Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weather Reports

Sunday, June 16 - We left early so we could get a good parking place close to Powell's Bookstore.  The bookstore is HUGH!  It takes up a whole block and has four floors.  They have new and used books titles.  I got a credit for a couple of books and we each bought two books which showed great restraint on our part.  The "Gay Pride Parade" was getting ready.  We walked around for a little while, but the parade didn't start until later that day. The most interesting were the cross-dressers - they were really decked out. The weirdest dressed were not with the parade, just strange looking people walking around dressed outlandishly.  

Monday, June 17 - Our goal was to get to the Olympic National Park.  It's one we haven't been to yet. The weather forecast called for 60% chance of rain Monday and Tuesday and 80% Wednesday.  Ft. Stevens SP was the place we picked to hole up during the rainy weather.  Thursday's forecast called for sunny skies. We had been to Ft. Stevens before for a LD Get-Together three years ago. This is a very nice park, probably one of Oregon's best.  It has 257 sites.  Ft. Stevens was built in 1864 to defend the US against the Confederates - like that was going to happen!  It was active until after WWII. We went to the beach which has dark grey sand - I like the Gulf Coast beaches a lot better.  During Happy Hour a light rain started.  

Tuesday, June 18 - Since we were waiting for the 60% chance of rain,  we headed to the town of Seaside. Not a very impressive town, but Don did get another pair of croc's.  He bought a pair there three years ago. We then returned to Astoria to find a fish & chips place that was recommended.  It was closed so we chose another place - Captain D's would have been much better. In the afternoon Don went for a long trike ride. When he returned, I went for a ride. Apparently I was gone a long time, because as I was returning he was in the car to find me.  Still waiting for the rain - it's sunny here.
We toured Ft. Clapsop, the terminal point of Lewis and Clark's grand expedition.
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Wednesday, June 19 - Since we were waiting for the 80% chance of rain, we decided to do laundry. We went to the Mini-Mart Laundry.  Without a doubt it is the best laundromat we have ever used. An attendant was cleaning washers and dryers after every use, inside and out. And Wednesday was free dry day.  The Mini-Mart serves several kinds of coffees and has a very active lunch business.  It is a booming business. This was the best day - sunny and warm.  We each took another trike ride. Where's the 80% chance of rain.

Olympic National Park
I have debated with myself for years about coming here. It has a low attraction factor for me. You see I lived on the east side of the park in 1965. I rode my dirt bike on the logging roads and tooled around the paved roads in an AH Sprite. What could be so different on the other side of the hill? Well actually not all that much. Washington is OK, but for our money Oregon beats it every day from Sunday.

Thursday, June 20 - This was the day forecast for sunshine.  Can't get an accurate weather report here - it changes hourly!  We were on the road at 7:45 to get to the Olympic National Park. Where is the sunshine???  We drove in the mist from Aberdeen north to Kalaloch. We hoped to camp at Kalaloch, but we didn't have reservations.  Some days you just get lucky.  When we reached the CG, the ranger told us that a few sites were open for one night, but could be reserved the next day and we would have to move. We drove through the CG and only a few sites had an ocean view and all were small. The rest were in a dark forest.  The ranger suggested that we try South Beach because they don't accept reservations.  This is a great place.  We are parked on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  It's gorgeous and only $5 per night with our old-age passport!  We drove to Ruby Beach. It's the one that is photographed to show off this area. When the sun comes out, we will go back. 

Friday, June 21 - The sun came out mid-morning while we were walking through firs and ferns. Because of the 120 inches of rain this side of the mountains gets, trees grow taller and faster here than anywhere else. That said, they seemed no more spectacular than firs and ferns at numerable other places. We beat feet back down the Hoi River to Ruby Beach. It was about time we got sun and scenery. Just goes to show, we like rocks and water more than firs and ferns.
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Everyone takes this picture at Ruby Beach
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South Beach $5 a night. Even better than Kirk Creek in Big Sur

We have been carrying around fire wood since we left Moab a month back. Finally last night we burned it in a fire pit near the chairs in the picture above. We invited the couples on both sides of us over and we chatted until 11pm. Sunset started about 8:30 and the western sky still had trace of light at 11.

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South Beach at sunset
Dorothy has cooked some of the best meals of her life on this trip. We have been eating really good. No weight gain either. We bought the Reader's Digest diet books and are getting into their meals. Tasty. Chicken piccata last night, herb encrusted salmon tonight, shrimp scampi tomorrow and smoked salmon is in the forecast at Neah Bay.

I never found much use for Photoshop. Way to complicated. Layers? I have used a feature in Picasa that enhances scenes by accentuating shadows, Thanks Jim for that tip. My favorite utility for managing pictures, viewing, renaming, moving from folder to folder, etc. went with death of my PC. The Mac is not very friendly for photo management, everything requires multiple steps using impossible key combinations and using different programs. I bought a program that helps, but it's not very fast. It has lots of ways to PhotoShop a picture on a level I can understand. The sunset above has been slightly altered. The red was made more red. Now I can make pictures of things I never saw and I can join 21st century photography. Well to my limits. No purple sunlight. Dorothy read an article about a man that has spent years taking pictures of The Palouse and he admits they are photoshopped. Google 'images:ruby beach' and you will see pictures that have been altered to other world colors. I wonder if such alteration is akin to painting on black velvet? It is beyond air brushing Playmates.

Saturday, June 22 - A lazy day, spent sunning in the sun like lizards while watching the surf. Clouds moved in at sunset and by midnight it was misting.
Sunday, June 23 - We headed north on US101 through Forks to the park service CG at Mora. There is a trail to several offshore rocks that I would like to photograph if the weather clears. Forks is a lumber town, now supplemented by all sorts of tours and items for sale related to the TV show Twilight about vampires. We got lost going back into Forks and would up in the Indian village of La Push. There is a most attractive RV park there so we asked the price. $40! Yippee Ki Yay. Groceries in Forks are priced higher than at Whole Foods.
We heard on NPR that sea levels will rise three feet by 2035. This will mean the displacement of liberals from the coast. Horrors! I wonder when the value of coastal property will start falling?

Monday, June 24 - Rain is in the forecast until Saturday. What to do? The fourth is approaching. We are stuck between rain and a holiday.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Oregon Again And Again

Oregon Again And Again

We have been in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, back to Idaho, Washington and now Oregon. Next Washington for a week or so, then back to Oregon.

Sunday, June 9 - Today's mission - see Palouse Falls.  But before we get there, we have a confession. Mary found a great COE CG on the Snake, $7 with hookups. However, when we got there, it was closed. The really bad news is that KOA had taken over management of the other nearby COE property. So yes, we stayed at a KOA. $28 and that included many signs prohibiting this and that, plus a guy in a golf cart to ensure you did not park on the grass or even hang the rear over the grass. Contrast that with our next stop, a private park that not only took Passport America, but had self registration. We went to the falls and they are scenic. But none of us saw a reason to extend our visit.  
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Monday, June 10 - We drove west to Sunnyside, WA in the Yakima Valley, where almost every bush has wine berries on it. We had a goal in being in this area.  It's Wine Country and we needed to go to some tasting rooms. We visited Tucker Cellars and Randy Tucker, the owner, was there. We sampled some wines and enjoyed conversation with him. We left with four bottles of wine and so did the Gardner's. We started Happy Hour early, but continued at the campground. I fixed dinner for all of us and once again we were able to enjoy it outside.

Tuesday, June 11 - We left at 10:00 for Prosser, WA where they have several tasting rooms.  The first was Coyote Canyon Winery where we tried some good wines. Next was Apex Cellars where we tried some more good wines.  We purchased four wines at Coyote Canyon and four at Apex Cellars.  Since we got there around 10:45, the knowledgeable sales ladies had time to spend with us and kept giving us wines to try.  By the time we got to the third winery, I had enough to satisfy me.  But they kept giving me wine!  The only thing that I bought was a bottle of delicious pickled asparagus.  Around 12:00 it was time for us to find someplace to get lunch.  We had Mexican and I had no desire to have a margarita with it.  Before we left town we stopped at Chukar Cherry Co. They don't have fresh cherries, they have many different kinds of cherry candy. This was a place Mary said was good.  And she was right!  Now we have 12  bottles of wine and cherry pecan chocolate candy.  

Fried asparagus was advertised at several places. Yuck!

Before returning to the campground, we stopped at Fiesta Foods, a Mexican grocery store.  The population of Sunnyside is about 80% Mexican.  The store had great fresh produce and very good prices, so we bought a few things.  Back at the campground, we opened the Roussanne white wine.  It is so good.  All of the wines we bought are white that are good in the summer.  So we had our last Happy Hour with Dave & Mary.  Mary fixed a Norwegian chicken dish for dinner that was delicious.

Wednesday June 12 - We bid David and Mary adieu this morning and headed toward Portland. We have spent 20 days with them and really did enjoy getting to know them better.  We shared many Happy Hours, delicious dinners, and day trips to take pictures.  It was a great time.  We will see them on the road again someday. It was a pleasure to travel with them. We found we share a lot of interests. Plus, I did not have to think about what to do, they planned the activities and we were pleased to follow. Now, we have to fend for ourselves again. Where to go, what to do, etc. We will just muddle along as we always do.

If you like good photo's, do spend some time on these web sites.  Mary's   David's

We have set a personal record, 24 days continuous days with electricity. Our other record is over 90 days without hookups. Tonight we are nestled in a USFS CG, called Trillium Lake, about 50 miles east of Portland. No hookups. Last week we had a fine campsite for $5 with electricity. Tonight, we are paying $10 for no hookups. We are sure half of that is because it's concessionaire operated. Still it's good place to veg for a few days and plan our next moves. Just fir and spruce trees. It's flat enough for peddling Trixie and a small lake for paddling. Mt Hood is close by. No TV here, but we have a really hot on-ramp to the Internet.

Thursday, June 13 - It was a rainy, cloudy, cold and dreary day.  Sounds like the start of a murder mystery, doesn't it.  Well it was the start of a lazy lazy day where we did almost nothing except surf the web and read.  Actually I enjoyed the day, just reclining in my nest, err bed. Before you think I was too lazy, I did cook three meals.  We watched two episodes of Downton Abby.  Thank you Doug & Roxanne, we are addicted!  Hopefully tomorrow will bring out the sun because the solar panels need it. 

Friday, June 14 - Sun and 60 degrees. I wanted to get to Flag Point to take pictures of Mt. Hood. This requires staying on Bennett Road, which we were not able to do. The roads did not match our paper or digital maps.

After lunch and nap, we put the yaks in the water for the first time since last year in Utah. We paddled out 50 feet and there was Mt. Hood.
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We chatted with a Japanese family fishing at the boat ramp. They asked if we fished. We said, we only eat fish. We were surprised a few minutes later when two of the kids brought us three rainbow trout. They tasted great.

Saturday, June 15 - We are in an RV park in Portland. We thought about parking at a Wally World, but Portland does not like them or any big box stores. Kinda like GM food I guess. It's a good park. Across the road from the Columbia River. The Portland YC is across the street, the east border of the park is a snazzy CC and there are two more YC's, down the street. The place is full tonight.

We stocked up on foole and pita bread at middle eastern market and went to Fred Myer for basic foods. We tried to go to Powell Books, which is downtown, but everyone under 30 is downtown on a Saturday afternoon so there was no on-street parking and with the yaks on the roof we were too tall for underground parking. We will try again Sunday morning before the young ones get up.

I think we have only been to Portland twice, but we shopped today at the same Fred Myer as we did when Doug and Roxanne flew out and we drove pass Northside Ford where we got an oil change. But, that's about all we recognized. Driving in much of the city is like driving on the freeway in Marin County. Only non-standard ramps to the expressways and you are always turning the steering wheel.

Sunday, June 16 - We went to Powell's Book Store. It's the largest book store we have ever seen. I like military history. Most stores might have a few shelves devoted to it. Powell's had three 50 foot long aisles and the upper three shelves were higher than I can reach. There was a gay pride parade forming near the book store. We did a lookie-lookie.

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Rain is forecast for the next several days. So we will move slowly toward the Hoi Rain Forest.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Palouse II

First Thing - My PC died. Bought a Mac. Screw PC's. If you have been corresponding with me, Don, I no longer have your email address. So if you ever want to hear from me again, you need to send me a note.



Sunday,  June 2 - It's hard to believe it's June.  I am still wearing jeans and long sleeves most of the time.  Haven't had on a pair of shorts in a month.  We traveled less than 20 miles to get to our current location in Moscow, Idaho, which is home to the Idaho State University Vandals.  We are continuing to enjoy traveling with Dave & Mary.  Not only are they fun to be with, Mary is a good cook, so we are having very good meals.  Last night we sat outside for a few minutes after dinner, but it just got too cool.  We hope that the weather gets warm enough that we can eat dinner outside.  We have a beautiful site in a county park which only has five sites.  It's very quiet and we have a nice lawn. The price is right $5 with electric.


On a very positive note, while doing my shoulder  exercise yesterday, I discovered that I can go past the recommended number of repeats and have not strain or pain -  just like it's a normal shoulder.  Final goal is to be able to sleep on my right side.


I have so many pictures of the area and I am so lazy, it is proving hard to cull them them. That's not grass, that's your food growing out there. Wheat mostly.


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A short course in the difference between OK and supurb photography. My shots above. David's below. I thought mine looked good before I saw his.

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Monday, June 3 - We went sightseeing again this morning but didn't see any great scenes.  But it's nice and peaceful in the CG.  In the afternoon we had cocktails and dinner outside for the first time.


Tuesday, June 4 - Weather was just about perfect today.  We went on a scenic drive to the Snake River with Dave & Mary and saw some pretty scenery.  We returned by way of Pullman and stopped at Washington State University which has a creamery and they sell ice cream and cheese.  Dave had a double scoop of ice cream, Don had a chocolate milk shake and Mary and I had chocolate sodas.  It was all very yummy.  Tonight is cocktails and dinner at their home/campsite.


Wednesday, June 5 - Wash Day under clear skies and warm breezes.


Thursday, June 6 - We moved from Moscow, back to the fairgrounds near Colfax. It's twice the price $10, but it's the center of the Palouse. I see the crop fields like the giant green waves of the Roaring Fourties. The Cottonwoods have been putting out their seeds this week. Near the trees, the sky is looks like it's snowing. The 30mph wind today finished them off. A new record, we have been three weeks with electricity. We have not really needed it, but it's part of the fee.


Friday, June 7 - We went on a photo trip with D&M. I again learned that I have little idea of how to take a picture.

I took the picture on the left. I did not want the power poles, the road or the brown fields in the frame. Mary took the one of the right. She removed the power poles with Photoshop. Guess which one I think is a winner?




Partially redeeming, I went inside the barn and took this one. Since this editor does not allow for spacing between pictures, it appears that the field starts where the wood ends. That is not the case, but the effect is interesting.



Saturday, June 8 - Spent the morning cleaning the vehicles. We are now ready for rain or another dirt road. Delightful day. 70 degrees, 30% humidity, a moderate breeze and blue sky. There was a junior rodeo here this afternoon. Fun. Little kids, big horses. The youngest is 3 1/2, 18 is the oldest.  The kids are so confident. When they get hurt, they cowboy/cowgirl up and go on. We thought the girls were a cut above the boys.

Here is the blond headed sweetheart I fell in love with. She handled her mount with aplomb. It was probably the tallest horse in the rodeo.

One bull was really head strong. He did not want to be penned up. It took them quite awhile to get him in the shoot. And even longer to get him out of the arena after he had his ride. It took three cowboys with ropes and three cow dogs over 10 minutes to get him back in the pen.

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That's all for the week. We move west an hour Sunday to Palouse Falls, then west to the coast.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Palouse

What's a Palouse? Last year, I asked David Gardner where they were going in 2013 and he said The Palouse. Huh? I Goggled it and saw a picture of lush green rolling hills and I decided right then I had to see the place. So here we are in eastern Washington, with David & Mary, and it's even more special than I imagined.

Monday, May 27 - We left Oregon and went to Walla Walla, Washington, which is halfway to the Palouse area which Don has been wanting to see for six months.  Our goal was to go grocery shopping and do laundry.  Sunday night was not a good night for me and I didn't feel good all day.  One reason was because I accidentally doubled my meds and to add insult to injury, I burned dinner!  But on the positive side, the refrigerator is stuffed and the clothes are clean.

Tuesday, May 28 - David, Mary and Don are excited to get to the Palouse region.  My thinking all along was that it would be nice and I would have fun.  As we arrived in this area of rolling green hills, I couldn't believe it.  It's a feast for the eyes.  The hills are planted in wheat and barley with some lentils and peas.  We are staying at the Palouse-Empire County Fairgrounds RV park in Colfax, WA.  We went sightseeing and drove to a cemetery where there were 250 American flags waving in the breeze.  It was so impressive.  We went into town to look around and walked the streets.  There is a used book store that was closed for the day, but had some books in stands outside for free.  I picked up one book and if it isn't good, that's okay.  We also went to the library and I got another book for 25 cents.  I am the big spender.

Farm Equipment From Yesteryear
Our Parking Place
Memorial Day

Wednesday, May 29 -  We left Koko at 5:30 a.m. and headed to the Steptoe Butte for early morning photography.  It was cool and windy at the campground.  At the top of the Butte, it was very cool and very windy.  But well worth it because the views were great and Don got some good pictures.  David and Mary are pros when it comes to photography.

Lush Wheat Fields


Other Photographers

Thursday, May 30 - We went sightseeing in Pullman, WA which is home to Washington State University.  This is a beautiful campus and much newer that either Alabama or Auburn.  Incidentally, Auburn's first game of 2013 is against the WSU Cougars in Auburn.  We had lunch at Phikun's Thai Cuisine.  It is in the top five Thai restaurants that we have been to.  On the drive back to CG, we continued to be amazed at how beautiful this area is.  We are enjoying camping with Dave and Mary. We share cocktails each evening and a lot of dinners also.

Friday, May 31 - Today we drove to Moscow, ID.  This is seven miles from Pullman and is home to Idaho State University Vandals.  This is a nice town, but not as upscale was Pullman.  The smell of wood smoke located a decent BBQ joint an we devoured 1.5 racks of ribs. I finally got a haircut which is the first one since the week before we left home.  It was an exciting day at the CG.  There was a huge farm equipment spreading either fertilizer or insecticide  up and down the hills, a crop duster was flying around and the cottonwood trees are in full cottonwood whatever.  The whatever is lots and lots of cotton-like stuff blowing in the air. Don's PC died. The root cause was Dorothy dropping it last year. He now has a Macbook. We went back to Steptoe Butte at sunset for more pictures.

Saturday, June 1 - We went to Palouse for the Rat Rod Show. Fun. 

International Harvester With Mopar Power
Three Window Coupe
Many Roller Girls
One Roller Girl