Gnomeland Security

Willapa Bay and the Bay Center RV KOA Park are a big hit for Callie and me. Callie and I were out on our morning walk when we rounded the corner and she was startled by a series of gnomes guarding a small corner of a vegetable garden. She stopped dead in her tracks and cautiously moved forward to check out these strange little creatures. When she was convinced that they wouldn't harm her, we continued down the pathway to our campsite.

Michael and I went on a bike ride along the bay and discovered a prolific patch of wild blackberries growing by the roadside. I dumped the water out of my water bottle and filled it to the brim with blackberries. We are going to have a bowl of berries tonight with our Tillamook old fashioned vanilla ice cream!

On the way back from our ride, we stopped off at the Bay Center Farms Seafood Store and bought fresh oysters, pickled salmon, canned, smoked albacore tuna and a fresh lemon with seafood sauce. Such abundance everywhere you look! I know it is summer and the sun is out! It can't be as green as it is here without weeks and weeks of rain. But for now, we are enjoying the here and now!

On Wednesday we are going to head to Port Angeles and take the ferry over to Vancouver Island. I have a brother and sister in law that live there. Tom Faue is an artist, as is his wife, Frances. It will be nice to see both of them again.

Just a Cat Walk in a Dog Park

It is a beautiful, drizzly, Oregon morning, and we are camped at Kampers West in Warrenton. When I get up in the morning, I have a cup of coffee and then I have to take a cat walk… it doesn't matter if it is rain or shine, Callie wants her walk.

The RV Park is quiet and the sites are spacious. We are both tired from the stress of looking for an available campground to park in over the weekend. It has been a busy 3 days for us. Callie on the other hand is loving every minute of it. She gets to sit on the dash when she is feeling adventuresome, and hop up into the loft when she wants to take a nap.

So this morning we took a walk over to the dog park, and Callie takes personal pride in thumbing her nose at the "dogs must be on leash" sign! She wants to know why she isn't included in this rule! When there are dogs around, they look astonished that there is a cat among them. The owners are usually careful to keep their distance, but if one of them gets too rambunctious, Callie goes limp over my hip and I move away from the crowd.

This morning we may start our journey into the state of Washington.

Through the Looking Glass

When we had our windshield replaced in Coos Bay, we were told that we couldn't stay in the RV and that it would take about 3.5 hours to finish the job. I was concerned about Callie and we told them so, and Area Glass said they would keep a close eye on her while they worked. I was skeptical but didn't have much choice, so we locked her up in the back bathroom and I went off to do laundry and Michael used their internet service in the office.

When I was finished with laundry at a local laundry mat, I came back and Michael and I took Callie out for a walk and then we had to leave again for a little over an hour while they fit the windshield and sealed it into place. We locked Callie back up in the closet/bathroom and this time when we headed out for lunch, I wasn't as concerned because it had all gone so well the first half of the job. But when we returned the second time, the workers joked that Callie was an escape artist and that they had to tie her to the sink with the leash because while they were working away, one of the guys looked up and Callie was sitting on the front seat grooming herself with no windshield in the frame. They quickly guided her to the back and tied her up with relief. She got out of the harness a second time and again was sitting on the front seat when they were ready to put the windshield back in its place. This time they attempted to lock her back up in the bathroom. I didn't believe them when they told me about it and so left again while the adhesive was drying which took one more hour to set!

When we came back the third time, I opened up the door to the RV and immediately noticed the empty leash and harness dangling from the bathroom sink. I panicked and called for her and she responded right away with a soft meow. She had climbed up into the loft and took a nice long nap while the men worked.

I went back in to tell them that I had thought that they were kidding me, and they said that they weren't. She really did get out twice, only to place herself primly on the front seat and groom herself when they weren't around. Nor was there a windshield put back in place at the time. I am so fortunate that Callie views the RV as home now, and didn't freak out with all of the construction going on AND didn't think to test whether there was a looking glass to go through or not!

Tillamook, OR

Yesterday was a rather long and tiresome day trying to find a campsite. Our luck held out until Friday. Friday's are not a good day for searching for a campsite at the state parks. There are too many people enjoying the awesome Oregon weather and the road weary must either go inland or find a private RV Park.

We finally found one in Tillamook, OR and I won't name the place because of an interesting thing that happened when checking in. Our host burst into tears when she saw Callie happily sitting on the dash and came up to the RV, and while stroking Callie's ear, confided in us that she had just come back from visiting her sick and aging cat at a sanctuary. She couldn't afford the vet bills that had piled up because of a diagnosis of glaucoma and was forced to give her up in order for her cat to receive medical care. It reminds me of the AFFORDABLE CARE ACT or as the Republican Party would like to disparagingly call it- OBAMA CARE! I believe that health care is a right and society would benefit with people staying well and thriving with good health. It should not be a profit motivating system!

Well, Callie helped her feel better because she loves to be petted and we shared stories and photographs and told her that she was doing the right thing. The host has two other cats, one of which greeted Michael and that surprised the host because the cat is usually super shy.

So, here we are in Tillamook and will leave this morning. Callie received one more dose of antibiotic with dignity and has two more days to go. The chicken flavored compound is the way to go. I have also learned to keep her wrapped up really tight, with her head back, and I tickle her chin and open her mouth up for about 10 minutes afterwards so she doesn't froth and drool on everything. It has been traumatic to say the least to be administering antibiotics for 4 months. She is definitely on the mend though! We had a nice long walk and she managed to walk out to a boat launching dock as if she owned the place!

Excited about today and can't wait to get on the road. I am also going to track down some ice cream while I am here!


Devils Elbow State Park

Michael, Callie and I stayed at Honeyman State Campground in Oregon last night and we had a private site with nice neighbors to the left of us. They recommended that we try out Beverly Beach next. Callie was able to get in a couple of short walks, but the dogs were large and numerous. It made her feel just a little uncomfortable so we didn't go far from the campsite.

This morning we got up early and broke camp so that we could get to Beverly State Beach Campground with a hope of acquiring a campsite without a reservation. Most people that we meet when we pull into our camp are astonished that we didn't reserve a site 9 months ago like they did. We are winging it for sure and so far we have had good luck.

On the drive north on the 101, we took a short excursion over to the Heceta Head Lighthouse. As you pull into Devil's Elbow Beach, you pass underneath a bridge that looks just like a Roman Aqueduct. It is beautiful to look at and the design is flawless.

Walking to the lighthouse is a short 1/2 mile each direction and it is a working lighthouse to this day. The lighthouse uses a fresnel lens which was created in 1822 and it captures the beam of light by keeping the light waves from dispersing into a fan shape by cuts in the glass which redirects the beam and bends it back in the same direction. The light beam is very bright and intense. The reason it is called Devil's Elbow Park is obvious when you walk down to the beach. The rocks are treacherous and jut way out into the sea. Many a sailing ship would have crashed on these rocks if it weren't for the lighthouse.

We are now waiting in a parking lot to find out if we can get a campsite at Beverly Beach State Park. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

Sorry to say that we didn't get a campsite and are moving northward again:)
Friday's are always the most difficult day of the week to find camp sites available during high season.

Shore Acres at Coos Bay, OR

It is another typical coastal Oregon morning, cool with a heavy drizzle. Yesterday we visited Shore Acres, about a half-mile up the road from our campsite at Sunset Bay.

The first home at Shore Acres was designed as a summer retreat, which Louie Simpson had built as a Christmas present for his first wife, Cassie. Built on a rocky headland, the gamble-roofed house sat seventy-five feet about the waves below. It was built in 1906, but the gardens that grew and thrived to this day are what bring visitors from all over the world.

There is a beautiful Japanese garden with a lily pond and 2 stately crane statues standing knee deep in the reflective water. The rocks that border the pond were hauled up from the beach below by horses. That must have been really difficult for the horses. They are very rough, ragged rocks and are very heavy. The rose gardens are spectacular though and one particular rose called: hot chocolate was as breathtaking in color and form as well as having a deep, rich, rose scent. You can walk down to the beach along a paved pathway and can then ascend back up into a forest dense with Monterey Cypress and pines.

The shoreline is rugged with finely ground sand and seals, sea lions and elephant seals bask among the jagged rocks. The fog had rolled in densely as we explored, so you could barely see the marine animals, but you could sure hear them barking away in the mist.

Back in the gardens, I of course took many photographs of the flowers and the lighting was perfect for photography- bright diffused light with little shadow. The garden was designed in the English style by David Masterton and visitors of the neighboring households of the time, were given cuttings and plants to beautify their gardens too!

Today we are heading back over to have the RV windshield either replaced or repaired and when finished, we will possibly meander toward Newport.

Callie is doing very well and her health is on the mend. The three of us are enjoying our travels with Callie adventure and looking forward to many more to come. I have to admit that I was becoming very concerned with Callie's health after 4 months of coughing and am so relieved that she is feeling better…..

Sunset Bay State Campground, Oregon

Sunset Bay State Campground is green and lush, the bathrooms are clean and spacious, and the camp sites are private. We checked into one of only two remaining sites, and after we checked in, the "Campground full" sign went up. We are in A25 and it is raining this morning as I write with Callie and Michael sleeping. Callie had her morning walk in the rain, which surprised me, and is now back in bed after breakfast. She hasn't coughed in 5 days and her appetite has returned with a vengeance. I am feeding her fresh salmon and she thinks she has died and gone to heaven. Callie is usually a finicky and dainty eater, and has been sick for 4 months, so it is reassuring to watch her wolf her food down again.

Yesterday late afternoon, Michael and I walked over to the bay and followed the shoreline from one end to the other. It is tsunami territory and warning signs are posted and geological forces are obvious if you know what to look for! The Juan de Fuca fault line is right off shore and this plate is pushing up the North American plate. Evidence of this happening is everywhere with rocks being pushed up vertically in what was once horizontal topsoil.

We watched an osprey fishing and it caught a fish on the second attempt. It circled and pivoted, changed direction and circled for quite some time before diving into the shallow water. It was low tide and a beautiful, calm, late afternoon. A seagull chased after the osprey as it flew away with a fish dangling in its talons. The speed of the osprey left the seagull short of breath and it had to give up after a feeble attempt at harassing the osprey to let go of its catch. It was warm enough for brave souls to dip in the water briefly, but mostly it was just children splashing about in the cold water.

We returned to Callie and our wonderful 24 ft. Icon RV and I made a dinner of salmon, baked potato, corn on the cob and fresh green beans. I had my glass of Chardonnay and Michael loves his one bottle of Corona beer. It is so festive to prepare meals and camp in a luxurious RV with children playing, dogs barking and adults sitting around campfires. Michael is teaching me a card game called: Rook, and I am improving every day. I am not exactly partial to games but making the effort. The better I become, the more fun it should be for me! Because it is raining this morning as I write this blog, I am even more grateful to being inside an RV….

Osprey is entering the water after a dive straight down.

Look for osprey coming out of water in middle of photograph!

Callie is enjoying watching the rain this morning!

Coos Bay, Oregon

Coos Bay has the awesome distinction of having had- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest filmed here with Jack Nicholsen. The infamous scene where Jack steals a boat can be imagined right outside the RV window as we drive by. It is a thriving city and fishing boats are still moored at the dock and all the store fronts appear to be open for business. Other Oregon coastal towns don't seem to be as fortunate.

We needed to drive to Coos Bay to have Tony's RV Repair have a look at our windshield that had popped out slightly after our "off road" adventure at Albee Creek in the redwoods. We lost a hubcap, a valve was severed on the back right inner tire and the lower kitchen cabinets separated just a little more from the wall due to the rough road conditions. We have promised each other that we will NOT drive on any more questionable roads!

Tony sent us to Area Glass & Mirror, Inc. and we are going to have the windshield either replaced or repaired depending on what they find when they attempt to fix it. Michael was told by an auto body repair shop in Crescent City that we might have actually bent the frame of the RV because we had put an anti-sway bar on the back to keep the RV from pitching so much. He said it was a bad idea because it made the back-end too rigid for the cab. Michael was pretty freaked out about it until Tony told us the sway bar is a fabulous idea and that it was just a windshield problem. The cost could be any where from $200.00, if all they have to do is remount the existing windshield and up to $375.00 if they have to replace it. We are very impressed with both Tony and Area Glass.

We can't have the repair work done until Thursday afternoon, so we are camping at Sunset Bay State Campground and got one of the last 2 sites left. It is now Wednesday morning and it is raining lightly and typical Oregon coast weather. Callie had a walk on the leash in the heavy drizzle and many campers commented on her not only walking on a leash, but in the rain no less!

Our drive from Crescent City was beautiful and Callie spent the entire time on the dash again. It has become her favorite place to be when we are traveling.

Dixie and the Harbor Cat

Michael and I walked over to Crescent City Harbor to have dinner at the Grotto Restaurant, when I happened to spot an adorable Jack Russel staring at something below on the rocks between the bars of the pier. When we walked over to investigate, a woman named Anne said that for 3 years she has been taking her dog Dixie down to the harbor so that she can stare at a female, ginger and white, tabby cat that is feral. Anne would sit on a bench close by, and she would attach Dixie to the bars on the pier. At first the ginger tabby would run away and hide in fear, but as the years passed, she became tamer and less cautious, and Dixie was able to get closer and closer to her. Eventually the kitty settled on a rock that is just close enough for Dixie to believe that some day they might be able to touch noses. They would stare at each other for hours and hours and not so much as move a muscle. Anne assured me that a woman came every morning to feed the cat, and by the looks of her ( she is obese) she is doing just fine. My dog Addy use to stare at a tennis ball in much the same manner that Dixie stares at this cat. 3 whole years have passed now and they have not touched noses yet! They both just continue to stare at one another for hours at a time. Anne needs to take Dixie over to the harbor every day in the quiet of the afternoon or she becomes visibly upset. Now that is unrequited love for you! Keep it up Dixie! Some day maybe the kitty cat will allow you to touch her nose….