Thursday, May 30, 2019

5/29 Pacific Beach State Park - Cloudy and Cold

It is definitely off-season here at this state park!  I have been here more than once before, but always in the middle of summer, not this early in the season.  I assume the campground was full over the Memorial Day weekend, but it is certainly not full now, most likely due to the cloudy and cold weather.  Of course, it is always cold along the ocean in Washington State, but at least the sun shines during the summer.  

You can see that the creek/beachside sites are filled but most of the others are empty. 

This is looking the other way, towards the beach and ocean.

This is one of the largest beaches I have ever seen.  The small river that empties into the ocean here brings sand with it and creates a river delta of all the sand.  And all the sand makes the very wide beach. 

With all the recent rains, the river is flowing very briskly.  And since it comes out of the hills and forests to the east, the water is cold and crystal clear. 

My campsite overlooks the river, but I also have an excellent view of the ocean--a very prime camping spot.

Some closeups of the homes on the other side of the river. Considering the risk of tsunamis on this coast, I think I would prefer one of the higher houses. 

When it reaches the ocean, the river gets very wide and shallow.  Here is a 360 degree video:

Heading back to the campground.  Very long walk.

This is the view from my campsite:

And the tide is coming in:

Saturday, May 25, 2019

5/25 Living in Campgrounds

Most people are used to living in houses, condos, or apartment buildings, but very few live as I do, full-time in a motorhome parked in campgrounds.  So what have I learned about living in campgrounds?

First, I have to say that they are all different.  I choose campgrounds that fit my needs and have the atmosphere and amenities I like.  For example, I like a nice open view, paved campsites so I don't have to deal with dirt and mud, campsites that are spread apart nicely, so I don't have to listen to my neighbors, and no permanent residents like you get in private campgrounds.  That means I prefer national, state, and county campgrounds, which do not allow permanent residents and where sites are more spread out. 

Other people, particularly those with kids and boats, might prefer campgrounds on a lake or large river.  I don't care about those things, and I don't need a place with a pool or hot tub or children's activities.  (And, PLEASE, no weekend Big Foot calling contests or late night scavenger hunts for teenagers!  Long stories about these.)

One thing that might surprise you is that most campgrounds are extremely quiet places, assuming they are not right next to a major highway.  This is important because RV sidewalls are very thin and not soundproofed.  People, especially the ones in tents, tend to go to bed early and except on busy holiday weekends, after 10 p.m. and quiet hours begin, you can hardly hear anything outside.  There is also a lot less traffic through most campgrounds than there was in my condo complex, so that contributes to quietness, also.

There are exceptions, however.  I have been in campgrounds where large families or other groups have gathered to celebrate a big weekend, and people party all day and night.  Last Fourth of July, I was in a huge state park where every spot was packed with campers and their friends, and next door in the day use area, there were several hundred people attending a "Friends of Bill" picnic. People were parked in the fields as the parking lots filled up.  I was also camped in Florida once next to two couples, one of which was sleeping in the back of the SUV and slammed door until 2 a.m.   When they left the next morning, a couple in a motorhome moved in next to me and started fighting, with the wife turning on the stereo to drown out the man's shouting.  I found another spot and left as fast as I could. 

However, this is Memorial Day Weekend, and while I noticed a couple of large family groups yesterday, everyone is pretty much indoors today.  Could be due to fact that it is raining, but sometimes if there is a lake or river nearby, people are just gone for the day.  

Campgrounds are also mostly very dark.  This is a good thing because you can see the stars and even the Milky Way in many state parks.  But it is bad because you really need a flashlight to walk anywhere.  It is also a reason why I always get to a campground before dark.  Backing into a strange spot in the dark without someone with a flashlight directing you is really difficult.  

Sometimes, it can also be boring in a campground, especially when it is raining and chilly, like it is today.  That is OK, however, because I am mostly retired, and a drizzly day is a good opportunity to do some serious cooking and baking.  (I am making pasties today, which takes making pie crust dough and cutting up a lot of vegetables.)  Also time for a good book or a nap.  Since I travel slowly and tend to stay in one place for several day, I have no need to race about looking for places to visit or activities to participate in.  There is always another day.   

Days also get filled up with normal household things.  Yesterday, I made several trips to the campground laundromat to do two loads of clothes.  I did some vacuuming and had an RV repairman come to check my roof noise and replace my kitchen faucet.  I also had papers for my online class to grade.  Tomorrow, I am going to run some errands, pick up some groceries, and wash the outside of my rig because I am heading north on Monday. 

Lastly, or at least until I think of something else to add, campgrounds are very safe and theft of belongings is very rare.  In seven years, I have never had anyone threaten me or scare me, or bang on my door late at night, nor have I had anything I left outdoors stolen.  I did leave a commercial campground once because I did not like the look of the three men a few sites down who spent the entire day drinking while sitting around a picnic table, but that is the only time.  Most fellow-campers, especially those of us who are longer-term travelers, look out for one another and provide help when needed.  Vehicle trouble or a flat tire or trouble backing into a camping spot will soon attract a crowd of onlookers wanting to give advice.  When I was sick once, I had offers to take me to the doctor and get groceries for me.  I also had people knock on my door to check on me when I stayed indoors all day, so I never feel afraid or worry about being alone when I am staying in a campground!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

5/16 Bob's Red Mill, Portland, OR

I've gotten behind on posting on this blog, but I have an excuse.  I left the south coast of Oregon and headed to a state park that looked interesting near Portland.  Champoeg State Park is located in one of the oldest settled parts of Oregon and was originally a fur trading area.  Strangely enough, it is pronounced "sham-poo-eey."  I had thought it looked like a French name, but apparently it was an Indian name slightly corrupted over time.   

Anyway, I had paid reservations for three nights, last week.  However, I had been having periods of bloody urine and some kidney pain, which are indicators of passing a kidney stone, but the symptoms kept coming and going.  

I had contacted an old friend from 5th grade on up, so on Thursday, I packed everything up and went out to lunch with her at a place called Bob's Red Mill.  I had decided that if the bleeding continued after lunch, I would head back to Eugene to the emergency room of the hospital where I had had a lithotripsy last winter.  Did not want to start all over again at another hospital or a new urologist.  

We had a good lunch and lots of catching up, so here are some photos of the tour we took.  I was not allowed to take photos at the mill itself through the windows but there were some old flour mills in one area where photos were allowed.  This place grinds several different kinds of organic grains, either produced locally or brought in from other places.  Just down from the mill is a store and restaurant, which we went to after the tour.  

While I was not allowed to take photos into the plant, you can see the plant through several of these photos.  

After lunch, I drove the two hours to Eugene and checked myself into the emergency room. Normally, parking for RVs near hospitals is almost impossible, but I knew that this hospital not only had dedicated RV parking, but the parking spots also had electrical hookups.  I double-parked at the main entrance and ran in to get a permit.  Then, I drove around and parked, and walked the few hundred feet to the emergency room.  

I got in and out in a little over three hours, and that included a cat scan and blood work, plus seeing several nurses and a doctor.  She confirmed I had a kidney stone stuck in my ureter and suggested I call my urologist the next day.  Headed back to my motorhome and had a very good night's sleep!  

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take photos of the hospital RV parking.  I would say I'd do it next time, but I am hoping there is no next time!  Friday morning I slept in and then headed to Armitage Park where I had reservations for a few days.  Bleeding has stopped and no symptoms right now, so I am hoping the stone has passed. 

I only took a couple of photos of Champoeg State Park, but I will be headed that way in a couple of weeks, so will take more photos then.  

Saturday, May 11, 2019

5/11 Turkey Lurky

I am back at Bullard's Beach for a nice, quiet day of relaxing and getting work done.  

I have been woken up most mornings by the gobbling of turkeys but have not been able to get out and take any photos until today.  Here is a hen. 

And a couple of toms.  You can identify them by their red hood and the black "beard" that hangs down.  I thought it might be feathers, but looked it up and it is made up of fibrous hairs. 

What?  What?  Anything going on? 

Frankly, the hen seemed unimpressed with her two followers and just moved away, as she chose to. 

Very good view of this tom's beard in this photo. 

5/10 Shore Acres Gardens & Capa Arago State Parks

These are two state parks that are next to one another, just southwest of the harbor town of Coos Bay, about 20 miles north of Bullard's Beach.  So, I had been looking for a sunny and warmer day to head up there, and today was it! 

Shore Acres was the site of the home of a wealthy lumber baron that owned a fleet of ships that carried logs for the lumber industry.  He and his family lived here along the coast until the first house he built burned down.  He rebuilt, but his first wife passed away just before it was finished.  He married again and had children, but lost his fortune in the stock market crash.  The land was donated to the state, but used heavily during WWII as part of the coastal watch, but the house was in such bad shape, it had to be destroyed after the war, before the land became a state park.  

The gardens were rebuilt by the state and numerouos gardening groups and are not open to the public.  The building to the right was built for the state park, so it is not original. 

Very nice place to spend the day, assuming you can find one that is not cloudy, cold, and/or raining.  

The building in the distance is the original gardener's cottage. 

Tons of azaleas in bloom!

I don't think I have ever seen such a yellow azalea. 

At the end of the garden is a Japanese pond. 

And just beyond the garden is the ocean and a beach.  

More azaleas back in the garden.  There is a rose garden, but it was closed today because of problems with the watering systems, and we were told the roses were not blooming anyway because the season is delayed here because of the cold. 

Just north of the garden is a large open area with a closed-in observation building for rainy days.

Can you imagine having this for a view from your back yard?

Next, I drove down to Cape Arago, just next door, but did not take many photos.  All there is anyway are a couple of parking lots and some more fantastic views from the top of the cliffs.

It was a little foggy, but those black dots in the water are the heads of seals, popping up to see what is going on.  

5/9 Bandon, OR

One of the reasons I like to stay at Bullard's Beach is the town of Bandon.  It is a quaint little harbor town and has some nice shops and good places to get fish and chips or clam chowder. 

This is a closeup of the lighthouse that is part of Bullard's Beach SP that is directly across the harbor from the town.  

This young seagull blends in very well with the rock. Based on the brown color, he is probably this year's chick or maybe last year's chick. Seagulls do not become completely white until they are about five years old and fully adult.  So if you see a lot of brownish chicks in a flock, you can tell the adults have been successful at breeding.  This one was alone, but it is likely his mother is nearby because parents feed young chicks for a long time.

Bandon Harbor has a lot of carved wood art. 

The buildings along the harbor sell chowder, seafood meals, and fishing supplies.  The main shopping area is just behind them. 

More art.  There is maybe a dozen like this and some carved benches, as well. 

 This was a new display nearer the main highway, but I walked up there to take some photos since I saw this as I was driving in.

Also, on the main road coming into town is a creamery.  I thought this was an ice cream shop, but while it does have ice cream, it main product is cheese. The sign says "Face Rock Creamery."  They have a small deli, and also sell food gifts, wine, and a lot of cheese, obviously!  

All this cheese was made at this store, and you can taste all of it.

This is the cheese-making room.  No cheese being made this day, but the worker to the right was cleaning the equipment, so they must have made some recently.

This lady was packaging cheese. 

 This was posted just outside the creamery shop.  Such signs are common along the Pacific coast, so you always know the best ways to get to higher ground.  They also have tsunami sirens.