Sunday, July 29, 2012

Port Angeles, Lake Crescent, Ruby Beach and Pacific Beach June 20, 2012

Our first stop on our return trip was at Lake Crescent along WA 101.  The lake is known for having some of the softest water and clarity.  Our stop was at a ranger station part of Olympic NP.  The water was cold and when we walked out onto the boat slips the depth was about 20 feet and the water clarity was remarkable.  We took a hike from the station to a fall about 1 mile away, the trail was similar to that of the rain forest we hiked in Lake Quinault.  It was worth the walk out to Marymere Falls and back.

Ranger Station Lake Crescent Olympic NP June 20, 2012
Lake Crescent Olympic NP June 20, 2012

Clarity of water about 20 feet deep Lake Crescent

Marymere Falls Lake Crescent Olympic NP June 20, 2012

We continued south and stopped at Ruby Beach, CA., another one of those spots that is known for its large rock formations along the coast.  Off the coast is Destruction Rock Lighthouse and along the beach are these large formations, very picturesque.  Also along the seashore are thousands of driftwood logs.  The seashore changes often as the tides change.  Another thing that is showing up along the beaches of Washington is debris from the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami of last year.  Whenever items land on the beaches people are to alert the police to have someone check for radioactivity.  The biggest worry are the larger items like boats, docks, etc., as they may carry micro organisms.

Destruction Rock Lighthouse Ruby Beach Olympic NP June 20, 2012
Ruby Beach Olympic NP June 20, 2012

We spent a couple of hours there and it was still early for a sunset so we headed again south to Pacific Beach RV park. 

We got back to the RV park around 8:30 and driving over 300 miles with all of our side trips was still bright out and the sun was just starting to set.  Around 9:15 we had a beautiful sunset.  The view we had from the park and motorhome was spectacular.

View from RV site Pacific Beach Conference Center June 20, 2012

Sunset at Pacific Beach RV site June 20, 2012

We spent a few days at  Pacific Beach and had a great stay, we made new friends other military retirees,  we got to swap stories and books.  They had been visiting the area for a week or so and were from the northern tip of Washington in Blaine.  We got a few good tips of places to visit and stay when up in their neck of the state.  The afternoon "Happy Hour" were a lot of fun.  They had a couple of small dogs that we got to get our puppy fix since we don't travel with pets anymore.  We hope in our future travels to be able to catch up with our new friends and enjoy their company and their puppies.

Darby and Brandi
We departed for Montana on the 22nd of June for Montana.  The trip back to Olympia was easy, then the fun started north on I-5 to start east on I 90.  Traveling thru Tacoma and Seattle was very busy as some areas have 5 plus lanes with merging traffic coming at you from both sides.  We got on I 90 and for some 50 miles traffic was very heavy.  We traveled across the state and stopped about 40 miles west of Spokane at one of the state's rest stops.  We continued the next day traveling thru Idaho and into Montana and getting off at St Regis and headed north to West Glacier, Montana.

Port Angeles Visitor Center Olympic National Park June 20, 2012

Port Angeles Visitor Center Olympic National Park Wasington.  The park entrance is the most Northern part of the park overlooking the Stait of Juan De Fuca that borders British Columbia and the US.  The park has a 17 mile road to Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.  At the Range station they showed a short video about Olympic NP and its history and we walked the grounds to the higher elevation there they had tubing sledding areas, beautiful scenery and wildlife walking the parking lots and hills.  We then drove about another mile pass the Ranger station and hiked to Hurricane Hill about 1.5 miles to the summit.  Only after we were about half way to the summit that we come across some snow covered trails.  We just followed along with the crowds and climbed over the snowbanks.  Weather was great, views were spectacular and the wildlife was fun to watch.  We got to the top and of course took pictures and had our pictures taken.

Hurrican Ridge Visitor Center Olympic NP June 20, 2012

Trail to Hurricane Hill Olympic NP June20, 2012

Along Hurricane Hill trail June 20, 2012

View from Hurricane Hill June 20, 2012

Hurricane Hill Olympic NP overlooking Strait of Juan Fuca June 20, 2012

More deer along Hurricane Hill trail Olympic NP June 20, 2012
Our trip back to Pacific Beach was another adventure with stops at Lake Crescent, Ruby Beach and ending up at the RV park to view a beautiful sunset. 

California to Colorado June 17, 2012

This year we did something very different as we did an itenerary, it was in our thought and not on paper.   Sue and I always said our plans are written in pencil to be able to make changes as we go.  Our plans included an early start on Sunday the 17th, it was to leave before 8 am and head to Stockton to get onto I 5 towards Oregon.  We drive for a few hours and stop to make sure all is well with our Jeep in tow and check the tires and do a walk around.  The first stop was made and it was a short one as when we got out of the air conditioned motorhome we found the outside temp to be in the high 90's and got back in as soon as we could.  We were so happy we left early we got to be ahead of the traffic and able to enjoy the drive and scenery.  A couple of the most beautiful spots in northern California is the Mt Shasta and Lake Shasta areas.  Mt Shasta was snow covered and the lake was just beautiful not many boats out on the lake but a lot of houseboats in the marinas.  
Mt Shasta, CA June 17, 2012

Traveling North I-5 Lake Shasta, Ca June 17, 2012

Lake Shasta, CA. June 17, 2012

We drove into Oregon and spent the night at a state rest stop along the interstate.  Travel was light so it was easy to spend the night there.  We did our normal set up and had supper there.  Our travels on Monday was light until we got into the Olympia area then we broke off and headed out to the west coast of Washington state and headed up to Pacific Beach.  We checked in at Pacific Beach Conference Center, a Navy facility that houses a conference center, RV FAMCAMP, restaurant, small movie theater, bowling alley, gift shop.  Our site was along the back road overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  The park was about 25 miles from the southern end of Olympic National Park Lake Quinault a natural rain forest park.  It has a 31 mile loop road around the lake and has several trails and waterfalls.  Sue and I walked a couple of the trails one that was the Kestner Homestead and the Rain Forest trail only about 2+ miles total.  The old homestead is still there but under reconstruction as funds become available with a few of the out buildings a barn, storage sheds and the fenced in gardens and pastures.  The Rain Forest is so pleasant to walk thru and see some of the wildlife.  We stopped along the loop along the lake and had a picnic and then later stopped at the Lake Quinault Lodge and walked along the lake and campsites to the World's Largest Sitka Spruce Tree.

Rene & Sue at Worlds Largest Spruce Tree Lake Quinault Olympic NP June 19, 2012

Waterfalls Lake Quinault Olympic NP June 19, 2012

Rain Forest Trails Lake Quinault Olympic NP June 19, 2012

Kertsner Homestead Lake Quinault Olympic NP June 19, 2012

Lake Quinault Olympic NP June 19, 2012
We spent the day at Lake Quinault and had a very enjoyable drive around the lake and a picnic.  We planned our travel plans but failed to plan on hiking in the National Parks. As you can see in the pictures the skies were overcast and had a few showers.  But still Lake Quinault was worth seeing and going back.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our Trip back to NH July - Aug 2011

While 2011 was a busy year, we managed to fly back to NH for a couple of weeks.  We left the motorhome in Colorado and got a flight out of Denver to Boston. 

We wanted to make sure we used our time wisely.  First we scheduled our medical physicals as soon as we could after we arrived.  I got my blood work done on the next day we got there (reason for this).  Once we got the preliminary things done we could start our vacation. 

Friday was a good day to start, we had lunch at a local restaurant Windjammers in Rochester, NH to have our favorite fried seafood platters, fried clams, haddock, scallops with of course fries and onion rings.  This wasn't the only seafood restaurant visited, another famous for NH is Newick's in Dover, Bob's Clamhut in Kittery, ME (one of the restaurants on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives).  Yes we did some repeat visits.

Then another day traveled to Portsmouth NH to a local landmark called "Gilly's" a famous hot dog wagon that has been in town since 1912.    For us they have to have one of the best hot dogs and we have tried a lot in our travels.

Another stop was Benedict's in Rochester NH a great breakfast place, on weekend they make their own donuts from an old recipe from a family run business when I was growing up "McSherra Donuts".  This restaurant either bought the recipe or was very good friends with the family and the tradition continues. 

Then we had another stop on our first round of visiting NH and that was the local Moe's Italian Sandwich shop a local franchise that has many shops in NH and Maine.  It originated in Portsmouth and again they have been around for many many years.  When I took this picture of the sandwich, I had already eaten half of it.  These sandwiches are far better then those of the major chains we have stopped at in our travels.

Another stop we had to make was a famous country store in Barrington, NH, Calef's Country store which has been around since the late 1800's or early 1900's and still going strong.  It's one of those stops you had to make to check out their cheese counter, (rat trap cheese) dry goods, barreled molasses that you can get by the amount you want.  Dry beans, freshly made donuts, penny candy that now cost a little bit more than a penny and they have a pretty good meat department.  Nice thing with Calef's is that you can go to their web site and order most of their products on line.  Of course the meat is not available on line but a must stop when in the area.  This is some of the products we shipped back from NH to Colorado as I don't think TSA would appreciate having to check the molasses or dry beans or the ginger snaps (which I believe they would eat to prove they weren't dangerous. 

So you can see where I am going as to why I got all of my blood work done before the games began.  A few of these restaurants were repeat visits with family and friends as we got together

Another thing we held off for as long as we could was the buying of new sneakers and shoes as growing up in NH we are spoiled by local merchants, Red's Shoe Barn in Dover.  As a kid I remember Mr Murray opening up the store in an old barn and over the years expanding it. They have just about every brand you can think of.  Prices are right and in NH no sales tax.  Another shipment back to Colorado.  Maybe we spent more on shipping then if we had paid the sales tax.  Had fun anyway.

Our trip was planned so that we could attend  Sue's family annual get together in Alfred, ME where there was a cookout, games for the younger generation and reuniting with her brothers and sisters, cousins and close friends.  A great day of fun for all. 

During our 2 plus weeks visit we were able to see my sister Lorraine and brother in law John and it was great to see them as it was at least 2 years since seeing them.  Like Sue and I, my sister and her husband have been away from NH for many years and they too miss pretty much the same things we do and had to some repeat visits to eateries. 

While I am thinking of it, my blood work results were as my doctor said pretty good not perfect but very good.

We tried to meet up with as many of our family and friends and camping friends from NH, Maine and Massachusetts.  It was a lot of fun to see those we could and wish we would have had more time to see more. 

We hope to be back in NH next year (2013) and be in the area for a little longer and do some serious travel in Maine and NH.