We have some sunshine!

Back to the coast. One of the joys of not being too committed to a plan is to change it!  We had planned to stay at Nehalem Bay State Park for a few days but on the way there we passed a marina with rv camping. It looked like the kind of place that we love so we turned around (not easy pulling a trailer) to see if they had availability. We loved it!  They had a communal fire pit and you could purchase fresh LIVE crab and they would steam it for you. It was fabulous. And we had our first few days of sunshine after leaving home.

Just a reminder. I do not enhance my pics in any way other than cropping when necessary. What you see is what we saw. I also don’t remove my wrinkles. 😂

North to Ecola State Park. That’s Ecola, not Ecoli.

And then north to Fort Stevens State Park which is at the northernmost point of western Oregon. John liked being able to drive on the beach.

Astoria is on the Oregon side at the mouth of the Columbia River.

This is Astoria’s version of the food truck. This place sells fish and chips made with fresh tuna. It was delicious. During the summer crowds line up down the block. People often ask how we find out about the places and things we visit.  The Bowpicker is a good example.  Whether in a campground, restaurant or wherever, people ask about where we are from and where we are going.  (If we go into a restaurant with a bar, we try to eat there instead of at a table.  It’s the best way to get tips from the bartender or locals sitting next to you.)  Someone in a campground told us about the Bowpicker.  But it was also mentioned in TripAdvisor under “Things to Do” in Astoria.  I always check TripAdvisor when we are headed to a town or city for ideas of things we should see.

We took a day trip across the river to Cape Disappointment in Washington. So named because it was so difficult, and often impossible, to go from the Pacific up the river due to the strong currents. We went on a hike to a lighthouse while there. I particularly liked the sign on the trail. These words are so true!

 

These few days were awesome with the weather getting better and better.  We are off to Portland, the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood. The weather is suppose to be in the 80’s!

Unexpected Snow

I don’t normally do a post two days in a row but today definitely was an adventure!  We had originally planned to go south to Crater Lake but the road around the lake is closed due to heavy winter snow and there is only one open road to a viewing spot.  Since that spot only has a view of the lake about 50% of the time and the forecast was not good, we decided to skip it. It’s one of the downfalls of traveling during non-peak times. So we left central Oregon headed back to the coast which involves going over the Cascades again. The weather was rainy but I looked for travel advisories for the road we had taken coming into central Oregon a few days before. It called for some snow but last time we only had a few flurries so no big deal, right?  Well this was definitely more of a storm than last time. The snow plow was out but we never saw them plowing the west bound lanes. John did a great job, keeping our speed between 10 and 20 mph. It was scary!  Thank God for four-wheel drive and the manual function on our trailer brakes.  For our kids: Dad says I’m a much better passenger in the snow than on the sand dunes. It was scary but fun and beautiful.

After the snow, it was a beautiful drive through the Willamette Forest.

And then on to our second adventure of the day. We had noticed a place called Kiger Island on the map. Since it was only a few miles out of our way and Kiger is not a common name, we decided to check it out. It’s a small island near Corvallis with only one paved road.

According to what we read, in the 1800’s Reuben Kiger bought the island.  When Reuben died the property was divided between his two sons, Dick and John.  Both of them played fast and loose with their inheritance, being good at singing, fishing, and drinking.  John Kiger’s downfall was gambling which cost him the family farm in the early 1900’s.  Rumor is he lost it in a poker game.  Well, that explains a lot!

 

Central Oregon = Rain

We headed inland to spend some time in the area of Bend and Sisters. We did drive through some snow flurries going over the Cascades but no big deal:

We camped in a city campground in Sisters. Full hookups and for most of the time we were the only ones in the campground. We woke up the first morning to a little snow on the ground and deer munching on the grass.

Sisters is a cute little town:

We drove to Bend and walked along the Deschutes River. The river walk was nice but Bend is just another big town in my opinion. We much preferred the small size of Sisters. We did enjoy watching the surfers in the river. They have installed plates in the river that create a wave that can be surfed. No. John did not try it. But he sure enjoyed watching.

We drove about a half hour out of town to take a hike to Sahalie and Koosah Falls.  We again encountered snow as we drove there. We got to the trail and there was snow on the ground, 34 degrees and raining. Many people would have said no way!  But not us. The falls were awesome and we’ve seen quite a few.  We were so glad that we didn’t let the conditions stop us from going there.

Leaving Sisters, we drove a half hour north and the terrain changed drastically. We spent an afternoon between rain drops at Smith Rock State Park. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

The area is extremely popular with rock climbers. There were hundreds of rock climbers, both novice and experienced. It was crazy watching the experienced climbers. I wanted to shout “does your mother know what you are doing?” You can see a few in this picture. The picture doesn’t really do justice to how high up they were.

This sign was on another hike. That’s my umbrella at the top of the picture.

And another hike. In the rain.

And a final rain picture. On our way to central Oregon we stayed overnight in a casino parking lot. We’ve found that when we just need a place to pull over and sleep, Indian casinos are preferable to Walmart. They usually have large parking areas designated for overnighters and security detail. They don’t even require that you gamble or eat there. So it was 9am when we watched this elderly couple with a big rv, get in their electric scooters and head to the casino. In the rain.

Inspite of the rain and snow, we found central Oregon delightful!  Now we are backtracking to the coast and traveling back east along the Columbia River.

Oregon Coast = Rain

We crossed over into Oregon and have worked our way up the Oregon Coast.  We had a lot of rain but also some sunshine. Some. Now we head inland. This is where we do some zig zagging and back tracking. There is no way to see all the things we want to see with out back tracking. I use the trip planner on Good Sam, plugging in all the places we want to see, and it calculates the quickest route. So it may look crazy but it is planned.

When the weather is bad, the crashing waves are spectacular:

Shore Acres State Park:

Cape Arago State Park:

Coos Bay:

Oregon Dunes.  Kids, I asked dad if we could put the Lexus in four-wheel drive and go out on the dunes.  He said no.  Ok, that didn’t really happen.  It may not look like it in the picture but some of the dunes were huge!

Typical gray and rainy day on the coast.  Maybe the weather will be better as we go inland

Rain don’t stop us!

We are learning that when in the Pacific Northwest we cannot let the rain stop us from seeing the sites.

We hiked down to Agate Beach in Patrick’s Point State Park in light rain.  It was gnarly.

Treasures from the beach:

Elk in Redwoods National Park:

Road to Gold Bluffs Beach.  No rv’s allowed

We didn’t stay here but this is Gold Bluffs Beach.  Would be a great place to stay if you were tenting it or in a truck/camper

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park  We didn’t stay here because we wanted hook ups during rain storm but this was one of the most beautiful campgrounds we’ve seen.  And we’ve seen a few.

 

Finally, one of the places I really wanted to go was Fern Canyon. The gate was closed due to rains which meant hiking a mile along the road if you wanted to go there. The rain stopped in the afternoon so we went for it. The hike doesn’t usually involve hiking through so much water but because of the recent rain, the creek was higher. It didn’t stop us.

 

Not going any further.

  • This is such a beautiful area!  We highly recommend a visit if you’ve never been here.