Sunday, September 17, 2017

Squirrels & Whales

September 14 - 16, 2017
Elks # 1858 Recreation Park
Florence, OR

On our way from Long Beach, WA to Florence, OR we passed through the squirrel infested town of Longview, WA.  Many years ago after witnessing the demise of most of the town's squirrels on the street in front of his office, a local contractor decided to build a bridge over the street so the squirrels could cross safely. 
This engineering marvel was such a success that several more bridges were built. The town now holds a Squirrel Festival each year to celebrate the rodents and their replica bridges.

We had originally planned to travel to Mt. Ranier, Crater Lake and Proxy Falls.  The routes to each one were blocked by wildfires so we switched to Plan B - driving down the coast of Oregon.  It's good to be flexible.

At Sea Lion Cave we went down in the cave even though the seals weren't there.  In the summer they gather on the rock ledges outside the caves.


In the winter the seals move into the caves.

South of Sea Lion Cave

                                               North of Sea Lion Cave

We saw whales almost everywhere we stopped.  I was surprised that they were so close to shore in relatively shallow water. 

If you look very carefully a whale fin is visible in this photo.

The biggest problem trying to photograph whales is that you have to be very quick with your camera.  Dave wasn't.  I think we now have hundreds of photos of the Pacific Ocean showing nothing but ripples where a whale used to be.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Disappointment and Chowder

September 10 - 12, 2017
Andersens On The Ocean RV Park
Long Beach, Washington

Yesterday we drove down to Cape Disappointment State Park.

The scenery was beautiful and we also enjoyed the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center.

Dave looks a little strange here but he was trying to tell me that a big wave was coming and if I didn't move  quick I would get very wet.

Today we went into town to see the Kite Museum.  Since the wind never stops blowing here I can understand how this is the perfect place for the International Kite Festival.  I never knew there were so many different kinds of kites.  I wish we had been here in August for the festival.

It is not a very large town but they do have good restaurants.  Luckily we found a wonderful place where Dave was able to get his fill of chowder.

This area is very different from the main land with its own personality.  Even the goats have artistic talent.

Guess if the children don't behave they get put up for sale.

We have really enjoyed our stay at this RV Park.  It is right on the ocean but without a lot of people.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Smoke Free At Last!

August 7 - 9, 2017
101 RV Park
Forks, Washington

It was several long days of driving but we finally made it out of the smoke. When we pulled into the RV park in Idaho the manager came out to check that we were the proper distance from the other RVs.  He wanted to make sure we had a "fire break" between rigs.

Washington was just as smokey as Idaho so we traveled farther west to the Olympic Peninsula.  Unfortunately when we arrived in Port Townsend we found out that the Wooden Boat Show started the next day so we moved around to Forks on the west side of the peninsula.  It was only about 100 miles but it took us four hours to make the trip due to traffic and road construction.

It isn't smokey here but we still haven't seen the sun.  It seems we just traded the smoke for the haze and mist. 


Yesterday we visited the HOH Rain Forest on the western side of Olympic National Park.

It was quite a change from the hot smokey weather we have been having.

The park reminded us of Delaware where the humidity is just as high.

We took three of the trails but even after walking several miles the only wildlife we saw was one squirrel and this slug.

After the rain forest we drove down to Ruby Beach and we were rewarded with a glimpse of blue sky.

All the beaches around here are littered with large logs that have washed up on the beach over time.  It makes for quite an obstacle course, especially after the tide comes in.

Tomorrow we are finally heading south on our way back to Arizona.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Swinging Good Time

September 4, 2017
Elks Lodge #1254
Coeur D'Alene, Idaho

The wind was blowing very hard when we got up but we decided to leave Columbia Falls anyway.  The Glacier fire grew over the weekend and the entire portion of the park west of Logan Pass was closed and evacuated causing more smoke in Columbia Falls.

As we drove west the air got smokier and smokier.  We didn't make too many stops because of the smoke but we couldn't pass up Kootenai Falls. 

There were three flights of stairs to get on the bridge over the railroad tracks and then a short hike to the falls.

It was amazing how much water was coming down this river.  Since this was September during a drought I have a hard time imagining what it must be like during spring.

We hiked downstream until we got to the Swinging Bridge.

I wasn't real sure about this after I read all the signage.

I went over quickly and it wasn't too bad as long as the wind didn't blow.

This is the view upstream from the bridge.

That's Dave hanging on for dear life.  When another person got on the bridge, it would start to "swing".

The smoke got thicker as we got closer to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.  There were many warnings about the smoke and hazardous air quality. Today the air in Coeur D'Alene was the worst in the entire United States. 

There were no clouds today but the sun still wasn't very bright.

Tomorrow we will drive to Washington.  I hope we get out of the smoke by the time we get to the coast.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Still Smoking

August 29 - September 3, 2017
Columbia Falls RV Park
Columbia Falls, Montana

We waited a few days to see if the smoke would clear any before driving to Glacier National Park. We have been here before but at that time the Going to the Sun Road was closed.  We didn't want to leave before finally getting to transverse the park on that historic road.  The Lake McDonald Lodge and most of the trails in that area of the park were closed due to the fire burning inside the park.

The smoke didn't seem too bad when we entered the park but that didn't last long.  As soon as we started to climb it got thicker.

We thought the road was misnamed because we didn't see the sun.  This was the closest we came to seeing the sun through the smoke.

We were looking for a place to have lunch and decided to stop at the next pull-off for our picnic.  This is what came up.  We were lucky we weren't looking for a place to have dinner.  I didn't see a Dinner Creek.

We found this RV in Columbia Falls.  The water must get extremely high around there.

We are leaving tomorrow for Idaho if we can find a way around some of the fires.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Smoked In

August 25 - 28, 2017
2 Bar Lazy H RV Park

We left Colorado and traveled through Wyoming without incident.  It was nice being on uncrowded roads after all the traffic in Colorado. 

Our plans keep changing due to the fires in Montana.  We stayed several days near Butte hoping the smoke would diminish further west. 
Missoula is smokier than here, but we have decided to just leave tomorrow for Glacier and not stop in Missoula on the way.

One of Butte's claim to fame is the Berkley Pit.  This former open pit copper mine is the most toxic lake  and largest Super Fund site in the country.

The viewing platform is high above the poisonous water and is reached after passing through a tunnel.  It's pretty inventive marketing - people pay $2.00 to look at toxic waste.

The only operating mine left in Butte is hardly visible through the smoke.

Our last stop for the day was the Dumas Brothel Museum.  Unfortunately it wasn't open today.  Dave is still trying to deal with his disappointment.