Friday, July 30, 2004

Greetings from Salem, Oregon Would you believe I didn't take one photo yesterday?!? It's time to catch up on some work. I have website work to do for a few clients, and Jim is helping to install Wi-Fi here at Phoenix RV Park. Our timing was just perfect. We happened to be on the Oregon Coast just before Coach Connect plans to install Wi-Fi at this park in Salem. Jim says, "Can I help?" Sure! And then we'll give a couple of our seminars to the park residents and guests. And, we're already scheduled to give seminars at another Coach Connect Park next weekend. Here we are. Phoenix is a very nice park right in town. This is the first place where we've had good cable TV in weeks. Great timing too! We got to watch the Democratic convention last night. Being members of the ABB party (Anybody BUT Bush!) we were thrilled to see Kerry give such a meaningful speech. Confidence is high :-) Have you seen our map lately? It's looking pretty good for 3 1/2 months on the road. In August and September we plan to add California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Whew! OK, enough dilly dallying ... back to work.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Oregon Coast We are staying at a campground right on the beach.  Barview Jetty, near Tillamook.  Odie so loves being able to run on the beach! If you've been anywhere near Tillamook, you know that there is a Cheese factory here.  I visited when I passed thru this area 25 years ago and remember being very impressed with learning about the cheesemaking process.  We saw a little of that today, and certainly tasted some cheese, but I think what I'll remember most is the crowds!  It takes a lot of cows to supply the Tillamook cheese factory!  We thought about you, Emily - there's lots of handsome cows around here. There's also a Naval Air Station blimp hangar that has been turned into a museum.  Jim loves anything to do with old planes! And, this one's for you Mom!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Ocean in View!  Oh the Joy! These were the words of Meriweather Lewis upon reaching the end of the Columbia River and viewing the Pacific Ocean.  They left Camp Wood near St. Louis on May 14, 1804 in search of a water passage to the Pacific.  They arrived at the Pacific on November 7, 1805.  A total of 542 days. We left St. Louis on June 16, 2004 and arrived at the Pacific on July 26, 2004.  A total of 40 days.  It HAS been a long time since we've seen the Pacific Ocean.  I lived in California from '73 to '83 and spent much time along the Pacific coast.  Jim and I went there together in '94.  So, it's been at least 10 years.  It IS different from the Atlantic. Black volcanic sand: And, cliffs overlooking the ocean: Even though it's been mostly by accident, we have really enjoyed following the Lewis and Clark trail.  Along the way, we've seen several visitor centers telling the tale about their journey thru that particular area.  There are a few things I am particularly impressed with about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, aka the 'Corps of Discovery'.  1. It was a military endeavor, yet it had two 'Co-captains' of equal rank and respect.  No account of the story has anything but glowing words to say about the leadership of the expedition.  These 2 equal co-captains were very wise in the way of teamwork.  They spent the entire winter at Camp Dubois assembling their team.  They knew that endurance would be a key factor.  Those who couldn't endure that first winter were weeded out.  Those that made it were valued. 2. NO ONE died as a result of the journey.  I am incredulous over this one.  They traveled thru unknown territory, bore unthinkable hardships, grizzly bears, canoeing over waterfalls, freezing temperatures, no food ... it goes on and on.  One corps member did die in the early days of the expedition, but he died of appendicitis, this would have been a killer no matter where he was.  All 33 who undertook the entire journey, made it to the Pacific AND back to St. Louis on September 23, 1806.  See a timeline of the entire expedition here. 3. The expedition would not have made it without the assistance of the Native Americans along the way.  The Shoshone girl, Sacagawea, was the wife of Toussaint Charbonneau.  Toussaint was hired as an interpreter, but it was his wife who really did the interpreting - and a lot of the guiding.  She also was prized as being calm under pressure.  It was her efforts that saved many important cargo items when the canoes capsized going thru the rapids.  And, she had a 2 month old baby on her back at the time.  (Her story reminds me of the story of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers ... SHE did everything he did only in high heels and backwards!)  And, she was only 17.  Other stories of help included getting food and shelter from the Nez Perce, horses from the Shoshone and canoes from the Clatsop.  The corps were under orders from President Jefferson to develop peace and friendship with the natives. 4. It is unclear exactly what happened to Meriweather Lewis, but all indications are that he committed suicide in 1809.  I wonder if it had anything to do with the knowledge of how the Indians were being annihilated by those who later followed his trail.  All accounts, however, are that he suffered from moodiness, which escalated to severe depression after the journey had ended. 5. Sacagawea's baby, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, was raised by William Clark and went on to great adventures around the globe.  I'd love to read his autobiography! So, we've turned south now and are following the Oregon coastline.  Our partnership with Lewis and Clark has ended.  Our last visit was at Fort Clatsop Memorial near the mouth of the Columbia.  Our shuttle bus driver felt compelled to apologize for the sunny day, since, he expected we would rather have the more authentic experience of cold and rain!  This is where the Corps spent the winter of 1805 and only saw 6 sunny days.  Here I am noting the one area of the journey that we didn't see ... Great Falls Montana. They have a replica of the fort and costumed guides to talk to.  It's a gorgeous forested area. Here is one of the costumed volunteers complete with a replica of William Clark's dog, a Newfoundland named 'Seaman'. Back on the road now, on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Two nights without Internet One night I can handle, besides the trees in this campsite were so gorgeous, I figured it was worth it.   By the second night, I wanted Internet!  We planned to stay at Fort Stevens a the mouth of the Columbia River, right on the Pacific ocean.  We got there a little early - 3pm and almost considered traveling further down the road - but then we noticed the crowds checking in and figured we'd better secure a site.  There are a lot of trees in this park too, but we got a site that was open and thought Internet would be fine.  We were wrong. So, this morning we got up early and left for Fort Clatsop (where Lewis and Clark wintered 1805 - 1806).  There's a big parking lot here, so we fired up the generator and raised the dish.  Say Halleluja!  We have Internet.  I can now catch you up on our last 2 days! Multnomah Falls The Columbia River Gorge is known for it's waterfalls.  Not where we were on the East end ... that's all desert.  But, you can tell as soon as you've crossed over the Cascade range.  The mountains stop the weather ... all the clouds coming inland from the Pacific Ocean drop their moisture when they hit the mountains, so, it's green and lush west of the Cascades and it's dry and hot east of the Cascades.  You can tell we're getting there:   We had to go under a low bridge to get to this particular spot.  Good to know ... we can make it (just) under a 12 foot clearance! And, here's the falls.  It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and we enjoyed this spectacular sight along with (at least) 25,000 other people!  We always need exercise so we decided to hike up the 1.2 mile trail to the top of the falls.  Yep, it was good exercise!   I remember from my travels here over 20 years ago that there are LOTS more waterfalls, but we would need to unhook the Honda to drive on the smaller, winding road.  We decided to be satisfied with seeing Multnomah and continue on our way.  There is just SO much to see in this country! We passed Portland and saw Mt. Hood while crossing the Columbia river. Once you're on the ocean side of Portland, the Columbia River is much more commercial.  Take a look at this lumber.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Windsurfers The Columbia River Gorge is world renowned as a premier windsurfing location, yet we haven't seen any in the 3 days we've been here.  We are just getting ready to 'stow and go' and noticed that the wind has indeed picked up.  There are some whitecaps out on the river and, sure enough ... we see windsurfers.  

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Where the Sam Hill are we? We have a view of a snow-capped mountain and yet our thermometer reads 110 degrees!  We went for a paddle on the Columbia River and felt the HOT breeze in our face.  We are actually on Sam Hill's land.  He's the one who built the replica of Stonehenge you saw in an earlier post.  And, he turned his mansion on the hill into an Art Museum, complete with Rodin sculptures.  It certainly does make one turn around and say "Where the Sam Hill are we?" We got up early today to drive up the hill and catch a glimpse of Mt. Adams in the morning light.  Still pretty hazy, but you can certainly see the mountain. We're supposed to be able to see 4 mountains from here.  We could see 2 - Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.  The other 2 were hiding. On the way back, we stopped at an overlook where we could see our campground down by the river.  Here I am taking a photo. Here's our campground. Did I mention the heat?  I think we're ready to head towards the coast tomorrow.  We did go for a nice paddle in our kayak this afternoon, but we didn't take the camera cuz I knew we were going to get wet ... splash, splash.  Did I mention the heat? Here's another photo of the gorge.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Rivers and Mountains A humbling day.  Not everything about life and nature and America is good.  Some days you need to pause and think.  We visited The Dalles Dam on the Columbia river today.  A marvel of modern technology and a destroyer of natural habitat.  The spin that they put on it in the visitor center was dificult to describe.  I was surprised at how readily they acknowledged that the salmon were all but destroyed by the dam - even though our treaty with the native americans promised to preserve their fishing grounds.  Yet, the overall tone was that the dam was necessary for modern civilized life and we need to accept the cost.   There is a movement afoot these days to tear down the dams and save our wild salmon.  Then, of course, there is the other view called 'Save our Dams'.   Here's what we saw of the Dalles Dam. And, here's a view of the once mighty, now calm Columbia: If you know me, you may think that I am on the side of the 'Save the Wild Salmon'.  Ideally, yes.  But, there is this annoying thing called reality - and the comfort to which we are accustomed.  It was HOT today.  108 much of the day, just barely dipping below 100 after the sun went down.  I know I wanted my air conditioning, and I'm certainly not going to deny anyone else.  Hydroelectric power is one of the cleanest available.  hmmmm We were also humbled by the sight of mountains.  We left the motorhome hooked up at Peach Beach and took the Honda for a ride up Mount Hood.  Here's our first view:   Then we got closer: And closer: We drove to 6,000 feet and had a view not only of Mt. Hood to the south, but of Mt. Adams, St. Helens and Rainier to the north.  I think I need to get a polarizing filter to cut thru the haze with my camera ... but maybe you can make out the flat-topped Mt. St. Helens in this shot. And, here's the road we were on when we took that photo.  We sure are glad that we have a 4 wheel drive Honda in addition to our 30 foot motorhome!   On our way back, we took the small road on the Washington side of the river.  It afforded some spectacular views. Just in case you were wondering why our campground is called "Peach Beach" .... The 'Beach' part is easy, it's right on the banks of the Columbia and people use the beach to launch their windsurfers/sailboards.  Except, there hasn't been enough wind since we've been here.  And, for the Peach part ... it is surrounded by Peach orchards.  We stopped at the fruit stand and bought a couple today.  They are SO sweet and delicious! Well, it's time to go to bed and contemplate on how lucky we are.  g'night
The Mighty Columbia What a day!  We left Walla Walla, Washington this morning and headed west.  The first notable sight were windmills.  A whole windmill farm in fact.   Here's a newspaper article I found about this wind-power farm.  Pretty cool. Then, we hit the snake river, or rather the lake formed by a dam on the snake river. Not the same sight that Lewis and Clark saw for sure.  But, we thought of them just the same.  Last night we re-viewed the DVD on the Lewis and Clark expedition.  We bought the DVD in St. Louis, it is the same production that you can see in IMAX productions and we highly recommend it.  Imagine ... you've just pulled heavy boats UP the Missouri river and are hoping to see the water passageway to the west when, all you see, is snow-capped mountain ranges!  I actually have a hard time believing that they pulled those boats up the Missouri.  When we were in St. Louis, we watched modern, power boats struggle against that current.  How in the hell did they do it in 1804? Anyway, they wintered in Montana, crossed the Rockies on foot, were further confronted with the Bitterroot mountain range and struggled over that.  THEN, they were on the Snake river going DOWN stream!! Then, that became the Columbia river.  The great waterway to the Pacific!  We saw that today.  Not quite the same to be sure, because dams have changed it's nature.  But, spectacular, nonetheless. Somewhere along the line we were in Oregon!  But, we can't put the map on our Motorhome yet, because we still plan to sleep in Washington tonight. Still imagining Lewis and Clark, we watch the Columbia River and see Mt. Hood in the distance.  I wonder if they saw this and thought *#@!* another *#@*! mountain range!  Fortunately, the Columbia river cuts right thru to the Pacific, but they wouldn't know that!  Thanx to Rodger Smith who told us about an RV park on the Columbia river.  We met Rodger at the Life on Wheels conference.  He read our weblog, and emailed us about the "Peach Beach" RV park on the Washington side of the Columbia.  It's a GREAT place. Yep, that's the Columbia river off our port side.  And, complete with Electric and water hookup, our site is costing us $15/night!  Pretty good.  Thanx Rodger! Even better though ... there is an attraction nearby called 'Stonehenge'.  Oh boy, how am I going to choose just 2 or 3 photos from the 30 - 40 we took at 'stonehenge'??   Let me show you some of the words from the plaque about this place. And, the view from here.     What is it about traveling, learning and seeing beautiful sights that is SO fulfilling?  If it were all over tomorrow, I'd die a happy woman!