Monday, May 31, 2010

MEMORIAL DAY


Memorial Day was first celebrated to remember the Union soldiers who had died during the Civil War. After WWI it was expanded to honor dead Americans from all wars.
One of my most precious memories of my Dad is seeing him march in the Memorial Day Parade in Sidney, MT carrying an American Flag which represented a veteran from Sidney who had died. He did this every year until he was well into his 80's. Then he road in a wagon along with other WWII vets that had reached the point where they could not physically march any longer.
This year, someone will be carrying my Dad's flag for him in the parade.
I want to express my thanks to all of our servicemen and women and also to their families for all of the sacrifices that they have made on my behalf and for my freedom that I enjoy every day of my life.
Memorial Day is a time to go to the cemetery and visit with loved ones who have gone on with the rest of their lives before us. We are not anywhere near our families gravesites so Jeri invited me to go with them to visit her parent's graves.
They are buried in one of the prettiest cemeteries I have ever seen. It is more like being in a park, the grass is so green, the flowers are beautiful, there's a small lake with a fountain, and everything is pristine. Just beautiful. Thank you Jeri for sharing your Mom and Dad with me.
The picture I've posted is one of Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Each year on Memorial Day, volunteers place an American flag on every grave in the cemetery in remembrance. It is a wonderful experience to see these flags and also the Changing of the Guard.
We as Americans have a tendency to take our freedoms for granted. Please take this time to remember how and why we have these freedoms and express our appreciation to those who have made them possible.

Friday, May 28, 2010

HUMMINGBIRDS

There are many hummingbirds in this park and several of us have our feeders out trying to convince the birds they want to eat out at our house.

I guess it was breakfast at Jeri's house and lunch at ours. They are so fascinating to watch. And they practice dive bombing if you don't keep the food coming.






PARKER'S STEAK HOUSE

Had a fabulous dinner last night at Parker's. It was raining (someting new) so the guys let Jeri and I off at the door. The hostess showed us to an elevator that took us upstairs to a loft area.

Our waiter was one of the best we have ever had. Very attentive without being overly so. (And really cute and very young) Dinner started with a cheese fondue, followed by a shrimp cocktail for Jim. Both of us decided that we would split the 16 oz rib eye and it was a good thing we did. Terry and I had their chicken dumpling soup (fantastic), Jeri and Jim had salad. The steak came with a huge baked potatoe and mushrooms. That steak was about as perfect as you could have. And both of us ended up bringing some of the steak home - just a lot of food. Can you imagine if we hadn't split the dinner?

CEDAR CREEK GRIST MILL

It may be raining but we don't let that stop us. Since Jim's goal in life is to fish everywhere Jeri and Terry took us on a tour of local fishing holes. (It's so great to have tour guides who know the local area so well.)
We found about a million places to fish and all that looking made us hungry. (What doesn't make us hungry!) So we stopped for lunch at the restaurant located in the park where Jeri and Terry have their cabin. It is a beautiful area but it was raining and hard to see a lot through the drops. It's right on the lake but their cabin is up on the mountainside. A wonderful hideaway.

Be sure to notice the fire burning behind them and notice that we picked the spot closest to that fire. It's almost June and we are sooo enjoying the fire.


On the way home we made a stop at the Cedar Creek Grist Mill which was built in 1876. This was 13 years before Washington was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889.

It is the only grain grinding mill in Washington that still grinds with stones and is waterpowered. On week-ends they offer tours of the mill and do some actual grinding but we missed out on that this time. There's always another time though.






COUNTY LINE RV PARK

This little park is so cool, I want to share a few more moments with you.
This is a tugboat going upriver during the night.








Does anybody know what this is anymore?










We actually had sunlight one morning so Scooter could indulge in two of her most favorite activities: hunting among the rocks and laying on the warm path. She can't stand for Jim to be outside fishing without her. Skittlez is an indoor dog and could care less what the weather is outside.





















When the clouds go away we have had the most perfect sunsets and gorgeous moonlight.














Isn't this just a perfect place to be? If only the rain would go away. We also had a seal visit us but that didn't make any of the fisherpeople happy because the seal was eating all the fish that they had hoped to catch.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TRY AND KEEP UP WITH US TODAY

We headed our early with our tour guides taking us towards the ocean. That would be the Pacific Ocean.



Our first stop was at the wonderful, old Greys River Covered Bridge.











The next stop on our tour was the North Head Lighthouse which was built in 1898 and located at the mouth of the Columbia River. It was erected to guide mariners approaching from the north who could not see the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.







Onto the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. In 1788, while searching for the Columbia River, English Captain John Meares missed the passage over the river bar and named the nearby headland Cape Disappointment for his failure in finding the river.


In 1856 the lighthouse was built to warn seamen of the treacherous river bar known as "the graveyard of the Pacific". It is the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast.







By this time we were starved so we stopped at this really great seafood restaurant in Long Beach called Doogers. Terry says their oyster stew is the best he's ever had. I'll take his word for it because oyster stew would not be for me. I had halibut fish and chips and they were really good. Jeri had the cod fish and chips and Jim had scallops. A wonderful lunch was had by all.

We also visited the longest beach in the world and Jeri did some great donuts for us in the sand. She's having way too much fun with their new Jeep.


We tried to find John and Cheryl's Bluebird while we were out on the coast but didn't have any luck tracking them down. Hopefully next time we're in the same area we can meet up.



Our return home was via the Columbia River ferry. Now this was really fun. The ferry runs from Westport, OR to Cathlamet, WA. It is a 12 minute ride - you just drive your car on and off you go. We had a full load on our trip - 9 vehicles. Jeri & Terry have done this several times but this was a new experience for Jim and me and we had a great time.





I don't know about you, but we're tired. Of course, there's always energy for fishing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PANDA EXPRESS

Panda Express is my favorite "fast food" restaurant ever. I discovered that there is one in Longview and that made me very happy.

Following just behind us or just in front of us on our trip through Death Valley and to the Northern California Coast and up into Oregon and Washington are Carol and Doug.

They finally caught up with us Sunday afternoon and decided to spend a night here in the park. I found out that they had never eaten at a Panda Express and I just had to take it upon myself to rectify this terrible injustice.

So off to dinner we went. I hope they enjoyed it half as much as Jim and I did. They are Escapees members from Virginia Beach, VA. It is so fun to finally be able to put faces to all the people you talk to on the forum.

FISH LADDERS

Fish ladders are designed to allow adult salmon and steelhead to migrate past dams to their spawning grounds. I never really understood how fish could get up a ladder. I often pictured them balancing on their tails hopping up the rungs of a ladder. I kind of figured that wasn't really how it worked but I had no idea what to expect. So I did a little research on fish ladders.


The fish ladder at Bonneville Dam is a poor and wier ladder which uses a series of small dams and pools of regular length to crate a long, sloping channel for fish to travel around the dam. To head upstream fish must jump over from pool to pool in the ladder. When they land in the pool they can rest before they fight the current to continue their journey.

The day we were there, not many fish were trying to swim upstream but Jim was able to get this picture of one of the two big fish that we did see.

BRIDGE OF THE GODS

After leaving the waterfalls, we stopped at the Char Burger Restaurant which looks out over the Columbia River and the Bridge of the Gods.


The story behind the natural Bridge of the Gods is really interesting. According to Indian legend the Great Spirit built a bridge of stone that was a gift of great magnitude. Scientists say that about 1000 years ago the mountain on the Washington side of the Columbia River caved off blocking the river.


The natural dam was high enough to cause a great inland sea covering the inland prairies as far away as Idaho. For many years, natural erosion washed the dam out. The waters of this inland sea rused out, tearing away more of the earth and rock until a great tunnel was formed under the mountain range, leaving a natural bridge over the water. The bridge was called "The Great Cross Over" and is now named "The Bridge of the Gods."

The bridge that we could view outside the window of the restaurant was built by man in 1926.

Monday, May 24, 2010

WATERFALLS

There are several waterfalls along Historic Rte 30 and every one of them is spectacular.

The weather was cold and raining (nothing new for this part of our journey) and since Jim and I walk so slow we didn't spend near as much time as I would have liked to explore these waterfalls. But being such a wuss - I want sunshine next time.


Jeri was wonderful about stopping and letting us stay only as long as we wanted to. She is much more of a hiker than we are and I know she would have loved to spend more time hiking up to the top of some of the falls.


We stopped at three different falls. Latourell Falls which is 249 feet, Wahkeena at 242 feet and Multnomah which has an upper and lower section totaling 611 feet.

Pictures (at least the ones we take) don't do these magnificent falls justice. I wanted to post a video for you but it isn't working today. Stop by and see them for yourselves when you are up this way. Isn't this lifestyle wonderful - knowing that someday you will be in this area to enjoy these waterfalls in person?

HISTORIC ROUTE 30

Off we go with Jeri and Terry as our tour guides. Today we're going to head up Historic Route 30, the Columbia River Gorge Highway which is one of the most scenic drives in America.

Our first stop was at Crown Point and Vista House. Vista House was built in 1916. With its beautiful marble interior and brass fixtures, some Oregonians derided it as "The $100,000 Outhouse" when it was built.







It is 733 feet above the Columbia River and look at those views. Jeri was taking a picture of us so we just had to take a picture of her.
The weather was rainy, cloudy and cold but we didn't let that deter us from our sightseeing.
On to the waterfalls.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

ON THE COLUMBIA

Jeri had told us about this wonderful park that they loved on the Washington side of the Columbia River and we decided to try it out. Jeri met us at one of the exits on SR 4 and led us out to County Line Park. Bob, the camp host, directed us into the best spot in the park. If we pulled any farther forward, we would be in the river. All Jim has to do is walk outside a couple of feet and he's got his fishing pole in the water.





This park doesn't offer things that some of the people who rv think are really important - such as a swimming pool, full hook ups, a club house, shuffleboard, etc. That makes it just perfect for us. We have a view that is incredible out our front window, good friends nearby, and water for fishing.

Jeri & Terry moved down from their son's driveway to join us here at the park so let the sight seeing begin.



We have big (really big) ships to watch as they go up and down the river





video

Thursday, May 20, 2010

CHANGE OF PLANS

We spent the night in Netarts, OR in a Passport America park. The turn to get into the park was extremely tight but Jim was able to manuever it. Sites were small but since it was only overnight it was fine with us.

We had planned on continuing up the coast of Oregon to Astoria and then down SR 4 to the County Line RV Park on the Columbia River. Then the weatherman changed those plans in a hurry.

A storm was moving in and they were going to have 65 to 70 mph winds along the coast from Northern CA up into Washington. We do not like storms and will avoid them if at all possible. Which means we headed inland.
Normally, that would make me sad but this time it worked out really well. We stayed at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro which just happens to be kind of close to my counsin, Gary, and his wife, Lynn. I called Gary and they came to pick us up for dinner. Their daughter, Jackie, joined us and a wonderful time was had by all.

We hadn't seen Gary and Lynn for at least ten years and we had fun catching up on our lives and gossiping about other relatives. It definitely won't be another ten years until we see them again.

FLOWERS AND LIGHTHOUSES

I've decided that Mother Nature's favorite color is yellow. When we were in Death Valley the desert was alive with the color of yellow flowers. Now we're traveling up the northern Pactific coast and the hillsides are covered with the color of yellow flowers. Aren't they beautiful?


We also love the lighthouses that we have seen along the coast. The Cape Meares Lighthouse was a 5 mile drive from the town of Netarts where we camped one evening. (Note to self: We must remember to bring the binoculars with us when we play tourist.) From the lighthouse you can see this really huge rock with a big hole through it. So cool.





After visiting the lighthouse we stopped in Oceanside, OR for dinner at Roseanna's. Right on the ocean with beautiful views.








I decided to be brave and try something I'd never eaten before and that was sturgeon. It was okay but not something I would order again. Jim ordered the dover sole because he had never had it stuffed with crab and shrimp. He wouldn't order it again either. However, we would eat at Roseanna's again.