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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

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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!

Mt rainier ~ The Most Noble!

“Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mt Rainier is the noblest.”

John Muir

The best for last

It seems that we have been climbing mountains lately! The Cascade Mountain Range is where all of these Volcanic Mountains are located. Mt Rainier, Mt St Helen’s, Mt Hope, Mt Lassen are all brewing to let off steam! The earth’s Pacific Tectonic Plate is pushing East, something has to blow to relieve pressure. Hey, we’ve been living on the edge on this Pacific Coast Highway Adventure Trip. The Volcanos, the threat of a Tsunami, driving close to ocean level, a North Korean nuclear attack, hell, I love living on the edge!

Paradise Visitor Center.JPG

Not another Selfie!

Mt Rainier ~ The best for last!

Thousand and thousands of tourist flock to this National Park! Some drive, some hike, camp, bike and every form of outside activities are available. The Park Service has it down pat! Even the main road in is being re-paved and wait times can be several minutes to a half hour, but very well orchestrated. Many tourists were giving the construction workers a thumbs up! The only stress came from meeting a fully loaded dump truck, on a narrow hillside road, with him on the inside and us on the 2,000 foot drop off side of the road. I must be a thrill seeker!

At the Paradise Visitor Center, the upper parking lot was very full, we had to back track down to the picnic area parking and hike up a quarter mile to the center.

The mountain is literally right in front of you. Boom! Snow fields, glaciers and green forested areas in the low views. Flowers, all natural and many colors are along the hiking paths. Perfect, and, as John Muir said in 1889, “Extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens”.

Mount Rainier is the cream of the crop! Our rating is “Five Stars”

The Night Stay

Coming out of the mountains, in late afternoon, my task was to find another bed-down spot. I pulled into a McDonalds, to get out of the traffic. This guy was looking at my camper, I got out and he started a conversion. One thing led to another and I asked him if he knew of a campground close by? He told me there was a campground right in back of the Expo Fairgrounds, within site of here.

I got a full hookup site and asked the camp host if there was anything going on to visit or see. Well, she said, “The 27 Annual Northwest Country Swing Music Festival” was going on all weekend right here at the Expo. After setting up the truck camper, a shower and dinner, a stroll over to the Festival provided entertainment for the rest of the evening. We both are not country music dancers, but just watching the pros strut around the dance floor was cool. I don’t know where some of these guys came from, but it look like some were seven feet tall! Maybe the cowboy hats and boots gave them a lift!

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Lively Time At Northwestern Country Music Festival

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 Several Bands Kept it Hoping all Night!

That is what we saw and did

Aug 11, 2017 ~ 144 miles traveled

5,206 miles from Berlin, NH

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!

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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

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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