Monthly Archives: November 2014

Klamath Falls, Oregon and Redding, California, Oct 13 – 14, 2014

Another first for us…camping in a county fairgrounds. We were only going to stay one night and the fairgrounds looked like a decent place; full hook ups for $20. That’s pretty good. There were only two rigs parked there and we were one of them. It was located in a pretty seedy part of Klamath Falls and the girl at the check in office said not to walk around. We weren’t going to anyhow. We made dinner and watched a little TV, then went to bed. Next morning we headed further south to Redding to spend the night and see a friend.

Klamath Falls County Fairgrounds - a first!

Klamath Falls County Fairgrounds – a first!

Driving by Klamath Lake was very disturbing. If you want to drive the California draught home, just drive by one of our water reservoirs, like Klamath Lake. This large, beautiful lake is a small puddle, seriously…a puddle. Folsom Lake is the same way. These lakes were formed when dams were built on rivers. The lakes are so low, the towns that were flooded by the dams are reappearing. If we don’t get enough snowpack this year we are f*&ked! Serious water rationing will occur. Let’s pray for rain and snow.

We parked at California Lake, a community south of Redding. It’s a housing development with a small campground on one end. What a great idea! Our friend, Bill was staying at his daughter’s house and made the short trip over to visit us. We went out for Mexican food and met his new girlfriend. She was delightful. They took us over to the Sundial Bridge.

The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding, California. Opened July 4, 2004, the bridge links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park and serves as a new downtown entrance for Redding’s extensive Sacramento River Trail system.

The steel, glass, and granite span evokes a sense of weightlessness and the translucent, non-skid decking provides for spectacular viewing at night. The bridge is also environmentally sensitive to its river setting. The tall pylon and cable stays allow the bridge to avoid the nearby salmon-spawning habitat as there are no supports in the water while encouraging public appreciation for the river.

In addition to being a functional work of art, the Sundial Bridge is a technical marvel as well. The cable-stayed structure has an inclined, 217 foot pylon constructed of 580 tons of steel. The deck is made up of 200 tons of glass and granite and is supported by more than 4,300 feet of cable. The structure is stabilized by a steel truss, and rests on a foundation of more than 115 tons of steel and 1,900 cubic yards of concrete. The McConnell Foundation, a private, independent foundation established in Redding in 1964, funded the majority of the bridge’s $24 million cost.

Oh yeah, and it is truly a sundial with which to tell time.  It is truly an amazing bridge.  And beautiful at night. These are not my photos…I forgot my camera.  Thanks Google!

Sundial bridge across the Sacramento River

Sundial bridge across the Sacramento River

Sundial Bridge

Sundial Bridge

Pink for breast cancer awareness

Pink for breast cancer awareness

Next stop…home!   It’s been 28 days and a wonderful trip.  I LOVE Oregon!  As Arnold says, “I will be baaaack!”

Until the next trip…

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Sisters, Sisters City RV Park, October 9 – 13, 2014

We drove south 160 miles and intended to stay at the Tumalo State Park near Bend . However, the park was closed for remodeling! Note to self: ALWAYS CHECK THE STATE PARK WEBSITE! Ok…plan B…what? No plan B? Get one in a hurry. We decided to drive a little further to Sisters. Ralph has been there several times and I’ve been there once on my motorcycle. I pulled out my handy, dandy iPhone with the AllStays camping app and found the Sisters City RV Park with a $10/per night senior rate. Score! It was a decent little park within walking distance of the business district of this small, quaint, western town. No hookups here, but what do we care? We have solar!

The next day I headed out to find the library (for free WIFI), and window shop in town while Ralph stayed home and washed the windows. I’d say a win-win all the way around! I picked up a few gifts in town, had some lunch and headed home. The Sisters’ Harvest Festival was happening the next day and Ralph and I returned to check it out. Being in such a small space in the RV, I always resist the urge to buy things when on the road. The only thing I allow myself to do is buy consumables.   If I cannot eat it or drink it, it cannot come in the RV. I purchased some delicious cranberry, fig, merlot wine preserves (great with Brie and crackers) and some red wine spicy mustard. Yummmm. We had pizza for lunch. This clock was on the wall.

Pizza Clock

Pizza Clock

Over the next couple of days we visited a pioneer cemetery, the Metolius Springs and River Head with a view of Mt Jefferson, the Dee Wright Observatory on the McKenzie Pass, the Newberry National Monument and the Lava Lands, and finally Bend.

We were a little disappointed with the cemetery. Ralph wondered why the heck I wanted to go to a cemetery. (To tell the truth, I think he thinks that about a lot of things I want to do…oh well) I thought there would be more old graves, but it is still used and there were many recent graves. There were a few really old ones. Some looked like they were visited often; they were set up with chairs and benches.

Grave Site

Grave Site

Metolius Springs are located just north of Black Butte near the small town of Camp Sherman in centralOregon. The springs are the source of the Metolius River, which flows 29 miles through the Deschutes National Forest emptying into Lake Billy Chinook. The flow from Metolius Springs is sufficient to create a full-flowing river, making the Metolius River one of the largest spring-fed rivers in the United States. The springs were probably created about one and a half million years ago when Black Butte erupted blocking a north-flowing river. With the newly formed butte blocking the natural channel, water backed up south of the mountain creating a swampy meadow area. Over time, the water seeps through porous rocks under the butte and now emerges on the north side of Black Butte at Metolius Springs.

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Dee Wright Observatory is located in the Willamette National Forest 15 miles west of Sisters, Oregon on Route 242. The highway is part of the McKenzie-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway. McKenzie Pass is 5,325 feet above sea level, and winter snow and the narrow road surface requires McKenzie Pass to be closed from November to July each year. It was very chilly when we were there. Dee Wright Observatory is an observation structure at the summit of McKenzie Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The structure is an open shelter constructed with lava stone. It is located in the midst of a large lava flow, and offers an exceptional view of numerous Cascade peaks.

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Dee Wright Oservatory

Dee Wright Observatory

Inside the observatory

Inside the observatory

Newberry National Volcanic Monument was designated on November 5, 1990, to protect the area around the Newberry Volcano. It was created within the boundaries of the Deschutes National Forest and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It includes 50,000 acres of lakes, lava flows, and spectacular geologic features in central Oregon. We took the hike through the lava field and up to the top overlook into the volcano cone. It is pretty spectacular! The visitor center was very informative and I learned a lot about volcanic activity and the surrounding area.

Walking through the lava field

Walking through the lava field

Looking into the volcano cone

Looking into the volcano cone

Newberry Volcano Arial View

Newberry Volcano Arial View

Bend is a beautiful little city with lots of restaurants and bars. We only spent a few hours there and ate dinner at the Deschutes Brewery. I had to have a flight of beer tastings. There were six four-ounce glasses of beer. That’s a lot for someone that doesn’t drink very much beer. And some have a high alcohol content. Needless to say I had a buzz when I left. Oh yeah, and I had beer cheddar cheese soup for dinner. Delish! Turns out that my former sister in law’s brother (or cousin, I can’t remember) has a brewery in Bend. Next time I’ll look him up. I’d like to return to Bend in the future and spend more time exploring.

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All in all a very busy time while in Sisters and loved every minute of it!

The Happy Campers

The Happy Campers

Next two stops on the way home are Klamath Falls, Oregon and Redding, California.

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Portand/Vancouver, Oct 4 – 9, 2014

Portland was about a 120 mile drive east and we timed our arrival so we wouldn’t be in the middle of rush hour traffic. The trip went smoothly. We were in Vancouver to visit our friends Debbie and Mark. We were able to park the RV in front of their house and run an extension cord out to the rig so we could have electricity. We ended up blowing a fuse so had to be plugged into another outlet (one without the garage refrigerator) and all was good. This was the first time we’ve “driveway camped” and it was wonderful. Mark said we were the perfect guests…we brought our own accommodations! We were together, but not living together. We enjoyed our time with Deb and Mark very much. Deb was a big help to me through a very difficult time.   I’ll get to that in a minute.

Me and the beautiful Debbie

Me and the beautiful Debbie

We didn’t spend any time sightseeing in Portland. I had been there to visit Debbie a year or two before and Ralph is not much of a city sightseer. We did travel up the Columbia River Gorge in the car and had a wonderful day sailing on the Columbia River on Mark’s Santana, Yesterday’s Girl.

While in Vancouver, Simon, my cat, got sick. Deb called her vet and got us in almost immediately. The vet was wonderful and laid out my options…none of which were good. Simon had been suffering for quite a while, so I decided it was time to let him go. I had tried to prepare myself over the last year or so, but to have to make that decision so quickly was very hard. It was a rough few days afterwards, especially since we are all so close in that metal box (RV). I swear I saw his ghost in the same places he would sit or sleep; on the back of the sofa, in the sun on the dashboard, at the foot of the bed. Simon was 14 years old and a rescue cat. He was always so skittish. I attribute that to his rough childhood before I adopted him. He sure had a good life with me. And even got to travel! I miss him. It’s so hard to let pets go. Debbie was so supportive and I appreciated it greatly.

The late, great Simon Furtah

The late, great Simon Furtah

Our day of sailing was perfect. It was 75-80 degrees, clear and sunny. We sailed up the Columbia with a spinnaker sail and tacked back and forth with the wind on our nose back to the dock. Afterwards, we had fish and chips at a waterfront restaurant. Deb’s friend joined us and they did all the work. It made me miss my sailboat that I had on the San Francisco Bay for 15 years. Sailboats are a lot of work…I think I’m more of a powerboat person now. I used to call my sailboat my “Winnebago on the Bay” because of the tacky brown plaid upholstery inside. Come to think of it, the RV is just a boat with wheels! All the same systems, DC power with batteries, holding tanks (fresh, gray and black) that have to be filled and dumped, etc. But with the sailboat, believe me…wind power is a hell of a lot cheaper than gasoline!

How do we put this damn thing up again??

How do we put this damn thing up again??

It's up!

It’s up!

Captain Mark

Captain Mark

The Happy Sailors

The Happy Sailors

My favorite spot on the bow

My favorite spot on the bow

Beautiful river, beautiful day!

Beautiful river, beautiful day! That’s Mt Hood way in the distance.

My new boating shoes

My new boating shoes, Anchors away!

We took a car trip along the Columbia River Gorge all the way up to the small town of Hood River. We visited all the waterfalls along the way and had a late lunch/early dinner in Hood River. Again the weather was perfect. I had heard that September-October is the perfect time to visit Oregon and that sure was the case during our time there. We couldn’t have ordered more perfect weather.

View of Columbia River Gorge

View of Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls

Wahkeena  Falls

Wahkeena Falls

Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls

Then it was time for us to head south. I really hated to leave. It was really nice to visit and connect with people we enjoy so much. But alas, it was time to go. We said our thank yous and goodbyes and headed down to Sisters, Oregon.

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Cloverdale/Tillimook, Sand Beach National Forest, Sept 30 – Oct 4, 2014

We found another National Forest campground very near the beach and when we arrived we were escorted to “the best site in the park” by the campground host. This campground is surrounded by sand and is actually an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) park, but was very quiet until Friday. We don’t normally camp where ATVers camp because of the drinking and noise. However, we were willing to take a chance here because of the location near the water. We didn’t have any hook ups, but it was a nice sunny spot so the solar would charge our batteries. Over the weekend it got crowded and loud. Lesson learned.

Our view at Sand Lake Campgrouond

Our view at Sand Lake Campgrouond

The campground is located on the Three Capes Scenic Loop that goes along the coast and bypasses Hwy 101. The full route encompasses Cape Meares (with lighthouse), Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda. Of course, it was another very scenic drive and we were able to see the Cape Meares Lighthouse along with a sighting of whales playing off the coast. This was our first and only whale sighting on our trip. I was very glad I had my binoculars along. I’m always thrilled when I see whales…cannot explain it…just am. However, nothing will ever beat the whale encounter we had in Banderas Bay while sailing with our friends Debbie and Mark. They were very, very close to the boat and put on quite a show for us.

The Cape Meares Lighthouse is the shortest on the Oregon Coast. It is only 38 feet, but it is noteworthy because it is fitted with a tilted first-order Fresnel lens. It is located on a high bluff so the lighthouse itself doesn’t need to be very tall.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Pacific City is on the Three Capes Loop and is a quaint, small town famous for the dory fishing boats that are launched directly into the surf. It is also the home of Proposal Rock (and no…there was no proposal). One morning I made a stop at the Grateful Bread Bakery for breakfast. I didn’t get the pun until I was paying my bill at the counter and noticed the large poster of Jerry Garcia. I was wondering what the tie-dye shirts were all about!

We used Sand Lake as a base to see Tillimook and the rest of the northern coast. While in Tillimook (pronounced Till-a-muk by the locals) we visited the Tillimook Cheese factory and the Blue Heron Brie factory. I was a little disappointed with the cheese factory because they only showed the packaging of cheese, not the actual making of the cheese. I also learned that the Tillmook factory is actually an independent dairy farm co-operative. The co-operative includes 110 dairy farms, mostly within Tillamook County. Products produced by the co-operative include cheese, butter, ice cream, sour cream and yogurt. Their most famous product is Tillamook cheese, including the famous Tillamook Cheddar. In March 2010, Tillamook’s Medium Cheddar cheese won the gold medal in the 2010 World Cheese Championship Cheese Contest hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association in Madison, Wisconsin. The cheese scored 99.6 out of 100 points possible, beating 59 other entries. The creamery made news in February 2005 after the board asked all members to stop using artificial bovine growth hormone on their dairy cows, despite pressures from the chemical company Monsanto. Tillamook County Creamery Association recently celebrated 100 years in business. It’s important to support small, independent farmers, so please give Tillimook products a try. Big agribusiness is driving these farmers out of business and destroying our food. Don’t get me started…

We visited the Garibaldi Museum (a maritime museum) in the small town of Garibaldi. The museum features 18th century sailors’ life and the history of this small fishing town. There was a film on the history of the port which was very interesting.

I also visited the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center which is housed in a restored historic schoolhouse. There are antique and contemporary quilts, spinning and weaving equipment and demonstrations and antique textiles. I had some of the same antique textiles that were handed down to me from my grandmother and great aunt. I was a Clothing and Textiles major when I attended Cass Tech in Detroit. I’ve always had a great love of textiles and the textile crafts. I’ve done it all; from knitting, crocheting and weaving, to pattern drafting and hat making (millinery). This place was right up my alley!

We decided not to take the rig all the way up to the Astoria (the very top of the Oregon Coast) and saved a lot on fuel by taking the Mini Cooper for a day trip.   We covered Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Seaside and Astoria. It was a very long day and was packed with interesting places.

Seaside is a classic coastal resort town. Cannon Beach is Oregon’s answer to California’s Carmel and is filled with galleries, restaurants and resorts. It is home to the 235 foot tall Haystack Rock. North of Cannon Beach is Terrible Tilly, the last lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. The formal name is the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and it stands one mile off shore. You cannot get out the visit the lighthouse. I can only imagine (in my nightmares) what the lighthouse keepers went through living on that “rock”. A hard life indeed.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock

Terrible Tilly

Terrible Tilly

Our last stop was Astoria, a historic town at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. It is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. It celebrated it’s bi-centennial in 2011 and is still a working port today, one of the busiest on the West Coast. We had lunch in the port area and it was yummy!

While in the area we visited the Fort Clatsop National Memorial in the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Fort Clatsop was the winter encampment of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery during 1805 and 1806. The park has a replica of the fort built from logs. People must have been much shorter then because even 5’4” me had to duck to get into the doors.

The Fort

The Fort

The Fort

The Fort

The outhouse...Ralph couldn't wait.

The outhouse…Ralph couldn’t wait.

Even furniture

Even furniture

I understand many RVers like to drive the Lewis and Clark trail. Lewis and Clark’s great journey west begins in Washington D.C. and zigzags along the eastern seaboard encompassing the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania; then proceeds through Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. The trail then meanders through the great plains of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and continues through the mountains and the valleys of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, concluding at the Pacific Ocean. The Lewis and Clark Trail is a cultural destination that covers over 4,600 miles, crosses four time zones, and showcases some of the most beautiful and rugged areas of America. Maybe someday…

Lewis and Clark Route

Lewis and Clark Route

We also stopped by Fort Stevens State Park to walk among the ruins of the famous Peter Iredale shipwreck, a four-masted steel sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906. Today it is a rusting bow of the boat raising out of the sand.

Shipwreck-see me inside?

Shipwreck-see me inside?

So ends our tour of the Oregon Coast. We’ve seen and/or toured all the lighthouses along the Oregon Coast. What a fantastic trip thus far.

The Happy Campers!

The Happy Campers!

Next stop is Portland/Vancouver to visit our friends Debbie and Mark. This will be another first…driveway camping.

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