Willapa Bay

Willapa Bay is fairly shallow and the second largest estuary in the United States. It has 260 square miles of water surface in the intertidal range. In fact, half of the water enters and leaves the bay every day. Michael and I walked along the shore line several times and two days ago we watched the tide creep back in at a very slow pace. The water glitters with reflective light and gently fills the bay back in, like molten mercury, one small puddle at a time.

We are staying at the Bay Center KOA until tomorrow morning and then we are going to drive to Port Angeles and take the ferry over to Vancouver Island. Callie is going to Canada! We have her paperwork in order and her health has returned and her cough is gone. My brother and sister in law live on a house boat, so I am not sure what the living arrangements will be when we get to their place outside Duncan Bay. It will certainly be an adventure though! Maybe Callie will even go sailing on my brother's catamaran. We shall see!

Callie had a lovely day of practicing her hunting skills chasing after bugs. The temperature is a fabulous 75 and the sun is out and there isn't a cloud in the sky….

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!

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!

Big Lagoon

When we woke up this morning, we decided to head north up the coast to check out Clam Beach and Big Lagoon at the suggestion of our friend, Fred.

When we managed to drive back over the pot hole filled road to Highway 101 and the Avenue of the Giants, we were dismayed to discover all the damage that was done to the RV by taking it over the horrible road to Albee Creek. Our windshield has separated in the far right corner, the cabinets have come loose from their anchor in the kitchen and the drawers are opening up whenever we turn a corner. We are beginning to think we made a mistake by taking the RV over such a rough road. The hubcap was never found and now we have a few more problems to contend with. It was beautiful in Albee Creek, but putting so much stress on the RV was not worth it. Carrying your house around is a whole different story than driving an off road vehicle across crappy roads.

Clam Beach was an absolute dive and it didn't take long for us to decide to head further north up the coast. We took a chance with Big Lagoon and got the last site available and it is a beautiful location. We walked along the spit in the afternoon and have a private spot #15 in the interior side. The beach front camp sites are more for tent camping.

Callie had another fine walk with birds chasing us down as we went along our merry way. 2 ravens cawed and watched our every move and some kind of tiny wren clicked and chirped and announced to all within hearing distance that their was a cat below walking among the trees.

We may try and stay through the weekend because it gets more stressful trying to find a campground over the weekend, and then again we may not.

An Evening at Albee Creek Campground

After a lovely day of exploring the redwood forest, we settled down for a dinner of leftovers and a walk over to the apple orchard. Callie and I watched a young black tailed doe with her adorable, playful fawn and a buck showing off his antlers. He was rubbing them on the branches of the apple tree and wasn't at all shy about it. As he grazed, he would swing his magnificent head back and forth in a large graceful arch and the doe would stop to let the fawn nurse. It was an idyllic setting with the sun setting slowly in the west and the pale blond grasses catching the last of the golden light before darkness descended. Callie and I sat on a picnic table and listening to the sounds of jays squawking and people preparing their dinner over campfires. She has become very good at walking on the leash and usually can last about 20 minutes before wanting to head back to the safety of the RV. Once she is in the RV, she can watch all the activities unfurl through the front window while safely sitting on the dash. Real time big screen TV in action. Not a bad place for a cat to be!

Albee Creek Campground

Albee Creek Campground
(Or loosing hubcaps right and left)

After I had finished writing this morning, we got the brainy idea of checking in at the visitor's center to see if there might be a slim chance of staying at Albee Campground. It is the smallest of the three redwood campgrounds and everyone says it is the most beautiful with bears that scale the apple trees in broad daylight. Helen, whom we had met yesterday when we checked in at Burlington did us a big favor and called Regina, who worked at Albee, and she said that there might be a chance at noon. We decided to go for it and packed up quickly and headed over.

The signs posted on the narrow road to Albee Creek suggest that you not attempt to drive a motorhome or trailer, but we of course ignored the sign and instead paid close attention to all the pot holes in the road. They were everywhere, and they were deep and they were big. We went slow enough and Michael did a good job of avoiding the worst of them and we were able to get to Albee Creek Campground at 11:10, and in one piece. Regina said that it appeared that the guests in #29 had left, but she couldn't sell us the site until noon time. She asked us to park over in a meadow across the way and at noon to come back and she would let us know for certain.

While hanging out in the meadow, I decided to take Callie for a walk to hunt grasshoppers and when I looked back at the RV, what should I see but that another wheel liner ( or hub cap to me) was missing on the front left tire this time. Now we are missing the one on the back right and on the front left. I suppose it is proof that we are driving over treacherous terrain, but it does make the RV look less classy and more dirty. The beautiful chrome hub caps are gone and what is left is a blackened , filthy wheel.

We were able to check in, so after we parked the RV, we decided to get on our bikes and we biked the entire 5 miles one way all the way back to the 101 in hopes of finding it. We biked past a correctional crew working roadside and they thought they had seen a hub cap and 7 men that were hauling a log with chains along the roadside said they saw one too! They thought they had seen a hub cap on the left side of the road, and so we were heartened to continue the search. The hub cap the log hauling men had seen was for a car, and the correctional crew when we biked past them again on the return trip, said they had placed the hub cap all the back at the bridge along the 101. Maybe when we leave tomorrow we can check to see if it is our hub cap. We were too tired to turn around and go back the other way, so we continued biking back to Albee Campground.

On the bike ride back to Albee Creek, we visited the Rockefeller Forest which holds one of the largest concentrations of mature redwoods that are over 350 ft tall. It has more than 7 times the biomass- ( living or dead organic material) of any forest of similar size including a rainforest, in the world. They were incredibly majestic and one particular tree that had fallen over, was so long, it stretched out over the river bed and on up into the forest on the other side! It is pretty difficult to capture the grandeur in a photograph, but I did try to do a short video of one vertical tree and panned bottom to top to show how tall it was.

Tonight we have leftovers and all three of us are tired and happy. The stellar jays are numerous and noisy and the shadow and light that patterns the forest floor is beautiful. Callie is snuggled up on the top loft sleeping, and Michael is taking a nap on the sofa. Who could ask for anything more- other than 2 new hub caps!

The Road Home

It was with a somewhat heavy heart that we had to head back to the inferno, but with Callie’s cough getting worse by the day, we had no choice but to hit the road toward home.

I took her to the vet yesterday, and we should know in the next 72 hours what type of bacterial infection she has. It could be a chronic bronchitis because there was a spot on her left lung. She has lost some weight, but is still eating and drinking with gusto and still climbing her beloved olive trees!

It actually feels good to be back in Borrego Springs, in spite of the 106 degree temperature expected later today. Michael and I went on an early morning, road-bike ride, and had to marvel at how much stronger both of us are after having biked up in the mountains at high altitude and on rocky, sandy, hiking trails. Riding along a flat, well paved surface, and on my Cannondale, felt like riding a thoroughbred horse instead of a Welch Pony!

Callie loved the drive back toward home and rode on the dash most of the way! She is happy to be home though and can once again roam around and snuggle in her Kong bed on top of the hutch in the master bedroom. Living in a 24ft RV for weeks at a time needs some getting use to!

Rock Creek & Lake- A Mirror Image

At an elevation of 9,500 ft. Rock Creek and the lake it feeds, was under 25 ft of snow in April. The run-off from melting snow is extraordinary. The lake is at the high water mark and Rock Creek is feeding it at a tremendous rate. At times, the roar of water cascading into the lake was deafening! There were so many opportunities to take incredible photographs, that I just have to post a few more. Getting up at dawn with the fishermen is why the lake was so glassy and I was able to get the reflection so perfect. It pays to be a morning person when you are a photographer!!


Rock Creek Lake

We left Convict Lake Monday morning and headed to Rock Creek Lake and Creek. We were able to park the RV in campsite #7 right across from the lake and it is an RV spot all to itself. The front of the RV is facing west and the lake is in front of us. What a beautiful view we have.

We biked along the lakeside trail this morning and it was a little bit challenging for me because if you fall, you will slide down into the lake which is about 10ft or more at times below a very narrow trail. We were able to go 2/3’s of the way around it and then had to turn around and go in the other direction because the trail is under water. Apparently, the place that we are parked in now with the RV had 25 ft of snow less on it than 2 months ago. There is so much water everywhere, that everyone is talking about it. The runoff once again is so forceful and loud, it sounds like an airplane overhead.

Michael is fishing and I took Callie on a walk part of the way, and had her ride in the backpack for awhile and then walk on her leash and harness. There are so many dogs hanging out with their fishermen owners, that it made me a little nervous to walk her, making Callie even a little bit more nervous, so we turned around and headed back to the RV.

While sitting with Michael as he fished, I watched an osprey attempting to escort a bald eagle away from the lake. The eagle was magnificent, but no match for the much smaller but agile, dive bombing and screaming in outrage, osprey. Michael and I saw it catch a fish earlier in the day and it flew straight up into the air, hesitated, then twisted and turned direction on a dime and plunged straight down into the cold, blue lake. It grasped a large trout in his or her talons and went completely under water for a second before popping back up with the fish wiggling helplessly as they both headed skyward. It was incredible to watch. The eagle had no choice but to leave because the osprey was so swift and outraged, it must have established this territory quite some time ago.

We are spending tonight and maybe tomorrow night depending on our propane and fresh water supply. Both say low to empty on the control panel, so we shall see. Michael claims there is more than enough for a couple of days. Charging up phones and computer takes the generator and the generator uses propane. Using the microwave is generator dependent too. The refrigerator can be used either propane or battery. We have done very well for two weeks of camping and are learning to dry camp efficiently.

When we got up the next morning, we decided to head home because Callie needs an X-ray due to her cough having returned. What an adventure we have had. Next time we head out, it may be to Canada!