Header Caption

Tumbleweed at Mount Shasta, CA
Photo by Jim Walter, post processing by Rick Walter (facebook.com/RickWalterPhotography)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trip to Seaside, OR

(Seaside, OR)  Hi 71 Lo 55 -- It was a relaxed, low key morning preparing to leave Vancouver, WA. It was projected to be only a two-hour trip so we took our time leaving.

The 89- mile trip didn’t go as smoothly as planned. About a half hour out of Portland the low tire warning light came on and my car started handling funny, the front end kind of squirrely. I radioed Jim that the light was on. We were in very heavy traffic, so we slowed down and stayed in the right lane until we had a safe place to pull over. The front tire was flat.
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We could have changed the tire ourselves, but paid good money to Coach-Net so so we called them and they had someone out to change it for us in 30 minutes. It took him only minutes, and we were on our way. We got to Seaside around 2:00 and got set up at Circle Creek RV Park. Jim checked online and found a Les Schwab Tire dealer about a mile away. They could take us right away. When they checked the flat tire the determined it couldn't be fixed. The short time I drove on it ruined the inside so they couldn't patch it. The the bad news: a new tire would cost $300. The good news: they checked with their sister dealer in Warrenton, about 14 miles up Hwy 101, and they have several used tires in our size that would be much less expensive. We drove up there and ended up buying a slightly used Toyo tire just like the ones on our car. It looked in perfect shape and it cost us only $63 for the tire plus balancing and mounting. What a deal! Les Schwab is the biggest name in tire dealers in this part of the country, so we felt confident they wouldn't sell us something that was unsafe. So we came out of that scrape in good shape.

Since it was late we stopped for dinner at El Mariachi Loco, a local Mexican restaurant that was highly recommended by Nick Russell, a blogger friend of ours. He’s never let us down on good places to eat. We’re glad we stopped, the food was excellent!

Today the weather was gorgeous, perfect for checking out the coastal tourist town of Seaside. Broadway St. runs from Hwy 101 about a mile west, where it ends at a circle right on the beach. We got a parking spot about a block from the beach and spent an hour or so walking up and down Broadway, browsing the many touristy shops. In the middle of the circle at the end is this statue of Lewis and Clark. Their great expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific ended here in the Seaside area. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)
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Jim is checking Google Maps, to see what's around us.
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We walked through an indoor mall that had this carousel.
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Jim had to stop at this one. It's the Man Store. They had all kinds of man-related stuff, like knives, sports gear, military stuff, and hats.
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We had lunch at Norma’s Steaks and Seafood. Halibut is to this area like lobster is to New England. I’ve never had Halibut, so I tried a halibut sandwich. Jim had fried oysters. Everything was very good.
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We stopped at the car to change into beach shoes, and headed to the beach. It was just about the widest beach we've ever seen. It must have been a quarter of a mile across.
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We dipped our toes in the water, and it was VERY cold!
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Some seagulls were chowing down on a watermelon.
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There were almost no shells on the beach, just a few broken sand dollars. We were puzzled by this brown bubbly stuff on the surface near the shore. At first it looked like an oil slick.
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It's something called diatoms. Here's a sign that describes it. Be sure to click on the photo so you can read it.
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After we walked the beach awhile we went back to the car for the short four mile trip back to the park. We stopped at a seafood market and bought some fresh halibut to take home.

We haven't been here long, but we already love this place. After over three months of deserts and mountains, it's great to be back on a coast. It reminds us a little of home.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

That Closed In Feeling

(Vancouver, WA) Hi 77 Lo 54 -- We didn't do much of anything today. Jim did take the truck to fuel it up, and he drained the tanks in preparation for tomorrow's trip to the coast.

We've gone from being just about the only RV in a park, to being in one of the tightest parks we've ever been in. Here's what it looked like in Madras, OR earlier this week.

When we got here the end site next to us was left empty and we could park our truck and car there. But last evening we had neighbors move in next to us.

There isn't much room between us.

I had a talk with them after they got set up. They have four kids, she does all the driving, and he flies to wherever they are to join them from his job in Southern California. They're loving the RV lifestyle.

We're moving to Seaside, OR tomorrow morning. The park we're staying at is only a mile or so from the ocean, so we're looking forward to a good time enjoying the Oregon coast. We're planning to meet up with some friends, both old and new, the next couple weeks.

See you in two days.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Biscuits and Donuts in Portland, Oregon

(Vancouver, WA) Hi 85 Lo 61 -- We’ve heard so much about what a beautiful city Portland is, so we took a drive today to check it out. On the southeast side of the city on the Willamette Riverfront is the Portland Aerial Tram. It goes from the riverfront up the hill and ends at the Shriners Hospital. It was $4.00 each for a round trip up and back. (Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Leaving the platform
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Inside the gondola.
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We passed the gondola going the opposite direction.
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The ride gave us some beautiful views of the city and surrounding area.
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We spent a few minutes on the open air terrace at the hospital.
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It was cloudy, but we could still see Mt. Hood. Please click to enlarge the photo and you can see the peak of the mountain in the middle of the picture.
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This is the view later in the day from the car on the trip home.
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There are two eating places in Portland that are legendary, and we were told by many friends not to miss them. The first is Pine State Biscuits. It's a small shop that was started by a couple from North Carolina. They prepare all kinds of biscuit sandwiches, both for breakfast and lunch.
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The line to get in stretched outside. But we didn't mind.
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We struck up a conversation with the couple behind us who were visiting a family member that lives nearby. And I took a few photos of the kitchen through the window. This guy is rolling the biscuit dough. Their biscuits are scratch-made.
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Spreading on the butter.
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There were tables outside, but the first available table was inside, so that's where we sat.
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Jim and I both had fried chicken biscuits, his with bacon, cheese, and apple sauce. You wouldn't think apple sauce would be good on chicken, but he said it was very delicious. Mine was a chicken club, with lettuce, tomato, and ranch dressing. And it too was yummy! For dessert we had two biscuit halves covered in locally grown cherries and covered in whipped cream. It was sooooo good! Oh, and Jim had real, southern sweet tea,s which is hard to find this far from the south.
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The biscuits were so good we bought a half dozen to take home with us. They'll be good warmed up with butter and honey on them. Thanks Jim and Judy for recommending Pine State Biscuits. They were almost as good as Miss Alberta's (Jim's mom) home made biscuits.

The building next to us was so pretty I just had to get a picture.
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The next place that came highly recommended was Voodoo Donuts. There are two locations, the original store downtown, and one across the river on the outskirts of town. We went by the downtown location, but it was so crowded that we couldn't even find a place to park, and the line of customers stretched for over a block. Boy, they must be some good donuts! So we headed for the other one, which was much easier to get in and out of.
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They specialize in big, fancy donuts with all kinds of different icings and toppings. We're not much into all that fanciness, so we got a few normal donuts and headed home.
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Portland is a very pretty town. It's very clean (the parts we saw anyway) and it wasn't difficult to get around. The drivers seem more courteous than most. It is a very health-conscious city, with lots of natural food stores, bike paths and walking trails everywhere, and something we haven't seen: Zip Cars. There are stations where several Toyota Prius hybrid cars are plugged in. You pay a rental fee and take one of the cars, then drop it off at your destination and plug it in.

We got back to the park and settled in for a relaxing evening. See you tomorrow.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Jefferson County Fairgrounds RV Park – Mt. Hood

(Vancouver, WA) Hi 81 Lo 59 -- This morning we got everything ready to go for our trip to the Portland area: slides in, jacks up, and hitched up. We left the truck and rig at the fairgrounds and went in the car to meet with Jim and Judy one last time for breakfast. It’s always hard to say goodbye to good friends, especially when we’re not sure when we’ll see each other again.

We had so much to tell about our concert last night that we didn't get to show you the park where we've been staying.  (Click on the pictures to enlarge)

Our site

We’re the only ones in the park besides the camp host and one other trailer.

Nothing special, but it's level, open sky,no trees against the RV and good hookups.

Our trip to Vancouver, WA, which is about 10 miles north of Portland, OR, took about three hours.

We saw some wild fires in the mountains.
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On the way we passed by Mt. Hood, one of the most beautiful mountains we've ever seen. It's actually a volcano, and part of the Cascades Range.

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Never thought much about our latitude, but this sign was interesting.
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We're set up in Vancouver RV Park. It's a nice park, but the sites are extremely close together, which made it a challenge for Jim to get parked in our site. He finally made it, but it was a close call!


Some of the other sites

We're going sightseeing tomorrow in Portland.