Second Snow of This Winter's Tour
Thursday, November 10, 2005 - Before I get into details about the snow, let me first say that today is starting out as the third clear day we've had in a row...an unprecedented record for our time in the Pacific Northwest!
So we've been out a lot in the truck shooting photos, Sandra going with me on one of the photo excursions, the one on Tuesday when I shot the photo on the right. This is Multnomah Falls, claimed to be the tallest waterfall in Oregon. It falls into the Columbia River Gorge, which is well worth seeing itself.
I photographed these falls when I came out west 27 years ago and they look exactly now as they did then. The photo I shot back then with black & white film was one of my favorites, so I was happy to be able to reshoot the same scene with a good digital camera. The falls might not have changed, but the field of photography has completely changed in those same 27 years.
On our way to the falls, we got off the freeway to fill the truck's fuel tank and then took the old road, the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway, the rest of the way to the falls.
This road is indeed scenic and equally as unchanged as the falls, to the point I felt like I'd entered a time warp as we drove along it. It passes quite a number of other lesser waterfalls that I would have also liked to see, but my main reason for the drive was to photograph Mount Hood, another hour further down the road and time was running out if we were to get there before the sun went down.
With almost no time to spare, we made it to the scenic overlook for Mount Hood that I'd also been to 27 years ago and I got a decent shot of the mountain, which can be seen by clicking here.
Then, when yesterday also turned out to be clear (after a dense morning fog lifted), I again headed out in the truck (Sandra declining the trip) in search of a more panoramic view of Mount Hood, which I found (ironically) in Sandy, Oregon, named after the Sandy River that flows near it. A photo I shot there can be seen by clicking here..
During the drive I actually drove up the south slope of the mountain as far as the village of Government Camp which is a ski resort and has nothing to do with the government that I could see.
However, I did see a lot of snow there (photo above on the left), which makes it the second snow I've actually walked in this winter tour of the Odyssey, the first being on September 22 during our stay in Banff. But this was my kind of snow...the kind you drop in on rather than the kind that drops on you.
We are scheduled to leave here tomorrow and probably will even though the forecast is for a possibility of rain. We are looking at staying at Port Orford on the South Oregon Coast, so we can see more of that, as well as making a day trip over to see Crater Lake.
Our Weekend Activities
Monday, November 7, 2005 - Saturday was rather a milestone day for Sandra and me as it was our 15th wedding anniversary.
We celebrated it by having dinner out (photo on the left), taking the easy way out by walking across the lane in front of the RV to the Elmer's Restaurant that's within spitting distance of us.
Elmer's is a western franchise operation and about the same class of restaurant as Denny's although a much smaller chain. One bonus at Elmer's was they had a 55 and over menu.
Fifteen years doesn't sound like a long time when one is looking at turning 60 on one's next birthday, but in retrospect, 15 years ago neither of my kids were married, let alone having made us grandparents four times over, soon to be five, both my parents and Sandra's mother were still alive, the internet and digital photography were virtually unheard of, my Northern News was printed out on a crude black & white dot-matrix printer and distributed by traditional mail, my net worth was practically zero after a lifetime of bad decisions, and Sandra was tied to a job she hated but couldn't afford to quit, just to name the things that come readily to mind. So when viewed in that light, our lives have completely changed for the better during the years Sandra and I have been married, and most of the credit goes to her.
Then yesterday, after our wild celebratory night at Elmer's, we had something of a break in the cloudy gloomy rainy weather that's plagued us for what seems like forever. So, at the crack of dawn I went in search of a view of Mount Hood but it was obscured by clouds and I had to settle for some photos in the Mount Hood National Forest.
After returning to the RV around midmorning and getting Sandra and the dog, we headed for the coast. While the sky was fairly clear inland, I was expecting the coast to be cloudy, but such turned out not to be the case and we ended up having a very nice drive along Route 101, the Pacific Coast Highway, traveling south from Lincoln City to Newport. Pictured here is the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, the most well-known of the lighthouses on Oregon's coast. As always, click on the photos for a larger view.
This morning the clouds and rain have returned, but after yesterday's drive in the sun, 350 miles in total, I don't mind.
Now At Woodburn, Oregon
Friday, November 4, 2005 - Surprise! We made an unannounced move. Mainly because we didn't know up until the minute we actually left Copalis Beach that we were going to. The RV park there was not that great, although it was really nice being right by the Pacific and having free wi-fi which was needed for all the rain and dense clouds we had that broke the satellite access, but the park was very limited and overpriced on top of it, so not somewhere one would want to idle away a week or two waiting for the rain to end, if it ever does there.
So, with what had looked like a break in the rain this morning we made the spontaneous decision to head out and, of course, as soon as we started decamping the rain returned, but we finished packing up anyway and got soaked in the process.
As we drove, the rain increased, then decreased, then increased again as we hit Portland, Oregon and driving through there ended up being as traumatic as the drive through Seattle had been. What had been heavy rain in Seattle was a deluge in Portland where we also got bogged down by more traffic backups than we could count and by the time we pulled into a rest area just south of the city I was exhausted.
So, after 200 miles of driving misery I'd had enough and we pulled into the first campground that had easy access from I-5 and looked like it had all the amenities we lacked at Copalis Beach. This turned out to be the Portland-Woodburn RV Park which was just 10 miles further south and right off a freeway exit that has among many other things...a Taco Bell for me and an outlet mall for Sandra!
As far as I'm concerned we're staying here until the rain ends, which might be more than a week according to the weather forecast, but I've had it with towing in the rain, at least until my nerves recover and there's little point in going further south to try driving out of the rain because this weather system goes halfway down into California and I'd miss seeing most of what I wanted to see along the coast. So enough is enough.
There's plenty to see around here, not the least of which is Mount Hood. So far, with all the crappy weather we've driven through we missed seeing such sights in Washington as a close view of Mount Baker, the Cascade Range, the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens, all of which were lost to sight in neverending clouds, so I'm not going to miss Mount Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, and Oregon's Pacific coast, which is better than the coast of Washington anyway.
So, that's where we're at. I easily accessed the satellite, so if the clouds don't interfere we've got internet. The campground has wi-fi but it's not free.
Now to dry out and get warm.
Rain...Rain...and More Rain
Thursday, November 3, 2005 - The photo on the left was taken a few miles north of here yesterday morning as the sun was about to disappear for the foreseeable future in this part of the world. Joy.
Rain moved in during the evening, becoming heavy rain with high wind gusting to gale force 11 during the night. It's still raining, coming down in sheets with the wind occasionally buffeting the RV.
To be on the safe side, once it was light enough outside I braved the elements and added two more tie-down straps to the satellite antenna as insurance against the possibility of the rain softening the ground to the point the first strap could no longer hold.
Normally, there's a sunny break in the weather after a storm, but now one storm is following on the heels of the one preceding it. Could be worse though. We could still be in the mountains. They're predicting this rain will be 8 to 16 inches of snow up there. This will close the passes until they're cleared and anyone driving into the mountains will be required by law to have tire chains available in the vehicle. The skiers are overjoyed though. Apparently last year they had very little snow on the slopes. This year the ski season is starting early.
Now Near Copalis Beach, Washington
Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - After the most hair-raising move of the Odyssey, we now reside at Copalis Beach, Washington USA.
The day started out with rain and it stayed with us until we were west of Olympia, Washington. We left Surrey at 10:15am and pulled into the Dunes RV Resort at 3:30pm for a little over a 5 hour drive of 250 miles.
The first problem we ran into was at the US border where the signage was unclear as to what lane we should have pulled into. The clearance under the canopy over the guard booths was listed as 12 feet and the RV is 12 feet 8 inches. However ahead of us was a similar RV and it cleared, but I couldn't bring myself to risk decapitating our air conditioner. Unfortunately though, by this time we had partly entered one of the wrong lanes and had to back up to move over into a lane the signage had told us not to enter. Go figure. Anyway, thanks to the kind and understanding people behind us in line I was able to successfully back up the rig and get into the right-wrong lane.
After all this (I'm sparing you a lot of the sordid details) the border guard passed us through after asking only a couple questions.
Then a while later we hit Seattle where the rain continued, the lanes narrowed due to road construction, and the traffic was bumper to bumper. There was more than one time where road spray was so thick we could hardly see the vehicle in front of us and we were sandwiched between 18 wheelers with almost no room to spare. Traffic also came to a sudden halt once due to rubberneckers gawking at a couple cars pulled off the side of the road and we found out the truck's ABS system works.
When we were past Olympia the rain ended, the weather actually started to clear some, and the traffic thinned out for the first time since we were going through the Rocky Mountains several weeks ago.
The rest of the drive to the campground was a piece of cake, but the campsite they gave us, the largest they have, is barely big enough for the RV and it took several tries before we got it positioned as well as it can be.
On a positive note, we are a short walk from the ocean (photo above was our sunset this evening) and can hear the surf from the RV, accessing the satellite was effortless, and the campground has wi-fi we can reach from the RV which will come in handy the next time clouds move in and block access to the satellite.
And clouds are predicted for the rest of the week even though tomorrow is supposed to have some sunny breaks.
For Older News
To read details of our previous stops and camps, visit the News Archives.
Updated Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Copyright © 2005 by Gordon L Wolford .
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