Monday, August 31, 2015

Dungeness National Recreation Area


On August 24, we decided to make a move closer to the northern end of Olympic National Park. We chose a campground that looked pretty good and headed in that direction. We did not have a dump station at the Oak Bay park, so we wanted to do that along the way. We tried the Escapee park, but they would not let us dump without being members. Even with a fee. We have not become Escapee members because we have not seen one of their parks that we would like. I like the concept of the organization and someday we may decide to join, but for now we choose to go our own way.

We then came to a sign for Dungeness National Recreation area. There is a county run park right next to the recreation area that has a dump station. We decided to check out the park and it looked pretty nice. We found a cool site right on the bluff overlooking the strait. We decided to stay the night. That was a fateful decision. I will explain as I go along. After getting set up we decided to go check out the wildlife refuge.

The wildlife refuge is a spit of land that protects a small bay. There is a long beach that goes 5 miles out to a lighthouse.


It was a beautiful day to go for a walk on the beach. There was some large logs that had washed up on shore. Some of the biggest driftwood I have ever seen. The next day, we saw some that made this driftwood look like sticks. Our son Mark on the beach.


Mark and his mom having some fun on the driftwood. Mark is 6’4”, so take that into consideration to get the size of the wood.


We really wanted to go paddling here, but it was pretty rough and there was no easy way to get the boat to the water. We did get to see some large ships heading out to sea.


We decided to head up to Crescent Lake to do some paddling and check out the campground where we were planning to stay. When we got to place where Google said the campground was, there was just a pull-out. No campground at all. It would have been bad to get all the way up here and then have to go looking for a campground. That is the first time I can remember Google failing me on directions…very strange.

The winds had come up on the lake, so we went to the far end. Crescent is a huge lake, so that took a while. We found a place to launch. Here are a couple of shots of Mark and I paddling. Kim, set up her hammock and just read while we were on the water.


The water in Crescent lake is clear and surprisingly warm. We had a good time going for a short spin in the Sea Eagle.



We got the boat put away and I stopped at a local store to see if they knew where this campground was. It turns out it is 9 miles further. The location was off by about 12 miles. We decided to check it out. The campground is very tight and would be very difficult for us to fit in there. There is one site that might work, but it was taken. We were very glad that we had decided to stay at Dungeness. When we got back to camp the sun was just setting. I got this one shot from right behind the rig before I went back and made dinner. We really enjoyed the day with Mark.


Mark and I spent the rest of the evening having one of our very in-depth conversations about politics and life. He is my one child that likes to talk about that kind of stuff and I really miss him and miss those challenging conversations. We talked until after midnight. I love you Mark, I miss you already.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Olympic National Park– Hurricane Ridge


On August 23, we took a drive from our camp in Port Hadlock to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. We drove about 50 miles to Port Angeles, and then turned up into the park. We could see a haze over the mountains. The drive took us up a fairly steep road for about 30 miles. We stopped at a turn out and I got this picture of Mark checking out the view:


Here is a shot of the view back down to Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan De Fuca:


While we were standing there, a deer came walking by. She paid little attention to us.


We then drove up to the Visitor Center and it was then you could not see very far to the west. There was a fire burning in the park and the smoke was obscuring the view.



it was a bit disappointing, but the view to the east was still pretty nice.


Mark and I decided to go for a hike up to the top of the ridge. When we got there, there were two deer hiding in the tree. One was a young buck. These deer sure don’t mind people.


The views from the top were even better.



We then drove back down the mountain to the backcountry visitor center in Port Angeles. Olympic NP is a very large and diverse park. The main part covers much of the center of the Olympic Peninsula. Most of the main area of the park is designated wilderness and has no road access. There are trails that go through the wilderness, but that is outside the scope of our capabilities. We left it up to Mark what he wanted to see. We decided to make time to Kayak on one of the lakes, go to the Hoh rainforest and then to the Pacific coast.


We decided to move the rig closer to the park. That move is an interesting story which I will tell in my next entry. This was a good first day of exploring the park. We couldn’t wait to see the rest of it.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Oak Bay Park and Mark Comes for a Visit


After we came across the Puget Sound on August 20, we needed a place to camp. We have been liking County and City Parks. Oak Bay park is a county park in Port Hadlock, Washington. It turned out to be a fairly nice park, but most of the sites did not have electric. We got lucky and got the best site in the park. Site 19 had electric and a beautiful view of the bay below.


We had good Verizon 4G signal and even TV channels. No water hook up, but we could reach one with a hose to fill our tank. All that for $25 per night. The campground host is a really cool guy named Howard. He is a full timer from Colorado.

On the morning of the 21st, I took a walk around the campground and met a guy from Washington. He asked about our lifestyle. We had a nice talk. His name is Matt. He has recently left his corporate job and is now considering what he will do next. In the mean time he has been traveling for the past two months. Here is a shot of Matt:


If you are reading this Matt, All the best and enjoy your freedom, even if it is just for a short time.

It is meetings like that that make me really appreciate the fact that I don’t have to deal with the corporate world anymore.

I continued my walk around the park. There is an upper and lower park. The lower park is out on a spit of land below the upper park. Here is the view we have from upper.


Here is the view from the lower looking back up.


There are some tidal flats in between. We see ducks, seagulls and Herons. And then there are the geese. There are a large flock of them and when they decide to move the honking can be quite loud. This Heron hung around the trees above the trailer and fished in the tidal flats. I could watch him for hours.


Saturday, August 22, was the day that Mark was going to join us. He lives in St. Louis and is just getting started with his career in the IT world. Kim had plans to meet up with a friend in the Edmond area, so I took her to the ferry landing in Kingston. She went over to see Belinda. They had a fun day.

I drove on to Bainbridge Island and caught the ferry there to Seattle. We love ferries. I call it the civilized way to travel. As opposed to airlines that treat their passengers like cattle.

Here  are a few shots on the ride into Seattle:



When I arrived, I stopped at Ivar’s for some clam chowder and fish and chips.


It was very good and right at the ferry landing. The same place it has been since 1935. I then started walking around the city. I love the waterfront. They have a large Ferris Wheel. I can’t believe my mother rode this a few weeks ago. you go MOM!


I sat and watched them dock a large container ship. I just like to watch stuff like that.


There is a marina that has some awesome old yachts in it. You can also see a cruise ship in this shot.


I walked and walked. I went to the Pike Place Fish market. There is a flying fish in the second shot.



It was then time to go meet Mark. He landed at Sea-Tac and then took the light rail to the downtown area. The transit station was underground and very nice.


It was awesome to see Mark. We miss our kids, but I think they understand why we are doing what we are doing. I didn’t take a picture of him at this point, but there will be plenty in later posts. We walked around for a bit and then took the ferry back over to Bainbridge. We then drove to Kingston to meet up with Kim. We stopped at a small restaurant and sat out on the deck and had a nice dinner.

Now the adventure with Mark begins. We did not go as fast as we did with his sister back in July, but we still did a number of things. Come back to see picture of Olympic National Park and some other really cool places. I will close with this nice shot of the sunrise over the bay out the side of our rig. Those noisy geese got in this picture.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Two Boat Rides


On August 19, we decided to stay at home. Home was the Washington Park in Anacortes, Washington. We really liked this park. It is kind of tight for big rigs, but the beautiful big trees and the close proximity to the water kept it cool and comfortable. We had water and electric for $25 per night. We had good cell, but no OTA network TV.  All we had to do was look at the weather in the rest of the country to know how good we have it. Here are a couple of shots of our campsite.



By mid day we were ready to go do something. We decided to take the boat out on the water. We were expecting to see some larger boats and encounter some large wakes, but we were hoping to see some marine wildlife.


It was a beautiful day with little wind. We encountered some large wakes from boats, but the Sea Eagle handled it well. We are gaining confidence in the ability of this little boat. As we were going out we had a harbor seal come over to say hi. It was very cool to be in the water with it. Sadly, I did not get a picture of the seal.


There is nothing like being out on the water to enhance your experience of being near water. We paddled for about 3 hours. We went all the way around the end of the peninsula. Check out the cool bird on the far left. He has an orange beak. I will need some help from our birding experts to identify him.



We really had a great time on this paddle. The scenery was beautiful.




We got back and rinsed the boat and folded it up. We can now say we have taken the boat out on salt water. Another first.

On August 20, it was time to move on. We wanted to get closer to the ferry landings on the west side of the Puget Sound. Our son Mark was coming in on Saturday and we were going to go meet him in Seattle. We are also really liking these ferries and it gives us more of an excuse to go for a ride. We also wanted to go out on the Olympic Peninsula, so that we could explore Olympic National Park.

The problem was that we would have to drive for about 4 hours through Seattle traffic. The solution was to cut across the sound with a short ferry ride with the rig. The cost of the crossing would be $82.00, but that was easy to justify. We got hooked up and headed to Coupeville to catch the ferry. While we were dumping, a line of very high end classic cars cruised by. There were Duesenbergs and Pace Arrows and a few others. I got a bunch of pictures, but I will just post a couple.




For those of you that know how much I love classic cars, this was an amazing treat. Another one of those being in the right place at the right time experiences.

After we left the park we started getting texts from the Washington State Ferries. It seems that one of the two boats working this crossing was down for maintenance. We would be delayed. Did we care? No, it was just part of the experience. Here we are waiting in line.


We enjoyed the wait on another beautiful day. I ended up talking to a group of motorcycle riders from Redding, California. They also ride dirt bikes, so I invited them to come ride at HHR in Missouri. Nice guys, but I forgot to get their pictures. Then the ferry showed up and we got loaded. Here we are on the ship.


The view out the front:


As we left, we got a nice view of a lighthouse on the Coupeville side.


The crossing went fast. We got into Port Townsend and went looking for a place to stay. As usual we did not have a reservation, but that is just how we roll. We had a couple of options and would have to go check them out. You will have to come back to see how that worked out. I will tell you that we ended up in a very cool place. We are really looking forward to spending some time with Mark, we have not seen him in 8 months.

Go for a sail, cast off the lines of safety and head out to unknown adventure. The experience will enrich your soul.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sidney, British Columbia, Canada


On August 18, we got up very early and caught a ferry to Sidney, BC. As I said in my previous post, we drove the truck to the ferry landing and paid the $10 for parking. I like to park next to other trucks, so I saw a silver Chevy and parked next to it. I will explain why that is significant later.

We got on the ferry and enjoyed the first voyage to San Juan Island to pick up other passengers. It was a beautiful day to stay outside and whale watch. We had a sighting on the boat, but I was not quick enough to get a look. The marina in Friday Harbor had some beautiful boats on the outside slips.



While we were waiting to depart Friday Harbor a float plane came in and landed and then left again.



We had a nice ride over to Vancouver Island. The entire San Juan Island group was just beautiful. After about an hour we docked at the small port town of Sidney. We cleared customs and all went fine. The only problem was that they did not stamp Kim’s passport. One of the primary reasons that Kim wanted to make this trip was to use her passport. We had purchased our passports 10 years ago and she had never used hers. She really wanted that stamp, but there was no going back to get it.



It was a clear enough day to see Mt. Baker all the way back in Washington.


We walked around the downtown area and along the waterfront and decided to just stay in Sidney. We had looked at taking a bus to Victoria, but we knew it would be too much to do in 1 day. There is a nice park in downtown with interesting sculptures and a stage patterned after the Sydney opera house in Australia.



They have a nice marina there. I like this shot of the mountain through the sailboat masts.


Kim made a new friend. Kind of the silent type.


The flowers were just beautiful. I really liked these purple ones.


It was a fun day. I even got to have some sushi for lunch.

When we got back to the ferry to go back to Anacortes, we started chatting with a couple that was next to us in line. I could tell she was from the south from her accent and found out Sue is from Louisiana. Sue is married to Johnny and they live in Corpus Christi. It is amazing to think that we were in Corpus on this trip. That was such a long time ago. 7 months to be exact. Here is Johnny and Sue:


We love meeting new people and these two were a real treat. We invited them to sit with us during the voyage home. It was a blast getting to know them. When we got off the boat in Anacortes, we walked to the parking lot together and guess who was driving that Chevy parked right next to us. Yep, it was theirs.

If you guys are reading this, Safe travels back to Texas and we hope to see you the next time we are down that way.

We have been busy while we have been in Anacortes. We still have one more adventure to tell you about, but that will wait for my next entry.

The lesson for today is: Take the time to meet new people. Our lives have been so enriched by the people we have met.