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Friday, July 16, 2010

THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST






“You can get so used to certain luxuries that you start to thinking they’re necessities, but when you have to forgo them, you come to see that you don’t need them after all. There is a big difference between needing things and wanting things - though many people have trouble telling the two apart.” - Anonymous
After leaving northern California, we took our time traveling up beautiful Hwy 101 through Oregon and Washington. Spectacular views of the rocky coastline, sea stacks, lighthouses, wildflowers, surfers, kite flyers (the Oregonians love their state), sea life and sunsets. The Oregon State parks are beautiful with trails leading to the beaches. One of my favorite areas was north of Florence. The beautiful Heceta Head Lighthouse, the one you see on so many calendars, and the famous sea lion caves. What interesting creatures. It was fun looking down on them basking in the sun on the rocky ledges from the scenic overlooks (that’s them on the rocks in the slideshow). Also, Cannon Beach with the famous, 235 ft high, Haystack Rock jutting out of the ocean. 
Our last stop, before crossing the four mile bridge across the Columbia River into Washington, was Lewis & Clark National Park Fort Clatsop. Crossing this bridge reminded us of the straits of Mackinaw and the Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan.
 In 1978, when we first traveled this route, we stayed at a free campground called “The Promise Land”. We remember driving through the coastal fog and being relieved to find a place to get off the road for the night. It was the perfect haven with free electric hookup. It truly was “the promise land”. We hoped to camp there this trip. It was not at all like we remembered, so we kept on truckin’ north to Kalaloch Beach, in Olympic National Park, where we had the best of two worlds, the beach on one side and the spruce forest on the other. 
We passed through the now famous town of Forks on our way to the northern part of the National Park. All you Twilighters know what I’m talking about.  There was “twilight” coffee, twilight tours, twilight you name it. Dick said he planned to stop for some “twilight” gas. The Lincoln Theatre (in downtown Port Angeles) was the one used in New Moon. Days before the showing of Eclipse, third in the series, there were fans lined up and camped in tents all along the sidewalk.
We camped at Heart of the Hills Campground near Port Angeles. This area has always been a favorite to us after living and working in Port Angeles thirty-two years ago. The town has grown a bit, with even a Walmart, but the downtown still has its charm. Dick had hoped to do an overnight hike in the high country, but the trails were impassable because of too much snow. We did several day hikes and especially enjoyed hiking up at Hurricane Ridge in the subalpine meadows; walking among wildflowers with beautiful glacier filled mountain peaks surrounding us. It’s how I imagine the Swiss Alps. I kept belting out the Sound of Music.
I was pleased to hear the park was removing two dams on the Elwha River that have stood since the early 1900s. This will restore salmon to the river and bring the area back to the natural. www.nps.gov/olym/
We were on our way to visit Maggie in Anacortes. We took the ferry from Port Townsend over to Whidbey Island and north to Washington Park, a city park not too far from her. We would be there over July 4. A total of ten days altogether. Our friend Chuck Woodbury drove up from Edmonds to visit us. We are friends from the newspaper days. He was publishing Outwest Magazine the same years we published The Dick E. Bird News. He and Dick have a lot in common and we had a great day catching up. Chuck now has a website for RVers and has added Dick’s RV Shrink columnhttp://www.rvtravel.com/ 
Washington Park has spectacular views when you walk out to the water’s edge. We loved walking by the water at dusk when the sky was saturated with reds and oranges and the seals were playing and fishing off shore. It was magical. Away from the water’s edge it is thickly wooded. We were experiencing grim skies and the sun rarely showed its face for the first five days we were there. Having no sunshine for several days can be a major factor in determining my moods. Getting out of the forested campground helped. Everyone commented that summer doesn’t officially arrive until July 5th. They were absolutely correct. On the 5th it was sunny and summer temps set in, the dark gray waters turned to sparkling blues and you could see the beautiful mountain tops with snow covered Mt. Baker in the distance. 
We visited Maggie, in Anacortes, last September when she was working and living at the Shiphouse Bed & Breakfast. So now we had several more people we were looking forward to seeing again. I’m sure most of you know Maggie moved out to Washington, a little over a year ago, on a whim. During the slow season at the B & B she had another part-time job working at a little lingerie boutique downtown Anacortes. She has loved this area and made so many good friends, but recently made the decision to move back to Michigan. She flew back two days after we left Anacortes. We are happy that we made the decision to visit her again before she moved back home. We enjoyed a couple of campfire picnics with her and her friends. The three of us took an early morning ferry ride through the beautiful San Juan Islands, stopping at Orcas and Shaw Islands. We visited Oggie and Betty, Captain and First mate of the Shiphouse B & B, a few times over the ten days, and on our last day Oggie invited us and several friends over for a wonderful seafood dinner out on his patio overlooking the islands. 
Fortunately, I travel with a man of all trades. The motorhome has given us trouble twice since we left California. Dick had to replace the solenoid in Oregon and the starter in Washington. Towing a car comes in very handy when the motorhome won’t move. We just unhook and drive to the nearest auto parts store. We’ve also been fortunate that both times we were stranded within ten miles of a store and they just happened to have the part we needed, for a 1989 Ford Econoline 350, in stock. 
We are both looking forward to heading east to North Cascades and Glacier National Parks after almost eight months on the road. We first want to explore these beautiful places and Dick wants to do some long distance trips. Our ETA is around mid-August. We’ve been told our neighbor is mowing the lawn. We owe him big time! I’m wondering what my perennial gardens look like. I had a good friend help me get them started and then I abandon them. I have someone checking the house now and then and she says everything looks great and there has been no “mousecapades.” All is well. See you in a month!!
People in the campfire/picnic pictures:
KELLY SITEK (Maggie graduated with her and they were roommates in college and then Kelly moved out to Anacortes last September and they lived together at the B & B).
IAN FEATHERSTONE - Kelly’s boyfriend who is also from Traverse City and moved to Anacortes in February.
KRISTIE RAINCHILD - Maggie worked with her at the boutique and also lived with her for a few weeks before moving back to Traverse City.
LOGAN RAINCHILD - Kristie’s 3 yrs old son. What a cutie. As you can see by the pictures we had loads of fun with him. 

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