Two Months In Oregon

After two months in Oregon we are leaving this week and I haven’t written a word about our time here. What can I say? This blog is more about having a record for me to refer back to and it has been so valuable for that. Often times Steve and I will try to remember where we were at a certain time and this website answers our question.  I have some catching up to do here.

After not posting for a while there sometimes comes a day when I have an abnormally large amount of traffic to the site and my motivation returns for a bit. Over the years I have followed blogs that suddenly leave me hanging and it makes me kind of angry. Did they have an accident? Did they get divorced? Or worse, are they dead? Why don’t they say SOMETHING, ANYTHING?! Okay okay.

We are fine. No accidents other than another cracked windshield due to taking a nosedive into the only pothole in what must be the best maintained roads in all of the United States. Well, that did almost cause a divorce.

Our vow to not stay in anymore RV resorts or private RV parks has been kept and has been so very pleasant. So without yakking too much more, following are some pictures of where we have been:

untitled-1-of-1-2

The Astoria-Kegler Bridge stretches over four miles crossing the mouth of the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon. This bridge has the longest continuous truss in the US. The mighty Columbia is mighty impressive!

untitled-5-of-5

The end of July was blackberry season in the Pacific Northwest and they were everywhere, free for the picking. We had them at the historic Dismal Nitch rest area that is immediately before crossing the Columbia River into Oregon and we found more in Girabaldi, Oregon.

untitled-3-of-31

This was our first time traveling the Oregon coastal highway north of Lincoln City and it did not disappoint; particularly on this stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita.

untitled-4-of-31

Looking down on Manzanita and Nehalem

untitled-6-of-31

One of the free overnight RV parking websites lists the Myrtlewood Factory in the port town of Girabaldi as a place to stay. It is a nondescript little parking lot on the highway. Not ideal. Noisy and very busy throughout the night with people pulling in and out as a turn around.

untitled-7-of-31

While Steve leveled the motorhome I walked Molly and noticed a wooden ramp over the railroad tracks in the parking lot. At first I thought maybe it was for track maintenance workers as the rail bed was built up pretty high next to the factory. But Molly and I crossed the tracks and there was an asphalt trail bordered by high bushes full of ripe blackberries. We walked a little further and there was a snow white rabbit sitting on the path calmly looking at us. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at him too. I didn’t want to scare him so turned around and went back to the motorhome.

untitled-5-of-31

I showed Steve the trail and this time just a bit further on the bushes gave way to the bay and the rabbit who was now down on the beach surrounded by onlookers who also didn’t know what to make of him. This turned out to be a wonderful walk as it led us past an RV park on the water, the scenic harbor and pier. 

garabaldior-1

This view is featured in many publications related to Oregon which can also be seen on this walk. It was late afternoon, the sun was in front of me, but I took the picture to remind myself to go back in the morning and try again. I didn’t unfortunately. One of those missed photography regrets that I won’t forget.

untitled-8-of-31

We had arrived at the Myrtlewood Factory after closing hours and from what I read online the owner of the factory required permission before parking there. We tried calling but no answer. So in order not to have him irked at us we got up very early and pulled out, but before departing Girabaldi I wanted to see the harbor one more time. There is a municipal park with easy parking for our motorhome and car and nearby are a couple more RV parks in this tiny town. 

tillamook-2-of-1

Next up was an RV park at the Tillamook Airport. 50+ sites with no hookups (a couple of water spigots) and very few RV’s made for a nice quiet respite. While there the rate went up from $12 to $15 and the maintenance worker said there is talk of putting in a dump station.

tillamook-1-of-1

The views were pretty good too and with only one or two small planes landing or leaving each day there wasn’t much going on at the small airport. 

mollysurgery-1-of-1

We had only intended to stay 3 or 4 days until Steve noticed a black growth on Molly’s leg. Right away I knew it was melanoma and we got her into the Tillamook Veterinary Hospital. Molly had surgery a few days later and we learned that melanoma on a dog is not necessarily malignant. If it is on a hairy area the chances of non-malignancy are 80% and so it was with Molly. However, the doctor did a thorough checkup and several other issues came up. A urinary tract infection, collarette (a skin staph infection), Cushings Disease, and a spot on her head that also had to be surgically removed.  She was put on antibiotics and we were told to come back in two weeks to get the stitches removed and have further blood work done to confirm Cushings Disease.

untitled-10-of-31

While staying in Tillamook we drove the Three Capes Scenic Loop

untitled-11-of-31

The Cape Meares Lighthouse is only one of two lighthouses in the country with an eight sided Fresnel lens. The other one is in Hawaii. This was our favorite of the three capes as it is located in a state park with trails along the ocean and in a forest where you can see the historic Octopus Tree. No fees.

chinookwinds-2-of-1

We didn’t want to stay in Tillamook for two more weeks as there was no place to dump the tanks. We did drive to a county campground in the hills one time but that turned out to be too long a drive on a narrow and winding road to do that task more than once. So we drove a little further south to Lincoln City and parked at the Chinook Winds Casino. They now have a special lot for RVs and also a requirement to register and get a players card in the casino. 40 points are needed to park for 3 days or 100 points for a week. One point = one dollar but if the machine is not a total loser some money will be spit back out. All in all it cost us $6 to earn a one week stay. But we ended up staying 19 nights and my lips are sealed!  Great buffet took most of our money but we still spent less than at an RV park so no regrets.  Listening to the ocean waves every night was priceless!

Two weeks after Molly’s surgery we took her to the Animal Hospital in Lincoln City which I highly recommend for their reasonable and knowledgable service. Actually the Veterinary Hospital in Tillamook was very, very good too. The veterinarian in Lincoln City took out the stitches and reviewed the medical records from the surgery and checkup. She was impressed how thoroughly everything was documented. At the same time she explained that Cushings Disease is not life or death and is not causing Molly discomfort. The series of blood tests to prove Cushings is uncomfortable and subsequent treatment is more for the convenience of the owners as one of the symptoms is that the dogs drink a lot of water and thus need to go outside often. We are used to that and it doesn’t bother us. Molly is 12 and at this point we are not going to put her through painful tests and procedures if we don’t absolutely have to.  She has never minded going to the vet but the minute we got out of the car at the clinic in Lincoln City she locked her legs and wouldn’t budge. She knew where she was although she hadn’t been there previously.  Enough.

untitled-18-of-31

Stayed tuned for the rest of the Oregon segment

Last Days In Oregon

Two and a half months in Oregon was not long enough. It was starting to feel like home but there were so many nice places that we couldn’t choose a favorite. I didn’t take many pictures while there and I know you all would rather see pictures more than anything. Sorry about that but I needed a vacation from the camera.

We sure enjoyed our month in Brookings and the many visits with friends Janet and Leeds. Janet is a great cook and we traded cooking back and forth quite a few times. Their house is up for sale and they might move back to Colorado.  I hope so because Janet and I have a great connection.

Lincoln City

We helped our friend Joy by finding some contractors to work on her rental house in Lincoln City so that it could be made ready to sell. Joy took care of Molly Dog while we galavanted around the S. Pacific this past fall.

Tide pool at Lincoln Beach State Park, Oregon

Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport Oregon

We visited the Yaquina Lighthouse two days ago near Newport on one of the few sunny days during our time on the coast.

Yaquina Lighthouse

Near Newport, Oregon

View from near Newport, Oregon

Yaquina Lighthouse

B&B Complex Fire burned 90,000 acres in 2003

B&B Complex fire destroyed over 90,000 acres near Sisters in 2003. We stayed at the county park in the very cute town of Sisters.

We crossed into Idaho this morning and are at the same RV park in Heyburn as on our way out to Oregon in April. It’s a great little city park for a fair price. They are a Good Sam park, of which we are members, which gets us a 10% discount. The Good Sam inspectors were here recently and told the managers they needed to raise their price, that they were the most inexpensive park in the book. Whose side is Good Sam on? We’ve seen RV parks rates practically double in the last 6 years to the point of being unaffordable for many people. That’s my rant for the day.

And today we unknowingly crossed paths with my long time friends Dixon and Judy. They were at Shoshone Falls about 30 miles from here just two hours before we arrived in Heyburn. We probably passed on the interstate as they headed home to California after driving to the east to see their new grand baby. What a shame we didn’t get to see them. Dixon was responsible, in a round about way, for my wonderful job in Germany years ago.

I am dreading going back to Colorado after feeling so good in Oregon. My Colorado doctor ordered an overnight oxygen test while we were in Brookings and I passed with flying colors.  The overnight test I had in Colorado last year was 5.7 points lower, low enough that I should be on oxygen.  I know we would not be traveling so much if I felt good at home but as soon as we are back in Colorado, all I can think about is being at sea level with moist air to breathe.

Vineyard Camping

Harvest Hosts is a membership organization for campers and RV’ers that allows overnight stays at participating vineyards, farms, and a few museums.  So far we have stayed at just one and hit the jackpot for a great experience.

This vineyard had many different kinds of wine grapes spread over an area of rollings hills with views for miles. The owner of the vineyard also has a winery a few miles away and a few more vineyards for his grapes.  We met him while out walking and he invited us to stay as long as we wanted.  It was tempting because I was getting in some good exercise walking the hilly terrain several times a day but without access to water or dumping we couldn’t stay long.

Molly was off the leash in the vineyards and loved it. She would run a few feet and then lay in the grass and bury her nose, then run again and do the same over and over.

A lush lawn has been put in along side a creek in a secluded area on the backside of the vineyard. We would have never found it had the owner not told us where to find it.This vineyard has an old barn for wine tasting on the weekend and other than those six hours Saturday and Sunday, we had the vineyard all to ourselves.

Rainy Today

You would think there must be many rainy days in Oregon but today is the first day since we arrived. According to the park ranger here at Ainsworth State Park, the California drought extends to northern Oregon too. They had very little rain all winter.

We have been sleeping and sleeping, going to bed every night at 8 and not getting up until 8. This park is right next to the train tracks, so close I could throw a ball at the trains that go by constantly, but they don’t bother us a bit. All the trees  muffle the sound.

This state park was very busy over the weekend but is now very quiet again. I thought about taking some pictures but it is all trees. It’s always surprising to drive away from here and find out the sun is shining.

We have been to most of the waterfalls but missed one which we might visit today, Bridal Veil Falls. Some are so tall coming off the tops of the straight up mountains along the gorge that it isn’t possible to get the entire falls into a picture.

Multnomah Falls

The falls on top go much higher than the picture shows. The lower falls are 69 feet and the upper 542 feet.

Vista House at Crown Point

Vista House at Crown Point

Columbia Gorge

Columbia Gorge

Steve has a cousin on his father’s side that lives in Beaverton, which is a suburb west of Portland. We, along with her husband, met at the Bonneville Dam fish hatchery one day.

Cousins Jennifer and Steve

Cousins Jennifer and Steve

Pretty pools in a nice park at the hatchery

Pretty pools in a nice park at the hatchery

DSC_6904

Herman The Sturgeon is supposedly 10 feet long and 70 years old

On another day we drove over the bridge at Cascade Locks to the Washington side for a look around.

Bridge of The Gods between Cascade Locks, Oregon and Stevenson, Washington

Bridge of The Gods between Cascade Locks, Oregon and Stevenson, Washington

The American Empress has weekly cruises up and down the Columbia River

The American Empress has weekly cruises up and down the Columbia River

Cascade Locks area of the Columbia River

Cascade Locks area of the Columbia River