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2017-10-13 Westbound; WBCCI Region 12 Rally, Day 4…

Today was a busy day.  The Warrens drove, and we left the RV park at about 10:30 am. Soon we arrived at Bella Grace Winery just outside of Plymouth:

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Bella Grace is owned by one of the Airstreamers at the Rally.  They hosted a wine tasting, and educational tour of the vineyards, and tours of the wine caves…

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The wines they were pouring were mostly their Italian varietals, and we enjoyed them a lot…

The vineyard talk was very interesting, learning about the farming aspect of wine and grapes:

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As much fun as this visit was, we had other things on the agenda today… We left and drove to the town of Plymouth; lunch was in order:

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We ate at Amador Vintage Market, which includes a great sandwich deli, a wine tasting bar, and lots of gourmet wine country types of things…

After lunch we walked the town a bit:

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Next, the Warrens took us to their house in El Dorado.  They built it about 15 years ago on 10 hilly acres studded with oak trees.  The views were lovely!  They have put a lot of work into the place to make it look really nice!

After our quick house tour we headed down the hill to Convergence Winery.  This a favorite of the Warrens.  We agreed:

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And by now, it was time for dinner.  In Plymouth, across the street from Amador Vintage Market, is Taste:

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Next door is their newly opened boutique hotel called Rest.  We went in to Taste and found seats at the wine bar:

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We ordered a bottle of Bella Grace Old Vines Zinfandel, and proceeded into dinner.  Lynda and I opted for small plates…

Steak Tartare:

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Flatbread with three cheeses:

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And something they called, Toma; cheese roasted on an oak plank, with honey , prosciutto, and grilled figs:

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It was a great meal!  Taste is a surprise gem in an otherwise very rustic, old town…

We returned to the RV Park.  Tonight’s entertainment put on by the club was a comedian; I stopped in to see what it was all about.  His jokes were OK, some were very amusing, but his real skill was in working the crowd… It was really fun!

After the comedian we watched Syracuse upset Clemson!  What could be more fun than that?  Well, I’ll tell you what:  CAL beat and humiliated a sleep-walking Washington State!  It was awesome!  Go Bears!

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-10-01 Westbound; South to Oregon and a visit with friends…

We left Maple Valley and pointed the Villa south.  Sunday morning traffic was light, and in a few hours we arrived at Vancouver, Washington.  We parked the Villa in a pre-school parking lot and walked for about 1/2 hour. Then we found the Kitchen Table Cafe, where we joined friends from high school:

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We had a lovely time getting reacquainted, and we had a good breakfast as well; but soon we were once again on the road.  Within a few minutes we crossed over the Columbia River into Oregon:

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Our destination today is Silver Falls State Park.

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We found our assigned camp site and set up.  Then we headed out to see the falls.

Silver Falls State Park is located near Silverton, OR, about 20 miles east-southeast of Salem.  It is the largest state park in Oregon with an area of more than 9,000 acres, and it includes more than 24 miles of walking trails, 14 miles of horse trails, and a 4-mile bike path.  Its 8.7-mile Canyon Trail/Trail of Ten Falls runs along the banks of Silver Creek and by ten waterfalls (duh!).  Four of the ten falls have an amphitheater-like surrounding that allows the trail to pass behind the flow of the falls.

The most accessible waterfall is South Falls; we reached it after about a 1/2 hour walk through the park; no hiking involved.  We even walked across this covered pedestrian bridge over Silver Creek:

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Interestingly, we arrived at the top of the falls, where Silver Creek flows over the basalt rock into the canyon below:

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From here, we walked around the canyon and down a path into this bowl-shaped arena:

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The falls eventually came into view:

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The gigantic overhang of the rock above the pond below is amazing!

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Soon we were behind the falls, where we could see the back side of water:

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We decided to proceed to the lower South Falls, another .8 mile down the hill.  We walked along the creek and walked lower and lower into the canyon:

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Then it got steep, and we descended many stairs, until the Lower South Falls came into view:

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Once again, we could walk behind the falls:

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And then we had to walk back up. And up. And up…

Finally we reached the main area of the park.  There is a lovely Lodge, built between 1946 and 1955; it used to be a full service restaurant; now it is a simple cafe:

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After our taxing hike we walked the 1 mile back to the Villa.  Happy Hours ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-30 Westbound; Family day in Maple Valley…

Today is all about Lynda spending quality time with her sisters.  I spent quality time watching football!

We are in Maple Valley, WA, at the home of Lynda’s sister and her husband, Barb and Terry DeKruyf:

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Lynda’s sister Maria Van Zanen is visiting from South Carolina as well:

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The Villa is parked in their front yard:

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Terry was working this weekend; Lynda, Barb, and Maria visited and played Scrabble; I watched football:

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Mid-day I went for a walk to meet some of the neighbors:

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Later in the afternoon we drove about 30 minutes southwest to the home of Barb’s son, Andy, and his wife, Danae.  Andy cooked a great dinner of salmon and Kobe beef.  Maria read to Andy’s daughter, Riley:

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It was a nice day of relaxing and visiting family.  An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-29 Westbound; The Olympic Peninsula Rain Forest…

We hitched up and left Port Townsend at about 8:30 am; we are heading west to see the Olympic National Forest, along the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

The Olympic National Forest is home to four temperate rain forests; they are part of a huge and historic Pacific Northwest rain forest that once stretched from Oregon’s southern coast to southeastern Alaska.  They are the Hoh, Quinault, Queets and Bogchiel rain forests.  We were in the coastal plains of the Hoh rain forest.

But what makes a temperate forest?  Rain.  Rain.  And more rain ⎯ 12-14 feet per year, to be exact.  Climate is also an important factor.  Temperatures rarely drop below freezing or go above 80F, enabling an incredibly unique ecosystem to grow.  Mosses, ferns, Douglas fir, red alders, Western hemlocks, and Sitka spruce thrive in these temperate rain forests, as do epiphytes, which are plants growing on other plants.  Cat-tail moss and licorice ferns are two types of epiphytes you will find in the Olympic National Forest.

Another characteristic of temperate rain forests are nurse logs, which are the remnants of downed trees.  They become vibrant places for seeds to grow, small mammals to live and insects to burrow.

So we drove through the rain, amongst trees and plains; we drove along Lake Crescent:

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We finally arrived at the Storm King Ranger Station, the trail head for the hike to Marymere Falls.  Or, I should say, we almost reached it.  About 1 1/2 miles before the turn-off we were stopped for construction.  We sat for over 1/2 hour, waiting.  Finally we were allowed to proceed.  Then we saw it: a huge rock wall, extending hundreds of feet up the mountain; about half way up were three or four men dangling from harnesses, working on the rock face.  Apparently they have discovered several fissures that are threatening to break loose; the workmen are blasting away the loose rock to prevent it from falling onto the highway and into the lake below.

So we parked near the ranger station and the shores of Crescent Lake:

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The trail led under the highway, and up through the rain forest:

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PS:  Lynda always says she takes pictures of me so that she will have pictures to show at my funeral.  I told her that the photo above is the one I want printed, enlarged to 11 x 17, and framed, to be placed on my casket…

The rain forest is really amazing, with the moss, the colors, and the nurse logs:

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We saw the river and crossed over some bridges; one bridge was even made from a fallen log:

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We finally reached the falls; they are about 90 feet tall:

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It was a nice hike; it was an easy-to-follow trail.  It started sloping moderately, but near the falls it became very steep; many parts of the trail were steps.  It was just about two miles, round trip, to where we had parked the Villa.

So, after having our exercise for the day, we drove back east. We again had to wait at the construction site, but it must have been lunch time, because the wait was only about five minutes.  And, speaking of lunch, we stopped in at Granny’s Cafe:

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Apparently the current owner bought the cafe from her mother, the original Granny… We had a lovely lunch:

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We even had a view of the Villa:

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Now our destination is Maple Valley, to visit both of  Lynda’s sisters.  We chose to take the scenic route, along the west shore of the Hood Canal:

Hood Canal is a fjord forming the western lobe, and one of the four main basins, of Puget Sound.  Hood Canal is not a canal in the sense of being a man-made waterway—it is a natural waterway.  It is simply long and narrow, with an average width of 1.5 miles and a mean depth of  about 175 ft.  It has about 215 miles of shoreline, most of it dotted with vacation houses.  Along its entire length, Hood Canal separates the Kitsap Peninsula from the Olympic Peninsula.

It is beautiful:

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After fighting Friday afternoon rush hour traffic on the 5 we arrived in Maple Valley.  Happy hours with Lynda’s sisters ensued as the moon rose over the Villa:

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And there was football… And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-28 Westbound; Ferry to the Olympic Peninsula…

A short travel day today.  We hitched up and headed out about 12:30. We had a leisurely drive from the fairgrounds to the ferry landing in Coupeville; obviously, the ferry wasn’t here yet:

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So we waited…

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Finally the ferry arrived and we were directed to drive on-board.

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We are traveling from the Coupeville Ferry Landing, on Whidbey Island, across to the town of Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula; we will stay in Port Townsend overnight, then explore the rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula.

Being first on-board the ferry, we were parked right up front:

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We passed by a small trailer park and spotted an Airstream, the 117th one we have seen  as we have been driving this trip…

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35 minutes later we arrived at Port Townsend:

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Our campground was right in town, in conjunction with the marina:

We walked along the shore:

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We walked through the town; it appeared to be a “real” town, with local businesses, bars, and restaurants, maritime industry, and tourist shops all cohabiting nicely.  Over the shops were offices and apartments/condos.  It felt much more real than previous small towns we have visited…

We opted to stay in the Villa for dinner tonight; we watched football and Happy Hours ensured; an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-27 Westbound; Whidbey Island…

We had a lazy morning, here in the fairgrounds campground.  We used the time to do final planning for the remainder of our trip.  We also communicated with other residents of the trailer park:

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Apparently, several years ago the fair folks invited kids in the community to bring in their pets; many brought pet rabbits.  As could be expected, some escaped into the woods and over the years have cross-pollinated with the local gray rabbits.  The fairgrounds in particular, and the whole island in general, are now overrun with rabbits of all colors.  Only the gray rabbits are indigenous; all the others are the results of the great pet escape…

At noon we put together a small picnic and walked about one mile down the road to the Whidbey Island Winery.  We did some tasting, then bought a bottle of nice Sangiovece to enjoy with our picnic…

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We returned to the Villa; I took a nap.  At 5:00 David and Kim picked us up and we went to the Roaming Radish for dinner; this is a farm-to-table restaurant, and one of the best restaurants on the island, with very unique, chef-centric food.

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We enjoyed a great meal with great friends… An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-26 Westbound; Whidbey Island;

We pulled out of Larrabee State Park this morning, having an interesting time threading our way between the trees.  I don’t think the designers of this campground was anticipating 35′ long trailers…

We had an uneventful drive south, over a few bridges, and onto Whidbey Island.  We parked in the town of Oak Harbor and took a quick shopping trip to the local Safeway.

We then met an old Airstream friend, and professional photographer, Bill Ferry:

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We enjoyed a tour of the town and then we shared lunch at Seabolt’s Smokehouse.  The Penn Cove mussels (a local favorite) were spectacular!

After lunch we proceeded down the island. We checked out the Coupeville ferry landing from which we will be leaving in a few days.  Then we arrived at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley, WA.  They have a simple campground that is usually crammed with 50-60 RVs during the fair and other events, but today we shared it with only 7 other rigs…

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We have long time friends who recently moved to Washington from Laguna Beach about 1 1/2 years ago.  While they live in Seattle for now, they are building a new house here in Langley.  We walked the short one mile to see the progress of the house (slow), then we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Prima in Langley.  After dinner we walked along the shore and through the town.

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We returned to the Villa and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-25 Westbound; Bellingham and Fairhaven…

We awoke in the woods, in rain and fog.  Washington never disappoints…

We went for a walk to find the “beach” and to see the water…

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It was a nice walk and the rain was light and intermittent.  The beach was a little rocky:

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On the other hand, it was nice to get back into my Rainbows…

The water was, as usual, very nice:

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After our walk we drove into Fairhaven, then my brother and I drove back down Chuckanut Drive to an Oyster Farm.  We picked up three dozen oysters to have with dinner.  This farm has been here for over 120 years, and they actually own over 4,000 acres of seabed, all under this water:

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Later in the day we strolled the streets of downtown Fairhaven, and the adjacent waterfront:

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We saw this little marker, telling of the merger between Bellingham and Fairhaven many years ago:

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This evening we enjoyed a lovely dinner and the views from Jim and Pam’s deck:

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

2017-09-24 Westbound; Bellingham via the “Washington Alps”…

We left early and headed towards the west.  Our destination today is Bellingham, WA, home of my brother Jim and his wife, Pam.  There is no nice direct way to get from Grand Coulee to Bellingham, so we are taking the scenic route through the “Washington Alps”.

The first several miles of our travels the landscape was very similar to what we saw in Eastern Washington yesterday.  One exception were the “haystack rocks” scattered about the landscape. These rocks were carried along with the glaciers as they receded and were dropped randomly across the countryside.

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Soon the landscape was taken over by apple trees; it appears to be time for harvest:

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We passed by beautiful Lake Pateros…

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At about 10:00 am we rolled into the western-looking town of Winthrop.  It has old west storefronts, wood plank sidewalks, and lots of trinket shops.  After a stroll up and down the street we decided to have a late breakfast/early lunch at Three Fingered Jacks Saloon and Cafe:

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We had surprisingly good food!

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We walked around the town and found this bridge over a nice little river:

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And some beautiful fall colors:

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We continued into the “Washington Alps”, beautiful, tall, snow-capped mountains, through the towns of Twisp and Mazama. We went through Washington Pass at 5,453′ and Rainy Pass at 4,862′.  It was all quite scenic!

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We soon arrived at an overlook at Diablo Lake:

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We finally came out of the mountains and drove through Rockport, Concrete, and Sedro Woolley, eventually reaching the 5 and arriving at Larrabee State Park.

We maneuvered through the trees and into a nice, long, but very sloping and non-level site.  However, we were able to get set up quickly.

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We then left the Villa and drove to Bellingham, more particularly its southern neighborhood of Fairhaven.

We met up with my brother and his wife.  Happy hours ensued on their deck overlooking  Bellingham Bay, Lummi Island, and beyond to Victoria, BC…

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An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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