Friday, October 20, 2017

Hey Honey, I didn't remember that we parked in a creekfront site!

We arrived at the South Jetty campground near Florence, Oregon, on Wednesday.

It started raining Wednesday night and rained pretty steadily all through Thursday...
...creating a creek running down the campground road in front of Miss Doozie!
We were thankful to be cat owners so as not to be required to go out to walk any pups, but...
I had been doing laundry since we have full hookups... so Dwayne suited up in raingear to go out to dump our tanks.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seaside and Prom Turnaround

Finishing up some posts/pictures from a few days ago: On our last day at Seaside (Sunday), in addition to going to Cannon Beach, we stopped in Seaside to get gelato and walked to the Prom (Promenade) Turnaround.
Seaside beach looking north - folks playing sand volleyball

My sweetie finishing his gelato in a waffle cone (they were very good!)

Looking west, straight out at the ocean

South down the beach

The Prom Turnaround with statue of Lewis and Clark in the middle and a Wyndham timeshare building behind. A salesperson was going around talking to folks standing at the turnaround inviting them to come inside to view the penthouse unit that was open for tours... I told her we had "been there, done that, and gotten rid of all of our timeshares"!

It wasn't until I was looking up information about this statue for the blog post that I realized that Lewis and Clark's dog, Seaman, was also included in the statue.
I read this on one of the Seaside visitor center entries:
During the winter of 1805 and 1806, salt became scarce and was badly needed by the Lewis & Clark expedition for preserving meat and fish, and for the coming return trip. Three men from the group were assigned to the beach some distance north of Seaside's Cove area, to establish the "Salt Cairn", also known as the "Salt Works". They worked continuously from February 2 to February 20, 1806, boiling sea water from which they extracted four bushels of salt.
Lots of Lewis and Clark sites along the southern part of Washington/northern part of Oregon coastlines.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Anybody got a Blue Bird sized shoehorn?

We headed south down the Oregon coast today, arriving at South Jetty Thousand Trails near Florence, Oregon.

When I put the next campground into the Garmin in the bus, it wanted to route us over to the interstate and down...
The route that made most sense to me!

The route the RV-knowledgeable Garmin wanted us to take....

I figured that there was part of US 101 that was not specified as a truck route, but I checked our truck atlas and it looked ok -
Orange marked roads are "Designated route for vehicles with STAA-authorized dimensions" (STAA = Surface Transportation Assistance Act) - aka designated Truck Routes. US 101 all the way down this part of the coast was marked as ok for trucks - in fact, the route east from Newport (US 20) that the Garmin had selected was *not* marked as ok for trucks...
The Garmin in the bus is aware of how tall and how heavy Miss Doozie is, so I don't like to ignore her input, but... I really did not want to drive 3+ hours if about 1 hour would get us there.
Note: the Garmin's name is "Magnolia", therefore I refer to it as female...

So, last night, I tried putting various waypoints in to the Garmin to see if I could figure out where she thought the problem was. I was also looking at the route on GoogleMaps to see the satellite view. I finally found that the problem was between two spots just 0.4 miles apart:
The Garmin would route me successfully down US 101 down to the northern point, but then would send me back north up US 101, east across the mountains, down I-5, and then back west across the mountains, and up US 101 to the southern point. (google maps link)
You can use the link if you'd like to try to figure out what the problem was...
if you want to just get the information, read on!

I could see on the satellite view that there was a creek and a bridge... I figured that the problem might be weight on the bridge (though it didn't make sense that the truck atlas marked it as ok for trucks... Miss Doozie is heavy, but she isn't as heavy as big trucks!).

Side note: when we drove from Seaside to Cannon Beach on Sunday, there was a truck warning sign on the road about a weight limit. We were in the Jeep, but I knew that we were going to be traversing that road on Monday to go to South Beach, so on the way back to Seaside, I stopped at a side road to examine the sign more closely.
First of all... it was indicating weight limits, and it was right at a bridge (you can see the "Necanicum River" sign just to the left) - but it was *not* for that bridge - it was for a location at milepost 41 on US 101. But... so much information! How was I supposed to read that when driving at 45-55 MPH?
After stopping and zooming in, we could read it. Even then, we had to figure out what it was telling us... Miss Doozie has 3 axles - the front and the tag axle are single axles. Then she also has a dual (tandem) axle. Her GAWR (Gross Axle Weight Rating) for her front axle is 15500, for the rear (dual) is 23000, and for the tag is 13200. When we had her weighed a couple of years ago, we were actually carrying 15025 on the front, 20925 on the duals, and 12925 on the tag. So... we were ok.
I know that I spend more time being concerned about this kind of thing than most folks do... but... I think that sign was very poorly designed. However, I suspect truckers get that kind of information from other sources...

Anyway... back to our drive today!

So... once I discovered the problem area, I "drove" it on googlemaps... it wasn't the bridge....
It was a tunnel directly after the bridge! (This is a screen snip from googlemaps.) I don't know if you can read the signs - the lower one on the right says 11 Feet 6 Inches. The one further up says 14 Feet 6 Inches.
Miss Doozie is 12'6" tall - we just remember we need 13' clearance -
Dwayne has made a nice label to remind us of Miss Doozie's vertical clearance needs!
Now, looking at those two signs, it looked like to me that we ought to be able to fit... I might want to hug the center line pretty closely, but it should work...

I did some internet searching and found posts from other RVers who had asked questions about whether they would be able to make it through the tunnel and assurances that many others had gone that way without problem. I also reached out to two other RVing friends that I knew were in this area of the country to ask if they go out of their way to avoid it... one said that she didn't like driving that route because of the super curvy roads; the other said it was not a problem.

So... we decided to head down US 101 this morning. In addition to the tunnel concern, we received warnings on our phones that there would be high winds along the coast this afternoon, so we were wanting to not be on the road after noon if we could avoid it. When we got to the tunnel, the Garmin recommended that we turn around and head back north, but we drove on through and all was fine. Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic, so I crowded the center line (I drove with my left tires on the center line) through the tunnel.

As we were driving down, I prayed that God would send a large truck north while I was still on the part of the road before the tunnel so I would have confirmation that large vehicles successfully made it through, and sure enough, I saw a few trucks and an RV or two that gave me confidence before we got there.

Just one more part to this "shoehorn" story...

When staying at Thousand Trails campgrounds, you make a reservation, and in making that reservation, you indicate how long your rig is, and whether it has slideouts. Evidently, that information is just provided for general interest. Well... that's not totally true: if the campground has NO sites that will accommodate a 43' motorhome, the website won't let me make the reservation. But, if they have at least one, the website lets me make the reservation. It does not assign a site - so someone with a 15' travel trailer can park their rig in a 43' site and nothing stops that. We have learned that it is best to check in to a campground during the week, Monday-Thursday. Weekend folks mostly leave on Sunday and arrive on Friday. So... the most empty slots are usually to be found on Monday-Thursday.

The last campground where we stayed was Whalers Rest. One of the nice things there was that they provide a list of the sites and their lengths (and whether they have a fire ring and whether there is a clear sky view for satellite hookups - thankfully we don't care about those things!).
Site analysis from Whalers Rest
We were sent to site 145, 43' long, with a fire ring, and support for satellite if you had a tripod mount (but not roof mounted). It also had "seasonal length requirement" - the campground had signs at some sites indicating they were only for over 38' RVs for specified dates (I think May 15- September 15).

The ranger recommended site 145 for us when we arrived, and suggested that we could drive the rig there directly as it was a pullthrough. We usually do not do this... we usually disconnect and drive the Jeep around to find a site, and then go get Miss Doozie. But... we took her recommendation, and the site was "ok" - just barely long enough for Miss Doozie and then for the Jeep to park crosswise in front. Even though it was listed as a pullthrough, the access to the road in front of the site had quite a ditch that we decided we did not want to navigate, so we backed Miss Doozie out this morning and then hooked up the Jeep in an area reserved for tent camping which was not occupied. (I didn't take pictures at Whalers Rest - totally forgot!)

Today, when we got to South Jetty, I asked the ranger if she had a recommendation for us. She pointed out just one full hookup site that might be available, but indicated that it was also a good site for satellite and another RV might have already taken it. We went to the area where she told us we could unhook and took the Jeep to scope out a site. The one she recommended was already occupied, but there was one a little ways away that looked like it was long enough and had full hookups (full hookups means we have electricity, water, and sewer - the other sites have just electric and water - but I want to be able to do laundry, so it would be nice to have full hookups). The other positive characteristic was that this site was right off a corner, so once I had Miss Doozie turned at the corner, we could back straight in - a big advantage. A lot of sites are very tight to get in at the entrance, and if there is a one way lane in front (narrow), it can be challenging to get her turned, requiring multiple forward and backward maneuverings.

So... we decided to take this one - I noticed it was a bit narrow... I didn't realize exactly *how* narrow until I started backing into it.
She's in there... it is a good thing that we don't have slides!
The first attempt to park in the site, we got in there just fine... and there was plenty of room on the driver's side to get to the utilities... but... the entry door was up against the growth on the passenger side so we couldn't open the door. Note: it isn't just growth on both sides of us... the site is carved down so the ground rises up right beside the site too.
This shows the "utilities" side. It was a bit challenging getting the hoses all hooked up - balancing/working between the side of the bus and the hill right next, but we got 'er done! Note: the front tires are turned to the side so we can more easily get to the front jacks to put wooden support underneath.
Anyway, we could have used a Blue Bird sized shoehorn a couple of times today - but I guess it would be a large item to carry with us!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cannon Beach

Before leaving Seaside, we wanted to check out Cannon Beach, a short drive south down the coast. We had read that Tillamook Lighthouse was between Seaside and Cannon Beach - we had looked for it from Seaside beach, but did not see it, so decided to go to see if we could view the lighthouse from Cannon Beach (we first saw information about Tillamook Lighthouse at the Cannery museum at Pier 39

We found a parking spot near the beach and could see the rock with Tillamook lighthouse on it.

This is zoomed in on my phone...

Dwayne's camera with the long lens...

Long lens zoomed in!

It was a pretty beach with Ecola Creek bisecting it. There were lots of folks out on the beach and a number were wading in the creek (we had coats and hats and scarves on... they must be hardier souls than we are!).

Some of the birds in the area - it looks like the sea gull is saying, "You think you're somethin' special, don't you?!?!?"

Another sea gull

We were in an area a little above the beach in front of a hotel - The Waves

Some of the flowers in front of the rooms.

Some more of the flowers - they were very pretty!

There were some "interesting" fish sculptures on the end of a couple of the buildings...

Dwayne called them "dragonfish".

Note: regarding the Tillamook Lighthouse: we were talking about "Tillamook" and that there is a cheese by that name. We wondered if there was a town of Tillamook in Wisconsin (Wisconsin=cheese, right?) - but it turns out that a town of Tillamook exists just a little bit further down the coast of Oregon and the factory for Tillamook cheese is there - we passed through it on our way to South Beach, Oregon, where we are staying for two nights.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Elk (or ELK)

As we have traveled in coastal Washington and Oregon...
We have frequently seen warning signs about "ELK" (no pictures of the animal are on these warning signs!).
Well... for once, these were not "false advertising" (as cousin Cinde's husband Bill maintains about the Moose warning signs!):

There was a veritable herd in these folks' front yard!

Thankfully they weren't in the road - as much damage as deer do to automobiles, I would suspect that elk would do even more.

And... I thought we were be uber-touristy by stopping to take pictures, but a number of other cars stopped too - of course, they could all have been non-locals too!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pier 39

We also visited Pier 39 while in Astoria on Friday.

The route to the pier was on a rather narrow dock - I had read beforehand about it or would have not thought that I should drive out there. There were signs indicating no RVs (this picture was taken on the way back to shore but you can possibly see how narrow it was - we waited until vehicles coming to the pier had cleared before starting back toward shore).
We were down near where some of the container ships were anchored. We could hear sea lions (seals?) but they were on the other side of those rocks so we could not see them.
Some more of the ships.

A ship being assisted by a tugboat.

There was a small free museum at the pier mostly dedicated to the canning industry and Bumble Bee cannery.

Some more Bumble Bee items.

There were other random items in the museum - many pictures and articles... this lighthouse is (was) near where we are staying in Seaside.
It does not look like a welcoming place!
Another picture of the lighthouse on the rock.

Japanese WWII flags - Yosegaki Hinomaru - Columbia Maritime Museum

One section of the Columbia Maritime Museum was dedicated to information about World War II - I found an exhibit about Japanese Yosegaki Hinomaru to be very interesting...

"This flag for Yoshio Watanabe was covered with signatures and well-wishes for a safe return from friends and family. Although he never returned from the war, his flag is now returning home 70 years later."

The drafted soldier and his family

"During WWII American soldiers returned home with a wide array of battlefield souvenirs, including Yosegaki Hinomaru (good-luck flags). Most of these items were boxed up and put into storage where they have remained until they were rediscovered by family members many decades later.
"Today an ever-growing number of Americans are sending these personal items back to Japan. They want to bring closure to the wives, children, and relatives of missing Japanese soldiers and they realize the flags provide an important link."

"The task of finding one specific family in Japan seems almost impossible. To accomplish this, many people contact the nonprofit humanitarian organization OBON SOCIETY.
"The OBON SOCIETY, headquartered in Astoria, Oregon, receives these battlefield souvenirs and analyzes them for clues. Then, working with a team of researchers and Japanese government agencies, they conduct a careful search throughout Japan. After relatives are successfully located, these family heirlooms are returned at no cost to them."

"A Father's Collected Flag Returned
"My father, James Farmer, PFC, USMC, was a BAR-man (Browning Automatic Rifle) with G Company, 3rd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division. He landed with the 3rd wave on Iwo Jima on the morning of 19 February, 1945.
"My father took the Yosegaki Hinomaru from a Naval Officer, Seichi Kawashita. One of the photos my father had was of Mr. Kawashita. It showed him along with his wife and young child, a boy, I think. Unfortunately, the photo bothered my mother so badly she could no longer stand the pain, so she destroyed it.
"Message to the family:
"It is with the deepest respect and humility that I return this flag to you. Although I was not responsible, I am saddened and troubled at the pain and loss you have experienced. Mr. Kawashita and my father were forced into a brutal conflict that brought death and destruction over the entire world.
"Although my father survived the war, he was never the same. He was plagued by recurring nightmares and regrets until just before his death in November, 1998. It is my solemn wish that this flag will bring your family some peace."

This was a part of history that I never knew... I had never heard of Yosegaki Hinomaru nor of the effort to return them to their families.