Hood River

After a pretty lazy morning we set out for the riverfront park in Hood River to see all the windsurfing and kite boarding action.  I think we sneaked in with the heathens while all the good boys and girls were at church because we got a parking spot right at the park which apparently is usually not possible.  We played at the playground for awhile then took Sheba to the dog beach to play in the water.  But this is also the place for the windsurfers and kite boarders to hang out while they rest or wait “for the wind to pick up.”  After a guy said that I realized this was probably not going to be my sport.  I’m not very comfortable in the water and I’m really not a fan of wind.  But there are plenty of people to keep the sports alive without me.  There were just so many windsurfers and kite boarders it was crazy.  I was interrogating the boarders and kiters about how their gear worked and how they went about learning to fly a huge kite while balancing on an itty bity board bouncing across white caps caused by 30mph wind going upstream and water flowing downstream.  Sounds impossible, but they make it look easy and it’s very neat to watch! Read more

Another dam day

Hood River has been on our itinerary since my good friend John moved there for work this spring and today we arrived at Viento State Park just a few miles west of town.  This state park is right on the Columbia river….but also sandwiched between I-84 and a heavily used railroad.  It is a beautiful place for the eye but not so much for the ears.  We knew this going in so were not surprised.  Our site was a driver side back in so we nailed it on the first try and as we were setting up John showed up!  We chatted for quite awhile as we ate lunch then decided to go check out Bonneville Dam.  John had been to the dam 4 weeks earlier for Father’s day and the shad were running.  He wasn’t sure if there would still be anything to see at the fish ladders or not.  But we were pleasantly surprised to see there were still plenty!!
At fish ladder
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Oregon coast

A trip to the Pacific Northwest would not be complete without a visit to the Oregon coast as well.  Steph was able to score us two nights at the very popular Nehalem Bay State Park so we saddled up and headed down the coast from the Olympic Peninsula.  We had to stop and dump tanks along the way since the Hard Rain Cafe did not have a dump station.  But we found the Kalaloch dump station without issue and only had to wait for one RV in front of us.  We were cruising along just fine until we got to the town of Aberdeen.  I am not sure what the deal was but traffic here was at a complete stand still.  Google was giving us suggested reroutes but we’re nervous of those in towns because Google doesn’t know we’re dragging a 38 foot home behind us and can lead us down some narrow roads, under low bridges and/or tight turns.  Also, NOBODY else was pulling out of traffic.  Surely the locals would all start hitting those side streets to work their way around….but no, everyone just sat there idling.  It took over an hour to get 1 mile through town.  So ridiculous!!  And we still have no clue what the hang up was.

After the crazy traffic jam we stopped for a quick bite to eat and bathroom break before continuing along our journey.  We’d just gone a few miles and were headed up a twisty road when traffic came to a stop.  We could see that up ahead there was a pretty fresh accident.  Luckily it seemed it was a single vehicle (a logging truck mind you) and there seemed to be no injuries.  But this was pretty freaky to see these giant logs scattered all over the road and the big semi jammed into the side of the hill!
Accident
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Beach treasures

It is pretty easy for us to spend a whole day at the beach and stay entertained the entire time.  The kids love to play in the waves and dig in the sand.  And all 5 of us can spend hours looking for cool little treasures to collect.  I wish I had done a better job recording our finds on film because we have been to many beaches.  We’ve been to Mustang Island, Galveston Island, Dauphin Island, St. Andrews and St. George beaches.

St. George finds
Collection

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Hard Rain Cafe

Back in Three Forks Montana Steph and I spent some time making more reservations for our trip.  She put me in charge of the Olympic Peninsula and I found the Hard Rain Cafe.  It was one of the few places in the area that had reviews on Campendium, confirmed Verizon 4G coverage and was centrally located to both the beaches and the Hoh rainforest.  And they had room for us.  And it was a bargain at $25 per night!!  On the phone the lady assured me they had plenty of room for our 38 foot 5th wheel and some Google reviews agreed with that while others said it was super tight quarters and big rigs should avoid.  While they took a one night deposit I sort of got the feeling the reservation was only taken in the receptionist’s head or maybe a sticky note at best. I called to confirm the reservation the day before and I could almost hear her searching through a stack of post it notes to find the one with my name on it.  I was a little nervous about what the place would be like and being so close to the 4th of July I was worried that there would be no backup options.
Door sign
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Happy Forks of July

It’s the 4th of July and to celebrate our independence we’re going to the town of Forks Washington for their old fashioned 4th of July festivities.  Everyone we talked to said the parade was something not to miss and that we just HAD to enjoy lunch from the traditional salmon bake.  We pulled into town only about 10 minutes before the parade started so thought for sure all the parking would be gone.  But we easily found a spot just across the street from the city park where the parade ends and the salmon bake begins.
Happy Forks of July
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From sea to shining sea

Today we went to Rialto Beach, our most northwest point on this trip.  Some 2826.77 miles as the crow flies from the other corner of the United States we visited last year!  If you drive directly between the two it is 3,640 miles.  We have covered a lot of ground!!

It was pretty thrilling to stand at this edge of the US and recall all of our time along the south and east edges of the US.  We have made so many memories between the coasts and there are many more to be had.  I hope that these travels will inspire the kids to explore the world on their own someday.  Whether it is exploring new places near home or in some distant land I pray that they remain curious about the diversity of the land, animals, weather, people and experiences that await them around the next corner.

Ok, enough of the deep thoughts from Jack Handy…let’s get on with the beach!

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Ruby Beach

Our neighbors at the campground are from Washington and visit the Olympic Peninsula regularly.  According to them there is no beach better than Ruby Beach which was already on our short list.  So after our morning in the Hoh Rainforest and a late lunch back at the rig we added Sheba to our party and headed to the beach.  All the beaches in Kalaloch, including Ruby Beach, allow leashed dogs!  We were anxious to see how Sheba would react to the sand and waves!

As we had descended from the campground to the coast we entered some low lying clouds that presented more of that misty Pacific Northwest feel.  We knew we had missed low tide by a couple of hours but thought this would help us avoid some of the crowds who come just to explore the tide pools.  Wrong!  Parking lot was packed and cars lined the road all the way into the lot.  But after one lap we found a spot big enough for the Beast and we hopped out to explore.  We were all a bit surprised at the difference in weather and temperature down on the beach compared to 20 miles away from the coast!
Sibs
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Downtown Seattle

Everybody was feeling good this morning so the day started off great and we had a busy day planned.  There was a lot we wanted to see downtown and one of those was an 11:00 tour of the “underground” with our friends the Tillery’s.  You may remember that we met up with these neighbors of our back in Banff when we hiked Johnston Canyon together.  It’s been fun stalking meeting up with them during our travels.

Yesterday it had been so easy to find 4 hour street parking that we decided to drive again instead of taking the bus. Bad, bad, bad idea.  Cities are made for walking.  Ride your bike if you have to.  But never, ever, ever drive in a city like Seattle, Denver, Austin, etc.  So yeah, any money we saved on bus fare we spent on parking and diesel as we idled around the streets being passed by a one legged guy hobbling along with his walker.  But we found parking and we got the “early bird” price which saved us $5.  Then it was off to Pike Place Market.
Something is fishy
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