Monday is Museum Day -- Aug 31st, 2015

Long Beach peninsula, where we are camped, is a long, narrow arm at the southwestern tip of Washington. It measures 28 miles in length from north to south, bordered by the Pacific on one side and Willapa Bay on the inside.  Hard to get lost and easy to find what you're looking for.  With cool, iffy weather forecast, the four of us decided to "do" museums today.

Hey!  Nannie it's your turn to be a mermaid and I'll be the shark.

Because winds always blow in from the Pacific, the peninsula is famous for kite flying and, in fact, hosts the Washington State International Kite Festival for one week every year, which is quite a big deal and draws large crowds.  And we missed the date by one week!  Durn!  We plunked down a few bucks each to go thru the kite museum, a fascinating two-story building chock-a-block full of colorful kites, all sizes and configurations, from delicate and lacy to the big dude below.  Some were exquisite.  Very tight place to take pictures, tho.

Aaaargh!  Nannie and I are being gripped by long, sharp talons.

Anyone who wants to can make a kite at the museum.  You see our creations above.  Two of us decided to "go fly a kite" in front of the place as soon as we left the building!  (Nannie and I also each bought a T-shirt celebrating last year's festival.)

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Further north on the peninsula, we enjoyed a self-guided walking tour on a working cranberry farm.  All-in-all, about a half-mile round trip, free of charge, although a gift shop is on the premises .  We came away with a few goodies.

On either side of the dike road, varieties of cranberries grow.  We learned new facts at this farm ... one is that it takes about three years after planting before the first harvest and five years for a full harvest, but ... cranberries are a perennial wetland plant that can produce for 100 years or more!  Didn't know this before. Visiting here was a really interesting experience.

Makes me think of Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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We cooked Brats for dinner (Nannie bought bison-blueberry Brats in Canada), and afterwards she and I walked down to the beach one last time.  Tomorrow, Sept 1st, we leave -- they're moving south and we're nosing north. It was cool and windy this evening (of course) and we were just about the only two people on this stretch of beach.  When we got thoroughly chilled and were ready to return to our warm campers, we spotted a man (with a satchel) coming onto the beach from the RV park.  Kite, we murmured to each other, so we stopped to watch. It took him a long time to undo the package, line 'em up, and get them flying, but it was worth the wait!

Tomorrow we move on; we have reservations at Kalaloch C/G on the Washington coast in Olympic National Park.  As always, we've had a grand time with my sister and brother-in-law.  Safe travels to you, with love!


One Cape, Two Lights -- Sunday, Aug 30th, 2015

The four of us were happy to see sunshine this morning, esp after Saturday's storm and last night's heavy rain. Our plan was to spend the day exploring Cape Disappointment State Park, off Hwy 101 in Washington, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.  I can tell you this confluence makes for some dramatic scenery!

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center:  History comes alive.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at Cape Disappointment in 1805.  Clark wrote in his journal, "men appear much satisfied with their trip beholding with astonishment the high waves dashing against the rock and this emence Ocian".  We saw some of those huge swells and crashing waves, but not anywhere near the kind that shows up in those monster winter storms from the Gulf of Alaska.  The area's first recorded history began in 1788 when English Explorer, Capt. John Meares, in seeking the Columbia River, wrote of missing the passage over the river bar, and in his discouragement, he named the nearby headland Cape Disappointment.  The ever present fog, high waves and treacherous river bar create what seamen called the "Graveyard of the Pacific."  Hundreds of ships and lives were lost in this area.  

Consequently, the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was built and began operating in 1856. It's the oldest lighthouse still in use on the west coast, but not open to the public now.  A working Coast Guard room is adjacent to the lighthouse with a sign on the door that read, in effect:  If the door is closed don't disturb the man inside.  I think every visitor peeked in the window, tho.  We'd lugged our picnic stuff with us, so we staked but a bench and ate our picnic lunch.  The wind was cool, but the sun felt good.

Huge old Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock trees dominate the region,
and everything is lush and green.

Following lunch, we drove to the picturesque North Head Lighthouse, perched on a basalt bluff about two miles north of Cape D Lighthouse, surrounded by the ocean in all its glory! Here is where we really saw ocean swells and huge waves!  This lighthouse is open to the public, so of course we trooped 75 steps to the top, where a volunteer explained lighthouse facts and the lens, currently a VRB-25 aerobeacon, installed in 1999.  The outside was closed off, hence you won't see photos from the top; they were lousy taken thru the glass.

Looks like wind and weather has taken a toll on the lighthouse base (both lighthouses, in fact).  Nannie and Jimmy are helping keep it together!  Renovations are slated for next year.

Of course, every cliff harbors hundreds of (smelly) cormorants

Better find another restroom!
Winds on the Cape were clocked at 70 mph in yesterday's storm.

One of (two) North Head Light keepers houses.
I think it's so cool you can stay overnight in one of the houses!
Check it out here.

Another half mile hike from the North Head Lighthouse parking lot to Bell's view.
Beautiful grounds, and the paved path is wheelchair accessible.

No way, Nannie, can you climb to the top!

I spotted a couple of these smallish Northern Red-legged Frogs.

Not positive, but these old cement structures may date from the Civil War when a garrison was established here. Me and Nannie wandered in, over and around several.

In Seaview, we capped our day with a fantastic dinner (Chef/Owner Lalewicz has "food angels singing in the kitchen" ... NW Palate) and Restaurant of the Year.  We'd picked randomly, although Nannie checked reviews of area restaurants; we picked well.  Yum Yum! Since we'd spent all day on our feet, hiking in Cape D State Park, we were hungry (and ready for coffee!).  It was a grand day, Out and About, and we returned to our RV's in Ocean Park, tired and happy.

This Black-tailed Deer says, "The End."  I second the motion.


Oysterville anybody? Saturday, 8/29/15

Yanking a Razor Clam from it's shell 

Saturday's wind continued to blow, tho it was no longer strong enough to push people over! The two pics above were taken after our lunch near the ocean.  Blowing sand was a hazard! Next up was the requisite visit to Jacks Country Store (Purveyors of Fine Goods, since 1885).  I didn't find anything I needed at Jack's, but some enterprising folk in front of the store were selling Whole Albacore Tuna for $2.19/lb.  Fresh, wild caught, bled and frozen; I wished I had a bigger fridge.

We didn't buy fish.  Bubba drove us a bit further north to Oysterville, the Peninsula's lovely Historic District. Eight houses, a church, the Oysterville cannery and a one-room schoolhouse are on the National Register of Historic Places.  It feels like a movie back lot version of a 19th century coastal community.  It's pretty much a ghost town, but it does have life.  All eight houses on the register are maintained by their private owners.

Settled in 1841, it was the California gold rush of 1849 that drew significant numbers of settlers of European descent to Oysterville.  Guess why?  Gold miners loved to spend their gold on Willapa Bay oysters!  The Sea Farms sells seafood from its farms, but no Dungeness crabs at this time -- the season is over, too bad.  We went in the store, but again left empty-handed.

The Oysterville Church is open every day of the year.  Vespers are presented at 3 pm every Sunday in summer and the services are open to everyone.  Water Music Festival's most popular concerts are held in the church in late October.  It's an old-fashioned, sweet-looking church.  And we went inside. 

Somewhat austere ...

... and it has outside facilities!

Storm damage in front of Oysterville's one-room schoolhouse.

Oysterville's Post Office is the oldest continuously operating post office in Washington state. The above photo might look like a mugshot that belongs on a post office wall, but it's just Nannie and me!  After all, the sign said, Welcome ... so we went in.

Following the church and post office, we drove to Oysterville cemetery, a quiet haunt for those above and below ground.  Nannie and I were intrigued by the size of the vine crawling up the tree.  Upon closer inspection, the large, thick "creepers" had been cut in half.

We drove a short distance to Leadbetter Point State Park, located at the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, skirting storm debris on and next to the road, with twigs and leaves plastered everywhere, all from last night's raging windstorm. The day remained gray and drizzly, but we never got caught in any real rain. 

We wanted to walk a trail to the tip of the peninsula, but the trail was underwater, so we gave it up.  We did see the prize-winner slugs above!  Things were huge. 

Meanwhile, on the Willapa Bay side, a lady came by and offered to take a group photo, so here we are:  Bubba, Nannie, me and Jimmy.  We decided to eat dinner out and chose Castaways Seafood Grille in Long Beach, home of the "best clam chowder on the strip."  The restaurant may have been loud (yeow!), but -- truly, theirs was the finest clam chowder we've ever eaten.  Good choice!  Quite a big day for everyone. Jimmy and I slept like contented babies as we listened to rain beating on Tergel's roof.  Music to our ears!


Together again -- in Washington! 8/28 - 8/31, 2015

They were heading to the Northwest to escape the hot-humid South, and we were traveling North to get out of smoke and heat.  We didn't know where we'd meet, exactly, but we honed in on the Discovery Coast, Washington's Long Beach Peninsula.  We parked next to each other for four nights at Westgate RV Park in Ocean Park.  Tergel arrived first (less distance) and they arrived in mid-afternoon.

And my sister and I were soooo happy to see each other!

But first, Jimmy and I left Stub Stewart St Pk, aiming for this bridge into Washington.  Over four miles long, the Astoria-Megler Bridge that spans the Columbia River at its mouth is a steel cantilever through truss bridge (whatever that means). I do know that it's one whale of a structure ... from Oregon to Washington.

Approaching the Washington shore, "small" fishing boats filled with hopeful salmon fishermen dot the waters.

This is what happens when we're together.  We make each other laugh somehow and we end up with the giggles till we just about fall down!  Sisters are such fun.  Friday evening, she and I drove to Long Beach's farmer's market, but we didn't linger -- it was raining. 

A short walk on a trail over grassy dunes brings us to the Pacific. 

Friday is fish night!  Delicious salmon dinner.

Rain fell in the night, and wind-whipped pine needles covered our vehicles.  We KNEW the wind was blowing hard when we set out Saturday morning to view the waves, but little did we know that we were going to be in the midst of near hurricane-force winds from what would be called "The Strongest Summer Cyclone in History!" Bubba and Jimmy opted out of getting close to the water; they stayed at the top of the grassy dune.

Nannie and Bubba struggled to stay upright while taking pics.

Me (pink) and Nannie (blue) stagger in the wind toward the surf, which is actually quite a distance from us here. She grabbed hold of my arm because she was "afraid you'd blow away!"  Don't you believe it!  Two are easier to stay upright than one.  Once out in the middle of the sandstorm, however, we were aghast at the wind velocity (60+ mph ?).  I took one quick picture.  Nannie opened her point n' shoot, shot a quick video, and wrecked her camera (lens cover would no longer open/close w/out manual help).

Returning to the grassy dunes was a chore.  Bubba took this picture.

My one picture -- the sand was racing across the hard pack.

Ha!  We survived, but we had sand everywhere!  Quite an experience, for sure.

I emptied blowing sand from my shoes for two days!

I'm positive we were never in danger; certainly it was a rush being out in the wind.  This is what "the sisters" do! Back at our campers, we debated about "what's next?"  Lunch out, a visit to Jack's Country Store, and a trip back in time to Oysterville.  Tomorrow's post.  The end of the big wind adventure ... whew!