Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The start down the Pacific Coast - Illwaco, Wa

It was a good 4 1/2  hour ride south to our next destination.  

July 31st – August 4th 2017

The drive from LaPush to Ilwaco here in Washington, was much longer than desired, but finding a campground that we could fit into was a challenge much before  this point south on Route 101.  There wasn’t much we would be missing, so after we gut out this drive, it would be pretty easy sailing for quite a while from here.

Upon arrival at this particular “Resort” we didn’t fair too well.  The turn coming into Eagles Nest Resort was ridiculously tight, between the overgrown bushes on the right and the dilapidated booth on the left.  Having to choose which to hit, Norm correctly chose the bushes, however we were furious that we had to choose whether to merely scratch, or dent the length of the RV!

We were assigned a campsite where the ground was so uneven, we were sure to twist an ankle.  Norm would never get any Satellite TV reception there, so we asked to change sites.  I must honestly admit that we asked for the next site, but Norm and I had a bit of a communication problem getting into it, and got hung up on an overgrown rhododendron. More stress. Norm then spent the next hour (or two) getting the satellite to work.

The sites here at Eagles Nest Resort were very heavily treed ( although it does not look it here ) and difficult to get into. I couldn't figure out why Norm was not paying attention to my directions until he finally told me his 2-way radio was dead!

Finally settled, we figured we had had enough excitement for one day, and hung out awhile before our private happy hour and dinner.

The next day, without having done much “homework” on the area, we headed up the peninsula to a few spots people told us we had to see.  The wind was whipping so hard, that when we got to the huge and beautiful beaches, we were getting sandblasted by the blowing sand.  We walked down to the water’s edge, looked around at the beautiful coast and returned quickly to the car.
25 MPH on the BEACH?  Good Lord, watch out everyone!

We drove around what seemed like hours searching for a place for lunch.  Now we have not had lunch out ( I believe ) since we left months ago just because of this.  I need to eat around noon, and it has to have some gluten free options, so we find it so much more convenient to just make it ahead and have picnic lunches when and where we want.  (Cheaper, too)

Marshes Free Museum is where you can find antiques and oddities such as a two-headed lamb, shrunken head or the famous "Jake the Alligator Man" which customers are urged to join his fan club.  Very Odd, indeed!  Norm loved it here!

I swore by the end of the day that we would never again aimlessly drive around.  I want to know what the area has to offer, decide what to do, have a plan and write the addresses down!  Things and mood can change, but I like to have an agenda.  Easier said than done.  I’d rather play than pour over books and fliers. 

That night we headed into the nearby town of Astoria and had dinner on the water at Bridgewater Bistro, and enjoyed the fabulous view of the Astoria bridge.  The oysters in the Pacific Northwest are huge and incredible!  I never thought I would like them, but pan-sear them, and I am hooked!  We have been eating them whenever we can.

Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach is seen all a tremendous amount of merchandise.  Norm and I have seen so many nicer 

The next day, plan in hand, we headed south to Cannon Beach where EVERYONE said we MUST go.  Since the interior of Oregon and Washington were having record breaking heat ( 108 degrees ) there was a ton of traffic on their way to the coastal beaches. The beaches are miles upon miles long and wide, so they all still felt amazingly deserted.

We thought it best to hike before going to Cannon beach, since the chance of not being in the mood to hike afterwards was pretty darn good.  Ecola State Park’s Clatsop Trail was a nice sounding hike that had the right amount of mileage for the time and energy we had.  What we didn’t comprehend was the heat, humidity and elevation gain we had to conquer. Norm was fine ( he sweats a lot ) but I was truly suffering.  Actually, I think I got a little bit of heat exhaustion because even 2 hours later my face was really sweating and very flushed. I really didn’t feel well.

Luck was with us as we found a great parking spot at the insanely busy Cannon Beach. Finally, some decent shops!  Little boutiques that showcased fine crafts from real “artisans”.  Not the “arts and craps” that we have seen so far on our travels.  

Alison was climbed out on this edge to take the picture below.

This crazy fisherman somehow climbed down to this precarious place to fish on the mouth of the Columbia River.  The huge waves were crashing all around him!  Do fish actually take the bait under these conditions?  Are they "Rock Fish?" 
Seeing everyone with the fabulous looking ice cream cones, we decided it best to get one.  I only had a few bites of Norm’s and I instantly felt better!  Maybe some sugar was all I needed!  I checked out a few more shops, still not buying a thing.  There was plenty I loved, but the price tag of those usually had a comma in it. ( thousands of dollars ). 

 We saw the famous Haystack Rock, but couldn’t for the life of us understand the attraction.  There are so many places prettier, in our opinion. 

Returning home, we got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for about an hour.  Since the tide was now low (best for viewing) we forced ourselves to hit Fort Stevens State Park where we walked along the beach near the Colombia River.  Here the waters are supposed to be the most active in the world, but we couldn’t see that from where we looked.  The Peter Iredale shipwreck partially buried in the sand was pretty cool.  There were children ( and grown-ups pretending to be children ) climbing all around and inside this rusty old shipwreck.  We hoped they all had their tetanus shots!

Kids played on the rusty Peter Iredale shipwreck where it ran aground in 1905 near Ft. Stevens.  I hope they had their Tetanus shots!

We then pushed ourselves to check out the jetties that promised the most treacherous waters of the Pacific thanks to the river waters rushing out while the ocean waters rush in.  The wind was blowing pretty hard, but the water didn’t appear to be turbulent to us. Hey, what do we know? We were just expecting perhaps huge waves creating whirlpools sucking down ships or something.

Regardless, it was a gorgeous day so we hung around absorbing the natural beauty – drinking it in.
This fabulous park has the distinction of being both a State AND a National Park!  

The main reason we were staying where we were, was so we could easily go to Cape Disappointment, just up the street where the lighthouse has been warning sailors away from shore for over 100 years.

Believe it or not, that is actually bird guano ( poop ) on those rocks, and a lot of it! 

The narrow scenic road twisted and turned as it brought us closer to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.  In school neither one of us was particularly interested in Lewis and Clark’s explorations, but after an hour watching a short movie and reading the dozens of panels detailing their discoveries and experiences, I have a whole new appreciation of what they accomplished!  In my old age, history has become so much more interesting!

Norm explored the many military bunkers there while I glanced around and basked in the sunshine trying to get warm.  We then headed down the hill back to camp.

There was so much to learn about the Lewis and Clark expedition, you could spend all day at the Interpretive Center.

Norm found the military bunkers at Deception State Park fascinating. 

At this point in the trip I can see the advantages of being in a tour group.  They drag you out to see unusual things (or the usual) that you might not otherwise have the ambition to go see. Or to drive another drive.  The Maritime Museum in Astoria was supposed to be phenonomal, however we just didn’t have the energy to drive yet again to Astoria since we had a couple of days in a row. Too bad, we lose.  We have found since we past the 3 ½ month point that is happening more and more.  I am not sure I would take a trip this long again.  We are suffering a little from “burn out”.

Cave Junction, Obrien, Oregon

August 17 th – 19 th ,2017 We were so surprised to see what looked like Customs down the road.  Did we take a wrong turn? I thought...