Sunday, August 4, 2013

Milepost 75, Highway 101, WA….

Where we are at this very minute, parked in a gorgeous garden-like setting at the Artic Tavern & RV Park, located about half-way between Raymond and Aberdeen in the Willapa foothills near Grays Harbor.  And there is a garden; both flowers, fruit, and veggies, all for the picking pleasure of us lucky guests!

But first I’ll get caught up on this past week as a short-term itinerary takes shape….

Parked at Artic Tavern & RV
The smoky air diminished the further north we got from Medford and by the time we arrived at the Timber Valley Escapees Park in Sutherlin, an easy 100 miles or so,  all was clear and sunny.  Our friends, Al and Joan, lease a lot here and entertained us in style for two nights.  These are the same great folks who surprised us in Petaluma with a fine bottle of wine for our anniversary.

At Timber Valley SKP Park
We spent part of one day in and around Roseburg, the nearest large town, checking out Kruse Farms for seasonal produce but more importantly their fine bakery for a homemade bumbleberry pie for that night’s dessert.  Joan made her famous pan-fried oysters and Al barbecued steak.  We brought salad and wine along with the pie and sat out on their patio watching the deer, turkeys, and quail graze their way by.

The impressive Winchester Dam & Fish Ladder on the Umpqua River provided great photo shots and substantial exercise walking down and up the 95 steps.  A glassed-in viewing room at the bottom lets you watch the seasonal fish on their migratory path.

At Winchester Dam & Fish Ladder
Another hundred miles or so brings us to Eugene, but first on to Junction City to get four new Michelin tires for the coach.  Our tires are huge and cost a small fortune but a necessary part of this lifestyle.  One friend reminded me of all we saved in sales tax, making the bite a bit less painful! 

The old gal has new shoes!

Howard ran over to the Country Coach factory to pick their brains on a perplexing electrical problem and was given a step-by-step check list to hopefully track down the reason why the house batteries are not charging when the engine is running.  We see new batteries in our future and are thankful for the bank of roof-mounted solar panels in the meantime.

Our view by the Willamette River
By late afternoon we are settled by the beautiful Willamette River and walking trail, parked in the rear of the Valley River Center.  A security guard pulls up shortly to write us an overnight pass and to assure us of his continuous drive-by checks throughout the night.  Other RVs pull in as well.  We take advantage of the trails and enjoy some fresh blackberry pickings for breakfast.

Howard picks blackberries for breakfast...
More friends await us in Lincoln City on the central Oregon coast, a scenic drive on highway 20 out of Corvallis to Newport and north.  Don and Joan have that beautiful 5 acres in the Sierra Foothills near Jackson, CA and another gorgeous parking site for us.  They spend several months during the summer here in their 5th wheel, beachcombing for agates.  They graciously took us on a sightseeing outing along this magnificent stretch of coastline, the day warm and shrouded in fog.

At low tide...

Large logs wash ashore....

"D" River in Lincoln City, the shortest river in the world!
By the time we left last Saturday morning we had decided to stop at Costco in Astoria and get the five new  6-volt golf cart batteries before going any further.  We will be boondocking for two weeks in Port Townsend, WA at our favorite waterfront site at the Pt. Hudson Marina starting tomorrow, and will need to maximize our electrical capacity.  Howard removed and replaced the batteries in the Costco parking lot!

Astoria, OR by Columbia River

This bridge over the Columbia is intimidating!
So now here we are back in Artic Park.  The grill is fired, a fresh-picked Walla Walla onion sliced and the salad made from a variety of garden lettuces.  Vine-ripened raspberries and blackberries, also picked from the garden, are waiting for dessert and the morning breakfast.  Tomorrow’s drive to PT will be a scenic 110 miles or so.

Relaxing before dinner!
So now it’s the long term itinerary that needs help.  Our hope, subject to cancellation, revision, or unforeseen circumstances, is to see the fall colors, traveling the northern US/Canada route east.  We would be very grateful for any suggestions of routes to take and places to see along the way!

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