Friday, May 31, 2013

Visiting Deshler, Ohio, Friday, May 31, 2013

This morning started with Tom and I going for breakfast at the Iron Skillet at a local truck stop.  Restaurants are not in abundance in this neck of the woods but I’m not complaining because the breakfast was good.  We then rode over to Deshler, Tom’s hometown.  Tom stopped and talked with an old friend that has a business in town.  Old buildings have been torn down and new buildings built.  And some old buildings should be torn down.  Trains are still running frequently through the town.  In a NAPA store Tom thought he had found a part to repair the steps but when he tried repairing the steps the threads needed to be reversed from what he had.  So he had to return the part and we will just have to wait until we get to Red Bay, Alabama.  It has been cloudy all day with showers.  Tomorrow is predicted to be stormy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Van Buren, Ohio, May 30, 2013, Thursday

This morning we left Harrison Lake and drove 75 miles southeast to Pleasant View Recreation, a campground, at Van Buren, Ohio.  We will be staying here for the next 3 nights.  Tom’s high school class is celebrating their 50th year reunion on Saturday.  It has been several years since we have been in this area so we plan to visit some places that were once very familiar to Tom.  Today, we went to the city of Findley for lunch at Cheddar’s restaurant, a restaurant that Tom and I had been to several years ago when we were out here for a funeral of Tom’s Aunt Liz.  The restaurant today was as we remembered, good food with good prices.  A stop at a car wash got the road dirt washed off the Jeep and then we returned to the campground and just chilled out.  Tomorrow we plan to visit Tom’s hometown, Deshler.

Ohio, May 29, 2013, Wednesday

Continuing on I-80 east we left Geneseo, Illinois at 8:15am.  We had bright sunshine this morning not the heavy clouds we had been seeing the past several days.  We continued to see many fields flooded from the rains of the past few days.  And as we traveled east we began to see heavy clouds but did not have any rain.   We skirted around the southern edge of Chicago and then we were in Gary, Indiana vicinity.  The traffic is always heavy in this Chicago/Gary area but today it was moving well.  Traveling through Indiana we again changed time zones from Central to Eastern, the last time zone change.  I-80 is a turnpike through Indiana and it was a terrible road as far as being in need of repairs.  It is obvious that the toll is not being put back into the road repairs.  Because of our step breaking yesterday we decided to stop in Elkhart to check out at some RV supply stores for the part to repair the step.  They had electric step parts but not for our step brand.  So we continued eastward into Ohio (another terrible turnpike road)  but we did not have to go very far until we got off the turnpike and after getting fuel then drove to Harrison Lake State Park, 406 miles.  Tom’s sister, Julie and husband, Tim, and their family live real close to the Park.  Harrison Lake State Park is a really pretty camping area with nice sites with electric (50amp) only.  After setting up for the night I made a dish of potato salad and then we went to Julie and Tim’s for dinner.  Tom’s brother, Paul, and wife, Robin, and their family were also their along with a neighbor lady, Louise, that we all are quite fond of.  We had an enjoyable evening eating and catching up on the family news.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Leveling Jacks and Illinois, Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Last night about 1:30am we were awakened with the sound of heavy down pouring of rain with a few rumbles of thunder.  When we got up the rain had stopped but the clouds were still heavy.  Before 8am we were on the road again and seeing more flooded areas in Iowa.  About 100 miles later (9:15am) we were at the turn off for Moscow, Iowa where the manufactures of the leveling jacks (HWH) for our motorhome is located.  We have been having problems with the jacks retracting, as they should, so we had planned to stop by and see if we could have them checked out.  We were in luck as they were not busy today and could take us in immediately.  One front jack that had been replaced by Tiffin on one visit to their facility and was working okay.  The other front and 2 rear jacks today had the springs replaced and the 2 rear jacks worked as they should but the front jack still was problematic so a new jack was installed.  Another couple from North Carolina, Opal and Bob, were there having work on their motorhome done.  About lunchtime these nice folks asked us about going out to lunch so we all went to Tipton, a neighboring town, to a family restaurant that HWH folks had recommended.  We had a nice lunch and good company.  The work on our jacks was completed about 2:30pm- best part there was no charge as we are still under warranty.  Getting ready to leave Tom step out of the motorhome onto the retracting  outside steps and the steps broke.  So Tom then had to secure the steps and then we finally got away from HWH at 3pm.  We have plans to go to Red Bay, Alabama to the Tiffin factory before going home so this will be another issue that will need to be address.

Continuing on our travels on I-80 east we crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois and then 65 miles later we stopped at a campground, Geneseo Campground, in Geneseo, Il.

From 2013-05-28
  We had thought about staying at a campground along the Mississippi River but with all the rain and flooding we thought better of that idea.  I did call this campground to be sure they were opened and free of flooding.  We had heard that campgrounds were closed because of flooding in this area.

The clouds are still heavy and there have been spells of strong winds but so far just sprinkles of rain occasionally.  The weather reports are predicting severe storms just south of where we are for tonight.

Iowa, Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day a day set aside for remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom.  It also is a day in many locations that family members decorate with flowers the graves of family members and refer to the day as Decoration Day.

A night of dry camping and, thankfully, we had no stormy weather during the night.  At 7:20am this morning we were leaving the parking lot and back to I-80 east.  The wind was really blowing making driving for Tom a little challenging.  Not long on the road until we encountered wet roads.  We crossed the Missouri River and entered Iowa.

From 2013-05-27
  Cloudy skies appeared threatening but we didn’t encounter any rain.  East of Des Moines we were seeing what appeared to be numerous lakes on both sides of the road which we soon realized were not lakes but fields completely flooded.
From 2013-05-27
From 2013-05-27
  Streams and rivers were bank high and some over the banks.  We stopped at a Flying J’s for fuel after Des Moines and then about 30 miles further we stopped in Newton, Iowa for the night (359 miles).  It was past 1:30pm and we had not had lunch.  We just couldn’t seem to see anyplace convenient for parking the motorhome. 

We had planned last night to stop in Newton at Rolling Acres RV Park, a Good Sam park, but when we arrived here the campground is now Newton KOA.  Don’t know what is up with campgrounds changing to KOA campgrounds but this has happened along this route at several campgrounds.  We sure are not happy seeing this as KOA’s(KEEP ON ADDING- our interpretation of the letters) are more expensive then most other campgrounds and the quality is in no way superior to other campgrounds.  If other campgrounds were available in the area we would have chosen to go elsewhere but, unfortunately, that was not the case in Laramie or here.

After setting up we did go out for lunch at Culver’s.  We were now in Culver country, a good hamburger and frozen custard restaurant.  We were somewhat disappointed in our Swiss-mushroom burgers as the cheese was not melted and the mushrooms were few but the custard was perfect.

Listening to the news, we have heard that 6 inches of rain has fallen in this area Saturday and Sunday and the possibility of more stormy weather tonight is predicted.  Tom has set up the weather radio to alert us of any threatening weather and we were told of a storm shelter to go to in the campground if necessary.  Sure hope we don’t have any bad storms to deal with.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Nebraska, Sunday, May 26, 2013

At 7:45am we were on the road leaving Laramie, Wy. and continuing east on I-80.  A little less than 100 miles of travel until we were in Nebraska and the plains.  There were many meadows with blank angus cattle as well as fields of crops.  We followed the Platte River much of the way.  Just as we were about to go off the highway at North Platte there was an accident – a SUV pulling a travel trailer (Air Stream?) was laying on their side in the medium strip and 2 people were on stretchers being placed in ambulances

From 2013-05-26
.  We sure hope no one was seriously injured.   We did stop at North Platte to get lunch at a Perkin’s restaurant and to refuel at a Conoco station.  We then continued on to Kearny, Ne. where we are staying tonight.  The Great Platte River Archway Monument allows overnight dry camping .
From 2013-05-26
  We stayed here several years ago and since campgrounds are somewhat scarce in Nebraska we are back here.  We did go into the museum to be sure we could stay here for the night but we did not go through the museum this time.  Before dark we did walk around the grounds and crossed the Platte River to a “Learning Trail” that spoke of the early settlers and the Indians of this area.
From 2013-05-26
  The trail is 8 miles long, needless to say, we did not walk  the entire trail just a short segment of the trail.   It is cloudy and we were told in the museum that storms are predicted for tonight and tomorrow.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that nothing too severe occurs.  The winds today were strong making driving somewhat difficult for Tom.  Truck traffic has been quite heavy on I-80.  We totaled 374 miles today and we crossed into Central time from Mountain time.  Tomorrow we plan to be in Iowa.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Slow Start to Laramie, Wyoming, Saturday, May 25, 2013

This morning we were ready to leave the campground about 8am but…..   When Tom started the motorhome up a shrill whistling singling that the air was not getting pumped up sufficiently so we could not go anywhere as this effected the brakes.  So he got parked back into our campsite and went down to the office to get phone numbers of a service person.  Saturday on a holiday weekend, of all the luck!!  But the first number tried to a place (Smith’s Power Products) across the road from the campground he got a response and was told that the serviceman would be about 45 minutes as he was coming from home.  True to his word within 45 minutes the serviceman was there and he quickly saw the problem.  An air pressure relief valve was stuck in the open position.  He suggested putting a plug in it as a temporary fix which he did.  When Tom tried to pay for the service he was told “no charge”.  Unbelievable in this time!  Tom did give the young man some money although he really didn’t want to take it.

Finally at 9:40am we were on the road again but first we stopped for fuel and then we got rolling on I-80.  We had only planned to go to Laramie, Wyoming today which was 215 miles.  About the last 50 miles Tom had to fight the wind a bit but we were in the campground, Laramie KOA, by 2pm. 

A former high school classmate, Bonnie Blue Robertson, lives in Laramie with her husband, Ray.  Tom had contact with her and we were going to meet up for dinner together.  About 5pm we went to their house and chatted for a spell.  We then drove downtown and had dinner at a local restaurant, Lovejoy’s.

From 2013-05-25 Bonnie and Ray
From 2013-05-25 Bonnie and Ray
  Afterwards, we walked about the town and made an ice cream stop and walked a little more.
From 2013-05-25 Bonnie and Ray
  Tom and Bonnie had a good time reminiscing and we all enjoyed socializing.  Bidding farewell and hopes of seeing each other again, we returned to the campground.  Tomorrow we will be in Nebraska.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rock Springs, Wyoming, May 24, 2013, Friday

This morning we left the Twin Falls area heading east on I-84.  All along the highway were crops being irrigated.  I told Tom the irrigations looked like giant spider webs like the spider webs that are seen in the mornings with dew.

From 2013-05-24
  It was not hard to understand how this much irrigation would impact the Snake River flow over the Shoshone Falls.

I-84 turns south east through Utah.  Seeing the red cliffs along the highway brought to mind our trip last year to the National Parks in Utah.

From 2013-05-24
  There is beauty in every state but I do think Utah has an over abundance.   We skirted around a northern section of the Great Salt Lake and then connected with I-80 east.
From 2013-05-24
  I-80 will be our route of travel to Ohio. 

After about 40 miles on I-80 in Utah we were crossing into Wyoming.  There were still cliffs along the highway but no longer the red but yellow, still scenic but not as vibrant as the red cliffs.  Snow covered mountain peaks were visible to the south and I assume Utah mountains.

From 2013-05-24
  There were large flocks of sheep in this area.  Evanston was the first town that we came to a little past noon so we took the business route through the town in hopes of finding someplace to have lunch.  Luckily, we saw a Mexican restaurant with a large parking lot that we could park the motorhome in and had a nice lunch.  We then continued on to Rock Springs where we are camped for the night at Rock Springs KOA.  We had made reservations here since this weekend is Memorial Day but the campground is not full.  We traveled 368 miles today.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lava and Falls, Thursday, May 23, 2013

This morning after packing lunch we were on our way traveling 80 plus miles to the Craters of the Moon National Monument.  Driving from Twin Falls in a northeasterly direction we passed through areas of crop farming with irrigation in high gear and then areas of dry ground with a scrub brush growing among lava rocks.  As we neared the Park’s entrance lava fields were present.  The Visitor’s Center was at the entrance to the Park and we stopped there.  A film presentation about volcanoes was shown and a small display area.  After being question about being in caves since 2005 with the appropriate answers we were given a permit that would allow us to go into the caves (wild caves).  Then going through the entrance gate we were free to see the Park.  As it was past noon we found a picnic area to eat lunch- it was good that we brought lunch with us as there was no food in the Park and the nearest town was probably 20 or more miles away.  It was chilly with temperatures in the 50’s but we were dressed warm enough to eat outside.  Lava is everywhere but as time goes by there is more and more vegetation growing among the rocks and on the lava cones.  At this time many of the flowers were in bloom.  We walked a trail to the caves, Boy Scout cave and Beauty cave.  Boy Scout cave appeared to have a small opening so we passed on entering that one- we didn’t feel up to crawling into a cave.  Beauty cave had a nice opening so we cautiously climbed over rocks to get down into the cave.  Once inside the floor, near the opening, was covered in ice but as we walked a little further into the cave the floor was drier without ice.  We didn’t venture too far as we only had our cell phone flashlights and it was very dark with not the best of surface to walk on.   The Inferno Cone is a large volcanic cone that had a trail 0.2 mile (600 plus feet) upward to the top that we walked up.  It was quite breezy on that cone but a great place to see over the Park.  The Splatter cones had nice easy walking walkways up to them as they were not nearly as tall as the Inferno Cone. The volcanic activity in this area occurred about 2000 years ago which is relatively recent.

As we were returning back to Twin Falls we saw a Ring-neck pheasant along the roadside.  We have not seen pheasants anywhere for years.  This was every bit as exciting as seeing the coyote that ran across the road yesterday in front of the motorhome or the marmot that ran across the road today.

  We wanted to go to Shoshone Falls but were having trouble finding  just where along the Snake River Gorge to go as there was no signs directing us toward them.    And yet we had read that they were “The Niagara of the West”.   Trying the GPS, we were successful in finding the park, a Twin Falls city park.  There is a $3.00 per vehicle fee but our senior National Park pass got us in free.  And we were not disappointed in the falls.  They were just beautiful and something that we are glad we were able to locate and see.  At this time the flow over the falls was considered medium but within a few weeks the flow will really decrease.  The water will be used for irrigation of the farm lands during the summer months prior to it reaching the falls.   It was downstream from the falls that Evel Knevel had his failed attempt at jumping the Snake River Gorge years ago.

Before returning to the campground we stopped at Shari’s restaurant.  We have seen these restaurants in several locations  in this northwest region.  We ordered dinner with the addition of dinner salads.  Our dinners came and we did not have our salads.  After the waitress apologized for the mistake and we declining having salads at that point, the manager came by to say we would be given a piece of pie on the house.   Apparently, this restaurant is noted for its pies.  We got our pieces of pie to go as it was past 7pm and we were ready to get back to the motorhome. 

Tom, feeling overly ambitious and being able to do so, washed the motorhome and car.  Not too many campgrounds allow washing of vehicles but on this trip we have encountered this several times.  After that was completed we had our coffee with the pie from the restaurant.  Good berry pies- I had Marionberry pie and Tom had a 3 berry (blueberry, raspberry and blackberry)pie.  Tomorrow we will be moving further east into Wyoming.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Winter Wonderland Travels, Wednesday, May 23, 2013

What a day!  We started out earlier than most days.  We were on the road by 7:30amPT but we knew that in a short time we would be changing from Pacific time zone to Mountain time causing us to loose an hour.  We drove south, in rain, on SR 96 for 50 miles and then at New Meadows we took SR 55, Payette River Scenic Byway.  About 10 miles on this route we came to a ski resort town of McCall and we then started seeing the rain change into snow flakes.  At first the snow was melting as it fell but as we continued the pine trees and ground along the road was getting snow covered.  It was snowing so hard at times that it was impossible to see the surrounding areas- we passed a lake that was completely obliterated by the snow.  Snow was not sticking to the roads.  We drove in snow for about 80 miles and I must admit it was a beautiful drive in a winter wonderland.  When we got below Banks, Idaho we were in rain and then soon the sun was shining.  At this point we were traveling along the Payette River which was very scenic with the fast moving white water.  We skirted around Boise and then took I-84 east to Twin Falls.  On I-84 the winds we strong but fortunately for us they were blowing toward the east.  Driving into Twin Falls we crossed a bridge over the Snake River Gorge.  After getting into Twin Falls 93 RV Park at 4pm MT, we  went out for dinner and a grocery store stop.  We then also stopped at an overlook for the Snake River Gorge which is also a result of the Bonneville Flood that occurred during the ice age.  And the weather here in Twin Falls is cold- temperatures are in the upper 40’s- we were in areas that had snow along the roads higher than we are tall that were warmer (60’s).  Unbelievable- hope tomorrow is warmer as we travel about this area.

Hell’s Canyon, Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Our day started out with a trip about 30 miles south to the town of Riggins.  We were still in hopes of finding a boat trip through Hell’s Canyon but there didn’t seem to be anything happening much before this coming weekend, Memorial Day weekend.  We did make a visit to the Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Park headquarters south of White Bird and were given some suggestions for scenic drives- one which we will be taking tomorrow as we move toward the Craters of the Moon National Park.  We stopped at a fruit stand that seemed to have lots of groceries besides fruit and also a hardware store.  We bought some sweet cherries (from California) and a jar of huckleberry pie filling.

After a brief stop at the motorhome to deposit the fruit stand purchase we went a short distance to Hoot’s Café for lunch.  Then we set out to drive to an area of Hell’s Canyon, Pittsburg Landing.  Pittsburg Landing is one of a very few areas that can be driven to in the Canyon from the Idaho side.  This Canyon is on the border of Idaho and Oregon.  Trails from this point lead to viewpoints of the Canyon.  The 17 mile drive starts near the campground and meanders up and down mountains until it descends down to the Snake River and Pittsburg Landing, the spot that the jet boats are loaded for the trips into the Canyon.  Just prior to getting to the landing area we drove back a road to walk a short trail through an area that had pictographs on big rocks.  Getting to the parking lot of the landing we walked down to the Snake River.  A mother duck and her ducklings were playing in the river.  We had considered walking a trail but big dark clouds were forming so we thought better not- we didn’t want to be out in stormy weather.  Returning back on the 17 mile road we saw a snake slithering across the road.  We saw numerous deer on our travels over this road.  And then we saw our dream log house on one of the mountaintops that had a great view.  We were driving in rain much of the way to the campground and the rain has continued with temperatures dropping into the 50’s from the 70’s.

White Bird, Idaho, Monday, May 20, 2013

Our journey today took us east on I-90 around Spokane, Wa. and then into the state of Idaho where we picked up US95 south.  We were along the border of Washington and then Oregon when we stopped in White Bird, Idaho.  We were in rural country with fields of dark green grain crops and bright yellow canola.  Hills and mountains were pine tree covered in the northern areas and then just appeared to be grass and some shrub coverage further south.  US95 is indeed a very scenic route- we had debated about traveling this route and at the campground in Wilbur the campground owner said that it was a good road.  There are 2 areas of concern that being descending to Lewiston and then the 7-mile section south of Grangeville that descends 3000 to the Salmon River Canyon.  White Bird, our campground stop for the night is just a little south of this descent. 

The Nez Perce National Historical Park Visitor’s Center was along the way in Spalding.  After we had stopped to eat lunch in the motorhome in a gravel parking lot we came to this Center.  It would have been a much nicer place to have eaten our lunch but we didn’t know about it until we came to it.  We did stop and go in the Center.  This Park is different from most other parks in that there are sites in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.  This Center in Spalding is the main one.

When we got to the small town of White Bird the GPS messed us up by sending us in the opposite direction from the campground.  A motorhome on narrow country roads with no place to turn around is a problem.  Fortunately, the road did not have any traffic so we stopped, unhooked the Jeep and were going to turn around in a farm driveway.  A cowboy(he had a cowboy hat and was riding a horse) saw our dilemma and suggested that a little further up the road we would be able to turn around easier.  So we got turned and then finally found the campground.  We were hoping to take a jet boat up Hell’s Canyon tomorrow but there needs to be at least 6 people and so far no one has signed up.  e will be here for 2 nights only so I guess there will not be a boat trip.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grand Coulee Dam, Sunday, May 19, 2013

This morning we drove north about 29 miles to the Grand Coulee Dam in the town of Grand Coulee.  We were aware that tours of the dam are available starting at 10am and were hoping to be able to do that.  No problem but we had to drive across the river to a white trailer where we were to wait for vans to transport us to the facility.  Before getting into the vans, we were reminded that purses, backpacks, any type of knife or other weapons could not be taken along and we had to go through security checks like those at airports.  We then boarded vans and were driven across the river to the dam.  This dam, the largest dam in North America, was built by the WPA during the depression era to irrigate this land for agricultural purposes.  But World War 2 changed the focus to power and 2 power plants were built.  Finally in 1952, the irrigation ability came into being and this is the main service of this dam.  A third power plant was added in the 1970's.  The lake formed by the dam, Roosevelt Lake, has been filling at the rate of 2 feet per day from the spring melting and rains so just yesterday the gates were raised, for this spring, for water to go over the dam.  We were unable to go inside the dam as some renovations are being done at this time.  After the tour we returned to the Visitor's Center to look at the displays and to watch a movie.

Feeling a need for nourishment we searched out a restaurant and found a barbeque/ice cream cafe.  Pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad for Tom and cole slaw for me satisfied our hunger- oh, and an ice cream cone for dessert.

Leaving Grand Coulee we drove a southwesternly scenic route along Bank Lake.  A beautiful natural lake, Banks Lake, is surrounded with steep rocky cliffs with the road following it for 20 some miles.  We then drove east returning to the campground in Wilbur.

Heading East, Saturday, May 18, 2013

We were on the road this morning by 8:10am and started our travels eastward.  From Chimacum we headed south skirting around Tacoma and then east of Seattle we picked up I-90.  On I-90 we traveled through mountainuous area and then a complete change of scenery occurred.  We were no longer seeing mountains covered with pine trees but in flatter areas with very few trees of any kind.  There were farms and orchards in a much drier environment.  We did pass several lakes and crossed the Columbia River.  We stopped at Dry Falls State Park Visitor Center.  This Center overlooks the Dry Falls which is a large canyon that was formed thousands of years ago by melting glaciers.  The falls that existed at that time were many times bigger than Niagara Falls but today there is no longer falls but sheer cliffs.  After 354 miles we are in a campground, Country Lane Campground, in Wilbur, Washington.  Grand Coulee Dam is about 20 miles north of here and tomorrow we will spend the day there.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Waiting for Mail , Friday, May 17, 2013

A quiet laid back day awaiting our mail to arrive. It was raining most of the day.  I did several loads of laundry.  We went for groceries and rode into a neighboring town, Port Hadlock.  Just a small community but had some things of interest.  There is a school for wood boat building which appeared to be a busy place and the boat displayed looked like a well-built wood boat.  There appeared to be some sort of class of teens involved with rowing boats in which one young lady trying to climb out of the small boat nearly ended up in the water.  Finally,we got the groceries in the QFC store (apparently associated with Krogers).  We have been wanting to try Dungeness crab since being on the Pacific coast but did not find it on the menu at restaurants and we thought was expensive in markets.  In the Coos Bay area we saw these crabs for $4.99/pound and thought that that was too much.  Well, that was the cheapest price that we ever saw because thereafter the price was always $8.99/pound.  Today being our last day in the coastal region we bit the bullet and bought 2 crabs at the grocery store.  This was our lunch and they were okay, the claw meat was better tasting than the back fin but did not compare with the blue crab. (I still think they cost too much probably half of what is paid for is the shell)  I had brought along a roasting chicken which had not been eaten so I made a pot of Southwestern Chicken soup.  A little before 2pm our mail arrived so tomorrow we will venture eastward.

Circling the Olympic Peninsula, Thursday, May 16, 2013

Today we drove almost 375 miles around this Olympic Peninsula that we are staying on.  Much of this peninsula is the Olympic National Park.  Tall mountains in the central region have glaciers from which rivers with glacial silt flow to the Pacific Ocean.  US 101, the same route that we have been on in California and Oregon, ends in Washington  almost completing a circle by coming up the western side of the peninsula, transcending across the north and then ends down the eastern side within 20 miles to Olympia.  There are no roads cutting through the National Park from east to west or north to south.  Leaving the campground this morning we drove to Port Angeles where we stopped at the Visitor’s Center for the N.P.  From there we continued westward around Lake Crescent and then south.  After a stop for lunch in Forks we continued to Hoh Rain Forest Visitor’s Center and then walked the “Hall of Mosses” trail.  During the 3/4 mile walk we were rained on, had sunshine and were rained on some more.  A stream of water that we crossed over is considered the clearest water in the USA.  Moving on along the western side, we passed beaches and areas of tidal pools but the tide was too high to check out the pools.  After crossing to the eastern side on a southern route we stopped for dinner and then continued north along Hood Canal and finally back to the campground after about 10.5 hours.  We did see a couple deer along the road and then this evening we saw a herd of elk in a grassy area.  A full day and we are both feeling tired tonight.

We will be staying here at least 1 more night.  Our mail delivery has not gotten here but we are hoping to get it tomorrow. 

Victoria, B.C.- Buchart Gardens, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This morning started early for us.  We were up and ready to leave the motorhome at 7am as we had a 40 mile drive to Port Angeles to catch a ferry.  We were to be at the terminal by 8am to get our tickets and then get on board for the 8:20am departure time.  Tom had made reservation last night for the ferry and for tickets to Buchart Gardens which was all handled at the terminal.  The ferry left promptly to cross the Strait of Juan De Fuca to Victoria, British Columbia, a hour and half trip.  Once on the ferry we grabbed cups of coffee and a couple bagels for breakfast- we were hoping for a different breakfast but this was what was offered.  We talked to a young lady that had the job on the ferry of arranging tickets for tours and such.  We were concerned about getting bus transportation to the Gardens and she was able to arrange for us to get on a bus at the terminal to go directly to the Gardens and then return back to the terminal.

Everything fell into place.  We got on the bus and after 40 minutes we were at Buchart Gardens.  These gardens are just beautiful and we enjoyed walking on the paths to the various gardens- Sunken, Japanese, Italian.  There were workers busily replanting some gardens for the changing seasons.  We had lunch in the cafeteria.  At 1:35pm we had to be at the bus to return to the terminal.  Once back there we walked along the harbor passing time until 3:30 to be ready to depart on the ferry by 4pm.  The harbor is quite a busy place.  Water taxis flit from site to site around the harbor.  Numerous seaplanes were taking off or landing in the harbor.  And other boats, including the ferry we would be on, coming into the harbor.

Our return trip on the ferry was a time to relax.  It was cool today but it was not until we were getting on board that it started to rain.  Light rain continued most of the travel across the water.  We had no problems going through Immigration or Customs on either side.

On our return to the campground we stopped for dinner at a restaurant in Port Angeles.  We finally got home at 7:45pm- an enjoyable day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chimacum, Washington- Tuesday, May 14, 2013

By 8:30am we were on the road and soon traveling north on I-5 to Olympia and then onto route 16 and 3 to a little town of Chimacum, 157 miles.  We are staying in an Escapee Park, Evergreen Coho SKP Park, between Chimacum and Port Townsend.  This campground does not compare to the one we just left as far as beauty but the cost of $58.28 for 3 nights is not bad at all.  It also puts us in a good position to travel by ferry tomorrow to Victoria, British Columbia from Port Angeles, about 45 minutes away and, hopefully, a mail delivery will be made here before Friday.

It was just a few before noon when we arrived so we quickly got set up and then went into the town of Chimacum for lunch at a local diner.  We, both, had today’s special of Reuben sandwich, fries and a cup of Polish potato soup and the we split a piece of strawberry/rhubarb pie.  It was all very good although Beth still makes the best strawberry/rhubarb pie.

We rode into the town of Port Townsend which is a larger town than Chimacum and as the name indicates it is a port.  We stopped at the Visitor’s Center,a fish market and then Safeway but otherwise just rode around admiring the pretty flowers.  This area must have the perfect growing conditions for flowering bushes as the rhododendrons, azaleas, bridal wreath and other unknown to me bushes are just beautiful.  

This evening Tom has been making reservations for the ferry trip tomorrow and tickets for the Butchart Gardens.  We will not be taking the Jeep so we will be using bus transportation to go to the Gardens.  This was the suggestion made to us by the campground

From 2013-05-14
From 2013-05-14
From 2013-05-14
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Mt. Rainier, Monday, May 13, 2013

Our mission today was to go to Mt. Rainier National Park and, maybe, see this mountain peak.  The problem was that it was raining and expected to continue for most of the week.  The N.P.  was about 42 miles from the RV Park. Once at the Park we were told that we would only be able to go as far as the Paradise Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor's Center due to road closers which was not a surprise to us.  We drove through densely pine forested areas and stopped at  Longmire where there is a hotel opened year round, The National Park Inn, a gift shop and a museum.  Actually, we did not see the museum until we were leaving the park later in the day.
From 2013-05-13 National Park Inn


Continuing on, we drove a very winding road climbing upward as the temperature was falling and water was flowing.  There was still a lot of snow along the roads and on the mountain sides.  Waterfalls were cascading into rivers.  When we reached the Paradise Visitor's Center we stopped and spent some time.  Like all other centers there was a movie and displays.  Mt. Rainier is an active volcano and considered extremely dangerous.  With 25 glaciers on the mountain an eruption would be widely destructive.  Unfortunately, the clouds did not give way for us to see the peak.  The temperature had dropped from the mid 50's to 39 degrees at the Visitor's Center- along with rain it was cold there.  We had taken a picnic lunch along not knowing if food would be available.  Picnic tables were set up inside the Center where we ate our lunch.  A deli-type eatery was also available.

As we were leaving the park rumbles of thunder gave way to some heavier rain then the light showers we had been having today.  The sun did break out periodically but clouds would soon be closing over.  Tomorrow we will move further north.

Entering Washington, May 12, 2013, Mother’s Day

This morning we had a drizzling rain and heavy clouds.  Shortly after getting up this morning I had a phone call from Todd wishing me a happy Mother's Day such a nice start of the day to hear from our son.  We have had very little rain during this trip just a few sprinkles a couple of times.  We got underway a little before 9:30am and within 15 minutes we were crossing the Columbia River to the north and the state of Washington-“ the Green State”.  We were traveling on I-5 and made our first stop at a rest area that was to have some information about the state.  We found some information about a Visitor’s Center for Mt. St. Helen that was on our route of travel today and was open.  So we made a stop at the state run center, paid a fee, then saw a short movie about the volcano and walked about the displays.  Because of the clouds Mt. St. Helens was not able to be seen but we will try again tomorrow at other locations.
We left I-5 to travel east on SR 12 to Mossyrock and from there to Harmony Lakeside RV Park where we will be staying for 2 nights.  This RV park is one of the prettiest parks we have stayed.  Rhododendrons and azaleas are planted throughout the property and are in bloom.  Totem poles with sculptures of Native Americans are at the entrance to the park and a lake borders the back of the park.  We are parked next to a rhododendron that is in full bloom and taller than our motorhome and we face out overlooking the lake and the cost was $67.69 for the 2 nights.
After we had parked the motorhome and before setting up we jumped into the Jeep and went in search of a restaurant for dinner as it was after 1pm and we were hungry.  Tom had asked for recommendations at the office and was told about a Mexican restaurant in Morton about 10 miles further east from Mossyrock.  So that was where we ate and were pleased with our dinners- a spicy shrimp Mexican dish.  Since today was Mother’s Day I was given a carnation.  We were given a dessert of sopapillas free of charge that is the restaurant practice on Sundays.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mt. Hood and Timberline Lodge, May 11, 2013, Saturday

This morning we were up earlier than usual and leaving the motorhome bt 7:30am.  A community park opposite the entrance to the campground was having a special event this morning and no one was to use the entrance from 8am to 10am.  So we were off to find breakfast first and then to go on the Mt. Hood Scenic loop.  We had breakfast at King's Omelets and, yes, we had omelets and they were good.

We then got underway to do the second half of the loop we had started on yesterday.  This segment was south of the Columbia River circling around Mt. Hood.  It was not too long after started out that we got our first glimpse of Mt. Hood, a high snow-covered peak that stood out over the other Cascade peaks.  The forested area we were driving through had numerous "Sno-Parks" that we thought were state owned areas for cross-country skiing and/or snow-mobiling.

 Personnel at the campground had recommended that we stop at the Timberline Lodge which we did and what an interesting place.  This ski lodge is at the base of Mt. Hood and is listed as a National Historic Place and owned by the US Forestry Service.  Tom and I had walked around the lodge and then Tom noticed a sign about a tour of the lodge at 11am.  We decided that we wanted to take the tour which was free and led by a Ranger.  The lodge was built during the time of the depression by the WPA and CCC.  The CCC boys built the camp for the WPA workers,were paid $25.00 a month of which $20.00 was sent home and the boys were able to have $5.00, room and board was furnished.  The WPA built the lodge and were paid $0.90/hour for skilled labor and $0.55/hour for unskilled labor and they had to pay $1.00/week for room and board.  Italian stone masons were  the only laborers outside of the WPA workers used to build this lodge.  All labor was done by hand - logs were squared and trim by hand and then positioned with manual labor.  There are no nails or screws, everything is together with tongue and grove.  The wrought iron was forged using scrape material- andirons and foot scrapers were made from pieces of  railroad rails.  Scrapes of linoleum were used by an artist to carve and then paint the pictures which decorate the walls in one room.  At the main entrance scrapes of tiles were used to create a compass on the floor.  Women using scrapes of old army uniforms made rugs for the rooms and looms were used to weave material for curtains.  Even bed linens were made by the workers.  All the furniture was made and is still being used.  It is a truly amazing building and continuing today rugs are being handmade and material for curtains woven on a loom.  The unfortunate thing is that many of the young people (it is primarily younger people that ski and snow board) that use this facility do not appreciate it and have even done some vandalizing. 

Leaving the lodge, we continued on to the town of Hood River and ate lunch at 3 Rivers Grill on an outside patio overlooking the town and the Columbia River.  From Hood River we got on I-84 to return to Troutdale for a stop at Safeway and then onto the campground.  Tomorrow we will be moving north a little way.

Columbia River Gorge, Friday, May 10, 2013

Yesterday when Tom checked into Sandy Riverfront RV Resort he was told about a nice drive through the Columbia River Gorge and then completing a circle by traveling around the area of Mt. Hood and it would take about 4 hours.  Well, this morning we were going to do this route.  Starting out along Historic US30 we were in the area of the most waterfalls in the country.  Because of US30 being closed for a segment we were unable to get to the first 3 falls but we did see the following 3- Wahkeena, Multnomah and Horsetail.  Two other falls had longer walks than we cared to do to get to them.  That meant that we stopped to take pictures and 2 had walks up to a higher viewing area that we did.  Being early spring the falls are especially pretty with a heavy water flow and new green foliage on the trees and plants.

Continuing on we came to the Bonneville Dam.  We had to drive through a gate that had a guard but after that we were free to walk about the property.  The dam is a Army Corps of Engineer project.  Water was gushing through the dam as all the gates were open.  The Cascade Locks a little further up the river have been replaced with new locks at the Bonneville Dam.  Since fish need to swim upstream in order to spawn, a fish ladder is also at this facility.  There is a viewing area in which we could see the fish swimming up the ladder.  A theater shows a series of movies and after watching a rather lengthy movie about the Lewis and Clark Expedition we decide that our time was getting away and we needed to move on.

It was also past lunchtime and we were hungry.  Several miles further we came to the Cascade Locks and there was a cafe along the river there.  So we ordered lunch and ate outside on a patio.  The route along the Gorge is about 70 miles and at this time we had only covered about 27 miles and the second segment of our trip around the Mt. Hood area was probably more than 70 miles.  While eating we discussed this situation and came to the conclusion that we were not going to get through this "4 hour trip" today and we would just add another day to our stay and do the second segment tomorrow.

After lunch we crossed the Columbia River on the Bridge of the Gods and were then in Washington.  We traveled along the Columbia River to the east on the Washington side (north).  We did stop at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center and spent time going through this center.  We then continued on to Dallesport, Washington where we crossed over the bridge to The Dalles, Oregon. The gorge - the area that the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains- ends here.  After the river crossing we were back in Oregon and we then traveled west back to Troutdale.  The views along this gorge are beautiful.  We drove on  US30 when possible but often segments ran concurrently with I-84.  The segments where US30 is separate from the interstate is through towns and occasionally to a vista as Rowena Crest. 

What was to be a "4 hour drive" ended up being a 9 hour drive and only completing a portion of the drive.  But we are not dissappointed or annoyed by this as we had a very enjoyable day.  Tomorrow is another day and our plans are not in concrete.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gateway of the Gorge, Thursday, May 9, 2013

By 9:10am this morning we were on our way traveling north from Nehalem for twenty couple miles until we came to route 26 going east to Portland.  But we continued a little way beyond to Troutdale, "The Gateway to the Gorge"- that would be the Columbia River gorge.
From 2013-05-09
  Tom had called ahead this morning to Sandy River RV Park to check about a campsite for the next 2 nights but the office did not open until 11am.  By 11:45am we were at the campground and a site was available.  Setting up and lunch as usual and then Tom noticed a short scenic drive that was to end at a viewing area of 5 mountains- Mt.St Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainer, Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson.  So we were off on this 14 mile drive but a little passed mile post 9 the road was closed because of snow although there was no sign of any snow anywhere.  We couldn't pass through the gate so we returned a little disappointed but tomorrow we hope to make up for that disappointment with a drive through the Colimbia River Gorge.

We spent part of our evening planning out our travels in order to assure that we will be in Ohio by the 30th of May.  We also walked about the campground and to a community park across the street from the campground.  The park has a "beach" along the Sandy River whose source of water comes from Mt. Hood.  That water had to be cold but people were in there mostly wading.  It is warmer here than along the coast with temperatures today in the 80's.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Airplanes and Cheese, Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Continuing our travels north on Highway 101, we left Beverly Beach State Park Campground a little past 9am.  We did leave Highway 101 for several miles north of Lincoln City to take a segment of the  Three Capes Scenic Loop.  This winding road was not as scenic as we thought so we returned to Highway 101 prior to getting to Tillamook.

In Tillamook, we stopped at the Tillamook Air Museum.  Aside from the aircraft that was expected to be on display, the hangar that the museum is housed in was a hangar for K-class blimps  used in World War II for anti-submarine patrol and convoy escort.  This had been the site of the Tillamook Naval Air Station.  There had been 2 of these hangars built – A and B.  The B-hangar was the first one built.  The A-hangar was then built in 27-days but in 1992 that hangar was destroyed in a fire.  These hangars housed 8 K-class blimps which were 252-feet long and contained 425,000 cubic feet of helium.  They had a range of 2000 miles and could stay aloft for 3 days.  The length of the hangar is 1,072 feet, height of 192 feet and width of 296 feet with over 7 acres of area.  The planes that are now in this building include many that are in condition for flying and, in fact, are periodically flown.

After stopping for fuel we continued through the town of Tillamook and made another stop at the northern edge at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  Self-guided tours allowed us to view this factory’s cheese-making and processing.  Tillamook cheese is the second largest cheese making factory in the US.  In addition to the tours there is a café where we got our lunch today.  Naturally, cheese is sold here along with ice cream, fudge, and souvenirs.  a nice stop and well worth the stop.

Finally after another 20 miles, we arrived at Nehalem Bay State Park where we are staying tonight.  We only traveled 99 miles today but with the stops we didn’t get to the campground until 3:30pm.  After getting into our site and setting up we walked out to the beach.  Our site is beside a path to the beach which is a short strenuous walk across dunes in loose sand.  Once out on the beach the sand is firmly packed making walking a lot easier.  Tomorrow we plan to leave the coast and travel east to the area of the Columbia River Gorge.

Coastal Views and Lighthouses, Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This morning we started out going a few miles north of the campground to Depoe Bay.  The Depoe Bay Bridge is said to be a good place to see whales but we did not see any from there.  Continuing south along the coast we stopped at an overview of the Whale Cove an area according to research suggest that Sir Francis Drake may have landed here.  We then took a scenic side road from Rocky Creek Bridge to Cape Foulweather.

From 2013-05-07 Depoe
  At Cape Foulweather, named by Captain James Cook on a day of inclement weather, there is a gift shop that sits on the edge of the cliff called “The Lookout Observatory”-  an interesting small shop with great views out the windows.  We even saw a young raccoon digging and eating in the grass.
From 2013-05-07 Depoe
   further south we came to Devil’s Punchbowl, a different formation in basalt with the huge rock having 2 arches the open into an opened area.
From 2013-05-07 Depoe
From 2013-05-07 Depoe

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is under the management of the Bureau of Land Management.  This is a narrow coastal headland that extends a mile into the ocean.  The hard basalt cliffs were formed millions of years ago from lava flows.  Our first stop was at the Interpretive Center which had displays and 2 films – one on the area and one about the lighthouse that is one this property.

From 2013-05-07 Yaquina Head
  Leaving the center we were getting hungry so we decided to leave, get some lunch and then return after lunch to drive about this strip of land.

We went into the old part of Newport and had lunch at Mo’s Restaurant.  Mo’s Restaurants are in several towns along the coast but this Mo’s is the original restaurant started in 1946.  We both had dinners that started with a cup of clam chowder, then clam strips, oysters and cod with steamed vegetables, and shared a dessert called Marionberry cobbler.  Nice lunch.

Before leaving the town of Newton we decided to stop at the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, the only wood lighthouse along Oregon coast and the only one with living quarters attached.  It was only lit for 4 years from 1871 to 1874.  We were able to walk through the house from basement to top floor.  It is operated by volunteers.  There is another tower beside this lighthouse owned by the Coast Guard.  According to what we read in 1996 this became a working lighthouse but the volunteer had no idea just what the Coast Guard was doing up there.

Now we returned to the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.  The lighthouse here is still in operation with its original lens that has been in place since 1873.  This lighthouse is undergoing restoration so was not open to the public.  It is Oregon’s tallest lighthouse at 93 feet.

From 2013-05-07 Yaquina Head
  We drove part way and then had to walk down to an area of tidal pools and seals where we saw a few pools and no seals.  By this time we called it a day and returned to the motorhome.  It was cloudy and chilly most of the day so getting inside out of the damp air felt good.  Tomorrow we will moved on up the coast.

NOTE: 1. When we are camped in state parks internet is not available so these blogs are not posted until we are in parks with internet.

              2.  A publication called “The Original Highway 101 Mile-by-Mile Guide” is available at Visitor’s Center within the state and are a really nice guide to vistas, towns and attractions along this route.

Newport, Or. and Whales, Monday, May 6, 2013

Today we were moving 111 miles north to Beverly Beach State campground about 6 miles north of Newport, Oregon.  Leaving Coos Bay, we passed huge piles of sawdust that had bulldozers on them pushing the sawdust.

From 2013-05-06 woodchips
  We were not sure if the sawdust was being loaded on ships or if there was some type of processing of fiberboard being done.

Continuing north we passed through the areas we had been in yesterday until after going through Florence.  The dunes were no longer along the ocean and rocky shoreline were again in view.  The ocean was in view much of the way.  As we neared Cape Perpetua I told Tom that the National Forest had a Visitor’s Center with RV parking so we decided to stop.  Getting into the parking lot was a little tight and I was beginning to regret my suggestion but we successfully got parked.  In the center were different displays one was of plants in the region.  Those yellow bushes that we had been seeing along our ways were there- Scotch Broom, so I learned – and another yellow low growing plant – Gorse.  Both of these plants are very invasive and not native to the area.  As I was talking with a Ranger he suddenly noticed out the windows facing the ocean whales.  End of discussion we were out watching the whales which was believed to be a cow and calf gray whales.  Exciting!

Eventually, we got back on the road and continued to Beverly Beach State Park Campground.  Another very nice public campground situated in a wooded area within walking distance to the beach.  After getting situated and eating lunch we drove into Newport.  We found the Hatfield Marine Science Center which is part of Oregon State University and went in.   Admission was by donation but there were many interesting displays.  An octopus is the first thing seen upon entering.  There are pools with anemones, starfish, abalones and sea cucumbers that we were allowed to put our hands into and touch the animals.  Outside the Center was a piece of a concrete dock that washed ashore in Oregon from the Japanese Tsunami that occurred in March 2011.  Hard to believe that something that massive could be pushed across the ocean.

From 2013-05-06 Dock
From 2013-05-06 Dock

A stop at Fred Meyer for a few items and then back to the campground.  We then walked out to the beach and walked along the ocean.  This was a nice firmly packed sandy beach with a few rocks.  Another couple pointed out whales in the ocean.  We couldn’t believe that we again were seeing whales- twice  in one day.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Stellar Sea Lions, Sunday, May 5, 2013

We set out this morning by first going into Coos Bay and the Boardwalk along the Bay.  Two tall ships, the same ships we saw while in Crescent City- Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington – were tied up along the Boardwalk.  There were sign boards along the walk telling about the lumber industry in this region which seems to be the main industry here.  Before leaving the town we stopped at the Myrtle wood store where some very pretty Myrtle wood products are sold.

We then drove north on US101 to several miles north of Florence and the Sea Lion Caves.  This is the largest sea lion cave in the world.  Stellar sea lions gather here in the fall and winter.  In the spring and summer they reside on ledges outside of the cave as they breed and have their young.  An elevator did take us down to the caves.  While down there we did see one sea lion come into the cave.  After going up on the elevator we walked up an incline and then down another incline to a viewing area of the Stellar sea lions on a ledge.  In the ocean by the ledge there were several groups of sea lions swimming in groups.  The sea lions were noisy making guttural sounds unlike the barking sounds of seals.  There were some big bulls on the ledge claiming their mating partners and the “pupping” is predicted to start within a week or two.

It was then well past noon and we were hungry so we headed south to Florence and ate at seafood restaurant (where else?) having a real good seafood pasta dish.  We then walked about the shops in the area.  It was a nice sunny warm day.  We were in a kitchen store talking with the clerk and when we left the store we could feel a definite change in the temperature along with a stronger wind.  We were leaving Florence and could see a white cloud moving in from the ocean and the temperature fell from the upper 70’s to 55 degrees in a short span of time.

From 2013-05-05 Weather System
  The area along the coast from Coos Bay to Florence is unlike the coast south of Coos Bay as there are sand dunes and beaches not the rocky coast.
From 2013-05-05 Weather System
From 2013-05-05 Weather System

Tomorrow we will move further up the coast.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Coos Bay, Oregon- Saturday, May 4, 2013

A little before 9am we were on the road heading north on I-5 for 74 miles then west for to Coos Bay for a total of 171 miles.  Most of our travels were through forested regions and in some towns we passed through there were wood processing mills.   We had a little mix-up finding the campground that we wanted to go to which resulted in an attempt at turning around and finding that we were not going to successfully get turned without taking out a fence or unhooking the Jeep from the motorhome  and then being able to back up  to make room for the turn.  So it was unhooking, successfully making the turn and then hooking-up the Jeep again.  These things happen sometimes. 

We finally did make it to Midway RV Park, a passport park, a few minutes before 1pm.  After setting up in the campsite we jumped into the Jeep and went in search of a seafood restaurant.    Fisherman’s Grotto was a suggestion given to Tom at the campground and was a good choice.  We both had fish and chips but opted for a vegetable dish in place of the “chips” or fries.  Tom also had a cup of clam chowder.  All the food was very good.

Lunch over, we were on our way to explore this area.  We drove along a scenic coastal road to Cape Arago.  At the Lighthouse Beach there were a number of people enjoying the beach and some even brave enough to go into the water.  Simpson Reef was interesting as harbor seals and sea lions were inhabiting this area while “pupping”.  Before seeing these animals we were able to hear the barking over the roar of the ocean.  Whales are also in this area but we did not see any today, maybe tomorrow.

Crater Lake, Friday, May 3, 2013

We had another full day of sight-seeing today.  I had fixed a picnic lunch of fried chicken today since we did not know just what services would be provided at Crater Lake National Park.  We knew that we would be limited in access to roads in the park because of snow and we were hoping that we would at least get to see the Lake that is visible about 50%of the time.

Driving northeast from the RV Park we followed the Rogue River and then came to the Rogue Gorge, a short drive from the highway.  The head waters of the Rogue are from Crater Lake and this gorge was a piece of the river’s journey to the Pacific Ocean at Gold Beach.  A short 1/4 mile walk along the gorge followed the water as it cascaded through the gorge. 

Continuing on to Crater Lake National Park we were seeing more snow the closer we got.  When we pulled into the Visitor’s Center the walkway to the center had snow on each side higher than we are tall.  We watched the movie about the Lake and then drove a few miles further to the Lake near the area of Rim Village.  Snow was piled up so we had to climb on the snow in order to get up to view the lake.  The views were just beautiful.  We had no problems seeing the lake today as it was a clear, cloudless day.   Roads that go around the crater are not able to be opened until the middle to end of June.  The average snow fall is 44 feet- this year there was only 70% of the average but it sure looked like an abundance to me.  Crater Lake is the deepest body of water in this country at 1,943 feet.  It is 6 miles wide and holds the bluest and clearest water.  The water source is from the rain and snow.  After our picture taking we stopped at the Rim Village and we able to eat our lunch in the gift shop/restaurant on an upper level with windows with views of the area.

Our return trip to the campground continued a circular route  passing the Upper Klamath Lake and scenic pine treed regions.  Tomorrow we will move back to the coastal region.

East of Grant’s Pass, May 2, 2013, Thursday

One of the many things about traveling as Tom and I do is that usually very few plans are cemented in place.  A couple of days ago we had given up going to Crater Lake but the more we thought about not going the more we thought we should go.  So this morning we left Gold Beach driving 138 miles to the city of Rogue River just east of Grant’s Pass.  Tomorrow we will take the Jeep and, hopefully, be able  to see the Crater Lake.

We are camped at  Valley of the Rogue State Park, a great campground- level, roomy, paved sites, full hook-ups and $24.00/night.  After setting up we got lunch and  attended to some errands in Grant’s Pass.  I got my haircut, Tom washed the Jeep and replaced the wiper blades and finally stopped for some groceries. We were surprised at the size of the town of  Grant’s Gap and all the traffic through the town.

It is very warm here with temperatures in the upper 80’s- such a change from the temperatures we were in along the coast.  We expect that it will be cooler when we travel up to Crater Lake tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Rogue River Trip, Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It was 31 degrees this morning with the wind still blowing and we were scheduled to go on Jerry’s Rogue River trip at 9am.  Oh well, with layers- long sleeved shirts, sweat shirts and jackets- we went to the harbor and got on board.  The sun was out and not a cloud in the sky.  Today, May 1, was the start of the boat trip season so we were on the first trip for the year.  At this time only 1 trip per day is scheduled that being the longest 104 mile trip.  We set off in the boat with blankets provided by the boat company over our legs and we were warm.  Darin was our captain along with his trusty dog, Agnus.  It was a wonderful trip.  The first leg of the trip was to Agness, a small community, 32 miles up the river.  The boat also serves Agness with mail delivery so a mail delivery was made.   We had a brief stop for bathroom use and getting snacks.  Returning to the boat we had to don life jackets as we were going 20 more miles up river in category 1-3 rapids.  What fun!  We got sprayed a little as we hit those rapids and whenever Darin put the boat into a spin.  This section of the river is classified as a wild river meaning that for distances on both sides of the river cannot be developed or even have roadways and the river traffic is limited with the issuance of permits.  The scenery was beautiful.  We did see 2 black-tail deer and many birds and ducks.  At the 20 mile point it was clear that we could go no further as the rapids were much greater and there were huge rocks that would not have permitted passage to the boat we were in.  Returning down river we again stopped in Agness for lunch.  A buffet was set out with salads, soups, chicken, roast pork, ribs and sausages which cost $13.00 per person (not included in the cost of the trip) and was tasty.  The weather had been warming up all day and by the time that we were leaving Agness for the final 32 miles we were down to our long-sleeved shirts and they were feeling hot at times.  There were quite a few fishing boats on the river between Agness and Gold Beach and a few big fish, salmon, were being caught.  It was a most enjoyable boat trip with beautiful scenery and some exciting fun on the river.  The boat company, Jerry’s Rogue River Jet Boats, have the only permits for these boat trips on the river.

Returning to the campground we noticed the wind was still strongly blowing and it was chilly- much different than the weather that we had on the river.  We did walk out to the ocean but did not tarry long.