little town of Leavenworth and Sunday we headed in that direction.  We were originally going to hike to the falls in Wallace Falls State Park, but couldn't find a parking place.  We just continued driving and made it to the cute little "Bavarian village."

The town is in a picturesque setting in the middle of the Cascade Mountains.

We spent a few hours wandering through the town and visiting the art show that was taking place in the town square.

There was even some local music to entertain.

The flowers around the town were breathtaking.

It's been a fun week, but time to move on to our next stop.  We're just going a little over 60 miles to our northernmost stop before we turn south.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

We have been hanging out at the Thousand Trails Oceana Resort in Ocean Shores, Washington.  We have had some sunny days and have enjoyed walking down to the beach.

We made the journey to Olympic National Park and took the hike through the rain forest  by Lake Quinault admiring the lush vegetation.

We spent awhile at the Lake Quinault Lodge.  Who wouldn't want to sit and admire this view?  We could not believe the hydrangeas that were growing wild along the road.

One of the park rangers recommended we see Ruby Beach.  It was beautiful!  Washington beaches have it all, forests, sand and water along with massive rocks coming out of the ocean.

On the log below are lots of little cairns people have built.  When we first walked up to the beach and looked down, I saw the log and thought there were birds lined up on it.  As we got closer and examined it, we realized they were little cairns all along the log.

We also had some beautiful sunsets over the water!

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Ocean Shores!

Next stop, Thunderbird Thousand Trails near Seattle.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Seaside, Oregon

We arrived safely in Seaside, Oregon last week and then got so busy having fun, I just didn't have time to post. :)

 We stayed at the Seaside Thousand Trails which was one of the nicest parks we have stayed at in the Thousand Trails system.

Over the weekend, the 32nd annual Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament was held.  It is the largest amateur beach volleyball tournament in the world. There were over a thousand teams entered with over 100 nets with simultaneous games. It was pretty amazing to watch.

One day we went to visit the Cape Meares Lighthouse just south of Tillamook Bay.  It was first lit in 1890 and is 38 feet tall, making it one of the shortest lighthouses on the Oregon coast.  

It was a cloudy day when we visited, but the views were still pretty spectacular.

Cape Meares is also a National Wildlife Refuge and is the nesting site for a large population of the Common Murre.  I was able to zoom up to the island where they were nesting.

We also stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory to sample cheese and ice cream.  Yum! We passed the fields with the "Tillamook" cows and were also able to watch the big blocks of cheese being reduced to the commercial store size packages.

One day when we were missing the sun, we drove inland to pick blueberries and then stopped at the Camp 18 Restaurant.  We enjoyed our meal in the log cabin dining room.  We also spent some time looking at the wood sculptures inside and out.

We did have one day that we woke up to sunshine and blue skies and they stayed that way to sunset.  That hasn't happened very often in the last five weeks we have been on the northern coastline.  We made the best of it.  Our friends Matt and Michelle came over for lunch and we went out to Eola State Park to see Cannon Beach and the Tillamook Lighthouse nicknamed "Terrible Tillie" due to the erratic weather conditions and the dangerous commute for both the keepers and the suppliers.

The little coastal town of Astoria is about twenty miles north of seaside.  We spent a day exploring the sights there.  Fort Clatsop National Historic Site is not too far from town.  It was the winter headquarters for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  There was an excellent movie at the Visitor's Center as well as a docent who explained life at the fort.  It was all extremely interesting.

After exploring Fort Clatsop, we drove to the Astoria Column sitting 600 feet above sea level on Coxcomb Hill.  It was completed in 1926 and is 125 feet high.  There is a spiral staircase with 164 steps  that you can climb to the top and see some incredible views.

 We wished we could stay longer at Seaside, but it is a very popular resort and was all booked up until after Labor Day.  We'll head to our next stop on the Washington coastline.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Eureka! We Have Left It!

After three weeks in the town of Eureka, California, our axles and air bag have been successfully replaced along with two new tires and it is time to continue our journey!  We received great care, but we are really ready to move on.

It's amazing the little things you take for granted.  Our first night out, we couldn't believe how quiet it was after spending the last three weeks parked right next to US Highway 101.  The other thing was the ability to finally be on 50amps instead of 15.  I had gotten in such a habit of using one item at a time, I had almost forgotten I could run the coffee maker and the microwave at the same time.  :)

The other day we visited Shelter Cove, a little town on the Lost Coast Highway.

It was another grey and cool day.

We did visit the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse which was built in 1868 and moved here in 1998. We spent quite some time talking with the docent there.

We went to the seashore right below the lighthouse to Seal Island.  Yes, there are lots of seals laying on the rocks.  You can see them if you look close.

They were all over on the rocks perfectly content taking their afternoon naps.

This one was balancing on top of the rock looking like the king of the mountain.

We also went to the Loleta Cheese Factory where you could sample all of their cheeses.  They had some unique flavors.  We left with several of them.

As we were traveling today, we hit what I thought was a patch of fog.  As we drove a little further, I realized it was smoke.  It was thick as fog for about 40 miles.  There are some big fires going on in Oregon.  This was near Grants Pass.

So, hopefully, tomorrow we will be on the upper Oregon coast.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sightseeing in Eureka

Well, we are beginning week 3 here in Eureka and are still awaiting our parts.  They are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, but then work won't begin until Monday.  Hopefully, things will work out and we might be able to leave next week.  We are getting a little stir crazy stuck in the dealership parking lot.

We have been making the best of out time sightseeing around the area.

We took a cruise around Humboldt Bay on the Madaket.  This boat is 120 years old and was used as a ferry around Humboldt Bay.  

We are enjoying the cool temperatures.  It is usually around 58 when we get up in the morning and the highs are usually in the high 60's.  We're not getting a whole lot of sympathy from family and friends in Texas right now. :)

During the cruise we passed this Great Blue Heron in its breeding plumage.

Next was part of Samoa Island that one of the original settlers had built up for a dairy farm.

However, it was also a rookery for Great White Egrets and that is what it is today.

Lumber is this town's main revenue and this is a conveyer built for wood chips. The chips are blown into tankers.

We also saw these Brown Pelicans flying close to the water

and this Cormorant drying its feathers.  

We also passed this gigantic stack of logs that we were told are bound for China.

Table Bluff Lighthouse stands over the bay.

This is the Fisherman Statue that honors those "whom the sea sustained...and those it claimed." It was dedicated in 1981.

Downtown Eureka also has many charming Victorian buildings.

We liked this shop's name as well as the planter of flowers out front.

This is the Carson Mansion built in 1885 by a lumberman who wanted to keep his men busy during slow times.  It was built at a cost of $80,0000.  Today it is an exclusive club and unless you are a member you cannot go inside.

Across the street is The Pink Lady which was also built by William Carson for his son and new wife.

We have also discovered Samoa Cookhouse.  After driving the causeway across Humboldt Bay, we came to this big, red building built in 1893.  It is the last surviving lumber camp-style cookhouse in the West. 

Inside, there is a lumberjack museum that's pretty interesting.

Once seated, food is brought to you family style.  There are no choices.  Everyone is served the same meal.  The night we went the meal included vegetable soup, salad, fried chicken breast, roast beef and carrots, baked potato, homemade bread, and all of that was topped with a peach cake for dessert. It was really good and a unique dining experience.

We still have some more places to see, so stay tuned.