Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tillamook Adventures Continued--July 24-26

Thursday we drove around the airfield to visit Tillamook Air Museum. The hangar is in the Guiness World Book of Records as on of the largest wood structures. Its dimensions are 192 feet tall, 300 feet wide and 1,072 feet long. There are 7 acres under the one roof. There were 2 hangars in Tillamook (both built to house blimps in WWII), but one burned in 1992. You can read more about the museum at this link:

This is a picture of the woodwork on the ceiling.
Here is a picture of the length of the hangar--it is massive!
Tillamook Air Museum houses more than 30 WWII aircraft--most in flying condition!

Here are a few of the planes we saw:
Also in the museum are pieces of the plane that crashed in 1943 on Cape Lookout. The survivor of that crash visits the area for anniversaries when he is able.

From the airport we drove to downtown Tillamook to check out the Pioneer Museum. It is housed in the old county government building. Upstairs was devoted to animals of the area. There were taxidermy examples of all the creatures found on the Oregon coast.

The main floor was devoted to pioneer history--the interior of a log cabin was set up in one room. Another room was devoted to all Tillamook County residents who have served our country. The Gold Star Mothers put together scrap books of all who served in WWII--including what they did after the war.

The basement was devoted to collections from the logging industry and machines used in Tillamook County. Bob enjoyed looking at he old vehicles.

I was fascinated by the old washing machines. I don't like laundry now--some of those machines would have been torture!
The kitchen utensils were also interesting--I tried to guess how each was used.

Friday we traveled north to the town of Garibaldi. They were celebrating their founding with Garibaldi Days.

We did some geocaches along the way, of course. One was located at the local oyster shucking plant in Bay City (also home of Tillamook Country Smoker). We didn't find the cache, but it was interesting watching the shuckers at work.

From there we went on to Garibaldi. It is located on Tillamook Bay. There were booths set up with local crafts which were interesting. The most interesting to watch was the chainsaw carver. He was working on a fishing bear.

The steam train is a big attraction in Garibaldi. We looked over the stationary one as the real one was readying to travel to Rockaway Beach.

We didn't ride the train as the passenger car was open and it was a cool, overcast day.
As we walked around Garibaldi we found the local Coast Guard Station. It is built on concrete pilings in the bay.We found 2 local restaurants that looked good for lunch--Trollers and Fisherman's Korner. We chose Fisherman's Korner. Bob had fish and chips while I had the clam strips. Both meals were the best we have had so far.

We drove to the north end of town for our last cache. We found it near the sign explaining how Robert Gray discovered Tillamook Bay, mistaking it for the Columbia River. As we stood at the overlook, a fishing boat entered the bay on its way home.We returned to our campground stopping at the Tillamook Country Smoker and Fred Meyer to pick up some things. We enjoyed our stop at the Smoker as they had pictures and letters all around the store from soldiers in Iraq enjoying the jerky and beef sticks the Smoker donated.

Saturday we rode back to Garibaldi to watch the parade and to look in the Maritime Museum. Garibaldi is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi--the Italian hero, but he never set foot in the town. The first postmaster was a fan of Garibaldi and it was up to him to name the town!

The parade started at 11 a.m. and with colors presented by the Coast Guard.There were clowns from Astoria...
old cars....
more old cars....
and an old fire engine.
One of the most interesting cars was a 1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner--the car whose hard top retracted into the trunk at the touch of a button.

Many of the cars will also be at the Tillamook County Fair for Pig 'n' Fords. Check it out at the fair's site under events--I can't begin to explain it!

We enjoyed our trip to Garibaldi and the Maritime Museum. It chronicled the history of Tillamook Bay and had many scale replicas of ships used in the area.

From Garibaldi we returned to Tillamook and stopped at the Cheese Factory to make some purchases. Then it was on to the rv. Time to pack up and be ready to travel on Sunday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tillamook, Oregon--July 21-23, 2008

We arrived at Tillamook Airport Monday around noon. The airport has an rv park where the sites have no hookups and are $5 a night. There are about 25 sites at the airport. We decided to pay daily as we weren't sure how long we would stay. We can see the Tillamook Air Museum from our site.
The next item on our agenda was to ride into town to find a grocery store. We knew from our road atlas and the internet that there was no Wally World so we settled for Fred Meyer. We picked up groceries to last a few days and returned to the airport. The ride into town also let us get our bearings for where things were located so we could plan our stay.
Once back at the airport, we noticed a lot of rvs with WIN stickers. We looked on the web and found that WIN stands for Wandering Individuals Network--a group of single rv-ers. Some of them are also members of Escapees. All our single friends take note--it is an active group of older rv-ers having a good time (many of them have kayaks & bikes on their vehicles).

Tuesday morning we started a day of sightseeing. Our first stop was the world famous Tillamook Cheese Factory. It operates 24/7 making all types of cheeses. There is a self-guided tour so you can watch the cheese making process.
The workers were cutting and packaging three different cheeses as we watched. The big blocks of cheese are cut into smaller chunks (the excess that is shaved off to make all blocks the same goes into big tubs and even on the floor). I think if I worked there, I wouldn't like cheese as much as I do--too much of a good thing!
From the cheese factory we drove the Three Capes Scenic Drive. Our first stop was the Cape Meares Lighthouse. As we walked the trail to the lighthouse there were viewing areas on either side of the cape. These rocks are a sea lion refuge, but we didn't see any sea lions. The rocks all have arches in them.As we approached the end of the trail we could see the top of the lighthouse. We thought it would be taller than it was!
We went in the lighthouse and took the tour to the top. We found out that the lenses for all the Oregon lighthouses were shipped from France in barrels of molasses to keep them from breaking. The floor in this lighthouse had decorative glass that was really utilitarian. The lighthouse keepers weren't allowed to have lanterns in the lighthouses at night, so the glass was built into the floor to allow light to pass through so the keepers could see to walk up the steps!
From the lighthouse we walked back to the parking lot and into the woods to see the octopus tree. It is really a sitka spruce that has been shaped by the winds on the cape. The branches began near the base of the tree and grew upwards giving the tree a candelabra appearance. The base of the tree is over 50 feet in circumference.
We continued on along the 3 Capes Scenic Drive to the town of Pacific City. We had been told by several people that we needed to stop at the Pelican Pub and Brewery. So we did! Bob and I each had one of their award winning ales. Then it was back to the rv to plan our next excursion.

Well, our next excursion occurred that very same afternoon! We drove south of the airport about 2 miles to view Munson Creek Falls. It was off the highway about a mile and a half down a one lane road. The trailhead was about 1/4 mile from the falls. Evidently a lot of trees fell near the falls this winter and spring so access to the base of the falls was closed. If you look carefully at the picture, you can see a downed tree to the left of the waterfall--roots at the top, just hanging!

We returned to the rv to plan our activities for Wednesday. We have many brochures and magazines with suggestions. We chose hiking to Cape Lookout for our activity. We passed the trailhead during our travels on Tuesday, but weren't prepared for a 4.5 mile hike.

Wednesday morning we took water, our hiking sticks, the camera, and our GPS. As we drove to the trailhead we picked up a few geocaches. There was also a cache on the trail. The trailhead parking area was pretty full, but we found a spot. As we were getting out of the car, a van stopped and the family asked for directions. They were from Switzerland and were hoping to make it to Crescent City, California that night, but they wanted to know what sights to see along the way. They were hoping to find a place to watch whales. We recommended Depoe Bay as there was a whale watching center located there. The kids just wanted to go to Six Flags!

We continued on our way after that and found the trail to be a nice one. It meandered through the forest out toward the end of the cape.
About halfway out the trail is a plaque memorializing the crew of an airplane that crashed into the mountain in 1943. One of the 10 crew members survived the crash. We've been told that when the underbrush is not so thick (winter and early spring) you can still see pieces of the airplane on the mountain side.

There were many photo opportunities along the way. The day was hazy so the coast was shrouded in the haze.

On the north side of the cape we saw a gray whale feeding near the rocks. By the time Bob got the camera ready, we lost sight of the whale! There were a lot of trees in the way.

We continued on our way. We met a couple from Oklahoma City. They wanted us to pass them as we were going at a faster rate than they. We didn't want to pass as we were getting close to the geocache! We passed them anyway and as we found the cache, they let us know that their daughter is also a cacher. We told them to tell her that they muggled some cachers in Oregon!

We finally reached the end of the cape and what a view!

The couple from Oklahoma caught up with us again and we chatted for a while. A younger couple from British Columbia joined the chat. We found out that it was the woman from Oklahoma's 75th birthday! She and her 78 year old husband had hiked Whistler in British Columbia a few weeks ago!

We enjoyed the view for a while then we started our trek back to the trailhead.
Even though it was a hazy day, we enjoyed the views and our hike to Cape Lookout.
We returned to the rv to plan our adventures for Thursday. Hmmm....maybe we'll return to the cheese factory for more samples or some Tillamook ice cream.....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coyote Rock--The Adventure Continues: July 19 & 20

Happy Second Birthday, Lottie!

Saturday we drove to McMinnville where the Evergreen Air & Space Museum is located. We wanted to view Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose. There are very few roads leading inland in Oregon. We took highway 18 from Lincoln City all the way to the museum. We passed many vineyards and fruit stands along the way. Because there is only one road to the coast in this area, it was packed!
The Evergreen Museum has 3 main buildings: one housing the Spruce Goose, one housing an IMAX theater and the last houses a space museum. Our mission was to see the Spruce Goose.

We stopped outside the building to look at a few other planes before entering to complete our mission. (There was also a Jaguar show going on behind the building.)
We thought the admission was a bit pricey since we are used to visiting military air museums.
We paid $13 each to tour the building with the Spruce Goose. It would have been another $11 each to tour the space museum and more for the IMAX. There were a few items we hadn't seen before, but we had seen most of the planes in other museums. Joyce found the firejumper exhibit the most interesting. It detailed firejumpers from their inception until today.

The Spruce Goose is in the center of the building with all the other exhibits around it. Here is the nose of the Goose (The goose is made mostly of Himalayan Birch bark, not spruce).

We were able to enter the Spruce Goose. Everything is behind plexiglas, but here is a picture to the rear of the plane. It is a big plane!Before we left the building, Bob went up to the balcony to get a picture of the whole plane.
As we drove back to Lincoln City we stopped at one of the farm stands. Joyce bought fresh vegetables and raspberries. Raspberries and blueberries are in season and many of the local farms grow them. We already have a 2 pound container of blueberries (Jennifer, you would love them!)

No trip is complete without a stop at the local casino. We stopped in Lincoln City to look around Chinook Winds Casino. We played a slot machine for a bit and then left. The smoke was pretty heavy and the casino was crowded.

Sunday would be our last day at Coyote Rock RV Park. Our plan was to kayak the Siletz River. We put the kayaks in at the boat ramp near our site. We paddled up the river to the next rv park which is several miles away. Right after we put in we saw a harbor seal playing near the shore. Bob couldn't get the camera out fast enough to get a picture. We tried to stay in the area to get the picture, but the current was pushing us gently upstream.
Here Joyce is paddling between the dock and our rv (the one with the blue tank on the rear window). The boat ramp is just ahead.As we neared the boat ramp, another couple was getting ready to put in. They told us many places to kayak near Tillamook. They also told us not to miss Tillamook Creamery (everyone has told us that!) They said it has the freshest ice cream and best tasting cheese in Oregon.

Monday morning we will travel to Tillamook, Oregon. The plan is to stay there for a few days and then move north to Ft. Stevens near Astoria. We should be in Washington state before the end of the month--or not.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lincoln City, Oregon--July 15-18, 2008

Our site at Coyote Rock RV Park is next to the water so we have been enjoying the Siletz River. Because we are near the coast, the temperatures have once again cooled. Days are nice after about 11 a.m. and stay warm until close to sunset around 8:30 p.m. Joyce tried her hand at fishing one morning. She didn't think her line would hold one of the fish that are caught in the area, but she didn't have to worry--she only caught some sculpin (very small, ugly fish).
We used Coyote Rock as our base for exploring the coast from Lincoln City south to Newport (we stayed there about a month ago). Geocaching has been our main means of finding and exploring new places.Yes, there was a geocache hidden behind the sign.

One stop was at Devil's Boil overlook. The water was pretty calm that day.
Tide pools area always interesting. We continued on to Depoe Bay on Wednesday. There were several caches hidden around town. One was near this bench used by whale watchers.
Here we are looking back at the bench. Depoe Bay has the distinction of being the world's smallest harbor.
And here it is!
It is also a whale watching center. We saw a gray whale swimming in circles near the rocks. It occasionally came up for air and once it blew a spout for us. We couldn't get a picture.
We ate lunch in a restaurant overlooking the ocean. As we waited for our food, we read a local paper which advertised a kayak/canoe trip through the Siletz National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday. When we returned to the rv Joyce called and reserved 2 spots for us on the kayak trip.

Amy and Mackenzie were our leaders on the trip. Both are Americorps Volunteers. Our group had about 15 people and many were inexperienced canoers.
We enjoyed kayaking the sloughs (slews) near the Siletz River.
The last one we traveled through was very windy so we got an excellent upper body workout.
We plan to kayak again Sunday.

Friday we drove north to the Tanger Outlet Mall to check it out--just like any other outlet mall only this one had the Billy Mays' Potato Gloves. Bob still won't tell me why he got so tickled (laughed uncontrollably) during the tv commercial we saw at the beginning of our trip. He still gets so tickled he can't talk--maybe one day soon he'll let me in on the secret!

From the mall we drove back toward our campground, but turned on Forest Service Road 17 to go see Drift Creek Falls. We had to travel 10 miles on a single lane mountain road to get to the trailhead. We passed several cars traveling the other way. We were surprised to see a full parking lot at the trailhead. It was worth the trip. The trail is about 1.5 miles long. There is a 240 ft. long suspension bridge 100 feet above the falls.
Once you cross the bridge the trail continues to the base of the falls where you can see the falls with the bridge in the background.
The white line in the front of this picture is a reflection of the falls!The waterbugs were making weird shadows on the rocks below them.
We enjoyed the tranquility of the falls, but the area was crowded so we didn't stay long before hiking back to the trailhead.
The fair is in Newport this weekend so we plan to check it out Saturday.
For those of you who like to crunch numbers, here are some interesting tidbits for you:
Number of days on the road: 249
Gas: $5214.13
Campgrounds: $2266.45
Food: $3135.66
Sightseeing: $343.50
Average cost per day: $68.53
Our plan is to keep our average cost below $75 a day--so far so good!