Thursday 7th August
A truck driver stopped at the entrance to the small parking area we are in, he is carrying basically what looked like between 10 and 15 full size trees, yes it was quite a load.
He came over to see what was wrong with the motorhome as he had seen it on the side of the road for the last couple of days, he commented that one other time he had seen a motorhome for a few days he stopped and found somebody dead in bed.
Told him the story, told I could not remember the name of the garage, told that tomorrow if I’d heard nothing I would hitch a ride into town and see what was happening.
Later that day the truck drivers nephew stopped by in his pick up, told me that his uncle had found the which garage it was, no they did not have the part and it was going to take some time, do I want to ride into town?
I said yes he took me into a rental car company and I got rental, then down to the garage, and they said yes they have been waiting for word back from an insurance company, I set them right on that, so decided to get them to tow the motorhome into the garage where they could work on it, so off I went back 61 km to wait for the tow truck, he arrived within about 15 minutes, got the front wheels of the motorhome installed on a dolly, disconnected the drive shaft, and were off into Terrance in the light rain, the car park around the garage was pretty chock-a-block, but we found a patch and parked up the motorhome.
Not the most peaceful of places, the railway line was right opposite and when ever a train went through they blew their whistle long enough to wake the dead but fortunately there were not that many trains during the night.
Friday 8th August
The mechanic that was going to work on the vehicle arrived at 10:30 a.m., reconnected the drive shaft and then pulled out the compressor. It was planned obsolescence, the compressor was not designed to be worked on in any way and was only designed to be replaced.
The good news was they found a replacement part and it would be here tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Talking to the guy in spare parts he said I’ll have a couple of friends here tonight, I asked for clarification on the vague statement, he said there is two more motorhomes are being towed in, I said do you get many, he said all the time one sat in our yard for three months before we could get all of the parts. That made me feel a little bit better.
So was another night listing to the train greeting us as it went by.
Saturday, 9th August
9 o’clock came and went, then the spare parts told me I would be here at 3 p.m., so off downtown we went to do our shopping and stop off on a video rental shop and bought about nine video films and came back and waited.
3 o’clock came and so did the compressor, we were next on the list to have our vehicle worked on and come 6 p.m. the motor was running again without any of the rattles with had the last couple weeks.
One of the motorhomes that was towed in belong to an Aussie from somewhere below Perth, he had a 37 foot motorhome with a slide out and his transmission had failed just before he was due to catch a ferry, he optimistically rebooked the ferry for a weeks time and I suggested he might be having a little bit of wishful thinking. I found out from the garage that they send their transmissions to be repaired down to Vancouver.
With the motorhome all up and running again we decided it was too late to get on the road so we spent another night listing to the trains as they went by.
Sunday 10th of August
We set off quite early in the rain heading towards Prince George, about 450 km away, eventually we ran out of rain and even got a little bit of sunshine.
Then there was little bit of excitement, a black bear and two black cubs decided to cross the road in front of us, so we slowed down to stop, Mumma bear got across the road by her self safely, and the two cubs went quite sure what to do, but the traffic did stop and they ran across safely, we looked down to the right and saw Mumma bear sort of waiting for the cubs, but we could not wait to see the outcome with some tooting going on behind us, probably with the words to the extent “stupid Arizona people, have never seen a bear before?” We of course have Arizona plates on our motorhome.
Later we saw three bantams size white birds, we thought perhaps turkeys, not sure why they would have been white, they tried to cross road and a group, they got past us and then turned round and went back, looking back on the rear vision mirror I’m not sure any of them made it!
When we saw a signpost to a lake on our right hand side we went down a road to a nice little parking spot with no signs at all so we dropped the anchors here for the night.
Monday 11th August
Carrying on South from Barrent we carried on driving through sparsely populated Canadian countryside whose economy was obviously based on timber with all of the timber trucks are kept passing us and the various timber mills we passed converting the timber into lumbar and occasionally one converting the timber into paper.
Nothing else much to see on the roads except occasionally signs warning us about moose, caribou, and deer.
There is an incredible amount of space in Canada, and so few people, I think Canada rates about seven people per square kilometre, we see a lot of businesses that have just been closed down, the buildings standing there slowly going to ruin, there is just so much more land that one does not have to worry about situations that have failed some people.
We stopped for the evening by Fraser lake very nice and very restful.
Tuesday 12th of August
Carrying on South from Fraser lake, again lots of forests, lakes in every direction, rivers very deep and very wide, forests in every direction, and our motorhome motor making a sweet sound after the repairs.
We passed through Prince George for the second time on this trip and carry on South through Red Rock, Woodpecker’s, Strathnaver until we got to a little area called Cinema, where a cafe and fireworks retailer was offering free overnight parking in amongst some of their trees, we felt we could afford that price so stayed there the night.
Wednesday 13th of August
Carrying on South from Cinema, more of the same passing through the large town of Quesnel with a lot of the major hotels showing their presence in the good old Walmart on the edge of town then on through Alexandria, McAllister, Williams Lake, 150 mile house, yes we have 100 mile house ahead of us and believable not 50 mile house.
Hundred mile house is evidently located 242 miles from the international border crossing at Abbotsford and evidently was established as a post-house on the Color Blue Wagon Trail to the gold fields in 1930, Mr Google would will give you any other information that you may need to satisfy your curiosity.
Thursday, August 14th
We left the Cariboo Nature Provincial Park and carry on South beside the Lac La Hache lake and the town of that name that claim to have the longest main Street… Yes there were houses all along the lake including an abandoned hotel with incredible lake views, there are so many lakes in Canada so if you wanted a property on the lake I’ve seen a section advertised for $5,000, okay was not in the centre of Vancouver but you must admit the price was pretty good, and as always boils down to location, location, location.
We passed by hundred mile house without any fanfare, there were also other settlements that adopted the name of XX mile hotel, restaurant, etc. We passed by another Clinton and another Deadman Creek, a Bonaparte Indian reservation, never knew Bonaparte was a Canadian Indian! When we got to the Cache Creek settlement we turned east and almost immediately entered a very dry area that was green in parts where it was being irrigated but the Hills all around us were extremely bare with none of the forests we been so used to seeing the last few weeks.
A very good point was made to us as how dry and hot it was there we stopped at a viewpoint which had very many signs warning us of rattlesnakes in the area. Soon we came to a another lake called Thomson lake which had several subdivisions being established on the edge of the lake, some quite beautiful houses which is quite a change from many of the substandard houses with been seeing as we been travelling.
At the top of the lake was a town called Kamloops, which is evidently an Indian name, however to me with the oo it has a ring of Dutch about it! The town was quite large, large enough to have a Walmart, often Walmart welcomes RVs, this one announced with a very large sign at the entrance, parking for shoppers only for four hours, absolutely no overnight parking, this was on a large 6x4 foot sign that you’d have to be blind not to see, and of course if you are blind you would not be driving!
We carried on driving east and it seemed as if the town went for miles, eventually we got into the countryside turning South at Monte Creek towards Vernon, where we found a road going round Monte lake where we parked for the night.
Friday, August 15th
We set our GPS to the city of Vernon and very quickly reach the beginning of Okanagan lake on the road ran beside this lake for about the next hundred kilometres crossing over the lake at Kelowna one of the largest cities in the area with all the traffic and shopping centres the goes with such a place.
We eventually reached a place called Okanagan Falls but evidently we were about 60 years too late to see the falls as due to flooding the river had been dammed in several places making the falls disappear, but the signposts still point to the location that the falls used to be.
We travelled through today, a valley it was heavily irrigated, and occasionally you would find a piece that had not been irrigated and the brownness contrast did to the green irrigated pastures so it made you realise what the Valley would have been like without all of the water the pouring onto it.
We knew were getting closer to civilisation by the amount of traffic that were encountering and we saw notices that we were on the Wine Trail but unlike other wine trails with been on there were no large vineyards to observe and the Wine cellars were also off the main road.
Saturday, August 16th
We carried on our way to the interesting city of Nelson and the road took us right up to the American border and we drove along the border following the path of a river for about 100 km. As normal there are trees in every direction you could look, and every so often you’d come across a sawmill with an incredible amount of logs ready to be processed and many many piles of processed wood ready to be turned into houses.
All through the trip has been interesting to look at all the RVs in people’s backyards, often there are three or four, all probably at least 10-20 years old and many many of them for sale.
At the last state Park we stayed in I was talking to a guy from Québec, he had an almost new 40 foot motorhome with a 10 foot storage Bay in its back which he carried his Harley Davison. He was talking of leaving Québec in coming to British Columbia because of two things that happened in Québec.
The first was the referendum for Québec to separate from Canada and whilst that has gone away, probably never to return, had put the Québec economy back at least 10 years, then there was the power of the unions which is basically made it uneconomical for a lot of businesses to operate in Québec so that has driven the economy down, a good example of this is Detroit were all of the automobiles in America it used to be made, now they are made on the east coast in the Carolinas etc where the price of labour allows the automakers to make a car at a competitive price that they can sell in competition with the foreign imported cars.
We stopped at Grand Forks in the public parking spot for a peaceful night.
Sunday, August 17th
We left Grand Forks and carried on highway 3A through Cascade, Castlegar, and onto Nelson, Nelson was said to have a old interesting shopping centre but I guess I’ve been totally spoiled by Europe as the shopping centre that I saw may have been perhaps 100 years old but to me it was not that interesting. We crossed over the lake and carried on up highway 3A to we reached Kooltenay lake where the Bridge across the lake was a ferry and it was surprising the amount of traffic that was able to fit on the ferry.
We carried on 3A towards Creston driving along the lake and all the impressive properties that you find on any piece of valuable real estate. We did look briefly at a state Park but their price for a nights parking with no amenities was $30, so we drove on and found a large viewing spot overlooking a beautiful part of the lake so we here we are for the night.
Monday, August 18th
We left our clifftop parking area and drove on South on the edge of the lake until we reached highway 95 and there we met up with a couple of deer running cross the road, one must thought the motorhome looked pretty good because it stopped on the edge of the Bush and watched us go by.
As we drove north towards Fort Steele the country’s side could have been anywhere in the central South Island with the dry grass and mountain backdrop except these mountains went by the name of “The Rocky Mountains”.
We stopped off at Fort Steele and wandered around the old buildings from the late 1800s giving an example of what it was like to live here in those times.
We carried on past Canal Flats, the Columbia Lake and Lake Windermere stopping for the evening at the Dry Gulch National Park Camping Area.
Tuesday, August 19th
We carried on our way North towards Golden passing through the Glacier National Park and in excess of 400 glaciers throughout the Park, there were several walking paths to many of these, change that comment walking to hiking! We did see one magnificent Glacier up in the mountains several hundred feet above us and the weather in this area kept up its promise of being extremely wet in the summer with snow falls as much is 23 m in the winter.
Passing through Golden we had started seeing large nests on the top of power poles, in Europe where these type of nests are common and they are the nests of storks, but in this country they are of Eagles, one nest we saw three young Eagles looking down at us, others just one or two, but to get a good photo of them we would have needed a cherry picker attached to the motorhome, and that might not be a bad idea!
It started getting time to stop so we drove into a parking spot for hikers and settled in there for the night.
Wednesday, August 20th
We left our quiet parking spot on the forest and carried on our drive west to the city of Kamloops the town we passed through a few days earlier on our drive through the Rocky Mountains to Golden.
Whilst were in Kamloops we stopped at the Walmart to take advantage of their Wi-Fi and had another look at their sign that amused us last time of Absolutely no overnight parking etc etc, we then carried on to Cache Creek another town we said hello to again and then turned South towards Vancouver passing through a variety of landscapes ranging from large forests to barren hillsides and sprinkled in amongst all of these beautiful lakes. We travel on the Fraser River passing through the Fraser canyon with my foot on the brake managing the 8% grades a lot of the time.
As we go South it starting to get a bit warm and with the air conditioner not working on the motor we are pleased when it gets to about 2:30 p.m. time to start looking for somewhere to stop for the night, most of the parking spots which were stayed at in the past have absolutely no shade so we are now selecting state parks which range in price from $15-$21, with no option of facilities.
We pulled into a state Park just short of Lyttton and as we arrived there were four partridges running in amongst the trees, no they were no pear trees!
Thursday, August 22nd
We left the state Park and carried on the main road South beside the Fraser River and then we came to a spot that they called Hells Gate and what they called Air-tram, but I would call it a gondola and it took you 500 feet down across the river to a cafe and shop in little bit further on the is a suspension Bridge and the footbridge across the river through which millions of salmon pass each year.
Evidently the highway and the railway were extremely difficult to construct around this area and the only way a stern wheel steamer could get through Hells Gate going upstream was by being by ropes attached to the canyon walls by bolts.
It’s interesting to see that there are two railway lines on the roadside of the canyon and one railway line on the other.
We drove on into Hope, wandering around a little, looked for somewhere to stay near the lake, that was filled up so we went on towards Vancouver, on the motorway, and when we saw the sign for a rest area we drove off the motorway towards the rest area, they had a large notice that there was an eight hour limit on parking in the area, but it was a nice little shaded spot across the road, a little bit further away from the motorway noise, and we settled there in the shade as the evening wore on was interesting to see some of the other travellers getting ready to ignore the eight hour limit.
At the edge of our parking area there was a Bridge going across the river which evidently was a major salmon migratory river because we saw many dead salmon that had obviously completed their run up the river floating back down the river and I guess out to sea.
Friday, August 23rd
This morning there was about five motorhomes parked in the eight hour limit parking area’s were evidently it is just a suggestion rather than rule. We carried on the short distance into Vancouver we programmed the GPS for what looked like a good parking area in the centre of the city.
Little bit along the way we saw a viewing area for the Bridal Veil Waterfalls so we pulled in there and went for the 15 minute walk to look at the waterfall that was shaded by the trees so photographically we are grateful for digital and the ability to increase the ASA.
We came across one German, earlier, travelling in a European motorhome and we gave him our comments as to why we weren't, and travelling into Vancouver yesterday we saw him parked on the side of the motorway with a tow truck in front so we felt sorry for him and can't help wondering where he will get help for the Fiat motor.
As we got closer to Vancouver we discovered we had to go over a new Bridge which evidently was a toll bridge and they gave you seven days to pay the toll via the Internet but that would not work for us so we stopped at the office area before we entered the Bridge paid the $12 to cross the bridge and were on our way.
Driving towards our proposed parking area had took us right through the centre of the city with all of its magnificent high rises an interesting buildings, through Chinatown and all of the interesting sights of the way people dressed in any large city and toss in their a bit of Asian influence on you have a lot of interesting photographs as were driving through the streets.
After driving through the chaotic traffic that is that of any large city we came to the parking area and discovered it was a parking building which was not much use for us, as we stopped on the stop sign getting ready to turn right a guy yelled out are you really from New Zealand? Evidently had been born in Christchurch and had lived in Northland and was evidently now in Vancouver.
We started off heading for a Good Sam campground and when we are almost there we saw a sign to Stanley Park so we drove there, paid the parking fee for a bus, took up two parking spaces, went for a walk to the edge of the Park to look at the view over Vancouver and then back to the very large aquarium where their main exhibit was a Beluga whale along with performing porpoises, dolphins, penguins and seals. There’s an incredible array of fish on display including some magnificent jellyfish and tropical fish from many parts of the world and all the fish one can find along the Canadian coastline.
And it would been much more pleasant had we visited this exhibit after the children had gone back to school in a couple weeks time.
We then decided to head south towards America and discovered that there was a Walmart 8 km from the border so we decided to Park up their for the night as the GPS had indicated it was a location that overnight parking was permitted. When we got there I went into the office asked for admission to Park overnight, the girl was pretty unsure about it all, and I said we would Park well out of the way and she finally said yes, about 7 p.m. the security guard knocked on our door and said parking is not permitted, told him we had permission, he said will if they said its okay I guess it is, was quite a busy car park with quite a lot of noise but after 11 o’clock it got quiet.
Saturday, August 24th
Today we left the Walmart car park and headed the 8 km to the US border. We arrived at the border and told us that there was a waiting time of one hour, 3 ½ hours later we were on the American side of the border along with all of the traffic that is a symbol of civilisation.
The American customs are not quite as vigorous as New Zealand agricultural customs are, here there was just the limit of citrus fruit and one or two other minor items which were all confiscated, we had to give them the keys and they wandered through checking the motorhome by themselves and came away with a plastic bag full of Mandarins and things.
Our destination for the next few days was Yakima to visit with Ken Whitmire and we decided to take a roundabout route going through the Northern Cascade National Park and we had counted on staying overnight in one of the four camping sites that we had passed in this large Park, but they all had the full of signs on them so when we saw an old road that had been bypassed we pulled in there for the night and just hoped the traffic noise would be not that loud.
We are starting to get into the climate were a air-conditioner on the motor would make a noticeable difference in travelling so we try to finish our travels before the heat of the day.
Sunday August 24th
We left our camping spot and carried on through the forest all the time climbing uphill with the river beside us, at one point the river was totally dry and then a little bit further on we found the reason with a large dam built across the Gorge and a large lake in behind and this was repeated several times.
When one forest finished another one started so most of the day we were driving through forest with magnificent mountains in front of us and either side, the highest pass was 1669 m high.
We stopped off at of view point of Washington pass, a viewpoint on the top of a High cliff where we could see the road that we are going to be taking down to the bottom of the Valley winding its way through the valley probably over 10 km. Then it was onto the road that we had just viewed and it was time to put the motorhome into second gear and slowly wind our way down the road through the Gorge with incredible rock formations and forests.
We all of a sudden came out of the mountains at Winthrop and found ourselves in an old-fashioned western town with modern cars parked everywhere. Motorhomes were relegated to the outside of the town to a small parking area but it made an interesting walk through the town before we were on our way to Twisp where we were warned to give way to fire engines and sent on a large detour which took us past what they called a fire camp, a camp that was the centre of the firefighting the had been going on, I presumably the last few days – weeks, we are obviously right at the end of the whole affair and drove through probably 40 to 50 km of burned forests and scrub, most of the houses survived with only one that we saw totally burnt.
We stopped for the night on the side of a small lake just outside the town of Pateros
Monday, August 25th
Just before we left our peaceful parking area beside the lake, we saw four small deer come out of the bush towards the road posing for a quick photograph before they disappeared back into the bush, once those photographs taken we got on the road and drove on through the countryside with burned forests either side of the road, a little bit further on we saw two houses that had been raised by the fire and then we went round the corner of the bluff and found that the fire had been contained not reaching this side.
A little bit further on a red jeep was heading towards us and as it flew past we saw the words on the door “New Zealand Fire service” that alone told us how bad the fires were if firefighters had to fly in from New Zealand to help put out the blaze.
By this time were driving through orchards of apple trees and we were told that the main crop in this area are apples and hops, and they claim that 81% of the world’s hops grown in this area.
We then turned onto the freeway heading towards Yakima that took us through an area they can only be described as desert, very dry desert, and it would not take much for the hillsides to be aflame with fire.
Eventually we got into the city of Yakima and headed towards eighth Avenue, number eight, the studio of Ken Whitmire and there we sat down had a great old yarn about our travel to China in ‘87 and all of the other things that have happened to us both since then.
We had a good look at Ken’s latest acquisition, a 500 mm F4 lens for his Canon, the suitcase came in looked big enough to hold a hand-held missile so one would need to be careful just where one carried that lens.
We polished off the evening with Ken and Vi taking us out for dinner at an Italian restaurant close to the Nob Hill Walmart (isn’t that sort of a misnomer )where we had parked our motorhome, a delightful evening.
Tuesday, August 26th
We left the Walmart and headed out of town on highway 12 W. we drove out through all of the fruit trees and the fruit shops and soon were in the mountains heading towards White Pass with its tree covered mountains either side of the road, and the rock mountains either side of the Pass were either restrained by a wire mesh or were sliding down the mountain and rocks of varying size being kept off the road by a wall of boulders.
Near the top of the pass we were presented with the magnificent view of Mount Rainier and that stayed with us as we wound down the mountain until it disappeared behind the trees when we got near the bottom.
Our first stop was Rundle and there we intended to drive up to Mount St Helens but the windy road into the sunshine made me decide it was too dangerous not being able to see the oncoming traffic.
We stopped at a viewing area that allowed us to view a wall of rock that had been textured and the reason was that the wall was lava that had flown down the mountain until it reached a glacier which suddenly cooled the molten rock creating the pattern that we are viewing forever ……… Well for quite a while!
We drove on West for another hour stopping beside a parking area on the edge of Lake Lewis where we will be happy to spend the night.
Wednesday, August 27th
This morning room when we looked out at the lake we saw a large flock of geese and a heron busy picking its way through the reeds looking for food.
Then it was time to be on the road and we carried on route 12 until we got to highway 5 which took us up to Olympia and then on towards Port Angeles which then put us on to 101 and the traffic on today’s drive was not pleasant and made us wish that were back in Alaska.
We very easy found the Walmart where we and several other motorhomes settled in for the night comforted by the knowledge that the Walmart was open 24 hours and if we felt an urge to shop at 2 a.m. they would be open.
Thursday, August 28th
This morning we left the Walmart and drove the 27 km up to Hurricane Ridge a look out up in the mountains at 1600 m, and of course as we started at 70 m that meant quite a steep drive up curling around the mountain all the way. About a third the way up we saw a young deer grazing on the side of the road unperturbed that we were driving past.
The higher we went the hotter the engine got, so I was pleased when we reached the summit and were able to Park and go for a walk up one of the trials. Little bit up the trial we saw a mother deer and its fawn, both quite tame and Luda was able to stroke the mother without any fear being shown by the animal.
The view from the mountain top was incredible, you are high enough to see all of the Olympic mountains and across the Channel to Vancouver Island in Canada.
Then it was time to go back down the mountain which we did using second gear most of the way with a little bit of help from the brakes.
Halfway down the mountain we saw another deer and its fawn on the side of the road which we stopped on a bent to take photographs and they both went straight up a steep slope and disappeared into the forest.
We then carried out on 101 until we reached the junction of 112 which was supposed to take us round by the seashore and on the map it looked very close, of course the scale of the map meant that most times were no closer than a kilometre. But it was an interesting drive, and we took a little bit of a side trip to Tongue Point which was supposed to have an interesting walking trail but we missed the car park and drove on the narrow windy road around the shore till it took us back onto 112 and then eventually back onto 101.
We attempted to stop at a State Park and found that they were totally disorganised, “well to me”, most of the state parks have a camping fee which has been often collected by a ranger or there has been frequent honesty boxes that you can fill in an envelope and place it in the box, no, in this case you have to make a note of the number of your camping site, walk forward to the gate, determine how much your site will cost, place that in the envelope along with the details and you can relax and enjoy the campground.
I was not aware of all of this, so after wandering around for a while I decided it was too much trouble and started the motorhome and drove on towards the State Park with a “rain forest”. Halfway up the side road we found a parking spot and here we are for the night.
Friday, August 29th
We carried on our drive up into the rainforest and experienced very dense forest on either side of the road, we parked in the car park and went for a walk through the forest in the rain and as we walked along the path often we passed an extremely large tree that had fallen over and had been cut in half to free up access through the path. Everywhere we looked there were trees interwound with each other and when we looked up towards the sky it was like being in a large city with high rises with the trees rising up towards the sky.
There were generous growths of moss everywhere and if you believed in them, you did quite well imagine fairies and goblins at every corner. The amount of trees that had fallen over and left where they fell was interesting and I believe if they had been removed and turned into timber there would be quite a community of houses somewhere.
That over we headed towards the sea and as we left the forest there were two cars stopped in front of us and we slowed down to see what the attraction was and there was a young stag on the left-hand side of our motorhome, and I had to stop while Luda got out to get up close and personal with the animal and also photograph the two female deer that were across the small lake and attracting the stag.
Then our first stop was at Ruby Beach where we joined a car park full of tourists on our walk down to the beach which had all sorts of interesting sea life on and in the rocks but with the incoming tide they soon disappeared.
The mist rolling in from the sea and the light rain gave the whole beachfront that we drove along an interesting eternal feel and soon we turned off towards Quinault Lake
We had arranged to meet Ken and Vi at the lake and joined them on a walk through the forest which proved to be another wet forest and halfway through our walk Ken got busy with his camera so they may be material there for a Whitmire wall portrait.
It was then time to drive towards their beachhouse at Ocean Shores where we parked our motorhome on their front drive and went off downed to a local restaurant for a delightful meal. As we drove to and from the house we saw many groups of deer, six or seven in a group, grazing on the side of the ocean views streets and in empty sections either side. I think this is the first time in all of our travels that we’ve seen wild animals inside a reasonably large town and it is really a wonderful sight.
Saturday, August 30th
Another wet day and Ken had his duty to perform at the artists collective shop downtown so we accompanied him down there to view the work of 22 artists belonging to the collective and there was some beautiful work being offered for sale at prices I thought were extremely reasonable.
Our viewing over was time to say goodbye and get back on the road South and we decided to make an early stop and Aberdeen, Washington, where we took advantage of the Internet again in McDonald’s, for some reason the Sim cards I have in my iPad and telephone will not go on to the portable hotspot mode, it almost seems it doesn’t matter how much you pay for what you do keeping communications open is almost a hopeless situation when you travel.
Sunday, August 31st
Today we decided to have a rather quiet day and drove from a delightful camping spot on the edge of Grays Harbour and headed towards the harbour city of Westport, this is a fishing village and if anybody ever had the doubt about that the odour over the total city, village, would soon dispense that and on the way out of the village we saw a signpost towards a lighthouse, we drove past that stopping momentarily to take a photograph then carrying on South on 101 stopping for the night on a delightful spot on Willapa Bay
Monday, September 1st
Carry on South we passed through Raymond, a city that is noted for its steel sculpture, there are all sorts of animals, people, horses, almost every subject, I believe there are about 1000 of them scattered throughout the city. As we were leaving the city a fox came out onto the side of the road to make sure we were leaving in the correct direction.
Then it was on to South Bend and then at Long Beach drove out on the Peninsula as far as Ocean Park stopping along the way to photograph the beaches and the birds before meeting up again with highway 101 taking us over the mouth of the Columbia River a Bridge that was at least 7 km long towards Astoria and that was followed by another 4 km bridge before we were back on dry land. We passed through the busy city of Seaside, and being Labor Day, the last day of a long weekend, the city was packed and we didn’t even think about stopping.
The next City / Village south was Cannon Beach and whilst we attempted to visit the beach we took a left-hand road which took us to an RV roundabout and then we went through the packed shopping area and found an RV Park with about three empty spaces, we pulled in there for the 30 minutes that was allowed in the parking area and went for a quick walk through the packed tourist town.
We carried on South on 101 and it was only a short distance to go to Arch Cape a location that was once only accessible at low tide along the beach, fortunately that has changed and 101 now goes past the turn off to Linda’s house that as the land agents say is absolute seafront. Linda was expecting to see us and looked radiant in good health which must have a lot to do with the magnificent location that she calls home.
We had a delightful time and catching up since we last saw each other and very much enjoyed looking at her travel books that were produced by “My Publications “ and they had a finish which were different to the Blurb publisher that we use. There was also a beautiful book celebrating Ian’s life which was delightful to read.
Having dinner sitting in front of a window looking out to the Pacific Ocean to the magnificent sunset was something that made one wish one had a similar sort of location to call home.
Tuesday, September 2nd
Linda promised us if we stayed an extra day she would show us some of the beautiful sites around the area she calls home and the first location was back to Cannon Beach and we found out what we had missed with the narrow almost one-way winding road towards the beautiful beach, then it was too a magnificent Lookout looking up the rugged coast with just enough mist to make the photographs special, then there was a large Lookout at the mouth of the Columbia River were if you are there at the right time you can see a large ship entering the harbour probably going all the way up the river to Portland.
The next location was back to Astoria where we had a delightful lunch at a craft brewery and we all had a, what I’d call a small preserving jar, of their light beer, it had an interesting bitter taste which went well with our meal.
Then was on up the Hill to the Astoria column that has 164 steps to the top and round the outside a freeze that plays homage to the history of the Pacific Northwest. Astoria is famous for being close to the location that Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805 1806 and obviously lived to tell the tale.
Then it was back to Arch Cape, and the trip back showed that the combination of a beer at lunchtime and movement of the car is inclined for there to be gaps in the travel which are hard to understand!
Wednesday, September 3rd
Today we left Linda’s beautiful house at the beach after having breakfast looking out to sea and watching the waves rolling in, and absolutely peaceful scene which would be a delight to see every day.
We carried on highway 101 S. stopping briefly on a cliff top to photograph the incredible views and then carrying on to Manhattan Beach, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, where we drove down to the port and found a flock of pelicans on the wharf already to have the photographs taken, and we obliged, then it was on towards Tillamook where we turned towards Cape Lookout State Park with a beautiful look out over the sea with magnificent beaches and a very large campground that now school holidays are finished was almost deserted.
Thursday, September 4th
Today we drove through Lincoln city and Lincoln Beach, through Newport and Waldport and on towards Florence stopping just before that location in a state Park.
We saw beautiful seascapes all the way down the coast on a winding road that was either hugging the cliffs, or almost falling into the sea, even some whales that paused to have their photographs taken, some interesting walks and some beautiful lighthouses placed in the ideal spot for photography, I hope they saved some ships.
Friday, September 5th
Today we left the ocean turning in towards the Three Sisters Wilderness at Florence passing through Eugene and then taking the windy highway 242 making its way up the mountain towards the viewing spot at 1500 m. At about 1200 m we found a delightful little parking spot just off the road we pulled in there for the night.
Saturday September 6th
Just before we pulled out of our parking spot on windy hilly Mackenzie Road five skateboarders roared past taking advantage of the lack of traffic and the Hill that went up to 1600 m.
We carried on winding our way up the road until we got to the Lookout spot where we could see a lot of the Cascade Mountains and the three volcanoes that created the landscape of lava that was in front of us. There was a whole history of the volcanoes which dated back 10,000 years to the last ice age. About 7 million years ago the crusts collided and as the denser plate of the oceanic crust was forced deep into the Earth’s interior beneath the continental plate and the high temperatures and pressures there melted solid rock. The Cascade Mountains began to rise and where the molten rock serviced as volcanic vents and this process has happened with 14 volcanoes ranging from Northern California into British Columbia.
We eventually left Mackenzie Road and turned onto highway 97 which took us through the city of Bend and on to the turn off to the Crater Lake, a little while later, which is all that is left of Mount Mazama that had grown to 12,000 feet and then about 8000 years ago it basically blew up leaving a deep caldera which slowly filled up with centuries of rain and snow fall so today the level remains constant as there are no streams the run in or out of the lake. They say the mountain is not extinct so it pays to have you running shoes on if you hear it rumbling.
We drove on South on 97 to a state Park and they only had campsites with hook ups (electricity) and as we did not need that we drove on further south and found a casino with lots of parking, that’s one thing the American government has done, allowed the Indian tribes to erect casinos on their land which of course provides employment for the members of the tribe and it certainly seems that on their land they have their own laws as were as the rest of America has a no smoking law people were puffing away to their hearts content in the casino that was 99% full of poker machines with just four blackjack tables, one currently being used.
There was a very large European dressed Indian at the entrance and he just looked at me, little bit different to the casino in Ekaterinburg, Russia, where everybody was patted down before though are allowed to enter.
Sunday, September 7th
Having won no money at the casino, and having lost none we left the parking place and drove south on 97 beside an enormous lake to we got to the town of Klamath Falls a town large enough to have a Walmart in the town large enough to have a T mobile coverage so were able to use our Sim cards for the first time in a few days. If you considering coming to America and buying Sim cards go for the A&AT as they have a much better coverage, or that’s the way it appears.
As we carried on our way South we saw on the horizon several more volcanoes that make up the Cascade mountain range, the largest one Mount Shasta, the second highest in the Cascade Mountains is a little bit like Mount Egmont in New Zealand or Mt Fuji in Japan. It last erupted apparently 300,000 years ago so we felt quite safe on the road that went round them.
As we drove round the mountains was most impressive to see the lava beds coming to an abrupt halt beside the road (perhaps the road had been built around these) probably the height of the 3 to 4 story apartment building.
We came to an interesting town called Dorris, it was in the process of dying, just across the border into California, we stopped filled up with petrol which was $0.60 a gallon more expensive and I just put that down to California taxes, but we found later that petrol was the same price, so again it was the old maxim of buyer beware, we
will know the price petrol in each of the States that we visit next year.
We passed through forests that again had been burnt, some of these trees very seriously burnt so that land will take quite a long time to recover. Eventually we got to an interesting town called Weed, its claim to fame as far as we can tell is that it is just before highway five which seems to run the full length of the Pacific coast down as far as at least Mexico and it was a pleasure to be on a three lane highway even with the large trucks passing us at a high speed.
A little bit further on an to a town called Shasta we turned onto highway 89 heading up towards the Lassen volcanic national Park and about halfway along the road we pulled into a turnout where we are parked up for the night.
( Comment: As we been wandering across America and Canada I’ve been reading items about the size of America’s debt, and how under the present type of government system they have how it is basically impossible to be reduced and how without change by 2052 every single dollar of Federal tax revenue will be used to pay for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, and they won’t even be able to pay the interest on the debt. It is rather frightening when one starts to examine the flow on effect that will happen around the world if this is correct.)
Monday, September 8th
We carried on driving climbing all the time towards Lassen volcanic national Park, until we got to a town called Old Station which placed us inside the park and then drove on little bit further to the Park celebrating the volcanoes, and when we got to the visitor centre we found that we were on the wrong side of the mountain and to get were we wanted to go would have meant winding our way past the volcanoes to over 8000 feet and then winding our way down again, so we left that for another time.
We opted for a 5 km walk around the Manzenita lake, and we were presented with a beautiful view of the volcano that last erupted in 1914, captured by a keen photographer with what I would guess would be a glass plate camera, he got five exposures, with what they called a 14 inch telephoto lens, and actual fact I would suspect it would be just a two times magnification, little bit different to the Nikon I’ve just bought with a 60 times magnification and is capable of shooting goodness knows how many exposures a second.
We then headed back down the mountain were presented with 10% downgrades often which with the heavy beast were driving means we are in second gear most of the time, about halfway down we saw a mother deer and two fawns on the edge of the road and yes they decided to cross, we stopped and the traffic coming towards us stopped and they got across safely, not so with the ones we saw yesterday that were lying forlornly on the side of the road.
We headed for Anderson which was on highway five and had a Walmart that is okay with overnight parking, we were told yes it was okay by Walmart but the city council may ask us to move on.
After a little bit more consideration we decided to move on and we drove’s on South and to we found a casino and we pulled into their parking lot for a gamble free evening.
Tuesday 9th September
We left the casino and drove south on five for awhile and then turned in towards the coast on a quite an uneventful drive, we stopped at some lakes and Luda photographed some birds on the new Nikon 60 times zoom and got some incredible photographs, with 99% of them sharp as a razor.
We drove on in the heat of the day and eventually came to a state Park which we turned into very quickly and camped there for the night in amongst the tall redwood trees.
Wednesday, September 10th
We left the tall redwoods and headed on towards the sea and started driving down highway number one, and occasionally we would see beautiful glimpses of the ocean and the shore but 99% of the time it was obscured by fog. We did manage to see to deer on the side of the road and a herd of about seven goats milling around on the road running ahead of us until they decided to escape to the forest either side.
We are very pleased to see the village of Elk on the highway before we turned inland and now we can say with seen in Elk on the road!
Just after Elk at Port Arena we came to an road that would take us to 101 called Mount view road and that in itself should have been a warning because it was one of the windy’s roads we’ve been on and there were 16% grades up and down most of the way. I think we can give this road the title of being one of the 10 worst in America for motorhomes.
With the air conditioner compressor not working we have no air-conditioning in the cab of the motorhome and coming into San Francisco it is getting more than hot. At this point of the journey I’m happy to call it quits and tomorrow we will start heading back to Tucson hopefully doing the trip in four or five days and I will hope to fly out on the 20th, eight days ahead of schedule, after paying a very large penalty to change the ticket.
Just before the city of Santa Rosa we decided we had enough heat and Hills for the day so we programmed into the GPS the closest campground and to make a long story short where it was meant to be it wasn’t, so is just to rub salt into the wound the road we were on was narrow and winding was no room to turn round so we drove on about 7 km found an open ground and hopefully we can stay here the night.
Thursday, September 11th
We left our parking spot on what might have been private land and follow the GPS which gave us a shortcut back to the way that we came in, and then were back on the road going south scouting round San Francisco, we were aiming to get to highway five and to get there we followed 101 across the Richmond Bridge contending with all of the highway repairs on the way trying to keep the beastie (the RV) on the narrow lane that was allocated to people travelling in my direction.
It was not a pleasant drive and throw into the equation the heat of California and the lack of a working cab air conditioner we are pleased to pull into a camping ground and plug into their electricity and sit inside with the main air conditioner working.
Friday, September 12th
Today we carried on our travel towards Tucson, this part of the travel would take us round the outskirts of Los Angeles, this part of California can only be described as desert, but when they put water to the desert, they can grow anything, but it appears as if they are having a water shortage as there are large signs telling the passing public that the Valley needs water, water equals jobs, no water means you’re produce will cost more!
I’m not quite sure the future of California if global warming followers its prescribed path as no amount of bills being passed by Congress will give them more water!
The route we took around LA, that was a mistake as the traffic was horrendous, we been better to have gone through Bakersfield and Barstow and the heat that we would have experienced on that route than the traffic of L.A. at 3 o’clock we were in our second traffic jam so we went off the motorway at La Verne, asked the GPS to find us a campground close by and found us a good Sam RV Park, and the discount for being a good Sam member equalled the state tax, so I guess we saved some money!
This Park has got 500 parking bays and we appeared to have got the last one for the night, I’m certainly glad were not having to spend each night in one of these places.
Saturday, September 13th
We carried on our drive through the desert and the heat towards Tucson eventually getting there on Monday morning, checked into a KOA campground where we will do our packing and cleaning of the motorhome before we put into storage for the winter.
We’ve just totalled up our milage for our 2014 trip a came out to 16,729 miles or 26,766 km.