Category Archives: Retired Military

Retired Military

The Destination ~ North of the Border

From Mt Rainier, one more item on our agenda in the Northwest! Our traveling friends, who live in British Columbia, were on our bucket list of things to do, see and visit! Catherine and Leon, we first met, at a Ferry Station in Newfoundland, Canada, on the East Coast. We had ferried over to St Pierre de Michelon, a French possession Island.

This past winter, they visited us in Key West, FL. Now it was our turn to visit them. It was a short visit, but a good one! They took us over to Fort Langley, a restored stockaded Fort. We were able to have a wonderful visit with them. It was a hectic week for them as Leon’s mom passed away, on Wednesday, and to top it off their “Rodie” van got stolen on Sunday morning.

We stayed overnight in our truck camper and were on our way out Canada early next morning. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that they sold their house and will be temporarily moving to another house until their new house, being built, is completed. Leon and Catherine needed rest from all the activities happening nearly at once. We wish them well!

Catherine & Leon ~ Langley, BC Canada.JPG

Catherine & Leon ~ Langley, British Columbia Canada

Catherine & Helen.JPG

Catherine & Helen at Fort Langley

So, after leaving BC with headed East, yes, we are heading back to New England. The first day I made it to Spokane, WA. That was a 374 mile day. Tonight, we are in Butte, Montana with 326 miles in for the day. It may seem that we’re continuously driving, but we did stop and admire the scenery, had a cool picnic along some glacial runoff rivers. Last night, we stayed at Fairchild AFB, just outside of Spokane. Nice campground and of course, I got the last full hookup site.

Tonight, we are at the “2 Bar Lazy H RV Park” just outside of Butte, MT. The elevation is over 5,000 feet on a high plateau. We can see the “Big Sky Country” for many miles. That wasn’t the case this afternoon. Leaving Idaho, at Lookout Pass, the smell of fire started and soon the visibility worsened. This got really bad to the point that our eyes started to smart. I was thinking that, surely we would run into a detour or something, but we didn’t. This went on for a hundred miles until we got to Missoula, MT. Even now, some 200 miles from there, we both can smell smoke. I’m thinking that the forest fire was the one that started in Glacier National Park, some 150 miles to the North. I heard on the radio, that some backcountry hikers were blocked from coming out and had to take a longer hike to escape. That fire was caused by lightning.

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 14th and 15th 2017

374 miles on the 14th ~ 326 miles on the 15th

6,104 miles since leaving home. This is the 28th night out on the road!

The blog may suffer a little as we pour on the miles, but I’ll try!

Helen, Buying Property ~ Mt St Helens

Our destination, today, was to Mt St Helen’s National Park. It was 52 miles to the park and another 52 miles back. We both can vouch that it was well worth the mileage. The last eruption was in 1980, in our life time, which made it little more meaning full. The first stop at the Longmire Visitor Center was brief. The Ranger said that it would be better to view the volcano early in the morning, rather than later, when the British Columbia forest fire smoke thickened. The highway good and we couldn’t stop noticing all the logging trucks going and coming from the mountain’s direction. Weyerhaeuser, a big lumber company, does a lot of clear-cutting, but also replanting. Signs with the year that different areas were replanted dotted the countryside.

An Eye Opener

Arriving at a very large parking lot, nearly empty, at the Johnson Ridge Observatory, we prepped ourselves with extra water, sun protection and hats and headed for the Visitor Center. A Ranger had just started his presentation outside. Behind us, Mt St Helen, three miles away, he explained the sequence of the eruption. It is nearly unbelievable how that was the largest landslide ever recorded in human history! The Pyrotechnic blast incinerated everything equaling the city of Chicago in land area. Volcanic ash was deposited in 11 States. Volcanic mudslides reached as far as the Columbia River fifty miles away. Hundreds of square miles were reduced to wasteland. The stats go on and on!

It was an eye opener! What is terrifying is the visible dome, inside the volcano, that grows or rises 5 feet a day. The Ranger said that they use the “5 foot a day” as a guide for possible future eruptions. Ironically, the last eruption didn’t exceed the 5 foot a day expansion when it erupted. While we were there, we witnessed an avalanche inside the perimeter of the volcano! We could see smoke from the avalanche area.

Avalange ~ Top Left.JPG

Witnessed avalanche top left ~ Dome grows 5 feet a day in center

The temperature from the sun was getting hotter. We had lunch in the camper and backtracked down the 52 miles to civilization.

 

Late afternoon, we checked into Lewis & Clark SP.

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 10, 2017 ~ 174 miles traveled today

The Lighthouses and Shipwrecks

The Pioneers

I couldn’t forget to write about the many lighthouses along the Northwest Coast! I can’t help thinking of the pioneers, such as William V. Langlois, in the mid eighteen hundreds coming by sailing ships to the treacherous coast. Fog, strong tides, very rocky shores made for a rough landing. The lighthouses, the high tech of the day, helped save many a ship, but many were lost as evident at the lighthouse museum that we visited. Yaquina Lighthouse, being the tallest, was 93 feet tall. It was built with 400,000 bricks brought in, by ship, from San Fransisco, California. Just getting the bricks to the site, on a primitive road was a monumental accomplishment!

If I remember there’s around sixteen of these lighthouses in Oregon. Each one was subject to inspection, that is, with a white glove, inspected on unannounced visits. Even the light keeper’s wife had to have everything whistle clean and orderly. The lighthouses were of prime importance!

Boomers On The Move! Every turn is an Adventure!

Boomers @ Lighthouse.jpg

The Lance and the Ford enjoying the view!

The Decision

Heading North, near Newport, the traffic was starting to get heavy. It seems that people in the interior were heading to the coast to cool off from the high 90’s to the mid 60’s. It was time to make a decision! Keep moving North along the coast or head inland to high terrain. I made the latter. A little north of Lincoln City, I took route 18 towards Portland and into Washington. What I didn’t figure on was going through Portland around rush hour! This was a 61 min traffic jam, but making the best of this meant that we could enjoy viewing the Portland City scape from the high bridges we were on.

Night Stay

Where to stay after leaving the hustle and bustle of the cities? The Allstays app didn’t provide many options. After gassing the truck, I located, yes, a Wal-Mart a few miles away, in Battle Ground, Washington. This would be our first Walmart since 2012 trip to Alaska. Allstays reviews said that this Walmart permitted overnight parking for one night. I asked the store manager and he said, “Ok, for one night as long as you park over by the garden section.”

A few teenagers were hanging around in the parking lot, but they weren’t interested in us and they disappeared in the night as we disappeared into sleep. Around 12:30 am, a refrigerated box truck parked next to us. This was annoying as the refrigerator compressor runs nearly continuously. I noticed no one in the cab. I got up and moved our TC about 300 feet and all was fine for the rest of the night. That’s the price for a Wal-Mart night!

That what we saw and did!

Aug 9, 2017 ~ Walmart ~ Battle Ground, WA

190 miles traveled today

The Town of Langlois in the County of Coos

Many of you won’t know the connection, but the town of Langlois (our family name) Oregon, and the county of Coos in Oregon is also the same name as our county back in New Hampshire. Isn’t that cool! To top all of that, at a campground that we stayed at the night before, I was talking to the camp host about the town of Langlois and he told me to stop in to the Langlois Market and Deli for the best hot dogs! I love hot dogs!

A hundred miles down the road we find the market. A very nice lady named Gail waited on us and I gave her the story about the name and county. She gave us all kinds of info. Oh, yes the hot dogs were the best! They’ve sold over 850,000 hot dogs since 1949! She said, “It’s the mustard that makes them special.” After lunch we went to the Langlois Public Library for history on the town. There was plenty to look at including books with many old photos.

 

Me & Gail at Langlois Market.JPG

Me and Gail at the Langlois Market & Deli

In 1854 William V. Langlois a seaman and adventure settled on Floras Creek to raise his family and live out his life until 1881. Langlois, native of the island of Guernsey, off the French Coast. He had seen and done everything the most rugged of men had attempted by the time he finally settled down in the town which carried his name! How cool is that!

 

If I remember correctly, our family descendants came from that area of France. The name Langlois or Langlais translated means the Englishman. Who knows! I’ll research this later on when I get home. Now for the county, here it is pronounce Coos but back home in NH it is more of Indian language and pronounced Cö os (Master Sargent Justin… I was thinking of you and your new assignment at McCord AFB).

That night we stayed at The Port of Siuslaw Campground in Florence, Oregon. A lovely town geared to tourist and RVers. Good restaurants, a convenient boardwalk to the downtown, an active fresh market with all kinds of fruits, berries, corn and seasonal crops! We ate at Mo’s on the water, took the boardwalk for the tour of the business district. Our campground site was just two over from the WiFi repeater with a big smile on my face. Helen did laundry next door and a good night sleep followed. I should mentioned that it was cool (mid sixties). The coast is nearly always shrouded with fog or low cloud cover. Oddly enough if you leave the coast and head inland just 40 to 50 miles the temperature is or was in the high nineties! The fog is what makes the trees grow to the heavens!

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 8, 2017 (Our 20th night on the road)

159 miles traveled on this day

875,000 Hotdogs.JPG

875000 sold

 

Big Red My Favorite

One of my first objectives on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) was to stand next to the tallest. Yes, I’m talking about the PCH “Redwoods”. At a whopping 350 feet tall you would fall over backwards before your eyes view the top, when looking up! The diameter at the base, on some is over 35 feet! Our little truck camper looks like a toy model next to these behemoths! We really enjoyed spending time with these thousand and thousand year old trees. Thank God that they are being preserved in this National Park! We come from logging country in New England and appreciate forest management, but not tree hugging fanatics that don’t allow any management. It appears that the logging industry here is still working, which is good, as evident of the many tree length log trucks. I’ve noticed that they clear cut plots on the mountain sides followed by re-planting. Hopefully, this continues for generations to come.

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Tiny Toy Truck Camper

350 feet high Redwood!.JPG

350 feet tall! 

The Redwood Nat’l Park borders the coast for a long distance. It is both a National Park and a State Park. This part of the journey brought us to the Oregon border and just a few miles north to our night stay in Brookings, OR at the Beach Front RV Park.

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 7, 2017 ~ 109 miles traveled

Pacific Coast Highway ~ Rte 101

Last night, the journey came to a starting point. What I mean is, we have reached the Pacific Ocean and our journey will now head North from McKinleyville, CA to the State of Washington. This was our plan from the get-go!

Our campground in McKinleyville, Widow White Creek was full, but we managed to get a site with water and no electric. My battery bank did the trick on that end.

Whiskeytown Shasta-Trinity NRA

Little did we know that the campground was less than a mile from the ocean! I guess, we were tired from the day’s adventure! Let me backup a little and tell you about this day. Leaving Redding, California, to our naivety, our first discovery was Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. A stop at the Visitor Center gave us info on what to see and do in the area. The Park Ranger said that we should take a small hike to view one of the waterfalls. Crystal Springs was the one selected. It was four miles off the main road. The time of day was around 10:30am and the temperature rising into the mid 80’s. With that in mind, we soon were hiking on a shade covered, paved path. The black berries were ripe and Helen enjoyed nature’s treats! In about a 1/2 mile, the waterfall came into view. The crystal clear water pooled at the bottom following its cascade down from a two to three hundred foot elevation. It wasn’t a one fall drop, but several smaller drops much like a bridal vail that is associated with water falls.

Helen's 1st toe dip in Pacific.JPG

She said it was Cold!

Route 299 and the Salmon Mountains

Our route from here to the Coast took us through the Salmon Mountains. Again, I must say I didn’t think this part of the road would be so scenic. If you like climbing mountains and driving down into forested canyons this is a perfect road. Some spots on the road had a 1,000 foot drop offs. Scary, no, scenic yes! It was a 151 miles of thrills!

Finally driving into McKinleyville, CA, I used my Allstays app, on my iPhone to find a campground. This brought us to the beginning of our “Pacific Coast Highway ~ rte101 Adventure”.

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 6th, 2017 ~ 151 miles on this day

Amazing Coast with No Time

The Frustration

The last three days have been busy exploring the Pacific Coast! First let me say, we have done so much in the last 72 hours! Before I get into details, let me explain a little about my personal frustration. My blog takes about an hour to recall the days’ events. When we do the adventure thing I’m taking lots of pictures, and some short videos. The blog needs pictures to tell the story. Then there’s the  time to download the photos from my iPhone, Helen’s iPhone, my Nikon, this is time consuming, but I can deal with that. What fries me is the poor WiFi at campgrounds and wherever I can get it. I can’t upload the photos into the blog until I’m online. Now this may seem like a minor problem, but what happens when you’re doing many things everyday. After three days, I have to start thinking what and where things happened. Its rough being on a travel adventurer! Enough of me crying! 

Pacific Ocean

The first thing we did heading north on rte101 was to drive down to the beach and physically touch the Pacific! That was short and sweet.

The Elks on the Beach

Helen, was reading about Elk down on Gold Bluff Beach State Park. Ok, I started to that destination, about 5 miles off the main highway. It wasn’t long before the paved road turned to gravel and from two lanes to one. A sign said drive with your headlights on. What really was a little different were the redwood trees, very close to the edge of the road. These trees were big, but not the giant ones we would see later. I wasn’t going faster than 10 miles per hour. The forest was so tall on each side of the road that sunlight couldn’t filter through. My GPS couldn’t read the satellites, with all of this going on, the forest was covered with dust from the gravel road. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that all trailers, 5th wheels and anything over 24 feet long were banned on this road. They would not be able to negotiate the tight turns around the trees, that made you make nearly a square corner. Helen was getting a second thought on going to see the Elks on the beach.

 

Finally, we got to the ticket booth, yes, this was both a State Park and a National Park, which meant that our senior pass was valid! Another couple of miles, several cars were parked at a campground, but the Elk beach was even further down the dirt road. Now comes the part where I had to cross a creek, Helen was now really wide eyed! Ah, the end of the road finally, well, now it was time for a hike! We weren’t alone. A dozen people or so were coming and going. A short hike later, a fork in the trail, most people were going to the left. Following the leader, this trail, followed a small stream with two vertical, vegetated walls. It was awesome, but it was getting wetter and wetter, with more obstacles and large downed trees to straddle over. Ok,  we both agreed to save the Elk viewing for the Zoo.

The day wasn’t over and I’ll continue on the next blog!

That is what we saw and did!

Aug 6, 2017 ~ 151 miles traveled