Gladlee of Guernsey
America 2013 Page 2 - March/April/May
29th March - 1st April. South Beach State Park, Newport, Oregon
29th March - 1st April. South Beach State Park, Newport, Oregon
A few stops on the way including doing internet and laundry and then a visit to the Sea Lion Caves and Heceta Head Lighthouse. And then back to one of our old haunts - just south of Newport and within a couple of miles of the Rogue Brewery. Oh do we know how to pick them!! The weather is really quite nice for the Easter Weekend and in fact on the Saturday we do the full tourist bit with a trip to the Visitor Centre of the local Scientific Institute and also a visit to the Aquarium which turns out to be really quite nice. Actually get a bit sun-burnt watching feeding time at the Sea Otter enclosure. A little busy in the campground but bearing in mind it is Easter weekend and the sun is shining it's not too bad and there are still loads of spaces.
2nd - 5th April. Devil's Lake State Park, Lincoln City
On the way here we stop off at Yaquina Head Lighthouse as this is a "must" as a viewpoint so the literature tells us. Well it was pretty good. Thousands of Murres in rafts as can be seen from the photo above. Seals, whales etc. We had been to Devils Lake before and were expecting it to be a bit busy as it is a fairly small park and it is also Spring Break here in the US with all the schools and universities closed. Surprised to find it very quiet. Anyway we hunkered down here as the forecast was for rain, rain and more rain. And yes....the forecast was very accurate. Managed a couple of walks on the beach between showers but that was about all. Seems like our main task here was to catch up on internet activity as we had a fairly good signal. Just a note about the other photo above. These skunk cabbage are everywhere here. They are named for a fairly good reason - they smell like skunk scent. Apparently to attract insects to pollinate them. Downwind of them is not a place to be.
6th - 8th April. Cape Lookout State Park, near Tillamook
We have been here before - in fact this was our very first coastal State Park in Oregon some three and a half years ago. It's actually a good job we have been here before as our hiking is very restricted to periods between the rain. In addition we have strong winds gusting up to 50mph just to make things that bit more pleasant?? But.... every cloud has a silver lining. This time is that Julie manages to photograph the Rufous Humming bird which she has been looking for all the way up the Oregon coast.
9th - 10th April. Nehalem State Park, near Manzanita
All new territory for us now. We have not been any further north than Cape Lookout previously. On the way here we have the "compulsory" stopover at the Tillamook Cheese factory. Yes for some exceptional cheeses for Julie but also for some exceptional ice cream for Ron. Such a shame we have limited space in the Fridge/Freezer. Again we have lots of rain here but do manage a little bit of hiking in between showers.
11th - 16th April. Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, Oregon
The most northerly of Oregons State Parks. It is also a huge site with about 500 camping sites. Luckily at this time of year there are only about 10% of that filled. Very nicely done though with lots of cycle paths to the beach and also to the Historic Military area. This is the mouth of the Columbia River and has a history in the Spanish/American war and also the 1st and 2nd world wars. In fact the place was attacked by a Japanese submarine in the 2nd WW. The hiking/biking has been really good also when we managed to get out in between the rain showers. Lots of things to see like Elk, Otters in the river about 50 feet from us, Peregrine Falcon, snakes - yes snakes are out and about after the winter. The downside to all of this was that the coolant expansion tank on the engine just about disintegrated and has had to be replaced and also the fridge/freezer packed up and is being replaced. Found a great Marine and RV workshop to do it though.
Our first park in Washington State. Not as good as the Oregon parks and slightly more expensive but a means to an end. Nice walks along the beach but we are only spending the one night here.
18th - 19th April. Lake Sylvia State Park, Montesano, WA
A quite nice small park on Lake Sylvia - bit obvious really eh?? Reasonably nice weather (at least between the showers) allows us to take a couple of hikes around the lake. One on the northern half and yes you guessed - one on the southern half. As you can see we are still very much in the coastal rain forest areas although Lake Sylvia is inland a good bit.
20th April. Potlatch State Park, Sheldon, WA
When you read the books you have no idea how good (or bad) the parks are going to be. This one was WELL below expectations. Right alongside the main highway with it's claim to fame being that it is located on a clam and oyster beach which (with a license) you are allowed to dig for.
21st - 22nd April. Dosewallips State Park, Brinnon, WA
After the last one we were hoping this was going to turn out better and - YES it was. Went on a 3.5 mile hike and it was one of the nicest we have done. Converted from an old logging area our hiking trail was called the Steam Donkey Trail - something about machines pulling logs up and down mountains. Just across the highway was the beach access where the faithful go clamming and oystering - with a license of course. The beauty of the place is that there are Bald Eagles everywhere along with all the other birds. Also black tailed deer and luckily - no black bears. Oh - did I mention the bar within walking distance of the park? Perfect.
23rd - 24th April. Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA
Right at the northeast corner of the Olympic peninsular this old military area has been converted to a State park with Conference Centre, large officers quarters for vacation rentals etc etc. We headed out on a walk expecting everything to be on roads with buildings everywhere. The nicest surprise awaited with very few building and all the old artillery sites now surrounded by trees. Bear in mind this place was build over a hundred years ago. Yet again we see otters frolicking in the sea and also, rarely, running along the beach. Black tailed deer wonder around unafraid of humans and luckily the Coyotes (reported to be "friendly") stayed away. Another really great State Park. We leave here and it sees us going back to sea - well a 30 minute ferry ride to Whidbey Island where we can then drive along and onto the "mainland" part of Washington. p.s. Just been out for our final walk on the beach here. Just seen the next generation of otters being made!! Nudge nudge, wink wink - Know what I mean Guv!!!!!!
25th - 29th April. Oak Harbour City Park (Staysail Park), Whidbey Island
We found this little "City Park" here in Oak Harbor and decided on a change from our usual State Parks. It was a bit cheaper and still gave us electric and water. It also put us here on a celebratory weekend which was tagged as the "Holland Happening" - it seems there is a large Dutch history to the place though you wouldn't actually notice by looking at it!! Anyway, turns out to be a really quite nice stay with a "Parade" held on the Saturday morning. Marching bands from the local schools, all the local services (police/fire/paramedic) plus lots of others too numerous to mention. This is a fairly small town but does have Wal-Mart, Safeway, Albertsons, Home Depot - all big supermarkets/stores that we have been missing. This is also the home town of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and about 50% of the population are either Navy or working for them. The photograph of the Bald Eagle above was taken on a walk just around the bay - not really showing the size of this magnificent bird.
30th April. Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island
Our last State Park in Washington - just south of the actual Passage through the islands. Again another great site though this time we have gone "primitive" (no electric or water). Our walks take us to the actual bridge over the pass which we will take when we leave here. The tide is running and the current through the pass looks horrendous. Small whirlpools everywhere which we would not want to come across in Gladlee. The scenery here is stupendous. We are trying to find new adjectives for all this scenery and seem to be running out. Much more to come so if we start to repeat please forgive.....
1st May. Washington Park, Anacortes, Fidalgo Island
This is as far north on the island chain that we can get and we look out on the San Juan Islands from our walk round. This is actually a "City" park and though a little run down is cheap enough and the scenery is 'stunningly fantastic'. Anacortes is where our friends Bill and Gary keep their Boston Trawler and they had told us how nice the place was. Didn't get to see their boat as there are just so many large marinas around we wouldn't know where to begin. Bill and Gary are down in La Quinta and unfortunately Gary has recently fallen and broken three ribs. (Get well soon).
2nd May. Sumas RV Park, Sumas, Washington State, US
Our last stop in the USA before heading into Canada which we are doing tomorrow. This is a small private RV Park which we are using because it has a laundry. It is a bit run down with a few "low lifes" parked up in falling apart trailers - but we are happy enough and the views are 'amazingly great'.
Well - we made it at last. CANADA. The border crossing was much easier than we thought it would be. No worries about customs control - we were just stamped in and told to enjoy our stay. Went into the nearest town, Abbotsford, so that we could find a bank and get some Canadian Dollars which eventually we managed to do before moving on to our first campground. As can be seen from the above photo it is a pretty dismal place!!!!!!! Just a fast flowing salmon river and snow capped mountains.
5th/6th May. Coquihalla Campground, Hope
So we have moved on just a little (about 70 miles) to the town of Hope. Believe it or not the above photographs from the campsite are actually in the middle of town. We walked in to do some shopping which may be a first for us. We are along the banks of the Coquihalla River which flows into the Fraser River - one of Canada's main rivers. With the warm temperatures we are having right now the snow seems to be melting quickly and the rivers are running a few feet higher than normal. Basically we have raging rapids right next to our campsite. Luckily just behind Harvey in the photo there is a hospital in case of problems!!!! (Just behind the big dark tree is the car park).
7th May. Emory Creek Provincial Park, Yale.
We have decided to make some miles so we head north to Emory Creek some 8 miles north of Hope - yes 8 miles. This was going to be our first Provincial Park but it was recently privatized and is now managed by the local "First Nation" - which is the Canadian way of saying Native American Indians. This site had only recently opened and was in great shape. No power or water but the attendant let us have the night at half price so no complaints. The site is right on the banks of the Fraser River (can anyone see a theme developing here?) and we are the only residents for the night.
8th May. Clinton Pines, Clinton.
Our plan had actually been to go to a private site in Cache Creek but on arrival we found it was closed because of floods. With the recent warm temperatures the snow has melted much more quickly than normal and the rivers and creeks are all quite full. SO.... Plan 'B'. Another 40Km sees us in the small town of Clinton where we find a very nice quiet and cheap private site. With free WiFi so we can update this website and catch up with e-mails etc. We did however make some miles today with 140 under the belt. Should be about the same again tomorrow.
9th - 10th May. Chief Will Yum Campsite. Williams Lake.
Yes we know it sounds corny but it is actually an Indian (or First Nation) area and at the campsite they have the annual "Pow-Wow" amphitheatre. It also meant cheaper gas (petrol) by some 40 cents a gallon. (And we take a lot of gallons). This was also heaven for Julie. We camp in a small copse of old Aspen trees. We see; Mountain Bluebirds, Flickers, Pine Siskins, Tree Swallows, Starlings, Rufous Hummingbirds, Calliope Hummingbirds, Red Breasted Sapsuckers, Red Naped Sapsuckers (and a hybrid combination of both Sapsuckers), Hairy Woodpeckers etc. Being Spring most of these also seemed to be in the seasonal humping stage. The site is also home to about fifty people who are there for about two months involved in a major tree planting scheme. They are off to work at seven in the morning returning about six in the evening - looking somewhat tired.
11th May. McLeese Lake Resort. McLeese Lake.
Resort is probably too much of an adjective. A small site including a motel however the location is again stunning. (Have given up trying to find new superlatives). We are right on the shore of Lake McLeese looking out at pine covered hills. Not much to do here - more a means to an end. The regional Provincial Parks (like the State Parks in the USA) do not open until the 15th May. These offer better hiking and scenery normally so we are just filling time.
12th - 13th May. Canyon Creek, Hixon
A nice private campground on the banks of Canyon Creek just outside Hixon. A few nice small walks but nothing to shout about. The best point was the bar just across the road - even that was very quiet.
14th May, Daves RV Park, Vanderhoof.
As the name might infer this was an RV Park, owned by Dave in the town of Vanderhoof. Apart from a fairly nice walk nothing much to be said again. Passing time till the Provincial Parks open - tomorrow.
15th May. Beaumont Provincial Park, Fraser Lake.
The parks (or most of them) are open and we are the first one into this one. On the shores of Lake Fraser and fairly remote but as far as parks go this is quite a small one. We do find a fairly nice hike but decide that one night is enough and we are moving on especially as the coming weekend is "Long Weekend" in Canadian parlance. (Monday being a national holiday for Victoria Day).