Monday, August 27, 2018

East to Arkansas

From Tillamook, we drove to Sisters, Oregon. The weather was still hot, but we braved the heat and stayed at Indian Ford Campground in Deschutes National Forest. I guess we were the only brave souls---no one else was there!
The next day we did a little geocaching then drove into Sisters to look around. We enjoyed the artwork along the streets.
 The hanging baskets in front of the buildings were beautiful.
 That night, one other camper joined us in the campground. It left the following morning. We stayed another night and Bob got to visit his favorite brewery---Deschutes. The brewery didn't have his favorite IPA on tap, but they did have one that he liked just as well. They served snacks, but no meals.
 Since we were hungry, we decided to try another brewery nearby that served meals. 10 Barrel Brewing Company was not far from Deschutes. They were serving lunch and we enjoyed people watching as we waited for our meals. Both breweries are in Bend, Oregon, an interesting city.

From Bend, we drove back to Indian was time to get ready for another travel day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Oregon, Here We Come!

With Bobby at the airport, it was time for us to head for the Oregon coast with the kids. Our plan was to stay in Astoria and see the sights. Well, best laid plans and all that, we couldn't find a place to stay in Astoria. So we headed south to our next favorite destination on the coast, Tillamook! We decided to stay at a Harvest Host venue---Blue Heron French Cheese Factory.
Unlike most Harvest Hosts, this one allows you to stay for two nights. We would be able to remain in Tillamook until Bobby arrived with his car.
 Of course, when one stays in Tillamook, the first thing to do is visit Tillamook Creamery where they make cheese and ice cream. The single scoop cones are huge and delicious.
 The following day we took a ride to Cape Meares. It is the shortest lighthouse on Oregon's coast. This is the kiosk located in the parking lot. It is downhill from the kiosk to the lighthouse, with views of the seastacks on either side of the trail.
Now when you aren't used to walking up a long, steep hill, you stop for a rest at the first bench you see.
We continued on past the parking area. to visit the octopus tree. It is enclose in a fence so no one disturbs this unusual tree.
 The tree doesn't have a central trunk and no one knows why.

From the octopus tree, it was off to see on of the tallest trees in Oregon. It was tall, but not as tall as the tree we saw in Washington. Not far from the tallest tree, we found this burly tree. We couldn't tell is the big knots were burls or the result of the tree getting its start on a nurse tree.
After sightseeing all morning, we worked up an appetite. We stopped in Oceanside at The Schooner to have lunch. Then it was back to Sol to relax for the afternoon. We expected Bobby to arrive in the wee hours of the morning.

Bobby drove straight through from LA and arrived in Tillamook around 6:30 a.m. After he rested, he and the kids returned to his house in Washington. Bob and I moved Sol to Tillamook Airport and RV Park since our 2 nights were up at Blue Heron.
Previously, we stayed at the airport in 2008 and 2010. Since our first stay, the price has increased from $5 a night to $15. There were improvements--the picnic tables were new and the sites had been paved.
 While at Tillamook Airport, we did a little geocaching and we revisited Munson Creek Falls. The falls are over 300 feet tall, but you cannot get close to the foot of the falls as the trail is closed. It is still an impressive sight.
After spending two nights at the airport, it was time for Bob and I to start heading east. Bob's dad had a mild stroke and we were needed in Arkansas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Back to the Interior

Bob and I said good-bye to the Pacific coast and headed back to the interior. Bobby had plans to go get his car from a port near Los Angeles. Christopher and DeAnna would travel with us down the Oregon coast until Bobby returned. Since Bobby was living in Lacey, we found a good place to boondock near his house---Cabela's! We arrived early afternoon and got set up. We had no idea how long we would need to stay as Bobby had to firm up his plans to fly to LA and retrieve his car. That evening, we all ate dinner at the German Diner. Unfortunately, the diner lost some employees (a cook and a waitress) earlier in the day and the service was slow. The food, however, was good--the owner stepped in for the missing cook.

The following morning, Bob and I drove a short distance to Nisqually Wildlife Refuge and walked the trails. The only critter we saw was this rabbit.
We saw evidence of beavers, including this beaver deceiver which diverts water through the beaver's dam.
The area is located on what used to be farmland. The owner built a 5 mile levee in the early 1900s so he could farm the land. The refuge was created in 1974 and the levee was removed to return the estuary to its original state. Now there are boardwalks so people can view wildlife.
 The twin barns are a remnant of the farm.
As Bob and I were returning to the entrance, we heard a loud crash--a tree falling in the pond we were walking next to---a beaver was at work to add to its dam.

All through the refuge, we saw wild blackberries. They weren't quite ready for picking.
 We returned to Sol and learned that Bobby had a flight out early the following morning. Bob and I would take him to the airport, pick up the kids and head for Oregon.

Best laid plans, we got Bobby to the airport on time, but his flight was delayed. He had to reschedule all of his appointment in LA. We still picked up the kids and headed for Oregon....they would be with us a bit longer than planned.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Life at the Beach--Kalaloch in Olympic National Park

After the casino, we were on our way to Kalaloch Beach Campground in Olympic National Park. Bob was online at the right time and snapped up reservations that someone had just cancelled! Not only did we get a week, but we got an excellent campsite overlooking the Pacific Ocean!
There was just enough room at the end of our site to park our car.
 Here was the view from our front window!
The first order of business after getting set up was to walk the nature trail through the rainforest.  It was a great trail that would we walk often.
Some of the things you see frequently in this climate are the 'burly' trees.
 From that trail, we walked to Kalaloch Lodge to see what they had to offer....just touristy stuff. Then is was back to the campground, no wait, we took the trail down to the beach. Like most beaches on the northwest coast, we had to climb over huge drift logs to get to the beach.
 If you look carefully at the center of this picture, you can see Sol's windshield.
The following day it was off to Hoh Rainforest. We arrived early in the day so we were able to get a parking space near the visitor center. We hiked several trails, the first being Hall of Mosses.j
From Hall of Mosses, we decided to hike to the waterfall. It was amazing to look up and see the tall trees. To get to the waterfall, we had to hike on Hoh River Trail. We saw a lot of backpackers returning from the wilderness.
There were quite a few people at the waterfall when we arrived. Bob was able to snap this photo before anyone blocked his view. Behind him, the water flowed into the Hoh River.
It was a great hike, in fact it was the longest hike we had done this trip. When we left the Hoh Rainforest, we went back to Sol for an early dinner.

The next day we visited Quinault Rainforest. Our first stop was the ranger station on North Loop Road. The ranger station was closed for the summer! There were two short hikes at the ranger station so we did both of those. The first was Kestner Homestead Trail.
 It wound through the forest and joined Maple Glade Rain Forest Trail.
 Once we finished those trails, we drove the loop to the south ranger station and the village of Quinault. There we hiked Lake Trail to the Rainforest Trail and then returned to the car via Lake Trail.
 Along the Rainforest Trail we spotted this waterfall.
 We continued our explorations the following day by heading north toward La Push. Our first stop was 5 miles down a gravel road to visit Duncan Cedar.
 It was HUGE!
From there we continued to Forks, which some of you may know was the setting for the 'Twilight' books/movies. It is also home to a lumber museum.
 The main character's trucks from Twilight sit are parked outside the visitor center.
  Of course, I got my picture with the 'characters' from Twilight.
 From the visitor center we were off to hike a trail to the beach. The beach trail was on the way to La Push. Along the way we saw nurse trees and fungi growing in abundance.
Again, there were huge drift logs we had to climb over to get to the shore. While we were hiking, the mist rolled in and we didn't have much of a view.
From the beach trail we continued to La Push for some lunch. This totem pole was in front of the restaurant. Bob and I enjoyed watching fishing boats return to port as we ate.
 After lunch, we headed back to Sol to look over all the information we picked up at the visitor center in Forks. The lady who gave us the brochures was more helpful than the ranger at Kalaloch Ranger Station.

We decided to stay close to Sol the next morning and visit Ruby Beach just north of us. The draw to Ruby Beach are the seastacks--large rocks that used to be part of the shoreline.
 Not long after I took the previous picture, the mist rolled in.
Since we visited Ruby Beach early in the day, we decided to geocache our way along Hoh Mainline Road and make the loop to Clearwater. No, we didn't take any pictures of our caches, but we did enjoy the drive.

Saturday, our first stop was 4th beach just north of our campground. It is known for its tide pools. The tide was low early in the morning, so viewing would be good. I really enjoy tide pools. I find it amazing that the sea creatures are able to survive while the tide is out and they are high and dry! This purple sea star is the size of Bob's hand. The cylinders nest to the sea star are anemones. They pull their tentacles in when they are exposed.
 These anemones are still under water.
 Hmm, something pulled this sea star off the rocks. I wonder what it could have done that?
 Bob and I both enjoyed walking carefully over the rocks to find the best tide pools.
 Unlike the other beaches we visited, the obstacle to getting to the water on this one was layers of rocks that had been tilted up due to the movement of the earth's plates long ago.
 The holes in these rocks were made by piddock clams!
 We returned to Sol for a late breakfast before continuing on our adventure for the day--a visit to Rialto Beach.
We drove north to Forks and on the road to the ocean, we took the right spur to Rialto Beach. On our way we passed some interesting signs.
 Once we reached Rialto Beach, we were lucky to get a parking space. We had to hurry down the beach to get to Hole in the Wall before the tide started rising. Unfortunately, the tide was already coming in when we approached Hole in the Wall. We weren't able to get as close as we would have liked.
On this beach there was a path through the logs so it was easier to get to the water. This picture should give you an idea of the size of these logs.
Situated on the beach is the stump of a huge cedar tree! The roots keep this stump firmly on the beach.
After our beach hike, it was back to Forks to eat at the grill near the visitor center. From there, it was back to Sol to plan our last day on the Olympic Peninsula.

For our last day, we decided to take a drive to the Queets Ranger Station. The drive was interesting as the first road, Lower Queets Valley Road got us almost to the ranger station.  It followed the Queets River, but we had to turn around due to a washout! We went back to the highway and found the forest service road that would get us to Upper Queets Valley Road. We easily found the ranger station (closed) and the trail we wanted to hike--Sam's River Loop. The trail followed the curve of the river and looped back to the ranger station. Along the trail we saw the second slug of our trip! It was curled on the end of a fallen tree.
After an enjoyable week at the beach, it was time to head inland. Bobby was going to fly to LA to pick up his car and the kids would be with us once again.