Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hyder, AK, June 19-20, 2011

Happy Father's Day to Jim. We awoke this morning in Smithers, BC, across the road from the glacier. Had a beautiful drive to Hyder, AK.
We stoppped first in Moricetown, just 15 miles to the north from our campground. We needed to fill up the motorhome with diesel fuel. Our fuel gauge still does not work so we want to keep up with mileage driven and top up when possible. We have alot of driving to do before we board the ferry in Prince Rupert on June 23.
We followed 16 north to connect with 37 north towards the Alaska Highway. We will be taking a detour to Stewart/Hyder to hopefully see the bears. The road was very quiet...nice driving. We did see another black bear on the side of the road but that is all. Before turning off on 37A we had to cross the Nass River Bridge, a one lane wooden bridge spanning the Nass River gorge 400 feet wide and 130 feet below the bridge. WOW was all Jim could say...I just told him to keep driving. There was a roadside stop before we crossed and there were a couple of other rv's stopped there. I wondered if they were waiting for us to cross and watch the bridge collapse! It didn't thankfully so we went on our way. We have to cross that bridge again and I hope to get a was raining when we crossed today!
The 37A road to Hyder is said to be the most was! Mountains and glaciers and waterfalls everywhere. Since it was raining I couldn't really take any pics. Jim did stop right beside the Bear River so I could get out and take a pic of Bear Glacier right across the river! It was amazing! A blue glacier. The wind was strong and wet as I stood outside to get the pic. It was also colder than the morning in Smithers. The Glacier Highway is a beautiful drive.
We finally entered Stewart...small town of about 100 citizens and went straight through to the road to Hyder along the Portland Canal. There is Canadian customs when you return to Stewart from Hyder but no US Customs going in. The road instantly becomes dirt and you are met by a sign over the road welcoming you to Hyder, Alaska. We found our campground, Camp Run A Muck, at the end of the town and set up camp. Once done we hopped in the car and continued out of town to the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation Area to view the bears. Fish Creek is a large, clear creek where salmon swim up to spawn. We are too early and there are no salmon thus no bears. We will try back tomorrow to see if some come down for a drink.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Almost to Alaska

When I left my blog last we had just had a day in I'll begin there.
We waited around most of the day for FedEx to deliver the part for the RV. Finally received that around 2 PM. Jim got right to replacing the slide roller. It took a little muscle but Jim was able to get the urethane cover over the metal slide and finally installed. Works just fine. We decided to go ahead and get on the road. Of course, by the time we did it was rush hour. We decided to take 405 north out of the area to bypass downtown Seattle. That worked well except for all the way to avoid that. We actually made it to our campground near Vancouver (actually in Surrey) at around 7 PM. This campground had cable so we hooked it up, turned on the TV just in time to see the news about the RIOTS in Vancouver. Seems the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup and people in the streets decided to set cars on fire and break out windows in all the businesses around where they were. Very exciting.
Listened to the news in the morning to see how Vancouver was doing after the riots. Lots of volunteers showed up to clean up the city. By the time we got there all we could see were boarded up windows. Still lots of news crews around but all the burned cars and broken glass was gone. Pretty impressive. We did manage to find a small carpark down a tiny alley and parked the car for the whole day. Walked to find the Trolley to tour the town. Didn't find the Trolley but did find the Big Red Bus Hop On/Hop Off. Paid for the day and started riding. They had a little taped commentary going about all the things we were passing and a little history about Vancouver. We did bypass some of the streets where the rioting happened the day before. Later in the day we would return to the normal route.
Got off the bus at Canada Place...convention center right on the bay. Walked a little bit there and took some pics. Cannot believe how cold it is still and very windy out over the water. Saw a huge yacht moving around in the water. Also saw sea planes landing and taking off...probably airtours. The surrounding mountains were beautiful. It was a beautiful day...lots of sunshine.
We managed to ride around the town a couple of times getting on and off as we wished. We got off in Gastown for lunch then got back on to ride back to Stanley Park and visit the acquarium. When we got back on to go back to the car we wanted to ride all the way back to stop #7 where our car was parked. We began this ride at stop #16. Well, fitting our luck, our driver finished his day at stop #21 and we had to get off and walk to our car. We needed a little exercise anyway so we set off walking back thru Gastown almost to Canada Place and then back about 12 blocks through the city. We passed lots of boarded windows from the riots...people were standing all around and writing on the boards. I took some pics of that too.
We enjoyed Vancouver and were happy we got to see it. So much to see and do...we just don't have time to do it all.
Got up and got back on the road. We hope to make it further than we planned so we can make the next three days easier on Jim...even drives. We started out driving east on Highway 5 to Hope, then connected with 1 north to Cache Creek. We were planning on stopping there but knew we could go further. We connected with 97 at Cache Creek and headed to Williams Lake. We actually passed there and settled in a little lakeside campground at McLeese Lake. The drive was beautiful. We drove beside Fraser River almost the entire way. Very big river and some places the road was right down by the water. The river was very fast...lost of water moving through the canyons. Wish I could take pics of everything but it's difficult to do that in a moving rv. Between Cache Creek and Williams Lake there were little towns named for the miles...70 mile House, 100 Mile House, 150 Mile House...very unusual. We did get to see a bear on the side of the road near the beginning of that day. Only one we've seen so far. Oh, I almost's still cold but we've found mosquitos! Could do without that.
It was nice to be in a campground with WiFi. We tried to catch up with email and I loaded some pics on facebook. It started raining last night and was still raining lightly this morning. We were able to get started with no problems.
We are headed to Prince George to connect with 16 west. Will try to make as many miles as we can to make the last day of driving to Hyder, AK, short as possible. The weather cleared up quickly as we went down the road. Caught back up with Fraser River...still moving fast. Lots of up and down hills and curves. Just enjoyed all the scenery. Went through several small towns. So cute. Most have lots of flowers all along the road. Don't see that in Louisiana.
Went through alot of Moose Warning areas but never saw any. Hope to see at least one on this trip. We managed to make it all the way to Smithers, BC. We are camping at Glacier View RV Park right on highway 16. We turned in and I went in to check in. Came out and our site is right at the entry. Guided Jim into the site...kept the car hooked up. Finally grabbed the camera asking "Where is that glacier?" Walked to the front window of the rv and looked out....Snow covered mountains and glacier right outside the window. Actually it is right across the highway. Wish I had a better camera with long lens. I've looked at it all with binoculars. Saw a beautiful waterfall...too bad I can't take a pic. Hope the clouds will clear in the morning so I can get a better pic.
In the morning we will head to Hyder, AK. There is a bear viewing place there so hope we see some. May be too early for them to be hunting salmon in the river. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We're finally headed to Seattle!

Had another cold night camping in the park. Lots of people there..some in trailers, some in tents. Would not want to be in a tent in this cold windy weather!
Jim and I had some breakfast and coffee and headed out to the spit. We walked along the bluff path to the trailhead for the spit. There is work going on to improve the trailhead. Walked down a very steep path to the beach. Beautiful driftwood and rocks on the beach. Walked a good way down the beach and Jim spotted a bird on a pole...turned out to be a bald eagle! Managed to get close enough to take some pics with my little camera. Didn't make it all the way to the far for us in the cold and wind. We turned back and headed to the motorhome to pack up and get back on the road to Seattle.
We took 101 all the way until we met up with I-5. Beautiful scenery and lots of water. Wish we could stop and really take it all in but that's hard to do in a large motorhome. Jim and I talked about needing to be in something smaller. Maybe next rv will be a little one.
Anyway, enjoyed the ride...nice roads and not much traffic. Then the inevitable happened...we hit civilization! Made it to the I-5 at Olympia, WA. Where are all these people going in such a hurry. Don't they know there is a beautiful world nearby! Anyway, it wasn't long before we got caught in traffic...slow, slow, slow. We tried to guess what the problem, big event, ?? Turned out to be an accident on the OTHER SIDE of the road...lots of rubberneckers! Boy do I already miss the quiet park areas.
Found our campground with no problem. We're staying at Seattle-Tacoma KOA in Kent, WA. This seemed like a convenient place. We plan to go to Mt. Rainier in the morning and then have dinner with Christina, Ellie and Rachel that night.
Set up camp and just relaxed and planned tomorrow. We decided to do a tour of Seattle on Tuesday afternoon. They will pick us up at the campground. It should last about 4 hours. Hope we have good weather.

Woke up (actually also went to bed) with rain. Very cloudy but we're determined to see the mountain! Head out early for Mt. Rainier. Are we crazy? No other options...we've only got today. Nice drive to the gate at Mt. Rainier NP. Went through some very cute towns. One had something called Hobo Inn...all the rooms were in train caboose's. So cute...would love to stay there.
Anyway, the ranger at the gate wished us good luck seeing the mountain peak. She was very nice and apologized for the weather. We wanted to go all around the park but the road past Paradise was closed because of mudslide. At least we were not driving on the road when it happened.
We had a beautiful drive up to Paradise. Stopped along the way and took some pics of waterfalls. Still raining, windy and bitter cold. It's JUNE!
Arrived in Paradise and it's beautiful...covered with feet and feet of snow. Stopped into Paradise Lodge to get some hot coffee. Lots of people walking around in snow boots. I thought they were skiing but they are mountain climbers! We spoke to one who said he was climbing the rain and wind! There were several groups climbing today. They are crazy. I actually talked to three of the guys outside...they were guides! I wished them luck.
After leaving the Lodge we stopped at the Visitor's Center and looked through the exhibits and watched a film about the mountain. Very good production.
Since the rest of the roads are closed we have to leave. The mountain is still fogged in so no peak siting today. Weather is supposed to clear later in the day but we're meeting people for dinner in Seattle.
Got back to the rig and took care of some business before heading back out to Seattle for dinner. We met Ellie, Christina and Rachel at the Steelhead Diner on Pine Street. As we drove looking for a place to park we headed down Pine and saw the huge Public Market sign just like in Sleepless in Seattle. I told Jim I recognized this area as the place Tom Hanks had his office in the movie. :)
We did find a good parking place along the market road just a short distance from the restaurant. I took some pics (of course) and we went straight there. Ellie was already there and Christina and Rachel came in right after us. It was great meeting Ellie. She is Jim's cousin. He hadn't seen her for several years. It was good to see Christina again and to meet her friend, Rachel. Christina has lived in Seattle for five years! Cannot believe that. She loves it and has a great job. We loved the food and had a super visit catching up on lost time. When we left the restaurant we gave Ellie a ride home then went to Christina's to pick up a package which we had mailed to her house. We had no problems finding our way back to the campground thanks to the TomTom.

Had some work to do on the rig this morning but have a tour planned for this afternoon. Part ordered for rig was the wrong one...we've ordered another which should be delivered to campground tomorrow.
We were picked up at the campground about 2:30 pm for our Seattle tour. Jim and I are the only ones on the tour! Tour guide was full of information and offered to show us whatever we wanted. Since we did not know he took us all through the town. We got out to walk at Pioneer Park and he told us all about the buildings around. Lots of homeless people there. Beautiful flowers and art all around. He also took us to see a beautiful little patio garden, The Waterfall Garden,with huge stone waterfall...right by Pioneer Park.
Went to the Public Market and parked right by the front. Saw the men at the fish shop tossing huge fish. Tried to get a photo but it turned out blurry. So many people there trying to get pics too. We walked through the entire street level stopping to talk to vendors. Our guide knew everyone. We also drove to see the floating houses...saw the one used in Sleepless in Seattle. Very cool. Since we were near the Aurora Bridge we visited the The Fremont Troll under the bridge. There is a real volkswagen in the troll's hand.
He also took us to the locks to see boats going through and to also see the salmon ladders. Saw two salmon...too early yet. To get to the locks we had to go through a beautiful garden. Seven acres of beautiful grounds with all kinds of trees, plants and flowers.
We drove all around the town and also drove through Queen Anne area. Beautiful homes and gardens. Ended up at Kerry Park to see the most perfect view of Seattle. If it was clear we could have seen Mt. Rainier in the background. I guess we'll have to come back and see that some other time.
One the way home he took a route which went over the floating bridge over Lake Washington. Bridge is right on the water. Saw lots of sailboats and rowing teams. Very nice.
Finally got back to the campground at around 7:30 PM. Since we were the only people on the tour he gave us special treatment. Great experience. Again we've only seen a sample of what's here. Not exactly ready to leave but we must push on.

Olympia National Park, Washington

Loved Astoria, OR, but have a schedule to keep. Took the motorhome into Astoria to fuel. Found a Chevron just inside the town and got in and out just fine with the motorhome. Crossed the Columbia River bridge with no problem. There is a light signal right at the end. Right or left...decisions, decisions. We went left to continue up 101 to Olympia NP. Our previous schedule had us going east to Mt. Rainier NP and then back west to Olympia. Time to change so we thought it was better to continue north and then head to Seattle area to camp for a couple of days and see Mt. Rainier from there.
Beautiful scenery all the way up 101. A little bit on the coast at the beginning and then headed inland for the rest. We stopped at Lake Quinault which is actually in Olympic National Forest. Found a nice little campground right on the lake. Decided to do the drive around the lake. Some paved road but mostly gravel. Very spooky...the road is narrow and overhanging with moss covered tall trees. We saw a doe with THREE little baby deer crossing the road. They looked very small. We stopped and did a hike to see the Big Cedar...actually the World's Biggest Red Cedar. We had to go up a tiny trail over tree roots and up..up..up. Finally got to the tree. Saw lots of fallen trees on the huge one. When it fell it actually seem to break apart in planks! Amazing! The Big Cedar is hollow at the base. We both got inside and took some pics. Going back down was fun but a little scary...the trail is so natural and so tiny it was hard to find. Jim said he thought I was dropping breadcrumbs on the way up. HA!
Got back to the motorhome and just had a nice evening.

This morning we wanted to do the trail to the largest Sitka Spruce. The trail marker was on the road just outside our campground. We walked all the way up to the road and to the trailhead. The trail was beautiful in the morning...very natural with big trees, moss, ferns. Had a nice morning walk. We were able to see into our campground on the way through the trees. A small creek ran along side between the trail and our campground. We finally got to a little bridge and as we crossed we saw the huge tree. It was in a nice little open area right at the end of our campground! We could have just walked down at the end of where we were camping and got to the tree. Oh well, we enjoyed the walk.
Time to pack up and get back on the road.
Got back on 101 and headed north. We've found some campground up at the top of Olympia NP. Will call and see about getting in later.
The road (101) headed back to the coast. Couldn't see much through all the trees but looks like lots of places which would be interesting to visit but we have no time to stop now. We're headed to Ruby Beach and hope to be able to stop there for a little visit to the beach. Got there quickly and there was a nice parking lot big enough for us to park and get out. We hiked down to the beach to see the "flowerpots"...tide was going out. We saw an old man with two walking sticks walk over some logs to get to dry ground. That's determination! We only stayed long enough to get a good look and take some pics. Happy we were able to do that with the motorhome.
We've enjoyed the drive along 101...really beautiful and exciting. Some placed have warnings about landslides...usually they mean the rocks may fall onto the road but this also means the road may slide down the hill! Some places on the downhill side of the road are cracked and slipping and some look like they've already done that and have been repaired. Makes me feel a little scared riding in a 12 ton motorhome! We got through safely and made it to our stop...The Dungeness Recreation Area. It's located just at the base of the Dungeness Spit...a little strip of land extending into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We got to the front of the campground but I couldn't see down the road. I got out and found the ranger and asked for help. I told him I didn't know how to go and didn't think my husband would forgive me if I guided him straight off the spit! He laughed and came out to help us. There are two loops in the campground and he let us just go find a place. We did find site #55 in loop 2. We were hoping the sites would look out over the Strait but no such luck. After we got the motorhome set up we went looking for the water. We were able to walk down a path to the bluffs. There were places all along the bluffs which had washed away and there were warnings everywhere. Very windy and cold up there. Took some pics before going back to the rig and heading out to the park. Drove up to Hurricane Ridge...more snow. Saw some deer along the was a doe with a very new baby. Too quick for me to take a pic. Finally got to the top and there is snow everywhere. Got some hot coffee inside the visitors center and took some pics of the Olympic Mountain Range through the clouds. Wished it was better weather to see the peaks more clearly defined. It was awesome enough. When we got to the car to leave we saw lots of people in front of our car looking at something down below. Of course, I had to see what all the fuss was about...there were four or five deer right there! Right below the wall just eating grass! So cool.
Drove back down and went to the port in Port Angeles. Parked near the ferry terminal and walked around the area. Walked out onto a pier and looked out over the Strait. Big ships and sailboats on the water. Found a restaurant to have a beer. We wanted to try some local brews. We both enjoyed what we ordered. Didn't eat there since we planned to grill some pork chops at the rig. We stopped at the Wal-Mart and bought some veggies and such to go with dinner. Delicious...Jim grilled the chops and I cooked some corn and sauteed some kale with garlic. Perfect meal to end a great day.

Oregon Coast on 101..Coos Bay to Ashford, OR

Finally got away from Medford on June 8th. Spent 7 full days there but loved it. We so enjoyed seeing Jim's friend Dick and his wife, Jesse. It was nice to stay somewhere longer than a day.
Traveled up I-5 from Medford to just below Green, OR. Found OR 42 and headed west to the ocean. Nice road and nice day to drive. Made good time and got to Coos Bay. Found Wal-Mart and decided to stay there for the night. This was the largest parking lot we've ever seen at a Wal-Mart. We did some shopping, of course, but just relaxed for the night. Still very cold. BRRRRR!
The next morning was beautiful and got back on 101 just after breakfast. We're planning to get to Astoria, OR, today. Astoria is right on the Columbia River.
The road from Coos Bay to Astoria is breathtaking! Too bad Jim was driving on the steep hills and tight curves...he couldn't enjoy like I could. We did pull over at a nice parking area for a little shop that offered tours. We didn't have time for a tour but we did manage to take some pics. A nice couple took our pic. There is always someone who will take our pic at the scenic views.
We made it to Astoria in such good time. Found a KOA in Hammond which could take us for one night. We set up camp and headed out. Went to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum which was right on the river. Saw the bridge we would travel over in the morning. WOW! The museum was nice and had a film about the river and all the ships who've traveled up and down the river. Lots of shipwrecks...there is something called the Columbia Bar which needs to be navigated with the help of river pilots. Actually there are river pilots and bar pilots and they get on the ships while everything is moving. Jump from small ship to large ship...SCARY!
We also toured the last lightship used out in the Pacific at the mouth of the Columbia. It's named the Columbia. It was anchored out in the ocean to warn ships about the "BAR". It's out of service now.
When we left the museum we wanted to take a little tour by the runs along the river front and the drivers give a little history. The river front was completely lined by fish canneries...not many buildings left..just can see pilings. Some are now shops and restaurants. On the tour we also saw the school which appeared in the movie "Kindergarten Cop" and the house used in the movie "Goonies". After finishing the tour we drove around the town a bit and just had to drive up the steepest street...8th! It was scary enough going way I wanted to ride down! We headed a little bit out of town looking for a diesel station and managed to get into a construction zone and was stuck trying to get back into downtown. When we got back we found a restaurant which was recommended by locals...The Ship Inn. Ate too much again. We had a nice view of the river though.
We're planning to leave in the morning but want to look around Fort Stevens State Park before we go. It is located right across the street from the expensive KOA! Wish we would have camped there.
Fort Stevens has a perfect camping area and is a beautiful park. It has access right to the beach and an area of historic significance. There is a shipwreck on the beach so we did go see that. We didn't have time to really tour the historic part...too bad. We'll need to do that next time.
Ready to go on to Washington and Olympic NP. Ready to cross that big bridge over the Columbia River.

Medford, OR, for RV repairs (several days)

Leaving Redwood NP this morning, May 31st. We got up very early to get on the road. We wanted to get to Medford as soon as possible to see if we could get into the shop for exhaust brake repair. Had no problem getting rig out of site and hooked up the tow just outside gate. Raining and cold. CA-199 is very winding and has steep drop offs. Beautiful drive though and Jim did very well handling the rig on all the tight curves and up and down without the jake brake. We got to Grants Pass in super time around 9 am. We stopped at wal-mart to make some calls and got to Medford at about 10. Went straight to Oregon Light Truck and RV repair shop on Crater Lake Highway and they checked out the rig. They can’t repair for us but we had them do service…oil and lube. They called Pacific Power Products, an Allison Transmission dealer, and arranged for us to be there in the morning for repairs. They let us camp out in their parking lot overnight. We filled up the water tank. We did find a DQ and had a blizzard. Got the car washed and got gas…we are not allowed to pump our own gas. A nice little man did it and also scrubbed down the car before we went through the car wash.
Jim’s friend, Dick Ames, called and invited us to their home tonight. We both showered and got to their house at around 7 pm. We just visited and had some wine before heading back to the rig for the night. Still raining.


Got to the Pacific Power Products shop around 8 am. We left the rig with them and went off exploring. We checked out the radio problem at a shop and will take the rig there tomorrow to have them look at it.
Shopped at Walmart and bought a small tent and sleeping bags with pads for the trip on the ferry. We will have one leg of the trip which is 24 hours long!
We went shopping at Ross’s and TJMaxx…walked around the mall and went thru Macy’s (I'm looking for a heavy coat). Had lunch at DQ…I had a corn dog and Jim had a chili dog then we both had blizzards again!! My diet is being severely damaged. I'll get back on schedule when we return home in August.
It’s been cold and raining and then warm and sunny then cold and raining again all day. Everyone says it’s weird weather. Hope it gets better.
We also went to Sprint shop and bought my phone a new cover and new protective screen cover.
Picked up the rig…the exhaust brake is repaired!!! at about 5 PM. Went straight to the tire place and had two new tires put on the front. Camping out in Walmart parking lot tonight. Hopefully tomorrow we can get radio figured out and then check on step problem.
Made reservation for campsite at Medford Oaks on 140 for tomorrow thru Saturday. May extend if possible. Hope to see Dick and his wife again tomorrow.


Still in Medford. Got up early and got to Progressive Audio to have radio checked out. They said we needed a new base and had to order that. We made appointment for 1 pm tomorrow to have that installed. We left there and went to set up camp in Medford Oaks. Very nice campground. We only have water and electric. They have a man who comes to your site to dump your tanks. We’ll do that on Friday.

Took showers and got cleaned up. We’re picking up Dick at his home at around 4:30 and will met Jesse at a thai restaurant in Medford. Had a great meal…Jesse ordered everything for us. Lots of food. We said our goodbyes and went back to the rig.


The guy who dumps tanks at our site came by about 11:30. We got to the audio shop early and just parked and waited until our 1 pm appointment. We left the guys working on the radio and went to Triple A RV Center to see if we could come in early to have rig checked out…steps, etc. Jim talked to the man in service and got some tips on repairs Jim could do. Oh, did I say our TV antennae is now not working. Yes.
We went back to audio store and the guys had the Sirius fixed. Went back to Medford Oaks and Jim worked on the tv antennae. Jim managed to lose some small parts and, miraculously, I found them on the ground which was covered by small stones. The TV antennae now works better. Jim replaced the entire mechanism. Watched some tv and went to bed.


Planned to go to Ashland today. Ashland is south of Medford and is a very artsy town. We walked through the Farmers Market. Greens and vegs looked beautiful…lots of very artsy people there. Town is really cute…lots of shops and old houses. We parked and walked through some shops and around the main market area. We decided to go back and visit Jacksonville…that’s the town Dick lives in. We parked and looked for somewhere to eat. I had read about a New York Jewish deli. We found it! MacLevin’s Wholefood Deli. We both had something call The Meunch. Pastrami and corned beef with swiss on grilled rye. Delicious. We also had coleslaw with it. We should have shared a sandwich. I ate all mine…so did Jim. YUM!
We walked a lot downtown after lunch and went into The Lone Star…a bar and café. There was a man from Caprice Vineyards doing wine tasting…$5 each for four wines. If we buy some wine they will deduct that cost. All of the wine was good. We had a nice talk with the man…he moved to Jacksonville from SF about 7 years ago. We did buy a Voigner and took it to the car before walking some more. We walked all the way to The Pony Espresso…a coffee shop and café. We needed some coffee before going to Dick’s for dinner. Never ate so much.
Went to Dick’s and drove into the driveway and saw some deer in his yard. I took some pics. We got to Dick’s about 4:30 PM and went out on the deck for wine. Dick and Jim looked over old pics and books Dick had about the navy. I took some pics of them. We met Pokey…their 3 year old English setter(?). Very excited to meet us. He calmed down very quickly and was a sweet dog. We went with Dick and Jesse next door to feed the neighbors dogs. That house will be for sell soon. It has a salt water pool in back and a fantastic view of Mt. McLoughlin. Amazing…you can look at the mountain from the kitchen windows. Beautiful. It sprinkled a little. We went back and watched Jesse and Dick finish preparing dinner and sat down to eat. Fresh corn off the cob, scalloped potatoes, pork tenderloin and salad. Jesse brought out a decadant chocolate ice cream cake from Baskins Robbins for Jim’s birthday which is tomorrow. Too much food today but all was delicious. Jesse gave me a little pork to take home. Wonder if I could eat this without sharing with Jim?


Jim’s birthday and our 29th anniversary. We planned to go see Crater Lake today. Very overcast today but we went anyway. Long drive…about 65 miles one way. Beautiful countryside on the way. Got up there and snow was everywhere…about 12 feet of it. Only one road cleared. We got to see the Lodge and gift shop and café. We had to climb up on the snow to see the lake. Amazing and beautiful. Surrounded by snow capped mountains. Lots of people there…not as much as summer I’m sure. It was a little scary walking on the snow. Some places my foot went deep…did not want another experience like Sequoia NP. Went as far on the rim road as we could and took lots of pics. Left there and went to Annies Gift Shop and Restaurant just outside the NP gate and had some pizza for lunch. Drove back to the rig stopping on the way to see some falls on the Rogue River. River runs through lava rock (of course) and some places runs underground through lava tubes.
Piddled around at the rig that night. We will get up very early on Monday, dump the tanks and get to the Triple A RV Center in time for our 8 am appointment.


Got up around 5 am and got ready to leave. Made our way to the dump station and, you’ll never guess, the compartment wouldn’t open! The latch was broken. Could not believe it. Added that to the list of things needing repair.
Stopped at nearby Chevron station to fill up the rig and then off we went to get repairs. Made it to Triple A early and waited around to hear all the bad news. Actually they can get parts to repair steps, latch on sewer cabinet and roller for slide but not until Wednesday. We will camp in their parking lot until then. We plan to get away from Medford on Wed. afternoon and head for the coast.


Spent the night in the parking lot of Triple A RV Center. They are waiting on parts to be delivered. Hopefully, we will have everything finished tomorrow morning.
We drove to Medford City Center and visited the Chamber of Commerce. Picked up some information about the area and decided we wanted to go back to Ashland and try and see one of the plays being presented. We got tickets to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the Angus Bowmer Theater. We paid $70.50 each for seats on Row M, Seat 27 & 29. These were good seats. The theater was packed but mostly with school children. Very good play. We enjoyed it very much. It began at 1:30 and we got back to the rig about 4:30. Before the play we were going to walk to Senior Sam’s (recommended by Serena) since we had already parked in all day parking for $1.00. After about .7 mile (it was 1.7 miles there) we decided to turn back and find somewhere else. I wasn’t sure we could make it and eat lunch and get back by 1 PM. We stopped in at the Boulevard Café and had sandwiches. I had ½ Greek Sandwich (grilled chicken with olive spread and tomatoes and salad on delicious bread). Jim had ½ Smokestack (smoked ham and turkey with provolone on roll with chipotle cream cheese). They were both served with salad. Very good.
We also made reservations for a tour of Harry & David factory in Medford tomorrow at 9:15 am. After that we hope rig is done and we can leave town.


Did get to Harry & David factory for tour. The moment we went inside the door we were hit with the aroma of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and cake. WOW! What a way to start the day.
Tour was great...saw all the lines working..making Moose Munch, fruitcake, chocolate candies. Walked through the basket prep area...huge room full of tables. Only a few lines working but the place will be full in November and December filling Christmas orders. We were each given little boxes with cookies and one chocolate candy. When we were back to the shop we looked around but decided we didn't need anything. Control! We could have purchased lots of stuff...they even carry wine. Everything looked good.
Went back to the RV shop and waited until everything was finished. The slide part ordered wasn't right!!! We went ahead and purchased the part and had it shipped to our niece in Seattle. Jim can actually replaced it himself so we will pick up from her when we are there.
Off we went headed to Coos Bay, OR. We'll find a place to stay when we get there. It's just a stopping place on our way up 101 along the coast.

Playing catch-up on the trip...leaving Yosemite

We left Yosemite on May 29th at about 9 am. We had a great site at the campground….very private (#39) shaded right next to a waterfall on the Fresno River. We decided to hook up the tow car just outside the entrance…nice place to pull out of the way. Good thing..Jim discovered left rear tail light on the motorhome was out. Took it apart and replaced bulb.
Took 49…scenic highway (!!!) to Mariposa then 140 to Merced to the CA99. Followed our route through Oakland and across Richmond-San Rafael toll bridge…$8.25. At the other side we could see San Quinton Prison. Connected with 101N and stopped in Ukiah at the Wal-Mart. The parking lot was filled with homeless kids and dogs. We decided to find a campground nearby. Drove just a little bit up 101 and found Golden Rule RV Park…on the Ridgewood Ranch..Home of Seabiscuit! Nicely hidden down off 101.
While Jim was enjoying a beer outside a nice guy came by and started a conversation. He and his wife are from Australia. They’ve been traveling from Vancouver and will fly out of Los Angeles in July. Very nice. They came to Canada, bought a small rig and took off. It's so much fun meeting people like this.
Spent the night planning our route for tomorrow and schedule to Medford, OR, to have rv repairs done.
Got up early next morning and got back underway towards Crescent City, CA, and the Redwood NP. Saw the white deer and lots of turkeys on the rv campsite property on our way out. Good trip up 101…up and down and all around but Jim did well even with no exhaust brake. Stopped in Eureka to fill up the rig. Eureka is right on the coast. We had good weather and beautiful scenery all the way. Not much further to Crescent City. The towns on the coast all have tsunami warning zones…never seen that before.
Got to Crescent City early and found our campground…Jeremiah Smith Redwood State Park on CA-199 just north of Crescent City. VERY tight roads…do not know how Jim got through and around the big trees but he did. We camped in #92 nice size for us. The rig and tow car just fit. We are surrounded by dense brush and redwood trees. We set up camp and then drove down to find the footbridge across the Smith River…it isn’t there. They will have it in summer (July). We decided to drive to Howland Hill Road and the Stout Tree trail. It’s raining so the road (dirt) is very muddy and lots of holes. We parked at the top of the trail and started hiking. Beautiful trail…very natural with redwoods, rhododendrons and ferns. Creek running down along trail. Finally made it to Stout Tree Grove and Loop Trail. Walked around and took some pics. It is raining but the canopy of trees is protecting us mostly. Very cold still. Went into Crescent City and found a restaurant/bar and had a beer. We decided to eat and shared a seafood platter…cod strips, calamari, shrimp and scallops with veggies and coleslaw. Very good. Raining very hard now. We could see the surf from the restaurant…which was in the harbor. Went back to camp and decided to leave for Medford in the morning. Had a good sleep…cold weather with rain.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yosemite NP Day 2

Got up this morning ready to go back and experience the beauty of Yosemite. So far my favorite park...of course, we still have a long way more to go.
We wanted to get to the park early and get tickets for the Yosemite Valley tram air with ranger to guide us. We did get tickets on the 10 AM tour. Sat next to a honeymooning couple from Guernsey, UK. So cute!
Our ranger guide was very good. Great presentation all the way. We stopped at the photo ops and heard all about the history. It was cold but nice and sunny. It is forecasted to rain later so we're happy we're doing this early. Really good way to see everything and hear all about the park and what it's like to be a ranger.
After the tour we went back to the deli for lunch. Sat with a young couple from Santa Monica. The young lady decided she wanted to go with us to Alaska. It was fun to meet more young people out enjoying the national parks.
The park was very busy today...Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. Good place to people watch. Shuttles were packed!
After lunch we took the shuttle to Vernal Falls. Everyone said this was a necessary hike...necessary to test your heart and lung capacity. The walk was almost straight up on a leaf covered stone path...narrow at that with people coming down as well. Straight drop off on the ascent side of the path! There were people pushing up baby strollers...they have to be crazy! The most fun was seeing all the tiny people running up and down...where did all my energy go!
We made it to the footbridge at the base of the falls...beautiful enough for me. The rest of the climb was supposed to be more difficult...could it get MORE difficult! We decided it was enough to survive the climb we already made so headed back down. It was all beautiful to be sure. After getting back down we got back on the shuttle with all the other sardines and stopped at Curry Village to hear a ranger talk. Stayed for most of it but it started raining so we decided to go. The talk was geared to kids so we don't feel we missed much.
Back in the sardine can and off to the car. It was so late we decided to pass on the Mariposa Grove since we had been to Sequoia and see the most beautiful trees we could imagine already. We'll be leaving Yosemite in the morning but enjoyed this park so much.

Yosemite National Park

We drove to Yosemite from Sequoia NP. We couldn't get reservations in the park so we found cute little campground just outside the park. We actually lucked into our spot because one of their regular visitors had to cancel suddenly because of illness. We were given their exclusive site #39. Perfect! Nice shaded spot beside the Fresno River with a waterfall just outside the rig. It was in Oakhurst, CA. Cute little tourist town with everything you'd need. Beautiful grocery store and lots of restaurants.
The first morning there we got up early and headed to Yosemite NP. A trip up winding roads. After the 17 mile journey up the mountain we came to a tunnel. At almost the end of the tunnel we saw a sign to beware of stopped vehicles and crossing pedestrians....on a winding mountain road??? I could see why. When we exited the tunnel we were met by the most beautiful vista of El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls. Breathtaking! There were parking lots on both sides for people to stop and enjoy but we decided to head on towards Yosemite Valley. We did stop at Bridalveil Falls trailhead and make the walk to the base of the falls. Too bad I forgot my rainboots and umbrella! The trail eventually let to steep stone walk where water was pouring down...oh well, wet shoes and socks. We just had to keep going...too beautiful to miss. Tooks some pics and headed back down, carefully! Walked some more on the trail at the base and looked at the falls at the bottom. We were now freezing with wet feet and wet hair. So what...couldn't pass up that experience.
After leaving Bridalveil Falls we headed straight to the public parking near the visitor center. Parked the car and used the shuttle bus to travel all around the park. Came back to the Visitor Center and sat in on the Yosemite film then had lunch at the deli...delicious chicken salad with avocado on a croissant. After lunch we hopped back on the shuttle and went to the trailhead for Mirror Lake. Took that short but uphill walk to the beautiful lake. Walked back down then took the shuttle back to the visitors center parking lot to pick up the car. We stopped at the Tunnel to view the vista and take some pics. (Yes, Rick, I took that picture...didn't purchase it!)
We went on to Glacier Point Road which had just been opened at noon after the winter. The sides of the road were still stacked with snow...some of it looked new. Very winding road with water running everywhere. Finally made it to the top and got out to take some pics. It looked like a professional photographers convention...big cameras and tripods everywhere. Some people were also across the fence setting up cameras. It was freezing up there! On our way back down the road we suddenly had to completely stopped on the road. There was a bear in the snow. He, or she, looked huge. Too bad Jim stopped right where I couldn't get a clear picture from the car. Continued on back down to the road and set out for Mariposa Grove which was near the exit from the park. Got to the grove and wanted to take the tram ride through the grove but we missed the last one at 5 PM. I was so exhausted from all the hiking that we didn't try walking through it. We'd come back tomorrow and try.
Very beautiful day and we get to do it all again tomorrow.

Long time no blog

Today we're in Medford, OR. Actually we are camping in a lovely campground, Medford Oaks RV Campground in Eagle Point, OR. This stop was planned on our schedule to see an old Navy buddy of Jim. We got to visit with he and his wife at their beautiful home in Jacksonville, OR, not far from Medford. We also had dinner with them last night at a local Thai restaurant...lots of delicious food. We enjoyed the time we've spent with them. Lots of stories going back and forth.
It is good that we were planning this stop here because of all the RV repair shops here. Yes...we've had some trouble but have managed to have most repairs done already. Can't believe how nice and helpful everyone has been. We still have a couple more things to have checked out so will be here thru Monday.