Archive for the ‘Oregon’ Category.

The Prehistoric Gardens

Once our tail light wiring problems were sorted out we were on a mission to get to the Redwoods and get our touristing done down there.  But wait, what’s this on the side of the road?  The Prehistoric Gardens?  Oh, we’re going there.

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Located south of Port Orfard, it is definitely a blast from the past, but like from the 60s or 70s.  It is so not a modern place, I mean it is kept up, but the whole vibe is very retro.  I’m sure the guy who started it did it out of care and love, with honestly and hard work (all virtues from the magical past).

You can see in the image to the right how our caravan, Jessie and Sarah Michael are dwarfed by the T-rex that greets you to The Prehistoric Gardens.  This wasn’t the only large creature we were going to see.  So check out our pics on Flickr for more.

Sarah Michael was the leader, she held the map in her hands as we walked along the path and was quite excited as she anticipated the next dinosaur we’d see around the bend.

It was really a fun little stop along the way.  Three thumbs up!

Florence to Crescent City, more wiring fun

This morning we left the Maple Lane RV Park and Marina to head for Crescent City, CA and the California Redwoods.  My alarm went off at 6am so we could get an early start.

We’d packed up last night so all I had to do this morning was disconnect the hoses and electric, connect the Jeep and pull away.

This went well until after hitching up the Jeep I went back to check the tail lights that they were working, and they weren’t.  ARGH!  I spend 30 minutes testing connections with my voltmeter and basically decided I was not going to be able to fix it myself.  So we hit the road.

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Two hours later we arrived in Coos Bay, Oregon and found Bayshore Auto RV Repair.  These guys were really friendly, got us in right away with a mechanic who quickly got us up and running and back on the road.

Apparently something went wrong with the wires in the connector for the magnetic lights that caused them to disconnect and then short, breaking the fuse for the trailer tail lights.

I was just so pleased that they were able to get us going so fast.

West Coast Game Park

We learned about the West Coast Game Park from a brochure at the Cannon Beach RV park we stayed at, and Sarah Michael was excited to visit it.

She was excited, that is, until she got there.

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When you buy your admission you are also offered food to feed the animals that wander freely around the pathways.  The animals aren’t dumb, they know that when people come through the entrance gate they probably have goodies so the deer and pygmy goats and mountain goats and llamas mob you.

This is fun for grownups and some kids, but this is terrifying for Sarah Michael.

We quickly rid ourselves of treats then the animals moved on and SM calmed down.  Only then were we able to wander around and see all the animals.  In addition to the aforementioned free-roamers, the park also has lions and tigers and elk and peacocks and bears and and emus and “rare” four-horned sheep and a lot more.  The sheep are crazy looking, I am certain they’re evil.

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They also offer the opportunity to hold and pet a baby tiger and baby leopard and other animals that if they were adults would rip you to shreds.

It was a fun trip and we had a good time.  Sarah Michael is still traumatized from the free-roaming animals, she just got done telling me how she didn’t have a good time today.  That only means that by tomorrow the Game Park will be her favorite part of the trip.

Jeepin’ in Oregon

One of the nice things about RVing with a Jeep is that when you’re out and about in the Jeep you can go Jeepin’.

Today as we were driving south to Bandon, OR to see the West Coast Game Park I spied a forest service-type road so we embarked on a little detour.

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The road was pretty civilized, wide and gravel-paved, so as is my preference I bailed off onto the first non-gated single track road I saw.  It was fun to explore, and the path went on for quite a while, though it ended at a large power pole, so it must have been an electric company maintenance road we were on.

On the way back down towards the main gravel road something exciting happened, though sadly I was only one who bore witness.  About 50 yards ahead of us I saw a black bear run across the road!  When we got to the point where it crossed, we looked for it, but it was pretty area was dense with stumps and trees and vines and bushes and flowers and vegetation.  I was thrilled, though I wish we could grabbed a picture of it.

The next brush with wildlife came a few minutes later on the main road.  We rounded a corner and startled a deer.  He took off down the road so I engaged in pursuit.  I’m sure the deer was frightened, but it would take comfort in knowing that I enjoyed watching it do that nifty bounding thing that deer do, where all four legs seem to be in unison and it leaps more than runs.  Of this we tried to take pictures, but they didn’t turn out very good.

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We followed the road for about six miles before we decided to turn around.  We found a little off-shoot road that climbed up to the summit of one of the hills, and there I stopped to watch some loggers work across the valley.  The area was experiencing a lot of tree removal, the results of which are not pretty, but the dudes have a job to do and people need wood, and the hills will be replanted, so I harbored no resentment.

It was fun to take the Jeep offroad, I look forward to doing more of it during our trip.

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Sea Lion Caves

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One thing we have in common is that when we were kids, Jessie and I both visited the Sea Lion Caves just north of Florence, Oregon.  Jessie and I also have Sarah Michael in common, so the only thing left to do to complete our lives is bring together Sarah Michael and the Sea Lion Caves.

Done!

But first, let’s back up to this morning.

We slept well last night, and we probably could have slept in a little more except that our next-door neighbor Mr. Maple Lane RV Park and Marina Weekender fired up his Harley at 8am to go to work.  Ahhh, that nearly-trademarked Harley Davidson sound.

Once we were up and about we were able to see what this RV Park actually looks like.  This place is really nice!  Our spot next to the river really is the best spot on campus and I’m glad we’re here.  Yes we are 15 miles east of Florence so it is a drive to get anywhere, but having such a beautiful and peaceful home base for a few days is excellent.

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The first thing Sarah Michael and I did was to start decorating and setting up the outside of our RV.  We noticed in Cannon Beach that many of the obviously-experienced RVers made an effort to make their camps feel like home with various kinds of decorations.  So we set out to personalize our spot.

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We hung lights from the awning, fun little strings of lights with stars and moons and strings of flower lights.  They’re kinda horrible, they’re kinda cute.  We also laid out an outdoor carpet and set up our folding chairs and table. These touches really make the place feel comfortable, it doesn’t have the temporary any-moment-we’re-gonna-bolt vibe, this shows we’re committed to having fun.

While SM and I decorated, Jessie did laundry. We needed to do laundry after only two nights on the road? Well, no, not really, but we discovered the laundry here is free so Jessie decided to start making her $28 a night camping fee really work for us.  I also have this feeling that Jessie secretly enjoys doing laundry.

Now, let’s talk Sea Lion Caves.

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In order to understand this place you have to know two things:

  • there are Sea Lions
  • they are in a cave

To get to the caves you pay your admission then walk down to an elevator which takes you 208 feet straight down into the rocky cliff.  The elevator doors open and you are greeted to a smell that is, well, strong.

You walk down a tunnel to a viewing area where you get to witness many Sea Lions hanging out on rocks, fighting each other for a better spot on the rocks, and otherwise doing whatever they do to create stench.

Not that any of this is bad, it is just that until your nostrils become accustomed to a new way of life you are quite aware that something really stinks.

The Sea Lion Caves are really neat, actually, so when you do your trip along the Oregon Coast be sure you make the stop.  Check out the pics.

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After the cave visit we were going to go back up to Newport to see the aquarium, but the highway was blocked by an accident so instead we turned around to go back and chill at the RV.

On the way back we stopped at the beach and walked and ran and enjoyed the sand.  It was really windy on the beach and the sand felt good on our toes.

Eventually we returned to our little river paradise and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

Ahhhhhh.

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Day 2, we’re further South

Our second day in the RV world was a success!  We had no trouble flushing the sewer pipe and disconnecting this morning, that was really my biggest worry.

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We went to the beach and walked down to Haystack Rock.  The beach of Cannon Beach is always fun to walk on and since the tide was out we got to look at beautiful starfish in the tide pools.  I took several pictures of some of the life attached to the rocks, so be sure to see our pics up at Flickr.

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Unfortunately as we we were starting south down 101 out of Cannon Beach we had a bit of a mishap.  Sarah Michael was sitting behind the passenger seat in the chair beneath where I have the wireless internet router gear setup when I took one of the windy turns a little too fast and all the stuff fell down right onto SM’s head!  She started bawling and we quickly pulled over to fix her up and better-secure the equipment.  Later we got some velcro from Fred Meyer to hold things down and that worked well the rest of the day.

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In Tillamook we stopped at the Tillamook Air Museum which is cool.  It is housed in an old Navy hangar that was built during WWII for K-class airships– blimps.  The building is enormous and is impressive to stand inside.  They have many different aircraft there including an F-14 Tomcat and a Mini Guppy.  This was really a fun place to visit.

Traveling even on the windy roads was fine, I really like driving.  Our jobs today were that I drove, Jessie passengered and Sarah Michael alternated between playing and singing along with her iPod.  She loves the songs she learned at Vacation Bible School a couple weeks ago and so we loaded the CD onto the iPod. Jessie and I got quite a laugh out of hearing her mis-sing the God of Wonders song, instead of singing “You are Holy” she would belt out “You are Hoe-y”.

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When it was dinner time we were driving through Newport, so we decided to find a place to eat.  We parked the RV and drove the Jeep down to the historic bayfront area to find some seafood.  Parking was a bit of a problem, we saw lots and lots of restaurants, with lots and lots of cars filling every spot.  So we kept driving until we were nearly at the end of the strip when parking started coming available.  At that same time we spied a restaurant called Local Ocean Seafoods that had that level of busy-ness that suggested we were at the right place.  Jessie and SM shared some crab, I had fish tacos.  The food was great.

More driving after dinner and then we finally we ended up in our new location.  We’ll reveal all tomorrow.

Some Things Don’t Change Even on Vacation

Well here we are in Cannon Beach. SM is coloring and taking my picture.  I made breakfast this morning while Wes was ….wait for it…on the computer.  I did make him promise after being on the computer all night last night (until 11:30) that he would play games with us tonight.  I did notice that when he came to bed last night how quiet the campground was.  RV camping is definitely a step up from tent camping.

Well wes is getting out of the shower now so I think we are going to go to the beach.  It is weird being here and not being on the ocean.  You  would never know you were we were in cannon beach except after dinner last night I asked Wes to drive down Hemlock and we caught site of Haystack.

Bye for now

First day, left late but no Major mishaps

Hooray, we made it to Cannon Beach!

I woke this morning at 6:30 filled with excitement.  We were up late last night packing the RV, pretty much all we had to do this morning was shower and pack our toiletries, most of our stuff was waiting for us in our 25-foot 2005 Ambient.  My excitement was mixed with a little bit of worry, because yesterday’s test connection of the Jeep to the RV for brake lights and turn signals revealed it didn’t work right.  This was totally not my fault, but still not good to learn at 6pm when the wiring place closed at 5:30.

IMG_0663.JPGThe original plan was to try to leave between 8 and 9 so we could get to Portland to enjoy the Red Bull Flugtag Event, but now we had to detour to Advanced Trucks for Toys in South Everett to get the wiring sorted out.  We arrived there at about 9:15.  Doug, the only employee working Saturday morning, was super helpful and tested the connections many ways and basically determined the wiring inside the Jeep is messed up and for some reason their tech didn’t fix this when they had my Jeep weeks back and instead performed an unsuccessful workaround.  This wasn’t what I wanted to learn.  If we hurried we could still make the Flugtag!

10am When it became apparent that the Jeep’s wiring was just messed up, I suggested to Doug that we’d best call it off and go with one of them nice magnetic tail light things I’d seen before, like what tow truck drivers use.  We could solve the Jeep’s wiring when I got back from this trip.  Doug helped me locate a set of lights nearby and I went to sort it out.

Meanwhile Jessie and Sarah Michael were so great.  While I was playing auto shop with Doug they waited in the RV, and when I went to update them on my mess, I found them playing Go Fish.  I thanked them profusely for being so patient.

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11am Nothing is easy.  The place that had the magnetic lights didn’t have in stock any wiring adapters or pieces that could get the lights’ connector to the wiring of the RV.  So I had to run to another store to buy the wiring connector and a tiny screwdriver to put everything together with.  But it was ok, I wasn’t stressed, I remained pleasantly calm.  But we did get going, somewhere around 11am.  This picture was taken at 11:47 in SeaTac as I was filling up.

Hey, this reminds me.  I’m trying to geotag our photos, so when you see them on Flickr you can further immerse yourself in the experience by clicking on the map link next to each picture to see where it was taken.  Also check out the link on the right side of this page, it goes to a nice map on Flickr where you can see all of the photos from our trip identified on a map.

Once we were on the road it was smooth.  The RV handles fine.  I can’t even see the Jeep when I’m towing it unless I’m taking a fairly sharp turn, enough to move the Jeep into the view of the side view mirrors.  You can hear plenty of rattling of our dishes and whatever else is packed into our home on wheels as we plow along, but it is comfortable.  Sarah Michael kept busy playing and listening to and singing along with music on an iPod.  Jessie relaxed, played with SM, tried to sleep, hung out.  I drove and drove and drank energy drinks.

It all went well, but it became clear we weren’t going to make it to the Flugtag.  So we decided to head straight toward Cannon Beach.

We stopped at a viewpoint-pullout-beside-the-road-thing just over the Oregon border to survey the Columbia River, that was nice.

We weren’t in Oregon long before we stopped again.  As we drove thought the community of Clatskanie OR Jessie noticed out her window a Bluegrass Festival.  That was all the motivation I needed.  We parked the RV and went to see what was going on.  You can imagine our delight to find that there wasn’t just music being played, there was a quilt show going on too!

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The music we heard was actually quite lovely.  We only stayed for a few songs from the band you see you see in the short video and this picture, but I did enjoy them.  They had about zero stage presence though, they looked nearly bored as they played, and their costumes made them look like regular heavy-set country folk.  Maybe they weren’t costumes?  A true mystery.

Anyway, it was a worthy stop.  SM had a hot dog and Jessie made friends with old men in the concessions line.  I just smiled, I was happy.

Just before Astoria we stopped by a roadside glass blowing studio that we’ve passed many times before and I’d always wanted to stop at.  Well, we’re in no hurry today!  We watched the artist work on a wine goblet.  Even SM enjoyed it.

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We checked in to the RV Resort in Cannon Beach at around 5:30pm, and it was easy to get everything connected.  It is kinda fun to see all of the other RVs and how people had their gear set up.  The bigger RVs have fancy hydraulic leveling systems, there are ingenious sewer pipe supports and all kinds of other goodies.  I see a trip to the RV supply store in our future.

Dinner, SM and Jessie went swimming, then relaxing, me working for hours on this post, that’s how we spent the evening.

Tomorrow we’ll visit the beach, go shopping, maybe find something to explore in the Jeep.

Until tomorrow…