Yakima, WA: Birthplace of our Chinook

April 8-9, 2018

Due to the rain on the coast, we decided to head inland and enter Canada in Osoyoos. Rain is messy to deal with in an RV. Our next stop was Avery Park near Wishram, WA. This is a beautiful free campsite on the Columbia River. The area is government property and free to use, but during the salmon run, it is closed to the public and only the local native tribes can use it. There are picnic tables, fire-pits, pit-toilets, and a garbage bin. The problem with the site was the trains. All. Night. Long.

After a sleepless night, we moved on to Yakima. We had heard on the Chinook forums that an RV shop, Aubrey’s, bought as many Chinook parts as they could when the company was liquidated. The parts manager, Carolyn, was most helpful. We were able to get new lenses for our porch and patio lights, but we had no luck on getting a step replacement.

Yakima had this old-school McDonald’s restaurant and a car wash for my dad’s GTO.

We camped overnight at Cabela’s and then made the final trek north into Canada.

Re-entry into Canada
April 10, 2018

In Canada, everyone jokes that B.C. stands for Bring Cash. B.C. has lots of economic woes, and so it taxes the heck out of its citizens.

On the US side, two US agents boarded the Chinook and opened drawers and doors. They were friendly enough, but I’m not sure what they were looking for since we were leaving their country.  Then, we travelled on to the Canadian border guard. It was our lucky day. She was wonderful! Because we have no space, we didn’t really buy any goods, but we did have alcohol. We rattled off our amounts. We were over our limit of 1L each (we had 7L total), and we were expecting to pay the duty. Most of our friends cross in Coutts, AB with much more than 7 liters and just pay the duty. It works out to be a big savings even after paying duty. Well, this border guard said that she was going to give us an education that day (and not charge us) and advised us to cross in Alberta or Saskatchewan next year. She said that in BC, the duty is (are you sitting down?) $1.50 PER OUNCE over your 1L limit! If our vehicle had BC plates, I don’t think we would have been so lucky. Lesson learned: Never ever ever cross into BC.

Keep Portland Weird

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April 6-8, 2018

We drove through the intensely green Tillamook forest on the way to Portland. There was a particularly beautiful rest stop for us to stretch our legs and for Poppy to wet her feet.

Our main reason for stopping in Portland was to see our friends George and Monica, whom we met in Europe in 2014. They live on a float home (how cool is that?!), and they have extra parking (with power) at their moorage. We arrived on Friday afternoon, after stopping in the city to do laundry. George made us a delicious chicken & pasta dinner, and then the four of us went to hear Carol Hasse speak about trimming your sails. Hasse is a sailmaker and public speaker. She included useful images and spoke clearly so that even I could understand something about sailing. Of course, our Hobie is a pretty basic sailing trimaran, but I am fascinated by sailboats.

On Saturday, George and Monica took us to the Japanese garden. It rained most of the day, but look at how beautiful it made the garden.

Later, we went to Voodoo Doughnut. What a crazy place! The doughnuts are out of this world! No wonder people line up in the rain.  Mango Tango was my favourite, but I also loved the maple and bacon one. I don’t think they make a bad doughnut.

Afterwards, Monica took us up to her office and we got a bird’s eye view of the city, and then off we were to the food trucks.  What a selection!  Of course, we searched for the elusive Indonesian food truck, but we struck out again.

One final picture of the washrooms near the Rose Garden:

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The Oregon Coast

(April 4, 2018)

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Highway 101 continues north and ends in Lund, BC. The vistas in Oregon are unmatched. Although the highway mostly hugs the coast, the curves are gentler, and the views are more spectacular than in California. Also, Oregon provides plenty of turn offs with parking and little paths to the beach or lookouts. Dogs are allowed on their trails and even some beaches. I knew I’d love Oregon, but I didn’t know how much. This state is incredibly gorgeous, and RV & dog-friendly.

Also, along the coast, you won’t find very many chain stores and restaurants. The citizens support mom-and-pop shops. It’s very refreshing. We had lunch at The Crazy Norwegian’s Fish & Chips in Port Orford. Their motto is “Cod is my Co-Pilot.” There were lots of quirky sayings inside, like “You won’t die from eating lutefisk; you’ll just smell that way.” The fish was cooked to perfection!  No, we didn’t have lutefisk, but I’d give it a try.

Port Orford:

We camped at another casino parking lot. Thankfully, there are just frogs keeping us company here. The casino lets us go in to use their lounge and wifi.

(April 5, 2018)

We continued our drive on the coast, but we can definitely tell that we are heading north.  The rain has started, and it is getting chillier.

Devil’s Churn would be amazing to see at high-tide.  The waves have been crashing into the rock and creating a chasm.  It was low-tide when we were there, but still fantastic to see.

Nearing Tillamook (Where did the hills go?)

We took the detour to Tillamook, OR to see the cheese factory, but there were just temporary displays (they are building a new facility) and hoards of people.  We didn’t sample any of the cheeses because we saw many dirty little hands touching the samples in the “cheese buffet” line-up.

Tomorrow, we are heading to Portland (Portlandia!) to visit our friends George and Monica, whom we met back in 2014 in Europe.  Can’t wait!

 

Among the Giants

(April 2 & 3, 2018)

It’s hard to believe that a week ago, we were still enjoying the wide open desert spaces, and now we are strolling, driving, and camping among the giant redwoods. They are so massive that they block the sun and you must drive with your headlights on. We camped at Humboldt Redwoods State Park. We arrived early enough, but it felt like early evening since the sun couldn’t get through the dense forest. The scent was exhilarating. We also got to hear the campground sounds that we long to hear: chopping wood (thunk thunk thunk), crackling fires, children giggling, tent zippers zipping. We’ve always thought that someone should make a sound track of these summer sounds.

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Avenue of Giants

Of course, dogs can’t go on hiking trails, but they can walk in the campgrounds, so that’s where we photographed them. The campground is mostly second growth, but there are still some stumps of the old-growth trees.

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We wanted to walk in the old-growth forest, so we took the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail, which was approximately 1.5 miles. There are old-growth redwoods, Douglas fir, and tanoak trees in this section of the forest. The trees were far too immense to capture in my basic camera lens.

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Where’s Paul?

 

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Scorched trunk

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Find Paul

There is nothing that can compare to a walk among the giants.

We spent the second night at a casino in Crescent City, CA. At first, it seemed like a good find. We registered, and they sent us to a grassy area away from the main parking lot. That was a nice change from the usual paved lot. There was a bush on one side and a pasture on another. Poppy sniffed around for a bit and came inside. All seemed well. And then the dogs came — yes, a pack of agitated barking dogs. They were not happy that we were there. Paul had read a review online that a camper had been accosted by the dogs, but Paul neglected to share this tidbit. Eventually, the dogs went away, and a little fox came by the Chinook. We carefully surveyed the area before the girls did their bedtime business.

Two April Fools!

(April 1, 2018)

The morning started off so nicely.  We made it to the coast, got a great parking spot, and walked along the ocean in Santa Cruz.

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We even found some California poppies:

What could possibly go wrong? We were just on a quest for Indonesian food. There are no more Indonesian restaurants in Canada (we’ve looked far and wide). Any time we hit a new city, we search for Indonesian food. Well, today was our lucky day: San Fransisco has 3! We chose one right off the highway. That should be easy. WRONG!

Problem 1: no parking

Problem 2: one-way streets

Problem 3: hills

Problem 4: motorhome

Result: No rijsttafel for you!

We must have looked like Laurel and Hardy trying to get back to the highway. We first went down down down; then, up up up. Then, imagine the Chinook at a stoplight looking like the shuttle ready for liftoff and Paul flooring it when the light turned green. I think some pedestrians’ faces turned green. I almost spewed green.  I only have pictures from the gentler hills.  For the intense ones, I was holding on for dear life!

It all seemed so tame heading in:

Where is that bridge?!

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

But wait! It got wilder! We decided to stay on the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s scenic. It conjures up images of carefree people in convertibles and sweeping vistas. What could possibly go wrong? Oh dear! The highway hugs the Pacific coast. You see, it’s in the name. There is no deception. Coasts aren’t straight. We went up and down and around. There were many hairpin turns. Dishes were rattling; drawers were sliding open; I kept running back to pick up items that fell; Poppy was shaking; Paul had white knuckles; Daisy slept. We had to finally stop in Olema so that my stomach could settle and we could ask how to get back to the 101. Phew! After all that fun, we camped for the night at The Home Depot in Santa Rosa. Serenity now!

Would we do it again? Heck yeah, but in something a great deal smaller!

Fantastico!

Casa de Fantastico!
(March 30, 2018)

We never know what we are going to find when we search for free camping. As we headed into wine country, free camping became pretty slim. We found that Casa de Fruta (a fruit stand near Hollister, CA) allows overnight parking for truckers, so we slipped in with them. Then, we realized that Casa de Fruta is actually a huge complex with a fruit stand, yes, but also a wine shop, coffee shop, restaurant, amusement park, . . . and a campground! Uh-oh, would we get kicked out? Nope. We enjoyed a quiet night in a lovely park-like setting. Case de Fantastico!

 

Garlic Capital – Gilroy!
(March 31, 2018)

The drive to Gilroy is one for the senses! The air is more humid and we could smell garlic wafting. It reminded me so much of my grandma Moore’s yard. Our mouths were watering.

We spent the full day at Christmas Hill Park just relaxing and letting the girls solar charge. Poppy still doesn’t enjoy travelling, so she needs days where she can stretch out and people-watch.

We stayed overnight at a truck stop. As I described earlier, California doesn’t have much for free camping. Part of the problem is the homeless situation. Rent is outrageous, even in a small town like Gilroy because it isn’t too far from the Silicon Valley. A local told us that a basic house is over $3000/month to rent. People are forced to live in their vehicles. We witnessed this at the truck stop. We moved closer to the truckers and further from the homeless. They had been piling garbage outside their vehicles and making a mess. It really makes it bad for everyone.

Sawtooth Canyon and Calico Ghost Town

Sawtooth Canyon, BLM camping
(March 27 & 28, 2018)

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Since there was no camping available within Joshua Tree NP, we continued heading north toward Bakersfield. We located Sawtooth Canyon on freecampsites.net (a favorite resource). The campground isn’t visible from the highway, and we had to travel about 1 mile down a washboard road, but what a delight when we arrived! Most campsites are quite private. They each have a picnic shelter, cement picnic table, firepit, and bbq. No expense was spared. It is all for free! The caveat is that the sites aren’t level at all, but for that price, we didn’t complain (too much). We did some rockhounding and found rough lapis.  The moon was nearly full and the evenings were warm, so we enjoyed a crackling campfire, grilled steak & veggies (peppers, potatoes, asparagus, zucchini), and a buttery Chardonnay. What more could anyone ask for?

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On the second day, we changed locations, trying to find a more level spot.

Calico Ghost Town
(March 29, 2018)

A friend recommended that we stop and see this attraction. It was an interesting stop. The buildings are original, but they are mostly shops now. The shops were fairly pet-friendly, but the temperature was too hot for the girls. One shop owner turned the window A/C for Daisy. How sweet was that? We made the decision to go back to the Chinook, turn on the generator and A/C to cool the girls down before we headed north again.

 

Spot the Chinook:

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For lunch, we went to this famous 50s diner.

We also visited the quirky Diner-saur park around back:

That night, we stayed in a very noisy RV park in Bakersfield.  The train tracks ran right alongside the park, and there was no buffer.  You win some, you lose some.