Monday, January 31, 2011

Barn Charm - Winton, WA

Taken along U.S. Highway 2 near Winton, Washington.

Winton, Washington
Tricia is the host of Barn Charm each week. Click on the logo above to see more great barns!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Unlike the boat I posted yesterday, today's boat is nowhere near as quiet a ride.

We saw several air boats last week in Florida. I know they are a very popular type of boat in that region of the country. I'm sorry, but I just can't imagine going for a boat ride and having to wear hearing protection. I'd estimate these guys were a mile away when we first heard them, long before they came into view on the other side of Lake Washington.

We had to check out Lake Washington since we also have a Lake Washington in Seattle! Just don't ask me about our trip down Seattle St.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend Reflections - River Ride

Taken last August on the French Broad River outside of Knoxville, TN.  I think I might appreciate a little of that summer heat right about now!

In a reflective mood? Click on the link above to go to the Weekend Reflections meme hosted by James @ Newtown Area Photo.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Skywatch Friday - Fire in the Floridian Sky

After a stormy day last Monday in Cocoa Beach complete with a tornado watch and heavy downpours, our evening started with this spectacular sunset. Maybe facing the front hotel portico wasn't so bad after all. Our balcony gave us a great viewpoint for observing the blazes of orange and yellow fanning across the western horizon.

The downright awesome team of hosts - Klaus, Wren, Sylvia, Fishing Guy and Sandy - bring us Skywatchers together each week to share our shots of the sky. Come join us by clicking on the banner above.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Great Blue Heron

One of the nice things about our recent trip to Florida was the variety of birds.

 Great Blue Heron

Springman at the Pine River Review is our host each week for World Bird Wednesday. Click on the logo above to see some really great bird photography from the contributors this awesome meme.

Going! Going! Still time to bid!

Here's your chance to support The Oral Cancer Foundation. FabGrandma has been doing a 10 for 10 auction and it ends on January 31st. I have donated two homemade aprons personally sewn by me for her auction.

All proceeds from this auction are being donated to The Oral Cancer Foundation, a national public service, non-profit entity designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support activities.

 Blue Side

Yellow Side

To bid on the first of the two aprons, follow this link >> You will find instructions on how to place your bid. Winner is responsible for shipping costs.

GO BID! :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Barn Charm - Abandoned

This is another look at a barn I posted for a meme in May 2009. Its always been a favorite of mine.

 Tricia at Bluff Area Daily is our host each Monday for Barn Charm. Click on the icon above to see more fabulous barns!


Last week, we traveled to Florida on business. During our layover in Dallas, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at T.G.I. Friday's. Mounted on the wall above our table was an old Atari 2600 game console. What really cracked me up was the switch for choosing your TV type - color or black and white. Wow, did I ever feel old!

The Adventure game cartridge came out in 1979 and was considered the first action adventure game. It also introduced the first widely known Easter egg to the gaming world. I can't remember if I ever played this game or not.

Atari 2600 Game Console - Woodgrain Version Circa 1980-1982

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday - Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park - Cocoa, FL

Hey Harriet is the host of Shadow Shot Sunday. Click on the icon above to share your own or see what others have posted.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

World Bird Wedneday - Christmas Dinner

When we were at my sister's house in Enumclaw, Washington on Christmas Day, she mentioned having seen a kingfisher swoop down on the community pond and then land in a nearby tree with a goldfish. I am glad I had my camera with me because he did it two more times! These were not small goldfish he was feasting on for his Christmas dinner. It was hard to capture him because of the fading light and having to shoot quickly.

 Belted Kingfisher

Click on the icon above and join in Springman's World Bird Wednesday!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Barn Charm - Skagit Farm Stand

This is a produce stand during the growing season and they also sold Christmas trees this past year. They've come a long way from having a wagon from which fresh picked corn was sold to this fairly new barn.

Skagit Farm Stand

 Come join Tricia at Bluff Area Daily who hosts Barn Charm each Monday. If you love barns, you'll love this weekly meme. Click on the icon above.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday - Gothic Arches

Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur. ~ Henry Miller 

McCullough Bridge ~ North Bend, Oregon

Hey Harriett hosts Shadow Shot Sunday each week. Click on the icon above to visit Harriet's blog and see what others are sharing.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Camera Critters - Best Buds

I forgot their names, but know the little one was a rescue found on the side of the road eleven years ago. I thought they were cute sitting on the beach like this.

"If you want the best seat in the house ... move the dog"  -- Unknown
Spotted on the Beach ~ Nehalem Bay State Park, Oregon

Misty Dawn is your host each week for Camera Critters. Click on the icon above to see more cuties or to share your own!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Weekend Reflections - Jelly

When we were at Nehalem Beach State Park in Oregon on New Year's Day, we were able to spend some time on the beach with the dogs. I noticed the reflection of Jelly in the wet sand and quickly snapped her picture before she bolted away to chase after Buddy.

Happiness is a warm puppy.  ~Charles M. Schulz 

Jelly @ Nehalem Bay State Park ~ Manzanita, Oregon

James at Newtown Area Photo hosts the Weekend Reflections meme starting each and every Friday. Click on the icon above to see what others are sharing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Skywatch Friday - Knoxville Morning

A view of the downtown Knoxville, Tennessee skyline in the early morning light. The building with giant basketball is the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (which we didn't visit).

 Knoxville, Tennessee - August 2010

Each week, the Skywatch team of Wren, Sylvia, Fishing Guy, Sandy and Klaus brings us wonderful sky shots from all around the world. Click on the banner above to visit others or to share your own!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

World Bird Wednesday - Red-naped Sapsucker

From a trip to the Methow Valley last April.

 Red-naped Sapsucker

Springman at the Pine River Review hosts World Bird Wednesday each week. Click on the icon above to see more fabulous birds.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Barn Charm - Tillamook County, Oregon

On our recent trip to Oregon, I noticed several barns with quilt-like squares on them. I wasn't able to get very good pictures. In researching more into this, I found the Tillamook County Quilt Trail. It is a relatively recent undertaking to identify and mark historic barns and structures in Tillamook County. Clever idea!

Trisha at Bluff Area Daily hosts Barn Charm each week. Click on the icon above to visit other barns or to share one of yours!

Our Oregon Adventure Comes to a Close

The final two days of our Oregon Adventure and the beginning of the New Year. Since the day the kayak fell off the camper roof, it has been either on Roy’s truck’s kayak rack or sitting on the ground. However, now that we were heading home it would be time to stow back up there. Or would it?

Hmmm…maybe we can stuff thirteen feet of molded plastic inside the camper. Oh yes, that it the answer! It will be much easier to remove for one night than to hoist up twelve plus feet and strap it down. I wish I would have taken a picture of this feat, but I forgot.

We discussed our routing options – the freeway or Highway 101 and quickly decided on the coast route again. Rather than get into a mindset of freeway autopilot mode and dealing with Portland, it was a no-brainer choice. Our rest stop would be somewhere up near Astoria. We got the camper ready for transit and off we went.

 Effect of the Ocean Winds on Trees

The weather was almost perfect – no rain, light winds and sunshine! The first stop was at an overlook for Heceta Head Lighthouse. What a gorgeous lighthouse. The beam on this working lighthouse is the brightest on the Oregon coast and can be seen twenty-one miles from land. You can visit Heceta Head Lighthouse State Park, but bring your wallet since this is a fee-based park.

 Heceta Head Lighthouse

Continuing north, we passed South Beach State Park and the city of Newport, then Depoe Bay and back into Lincoln City, one of longest cities distance-wise along the road. The dogs needed another break and we found our way back to a nice little park called Devils Lake State Recreation Area, also part of the Oregon State Parks system.

Remember on the way south, we took the Three Capes route coming out of Tillamook. On this day, we stayed on 101 instead of turning towards Pacific City and drove through a nice valley with many dairy farms. This section of the highway stays inland away from the coast.

In Wheeler, we stopped for a late lunch at the Tsunami Bar & Grill. We ordered up fish and chips again (I need to get away from the salty air). We watched a little football on television while we munched on our lunch. The food was okay, but nowhere near as good as the Crazy Norwegian’s.

Leaving Wheeler, we passed the turn off to Nehalem Bay State Park and decided to turn around and go back there for the night’s stay. Am I glad we did! Yet another gem of a state park.

We got camp established (like taking the kayak out of the camper) and then headed over to the beach to watch the setting sun. Although slightly breezy, we stayed awhile and let the dogs romp on the beach before pausing to enjoy the beauty of the evening sky.

Path to the Beach at Nehalem Bay State Park
 Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain 

 Karl at Sunset

Spray off the Waves at Sunset

We came back to our campsite and Karl worked on getting the campfire going. The wood was difficult to get burning plus it was getting cold…upper 30’s, with a stiff wind blowing through our open campsite. We lasted less than an hour before calling it a night. We offered our slightly burnt wood to campers across the road from us and then played a few hands of gin rummy before crawling into bed.

Our last day dawned bright and cold. We enjoyed nice hot showers and then loaded the kayak back into the camper. Time to roll on!

We fueled up in Astoria and found a park near the Astoria-Megler bridge that offered up a nice perspective of the massive steel structure. We turned left upon reaching the Washington shore so we could continue on Highway 101. 

 Astoria - Megler Bridge

I saw sign for Cape Disappointment State Park and we followed it into the park. We came to a turnoff to a lighthouse and saw a sign that said “No RV’s”. Bummer! I really wanted to see it. We continued on the loop and came to a four-way stop. To the right was the campground, straight went to the Coast Guard training station and another lighthouse, and left was continuance of the loop. Ooooh, another lighthouse! Arrrgghh, another “No RV’s” sign! Talk about the park living up to its name. Two lighthouses, two not visited because they can’t accommodate an RV in their parking area. I left feeling VERY disappointed and won’t go back, even to camp.

Highway 101 snakes along the eastern shore of Willapa Bay upon leaving the Longview area. At times, it winds inland and then rejoins it. It was a fairly scenic section of the highway.

The “city” of Raymond was very interesting. They have several metal sculptures within a five or six mile stretch of 101. I liked Raymond a lot and would like to go back to see more of the highway art. 

 Metal Sculpture Art in Raymond

Then we drove through an area where we noticed a tremendous amount of logging activity. A sign explained that 120+ miles per hour winds had blown through a few years earlier knocking down acres and acres of trees.

We left Highway 101 before reaching Aberdeen and made our way to Montesano and Highway 12. If you ever need a place to eat on your way to or from the Washington beaches, I recommend the Crow’s Nest in Montesano. Great burgers, fries and milkshakes!

Before long we were back on Interstate 5 and then pulling into our driveway. Our vacation was over but we saw so many wonderful places that will last in our memories for a long time.  We had time to reflect on the events of 2010 and think about what 2011 might bring.

I hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 6 in Oregon

Day 6 – New Year’s Eve began on the chilly side, but no rain. Plans were for Karl and Roy to try and catch a fish or two on the last day of the tournament. Weather conditions were favorable for achieving this goal.

Because of a noonish tide change, fishing in the bay would have to wait until then. Another trip to Empire Lake for one last attempt at a bigger trout would fill the morning hours. Off we went to the lake!

The Empire Lakes are part of John Topits Park in North Bend. In addition to fishing, they have several paved walking trails around the lakes. Camera in one hand and leashed dogs in the other, I took a morning stroll.

 Karl on Empire Lake

One of the nice things about having our camper is the ability to be “at home” just about anywhere, even in a parking lot. Upon returning from my walk, I turned on our propane furnace to take off the chill inside the camper and then relaxed for an hour or so with a book while the dogs napped on the bunk.

Sitting there, I got to thinking about the problems with the kayak on the camper roof. I decided to go in search of a rack system that would safely and easily carry it. Roy previously recommended Sunset Sports in North Bend and after a minor detour through a residential neighborhood, I was able to find the store. Combined with a moving sale they were having along with no sales tax in Oregon, I picked up a nice Yakima track and rack system for a very reasonable price. Installation would have to wait until we got home. Then it was time for me to head back to the lake.

The guys returned to shore with news that Karl at least had increased his point total for the fishing tournament. We went back to Roy’s house so the guys could set up for saltwater fishing. I fixed sandwiches while Karl prepped for the afternoon’s fun.

The put-in spot was the boat ramp in Charleston harbor. Following their launching of the kayaks, it was up to me to find a site for the night at Sunset Bay State Park. But first…I was going to drive out to Cape Arago State Park.

There are three state parks in row at the end of Cape Arago highway. First is Sunset Bay where the campground is located, then Shore Acres and finally Cape Arago where the road ends. Since I knew Shore Acres required a fee to visit and I didn’t want to go without Karl, I opted to visit Cape Arago instead.

I pulled into a small viewpoint area between Sunset Bay and Shore Acres parks and saw the Cape Arago Lighthouse. It was kind of confusing because the lighthouse was north along the coastline, yet Cape Arago State Park was to the south of me. 

Cape Arago Lighthouse

Cape Arago State Park is a quiet park. No buildings to go tour. Just some hiking trails down to a couple of coves and tide pools. I leashed up the dogs and took a short walk along the top of the cliffs. I also spent a few minutes whale watching – still nothing sighted.

On the drive back to Sunset Bay, I stopped at the Simpson Reef overlook. I was drawn closer to the edge by the sounds of barking. Sure enough, there were two groups of sea lions on the rocky areas exposed by the low tide. You can also do whale watching from this overlook, but my eyes were focused on the sea lions and then the crashing waves along the many rocks protruding from the ocean floor.

 Sea Lions at Simpson Reef

 Crashing Waves

I needed to find a campsite so off I went to Sunset Bay and site A-8. 

 Our Site at Sunset Bay State Park

I put the leashes back on the dogs and went exploring around the park. The bay itself is on the other side of the Cape Arago Highway. There was a pedestrian underpass through a large culvert but it was flooded with about six inches deep of water. The stream next to it had gone over its banks from the recent heavy rains. 

We crossed the road as quickly as we could but I wished the underpass had been available. There was not much walking room along the road, especially with two dogs in tow. We safely made it to the beach area and played around before heading back to camp. 

 View From the Beach at Sunset Bay

Karl and Roy arrived a few hours later with the news that they both caught fish and further increased their standings. Roy was now in second place! We thanked Roy for his hospitality and sharing in the fishing experience before he left to get home to his dogs.

I fixed a quick dinner and afterwards Karl got another campfire going. Wouldn’t you know it…it started raining! What the heck?! We decided to put on our rain gear and sit around the fire pit any way. Karl was able to keep the fire going, even as the rain came down harder. It was a very memorable evening. We didn’t stay awake until midnight to ring in the New Year, nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves. It was the second year in a row we spent New Year’s Eve in our camper (last year was in Barstow, California in a Wal-Mart parking lot).

Tomorrow we would start our drive home to Washington.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 5 on the Oregon Coast

A little exploration of Bullards Beach State Park was on the morning agenda for Day 5. This is a large state park and we decided to drive around in advance of our return to Highway 101. Good thing. The lighthouse was three miles from the campsite. That would have been a long walk round trip with two little dogs, especially Buddy.

The Coquille River Light was built in 1896 and remained in operation until 1939. It was replaced by the automatic light on the south jetty (seen just to the left and behind the lighthouse below). Of the eight remaining lighthouses on the Oregon coast, this one was the last one built. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places. We had the area to ourselves on this gray morning.

Coquille River Lighthouse

Karl was able to get in contact with a fishing buddy the night before and plans were made to rendezvous with Roy later in the morning up in Charleston just outside of Coos Bay. The guys were going to try to get some fishing in.

Camper at Bullards Beach State Park
(Note kayak on plays an important part later in the day) 

Karl has mostly good memories of the Coos Bay area since he was stationed there during his service in the Coast Guard thirty years earlier. His ship was the USCGC Citrus. We drove by the old dock that definitely had seen better days. It looked like it was falling into disrepair. The new and smaller vessel that replaced the Citrus is now moored a couple of hundred yards further up the river.

The Citrus Dock in Coos Bay

We also had to swing by the auto parts store to pick up the new windshield wiper relay that was ordered for us a few days earlier. We replaced the relay and then tested the wipers. Problem NOT solved. Oh well, it cost under $12 so we weren't out much money. We'd have to postpone the case of the crazy wipers until we got home. At least it wasn't raining for the moment.

We met up with Roy but ocean conditions were not favorable for the guys to launch their kayaks. Off we went to Empire Lakes in North Bend. The sun was trying to make an appearance and was marginally succeeding.

Upon arrival at Empire Lakes, Karl climbed on top of the camper so we could offload the kayak over the side. I would be on the ground to help guide it gently down. As the kayak cleared the camper side, it tilted ever so slightly and water started to drain out and onto to me. I stepped back to avoid the temporary waterfall. A little angel must have been watching out for me because at that exact moment, the kayak handle broke and 70 pounds of orange plastic came plummeting down. Orange crush, anyone?

Silly me, I instinctively reached out to keep the kayak from hitting the truck and camper. It hit my hand and left it stinging for a couple of hours, but fortunately, I was not hurt. Karl was mortified!! I think it scared him more than me.

Things settled down, the yak sustained a few minor scratches but no cracks, and the guys launched to get some fishing in. Both of them are in a year-long tournament and they wanted to catch a large trout to increase their points total.

 A Heron at Empire Lakes



While they were on the lake, I went in search of an RV parts dealer to replace a vent cap that the kayak had knocked off when it moved during the storm two days earlier. The dealership was closed but I entertained myself by looking in the windows of the campers on their lot. It was a good thing they were closed or I might have had to indulge in some retail therapy. Oh honey, I got a vent cap and it came with a "new" camper. There was a used camper that would have fit nicely in the bed of the truck with lots of bells and whistles.

I checked back in with the guys at the lake and found they were not successful in their efforts to improve their standings in the tournament. :(

Later, the three of us went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant that we previously had patronized. I ordered my go-to Mexican dish of Carne Asada. It was nothing like any previous meals I've ordered in other restaurants. I have an aversion to green peppers and this came covered, smothered, blanketed in green peppers and onions. Ugh! Not only that, I swear the meat didn't have any carne asada seasoning on it. Karl also ordered the Carne Asada. He likes onions and peppers and even he thought it was a terrible dish. Guess we won't be going back there.

We returned to Roy's where we camped out in his driveway. After watching a movie (The Book of Eli with Denzel Washington), we retired for the evening. It had been a long and eventful day, and we didn't even drive far! Less than fifty miles.

Next...are fish in Karl and Roy's future?