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Pulling out. 8/15/20

While staying here in Garibaldi, we have grown accustomed to hearing the train whistle of the local tourist line as it announces its departure from and, 90 minutes later, its return to the station just a short walk from the RV. The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad runs three times a day on weekdays, four on the weekend. The weekend runs are pulled by a vintage steam engine which certainly looks and sounds the part of an old timey train. It only goes about 5 miles up the coast to Rockaway Beach and then comes back to Garibaldi after a 30 minute “layover.” One beautiful morning we took the first run. Sandwiched between Tillamook Bay and Rt 101, we enjoyed the scenery along the coast. We strongly recommend.

Plus, it has been like having a local clock tower announcing the time. We know when it’s noon.

PS: This was the first real “touristy” thing we’ve done in these troubled times. It was a nice return to close to normal, albeit with face masks and┬ásocial distancing. We’ll take what we can get.

Heading up the tracks. 7/19/20

Passing some clammers. 8/23/20

Blowing the whistle. 8/11/20

Driving the train 8/11/20

Sometimes we were pretty close to the road. 8/11/20

The restored passenger car. 8/11/20

“The Three Graces” near Garibaldi, OR 8/11/20

The view of the Boathouse Pier from the train. Garibaldi, OR 8/11/20

 

Since things are changing so rapidly with respect to the craziness that we are all experiencing we decided that, rather than moving every week, we would find a nice place to stay for the summer. We succeeded. We are on the water in coastal Oregon until September. By on the water I mean that we can watch the tide come in and out from the front seat of the RV. It’s pretty awesome. It’s also very beautiful. This is a target rich environment for photography and we’re back to saying “Wow!” quite a bit when we drive around a corner or hike to a viewpoint. A tiny bit of normalcy in these bizarre times.

That being said, here’s a bunch of photos, probably the most I’ve ever shoved up here at one time. It’s getting hard to pick the shots to post, there are just so many to choose from. Finally, a problem I don’t mind dealing with.

Stay safe, y’all.

Let’s start with some photos that I took within walking distance of the RV

‘Murica! Garibaldi, OR 6/27/20

The tourist train. Departs at least 3 times daily. Garibaldi, OR. 7/19/20

Pucker factor = moderate. Garibaldi, OR 7/13/20

Clamming at low tide. Garibaldi, OR 7/8/20

Shot with iPhone 11, handheld. Garibaldi, OR. 7/4/20

Shot with iPhone 11, steadied on a wall. Not bad. Garibaldi, OR. 7/4/20

Cape Meares

Short Beach, near Cape Meares, OR 7/8/20

Tidal Pool at Short Beach, near Cape Meares, OR 7/8/20

Short Beach, near Cape Meares, OR 7/8/20

Lighthouse at Cape Meares, OR 7/8/20

Cape Meares, OR 7/8/20

Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout, OR 7/15/20

Cape Lookout, OR 7/15/20

Cape Lookout, OR 7/15/20

Cape Lookout, OR 7/15/20

Cape Lookout, OR 7/15/20

Various Others

She turned me into a newt! A Rough-Skinned Newt to be precise. Near Garibaldi, OR 7/14/20

Dungeness crab. People are pulling these out of the water like crazy. These were gifted by neighbors. Different from our beloved blue crabs, but completely acceptable! Garibaldi, OR 7/4/20

Rockaway Beach, OR 7/6/20

 

Before we left the area, we made another trip up to Mt. St. Helens and took a couple of nice walks. It felt great to be out again, seeing sites and taking photos. There are lots of great hiking trails and photo-ops. It was good for our morale to be back in the woods again.

We finished up our quick visit to Washington with a short hop to a nice rv park on the Columbia River. We had a pull-in site that allowed us to sit in our front seats and watch the traffic on the river floating by. It was a bit jarring to see large, open-going vessels gliding by so far inland but we quickly got used to it. My neighbor turned me on to an app called Vessel Finder that I found to be pretty cool. I was able to identify the boats I was looking at or see when a big boy was going to come by easily on my phone for free. Fun. After a week or so I was actually recognizing the specific tugs shoving barges up and down the Columbia.

Southwest Washington is a beautiful part of the country. When some semblance of sanity and safety have returned to the world we will be back to more fully explore this region.

Coldwater Lake, WA. 6/14/20

Spring in Washington. 6/14/20

Hummocks created by the volcano. 6/14/20

Cedar Creek Grist Mill & Covered Bridge 6/19/20

Cedar Creek Grist Mill 6/19/20

Party at the river on a random weekday. 6/24/20

Watching the traffic go by. 6/17/20

Looking for a meal. 6/17/20

Up until now we have, by choice, travelled fairly slowly. This was primarily due to the fact that Nora, our late cat, did not care for travel days. She would be kinda stressed while moving, lightly sleeping but mostly just hanging out with her eyes closed. When the slides came out at the end of the drive, she knew we were done. She’d eat, and then pass out for the rest of the day. She was old enough to have earned some leeway, so we kept our preferred trip durations/mileages as short as possible and stayed several days, preferably a week or so, before moving on.

Now that we have a Nora-sized hole in our RV, we can be a bit more nimble. We still prefer to limit our road time on any given travel day to 3 to 4.5 hours and to stop for several days before moving on, but there are exceptions to every rule. Like last week. 1002 miles in 5 legs over 6 days. The reason? Temperatures of 104 degrees where we were, 60 degrees where we were going. So, Bakersfield to Mt. St. Helens in one swift movement. We were tuckered but happy when we were done. We were back on the road!

So here we are in the Pacific NW until September. As I type it’s raining, it’s been raining, it’s going to keep raining. But at least all 3 air conditioners aren’t running full bore all day. We are running the electric heaters pretty often, though. In my book, a fair trade.

Didn’t take many photos on the way up here, so I’ll toss a few of Mt. St. Helens that I got between downpours.

Stay safe, y’all.

A beautiful moon last week welcomed us back on the road for our West Coast Dash. 6/4/20

Mt. St. Helens in the morning. Overcast & rainy. 6/10/20

Mt. St. Helens that evening. Beautiful. 6/10/20

Mt. St. Helens 6/10/20

Mt. St. Helens 6/10/20

Mt. St. Helens 6/10/20

Momma told this critter to stay put. 5 days old. 6/9/20

 

Palm trees in our Palm Springs rv park 2/14/20

We’ll wrap up our hiatus from the road in this post since we’re finally about to cover some miles. After some health delays, we finally left the San Diego region in mid-February and headed to Palm Springs (again) followed by visits to the Salton Sea and the L.A. area, ending with what was to be a brief stop in Bakersfield. From Bakersfield, we were to wander north via the coast (Big Sur and some wine country) and then the lovely string of national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia, etc…), ultimately hitting the Pacific Coast near Tacoma, WA and sliding down the coast back to Northern California. Plans were laid with the highlight of hooking up with our good friends for almost 3 weeks in SW Oregon. A potentially great summer.

Yeah, well, the best laid plans.

View from our roof 5/25/20

We saw the writing on the wall and decided that Bakersfield was the place to isolate for awhile. Our rv park had great cell coverage (needed for internet), beautiful monthly sites with blooming orange trees inches from the coach, and good infrastructure for food, mail, etc. We’ve been here since March 6 and it worked out well. Now we’re ready to leave.

And so leave we shall.

We’ve decided that it was safest to not move too often, so we’re going to bolt up the west coast to southern Washington near Mt. St. Helen’s for 3 weeks or so, then to the Oregon coast in Tillamook for a couple of months. It will be very nice to see green again and get some relief from the heat this week. The forecast is over 100 degrees for 5 days running, with one day’s high expected to be 111 degrees. Yeah, we’ll be happy with the Oregon coolness after that.

Here are a bunch of photos from between San Diego and Bakersfield. Hopefully, I can get back to shooting regularly soon. Stay safe, y’all.

Bombay Beach on what’s left of the Salton Sea is an odd place full of odd art. We liked it. 2/18/20

Sitting in someone’s yard in Bombay Beach. 2/18/20

Near Slab City, itself an odd place, is Salvation Mountain. All built with found & donated supplies, it’s pretty much the work of one guy. 2/28/20

Salvation Mountain 2/28/20

Evening at the Salton Sea 2/28/20

Some of the oil fields in and around Bakersfield. These pumps are everywhere, including business parking lots. 5/20/20

We had orange groves and vineyards to walk in next to the rv. Here’s one of several active wells in these fields. 4/4/20

Drilling for oil in the vineyard. 4/29/20

Our home. 3/21/20

Here’s a handful of shots from one of our favorite spots near San Diego: Point Loma. We went there three times, including once at the end of our time in the area. It turned out to be the last “fun” thing we did in San Diego. The first couple of times, the tide was in so we weren’t able to enjoy the famed tidal pools since they were under water. We specifically timed our last visit near low tide and we’re totally happy we did. It’s a very cool place where you can be close to nature and still have views of San Diego and the Naval facilities.

The Point Loma Tidal Pools at high tide. 12/16/19

The Point Loma Tidal Pools at low tide. 1/23/20

Point Loma 1/23/20

Point Loma 1/23/20

Critter! Point Loma 1/23/20

Home! Point Loma 12/16/19

Final stop with a view Point Loma 12/16/19

Point Loma 12/16/19

Inbound. Point Loma 12/16/19

 

 

As promised, here are some shots from our two trips to Joshua Tree National Park. What a weird, desolate place with a rugged beauty. Nice place to visit, but….

Cottonwood Spring, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Joshua Trees, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

A really old Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

Petroglyphs, Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

 

Our last stop before heading to San Diego for the holidays was in the Palm Springs area. Our first stop after leaving San Diego was … Palm Springs. I’m combining both of these stops into this post because, quite frankly, I need to catch up!

We both liked the Palm Springs area. There was lots of natural beauty to enjoy, some good dining opportunities, and the people watching was fantastic. Among other things, we enjoyed a gondola ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto, visited the Coachella Preserve a couple of times, and went to Joshua Tree National Park twice (more on that in the next post). The weather was mild and it was a nice place to wind down after a season on the road as well as to wind up a couple of months later to get back into the rhythm. When the chance presents itself we will be happy to return. Again.

The ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto. The view below is of Palm Springs with some of the many wind farms to the left. Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from the top. Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Preserve 11/21/19

The Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Preserve 11/21/19

Palms lining the year-round spring in the Indian Canyons 2/21/20

A spring in the Indian Canyons 2/21/20

A Native American shelter in Indian Canyons 2/21/20

 

As I mentioned here, between Patti heading back east for family duty and the cat requiring an inordinate amount of attention, we missed doing a couple of items on our Vegas hit list. So, back to Sin City it was so that we could, among other things, go to Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire State Park. It was totally worth the return, so much so that we will go back again when given the chance. Beautiful country, enjoyable walks, even getting up close to some bighorn sheep. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Red Rock Canyon, 11/4/19

Red Rock Canyon, 11/4/19

Petroglyphs, Red Rock Canyon, 11/4/19

Red Rock Canyon, 11/4/19

Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

Gibraltar Rock, Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

“Trail Marker” near the Gibraltar Rock, Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

Bighorn sheep, Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

More bighorn sheep, Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

Another bighorn sheep, Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

Petroglyphs, Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire State Park, 11/5/19

Riding in style. Grand Canyon Railway 10/19/19

When we were making our plans we had a couple of weeks to fill between our stays in Las Vegas. Looking at a map we realized we were within striking distance of the Grand Canyon so we said, “What the hell” (or words to that effect) and decided to shoot over there for a quick visit. We also decided to splurge a bit, so we made reservations in Williams, AZ, for a week, along with first class seats on the daily train from Williams to the South Rim. What a fun day that was. Riding in style with comfortable seats, morning and afternoon snacks, cash bar and access to the observation car and rear deck. Upon arrival we took a very interesting bus tour of the area, peered over the rim at several locations, and enjoyed a nice lunch at the lodge before re-boarding for the return trip. All in all, it was a nice leisurely day with beautiful sights. It’s hard to take a bad photo in that part of the world.

While in Williams, we made a quick jaunt to the east and visited Meteor Crater. I had wanted to visit this place since I was a small boy (jeez, that was a long time ago) so when I realized it was only an hour or so away it was a no-brainer. Privately owned, it has a very nice visitor center with tours included in the admission price. For obvious safety reasons, access is limited to a small area on the north side of the rim, but that was more than enough to appreciate the magnitude of this hole in the ground and to be thankful we weren’t around when that rock dropped from the sky. If you’re in the area I can recommend this for a quick stop.

Needless to say I took way more photos during our brief Grand Canyon stop then I can show here. It also goes without saying that we’ll be back to this area for a longer stay.

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

Roughing it. 10/19/19

Meteor Crater Visitor Center 10/23/19

Meteor Crater Visitor Center 10/23/19

Meteor Crater 10/23/19

Meteor Crater 10/23/19