Follow by Email

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Going for the Cheese

What would a trip to the Oregon Coast be without going for the Cheese ... the big Cheese ... Tillamook!  It is 60 miles to Tillamook from our campground.  A beautiful trip up Highway 101 with a surprise around every corner.  Every five miles or so there is a coffee kiosk.  They are much more popular than Starbucks in Oregon.  We stopped at this one called the "Yellow Dog"


Found in the grass about 20 feet from the stand is, apparently, the owner.


Also found on the way to Tillamook (This is beginning to sound like a trip to St. Ives) was this interesting sign.  I really couldn't stop laughing and had to backup and turn around to get this picture as proof that the place actually exists.  For you old boy scouts and other happy skit performers ... apparently things really are as clean as "Three Rivers can get them.


Arriving in Tillamook we went directly to the cheese factory.  Around 1000 other visitors were there and parking was hard to find.  We finally parked out in the north 40 and hiked in ...  looking forward to the big cheese-making tour.  The tour was a bust ... don't waste your time.  It was self-guided and nothing was happening.  We stood and stared at a bunch of machines doing .... absolutely nothing.  The big attraction was the cheese store (you're better off at Walmart).  Tillamook really reeled us into the boat with this one .... We bought a few obligatory pounds of cheese, spit out the hook, and left disappointed.  The big box factory didn't deserve a picture so we didn't take one.

However, we did stop at the Tillamook air museum on the way out.  The museum is housed in an old WWII dirigible hanger ... huge!  With a lot of planes to look at and a movie to watch.  If you are in Tillamook skip the cheese and go for the air museum ... a much better value.

For those who are really disappointed with the lack of cheesy pics, here's one of an old fashioned cheese factory:


One last favorite.  Either the Oregonians are fixated with neatness or it rains so much here they are obliged to shrink wrap their hay ... very strange on either account.





The following day it was off to Newport (about 20 miles to the south).  Newport is known for its fishing fleet and quaint harbor area.  Had lunch at a locals place recommended by a lady at the local coffee kiosk: Local Ocean Seafood (catchy name, don't you think!).  It was 2:30 p.m.  and there was still a 1/2 hour wait for a seat.  I had a crab bisque that was fabulous and Lynda tried the Italian fish sandwich (strange sounding but wonderful!)  I recommend another local beer to go with lunch: The Blonde Bombshell -- (smooth and light with skirt flipping finish).

Enjoy the pics ... It was another great day!





Oh, one last thing ...  on the way home we heard that the Eugene, Oregon city council had voted not to say the pledge of allegiance before their scheduled meetings because they believe it to be divisive.  At about that moment this sign appeared at the side of the road ...


I thought it was very thoughtful of the state of Oregon to ask for my viewpoint, so I pulled over at a rather beautiful scenic spot and gave it to them. The idea of political correctness is one of the most  subversive and un-American ideas to be foisted upon the American people .... sometimes you have to call a Tory and Tory and let the chips fall where they may.  The idea of inclusiveness  is not new ...  but our forefathers went about it a bit differently ... back then there was a melting pot ... not a salad bowl ... if you liked the US constitution and what it both said and stood for, then you melted into the pot ... that is ... you assimilated into the culture ... that culture changed a bit with the assimilation, but those who previously fought for flag and country were not pushed aside for those who were newly arrived, they were respected and given their due (yes, liberals we were proudly ethnocentric ...  with the ethnicity being American).

So let me just say this to the Eugene City Council...  When my grandfather died they laid a flag on his grave ... the same when my father passed ... why?  because they fought for the principles that the flag stood for ... unifying principles that are outlined in the constitution (have you read the Federalist papers lately? ... ever?) ...  the flag represents those principles ... If it is now divisive ... it is so only because we as a people have strayed so far from the unifying principles that brought together people from all over the world in the common cause of freedom ...  too bad the city council does not understand that the cost of that freedom has been paid again and again by the blood of Americans who believed in the unifying principles of the constitution ... and who bravely fought in the shadow of the flag that represents those principles.  Lincoln understood this clearly ... remember this little 2 minute speech?

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


OK That's my "View Point" ... thanks for the opportunity, Oregon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Oregon Coast

Did you know that it is really hard to photograph rain?  Where is the sun?  How do you know when it is at your back?  We had some really beautiful days when we first arrived on the Oregon coast and began to think (egotistically) that we were bringing the good weather with us as we made our way north ...  apparently not! (Play dreary music here ... perhaps something by Wagner).  But more on this latter ... first the "good weather" days.

We are staying at a quaint little RV park by the river located about halfway between Depoe Bay and Lincoln City.   The park hosts are friendly and have a sense of humor ...  for instance they scheduled a group of around 200 pagans here for summer solstice.   They beat their drum until 1 a.m. on Friday night and chanted until midnight on Saturday.  They may have been running around naked or sacrificing children or small animals, but we can't confirm that rumor because their area was off-limits to the regular guests.  We can attest that they dressed in a fashion that gave rise to caricaturization.  Hags looked like hags and young maidens looked like they were ready for a time machine to the renaissance.  Not too many men in attendance ... it's hard to look sharp in leotards.  We thought they would be a friendly bunch, but they kept to themselves and viewed us as, apparently, too normal to converse intelligently.  The other guests in the park keep to themselves in a reclusive sort of way...  only sneaking out of their RVs when they think no one is looking for a quick dash to the garbage can and then beating a hasty retreat to the safety of their rigs.  We are caught in a episode from the Twilight Zone.

Sorry, I digress.  The first couple of days were gorgeous.  We went into Lincoln City and were there for their kite festival.  Wonderful!  No picture can do it justice .... which is a good thing because we were so caught up in the moment that we didn't take any.  We ate at Mo's for lunch and had some of the best Clam Chowder anywhere (here we have a picture of the beach from right outside the door).  A really nice place ... go there if you have a chance (the Dead Guy beer was great with fish and chips ... and I also recommend the fish tacos).  Here are a few pictures to make you wish you were here:



The Nicest People

While we have certainly met our share of characters, curmudgeons,  and the oddities of society, we have also run across some of the nicest people on the planet.  Case in point:  We spent the better part of our last two days at Klamath, sitting, drinking and otherwise socializing with a great couple from Maine (Joe & Sue) and two wonderful couples from England ... that's right ... England! (Ian & Elaine and Dave & Isobel).  Absolutely top notch human beings (not be confused with lifeless drones pretending to be human). 

The couples from England, traveling separately, both spend 6 months in the US traveling in their RVs and then the US government forces them to leave the country for six months.  That's right!  This type of foreigner is apparently not wanted in our country ,.. They don't work here, they just bring their money from England and spend, spend, spend ... but we wouldn't want them staying here ... might be some Anglo conspiracy ... if only they spoke Spanish (sigh).   I'm sure some group of legislators would then make a case for them to stay ... and even better, they wouldn't have to spend their money ... no ... they would get to spend our money instead ... and use our services ... and graffiti our cities' walls ... and go to our schools for free ...   I tried to convince our English guests to buy  Rosetta Stone Spanish and then sneak in through Mexico ... but no go!  They made some argument about obeying the laws  and acting like good guests in our country, etc. etc.  Apparently they are not familiar with how to be politically correct in America ....

So, like I was saying, we enjoyed a few drinks, and had a few meals together, and had a simply wonderful time.  If any of you are reading this  ... hope to see each of you soon in another great campground soon.  Kim & Lynda

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Tall Redwoods ... The Wide Ocean

What a drive ... beautiful, breathtaking, dangerous, and exhausting!  We slipped over to the 101 just north of San Francisco and headed up the coast.  North of Eureka is Redwood National and State Parks (The Federal Park Service has partnered with the State of CA Park Service for this one ... works surprisingly well!).

Our campsite is 25 yards from the Klamath River ... It is a spectacular sight.  The camp host is an old hippie living in a VW bus.  She is helpful, interesting, and serene (pause here for a bit of yoga a deep breath and Nameste).  My hair is getting a bit longer ... perhaps she recognized a kindred soul ...

We saw a black bear (it was a brown black bear) just a 100 yards up the road from our camp ... just trotting along and minding his own business ... he ducked into the woods when he saw our jeep.  The camp host has quite a few pictures of him ...  reminds me of Yogi (Boo Boo are you out there somewhere?).

We took the jeep on a dirt backwoods 4-wheel drive trek to see the best of the coast redwoods.  See some our pics from the Stout Grove below. The coast redwoods grow in large forests with thick undergrowth and they remind you of Fanghorn Forest ... mysterious, ancient, and slightly intimidating. 

On the way there we just had to stop at the "Trees of Mystery" exhibit with Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe.  Pure cheese and tourist chachki ... but we took a picture anyhow ... who can resist big Paul?

Met some really nice people in the camp here ...  other full-timers.  One couple from Maine and another from England (Stayed in camp over Father's Day and enjoyed a few bloody marys, a bit of wine and cheese, and a great bonfire by the river.  One of the characters at the bonfire was a 70 year old pothead ... kept trying to pass the goods around ... he pontificated on all subjects ... someone make this guy the king ... he had just as many ideas as our politicians  ... with the same apparent clarity.

Ok here are the promised pics.





Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stop in Isleton

We wanted to drive from Yosemite to Redwoods National Park in one day ... but that would have been more of a trek than a drive, so opted to stop over for two days in Isleton on the Sacramento River.  It was 65F when we left Bass Lake (Yosemite) and 96F when we arrived in Isleton (Heat Miser would love it here!).

The girl at the gate to the park belongs to Hitler Youth.  Welcome ...  and here is a list of 26 rules ... if you break a rule ... you are out!!!  She took our membership card at the gate and we don't get it back until we select a site and report back with the number ...  Rule # 1 you vill report back wit de number!

I'm hot .. I'm tired ... and now Teutonic Tille is smiling ... Oh you wanted internet service ... that will be another $5 a night ... oh you wanted 50 amps of electric and sewer ... that will be another $7 per night.  We take the sewer and 50 amps for air conditioner ... pass on the internet ... will use the ipad.  She closes the gate behind us ... somewhere in the distance panzers can be heard rolling by.

We settle in and go in search of our membership card ... finally find Tille ... she has abandoned her post at the gate and we find her in the commadant's office.  Can we ride our Segways?  Well, she doesn't know ...  after a bit of noise about American's with Disabilities and equal access ...  yes Segways will be allowed ...  but ride slowly (may run over an old person).  We promise to ride slowly and carry Tapioca.

Dinner tonight is at a resort down the road.  We split the special (five kinds of fried fish).  Actually really tasty.    We sleep well and run the air all night.  Today is a day for blithering.  We do this well.

We have signed up for dinner tonight at the club house (stew is advertised).  We arrive at dinner ... a large crowd has gathered (two other people both in their 80's or 90's).  We try to strike up a conversation ... they grunt... we talk in return ... they grunt some more.  The stew is a thin gruel served over rice to sop up the extra grease ... yum!  Finally, another three couples come in.  One of them speaks in complete sentences and dinner becomes a bit more pleasant.  Picked up some helpful hints.  Tomorrow we leave for Redwoods.

Here are a couple of pics from our first night dinner.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Big Trees

Returned to Yosemite today to see the Giant Sequoias.  The zombie at the gate was gone replaced by a team of retired volunteers, smiling and waving like mad (during the winter they are greeters at Walmart)!  This time we headed the short two miles into the park to the Mariposa grove of Giant Sequoias.  Many of the mature trees are 1800-2200 years old!  They made us feel really young.  In "sequoia-years" we live as long as house flies, and are probably as bothersome.

The grove has a surreal, fantasy-like, feel.  We expected to see an Ent come strolling into view at any moment.  Instead we got Japanese tourists with cameras and a French family with three loud and unruly children ... still surreal, but with comic-book overtones.  Nevertheless, we had a great time and Kim added a new hat pin to his collection (in a month or two that hat will weigh 50-60 pounds and will be able to pick up radio signals!

Here are a few pics of the big trees ... remember things in the mirror are, in this case, bigger than they appear.






Scientists are studying the trees to try and understand their longevity.  They are resistant to insects and rot and survive a forest fire on average of every 5-20 years (divide into 1800 for estimate of number of survival incidents).  They continue to grow and reproduce as long as they live and don't die from old age.  They only die when they have become so big that they topple over from the additional weight of snow in the winter.  Even in death they continue to endure and do not rot.  The roots on the tree below are over thirty feet across (high).  It has been down for around 200 years.



After such a hard day, obviously we deserved a bit of relaxation.  Who knows what trials tomorrow will bring!  :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Yosemite

Today we ventured out to Yosemite.  By the way, why do we call it "You sim a knee" when  it is spelled "Yo see mite"?  We came in through the Highway 41 entrance.  This is not a popular entrance to the park (probably because you still have to drive 34 miles on a winding road to get to Yosemite Valley (Where all the good stuff is located).  The park ranger on duty at this gate is probably being punished for something ... or is an anthropophobe (fear of people).  Anyhow, they don't get a lot of business there and she was glad to see us.  She gave us the Yosemite newspaper and smiled blandly... She reminded me of a zombie, from Day of the Living Dead.  I showed her Lynda's Access pass (the golden ticket for the handicapped ... free entry to all national parks) and she still smiled blandly.  I drove off ... there were no sirens so I assumed we were ok to proceed.  I think she is still smiling blandly ...  and may be for quite some time.  Go ahead ... check it out and see if she is still there a few months from now .... a venture into the Twilight Zone (Imagine Zone music here).

Along the back-road route to the goodies, we passed a lot of beautiful scenery running along an idyllic river and we passed one other thing too ... a golf course! Ok, I admit it ... I am not a golfer ... I have played and I stink (although I'm probably still better than Calvin Coolidge who left his clubs behind when he left the White House.  But who thought it was a good use of public land that was set aside for its natural beauty to turn a pristine elk meadow into a golf course????  Idiots!!!

Every American should be required to visit the national parks ... to understand the vastness and majesty of the land we occupy ... It will put patriotic blood into the most anemic of us.  This is who we are ... this is the sea to shining sea ... this is America the Beautiful ...  Wait ... I'm breaking into song!

At this time of the year the snow melt from the high Sierra's is running into the valleys of Yosemite.  It is a wonderful sight!  Here are a few pictures:




 ...
Let's talk a bit about Segway etiquette.  Lynda & I parked the car, unloaded the Segways and took off for the Visitor's Center ... The Segways are cool!   Very Cool! ...  They attract a lot of attention as we GLIDE (That's what riding is called in the Segway world) about.  So a few words about Segway etiquette.  It is not alright to ask how much they cost!  (If you want to know call a dealer!)  So we were perfectly justified in telling the guy who asked this question, that we had given our first born for them (Sorry Jason!), but not to worry, he was adjusting to his new family quite well!  Above is Lynda "gliding" with El Capitain and Yosemite Falls in the background.



Wow!  Can you beat this scenery?  Half-Dome is in the background ... I got the Half-Dome label pin ... a collection that will fit in the RV!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First Day Out

We planned on leaving at 6:00 a.m. and managed to get off around 8:30 a.m.  The delay was caused by additional sleep!  Somehow it really didn't matter.  The camp office in Bass Lake closed at 5:00 p.m. and we got in around 6:00 p.m., but we called and they left the information we needed pinned to the bulletin board for us.  Found out on the way that the folks in Hesperia installed our lights incorrectly on the Jeep when towing (the two orange turn signal lights come on instead of the red brake lights).  We stopped in Bakersfield to try and find someone that could fix this. No luck!  So we will try again today in Fresno.  We are told this is an easy fix ... we sure hope so ... it seems like brake lights might be something we want.

On the way we gassed up twice.  First at the Flying J in Barstow ...  This was really nice ... easy in and easy out.  The Flying J in Bakersfield is not as nice ... no RV parking ... we left and went down the road to Love's.  We used the truck island at Loves ... they aren't thrilled with this, but it was an easy fill up and they had a Subway shop that was great for lunch.

Our first "resort" stop is in Bass Lake.  Wonderful!   Take a look at this scenery.  This will be home for the next week.

Monday, June 6, 2011

How do we get rid of all that Stuff?

We Americans like stuff!  We collect it, hoard it, accumulate it, and store it.  We haul boxes of it from house to house over the years, and we forget we even had it ... but we don't get rid of it!  Lynda and I are true Americans ... we had our share!

We knew getting rid of it would not be easy.  Some of it was even useful and nice, so we decided to get a Pod to store the really good stuff in.  After all we might not like being vagabonds and gypsies forever, and it would be really expensive to replace all of it.  So we stuffed the Pod like the Grinch stuffed his sled and sent it off to storage ... really ... we only kept the good stuff!

The rest of the accumulation had to go!  We pawned off as much as we could on the kids ... unfortunately they are not as young and unaware as they used to be ... so they didn't take very much, and the rest we put in the garage for a garage sale (our first!).





Our two sons came over to help us sell the excess.  Garage Sales are a cultural experience.  A real slice of Americana walked up driveway.  Our son Shane kept telling us not to throw away things that were clearly trash ... he insisted that someone would buy it ... he was right!  They bought old ant spray,  assorted electrical cords  that no longer went to anything, broken toys, and old batteries.  They passed on fine china, expensive suits, and dress shirts.  They purchased old bags from conferences gone by but turned up their noses at expensive luggage.  One person's trash is truly another person's treasure.  After everything was said and done here was the result:


We donated the rest to the senior center (two loads fulls) and are now ready to hit the road full-time!

One of the things we noticed when going through our stuff was how often we asked each other how we had managed to accumulate so many absolutely unnecessary and overindulgent things.  We have never thought of ourselves as particularly materialistic ... and still don't ... but ... the process of de-stuffing was a philosophical journey that was worth taking.