Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Joy of Shopping

Lincoln City probably has the best outlet mall, I've seen.  Any more, most of the outlet malls are just regular stores; you don't find any good buys.  But, I find good stuff at the Tanger Mall like the Gap jeans for $18, the golf shirt for $13, and Body & Bath body scrub for $4--this is good stuff!  I really wanted a Coach backpack purse, but no luck.  I'm happy, though.  Mike found a little, I mean little, Nikon digital camera for around $100.  It does everything--video, zoom--the whole enchilada.

The weather in Lincoln City, Oregon is wonderful today.  The rest of the day was relaxing in the sun on our patio.  It was around 70 degrees with clear, blue skies; and I'm digging it.  Not too hot and not too cold.  Just sat outside with a glass of chilled white wine.  Life is good.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stop! It's Lincoln City.

We left Netarts Bay RV Park yesterday about 11 a.m. and arrived at our new location, Premier RV Park, in Lincoln City around noon.  What a nice park!  All the sites are pristine with a little patio and just the right amount of landscaping.  The office was efficient and modern.  Although, the park is located on Highway 101; we're near the back of the park and we don't hear any traffic noise.  At the end of our little "street" is a viewpoint of the ocean with a gas firepit and comfortable chairs.  I think I'm going to like it here.

Today was truly the first warm summer weather we've had since we started our retirement travels on June 1.  It's been a busy day--the 5'er got a complete washing, the truck got a wash, we walked the beach, Spanish Head, and lounged in the sunshine outside our clean house.  I think I'm going to like it here (I said that already, didn't I?).

Oh, I forgot to post our good-bye picture from Netarts Bay.  Our little "PC" Gnome says happy crabbing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For The Last Time, I Didn't Sabotage Your Plane


When I heard that the Tillamook Air Museum was built to house blimps during World War II, I remembered the movie, "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" which featured the Hindenburg blimp (today's blog title--it's a quote from the movie).  Dumb movie, but they had some cool special effects using the blimp and planes from the World War II era.  On our last day here, we visited the Tillamook Air Museum, called "Hangar B".  It is the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world and it is HUGE--my interior picture doesn't do it justice.  You can see the building for miles. Tillamook Air Museum includes not only World War II planes, but motorcycles, helicopters, and planes from the Korean, Viet Nam, and Gulf war.

I thought this would be another cheesy tourist trap, but it was nicely put together and well worth the time.  Walking through the exhibits you see pictures of our young pilots, descriptions of the women working in factories back home, the proud old planes, and all the while the 1940s background music playing eerily in the cavernous space--a little ghost-like.  It gave me goose bumps.

We spent over two hours at the museum, and still didn't see everything. 

Tomorrow, we relocate farther south to Lincoln City, Oregon. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010


When you live full-time in your RV, there is no room for extra "stuff".  So, when you shop it is either for food or you are replacing something (and it is important to toss the thing that you are replacing) or it is some wiz-bang electronic gadget that will make your life a little easier on the road.  We've found that most of our shopping has centered around food (consumables); and fortunately, it has been all about healthy food like fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish.  Tillamook has a small farmers market every Saturday; and during the month of June, we're talking about strawberries, cherries, asparagus, and onions. 

We purchased cherries, strawberries, leeks, and kalamati olive bread.  You just can't compare local fresh to the pithy fruit bought at the grocery store.  The strawberries were cut up and sugared for dessert tonight, and the cherries were quickly eaten this afternoon.  Sweet!

At one of these farmers markets, I'm going to break down and buy some flowers.  Every farmers market seems to have a booth and they are so beautiful.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Best Fishes!

Splat! We were crackin' and eatin' crab this evening so fast and furious that the shell and chucks of crab meat were a-flyin'.  (Seriously, it was in MY HAIR!)  Fresh crab from Tillamook Bay purchased this morning from The Garibaldi Cannery paired up with Nehalem Bay chardonnay wine--oh yeah!  It was hard to pick what we wanted at the place; they had oysters, halibut cheeks, smoked salmon, but it was the huge display of crab, yelling pick me!  The place is your typical fresh seafood store on the wharf--small, old...with an autographed picture of Steve Martin.  Wait! Steve Martin!  No, it wasn't original, but it was perfect.  Remember his poster signed, "Best Fishes" with a fresh fish poking out of his suit -- how funny. 

The Blue Heron French Cheese store located in Tillamook has all kinds of tasty cheeses, wine, mustards, jams, and candy.  We picked up a jar of champagne/sweet mustard, dill seasoning dip (for our salmon), and some Blue Heron Brie.  Before the crab frenzy, we had the brie cheese with slices of apple.  So good! 

Blue Heron also has a petting farm with small donkeys.  They look just like "Donkey" from the Shrek movies.  So cute.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recreational Equipment, Inc.- a.k.a. - REI

Today, we drove to Hillsboro, Oregon to shop at their large REI store.  We were in the market for a hand-held GPS (for hiking and geocaching), a small pair of binoculars, another daypack and socks.  The trip was a success!  (Note:  The picture was copied from the Hillsboro, Oregon REI website, but the weather and storefront were exactly as we saw it today.)

We now have an amazing hand-held GPS that is setup for hiking AND geocaching AND a digital camera (for documenting that you did, indeed, find the geocach prize).  The GPS has topographical maps, accurate distances, and we are going to use the heck out of it!  Add a cute little waterproof binocular and we're ready to go hiking again, in style.

We needed (okay, we wanted) another daypack with outside pockets; and now, we each have a pack to split the load.  One person carrying all the rain gear, water, etc. is hardly fair. 

Ever worn a pair of SmartWool socks?  They are wonderful.  If you know my past and the challenges I seem to have with shoes and socks, you'll know I am somewhat blister prone.  However...I have never had a blister when I wear the SmartWool sock.  This is the new wool that you can wash, and they are so soft -- pricey, but worth it.

The drive through the upper Willamette Valley to get to Hillsboro was also a treat.  All around, a good day -- a little dent in the pocketbook -- but a good day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hang Ten

Hang gliding or paragliding looks like the ultimate high and there are a number of "jump" zones for the sport in this area.  Personally, I don't have the nerve to launch myself off some of these cliffs around here.  When we stopped at a viewpoint on our way to Cape Lookout and Pacific City, we found a popular hang gliding spot and a memorial to a well-known glider, Dick Gammon.  No one gliding today, but take a look at YouTube for a number of videos taken at this launch. 
Pretty incredible.

Pacific City has a large rock named Haystack Rock; yep, just like Cannon Beach (in fact, there is another Haystack Rock in Bandon, Oregon, too).  We stopped for a bit to watch the surfers.  Surfing the cold Pacific is not my cup of tea. 

This little town is also known for its Dory fleet.  We saw a dory boat pulling out, but we really wished we could have caught sight of one going out through the surf.  Maybe another time.

Not an exciting day, but pleasant.  Summer is such an awesome time for the beach. 

Oh, and I kicked Mike's butt at cribbage this evening.  It's about time!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

Netarts Bay RV Park is about 6 miles west of Tillamook located on, of course, Netarts Bay.  The RV Park caters to people wanting to fish and crab; the office sells fishing licenses, crab pots, rents boats, and has a fish/crab cleaning station.  We considered renting a boat and crab pot, but decided $100 will buy you a lot of crab.  This park is very charming and maybe just a bit rustic in areas.  It has an old section and a new section, but it's the old section that has the views.  The old suits us just fine.

The little town of Oceanside is about 2 miles from our RV Park; and it has homes clinging to the cliffs in every direction.  The beach in front of the town is very nice, but it's the cave off to the north end of the beach that caught our eye.  It starts out like a mine shaft, square with concrete sides, and then transitions to a normal rock cave.  It emerges onto a small beach that funnels the waves into big splashes against the large rocks in the ocean and on the sand.  The crashing waves echo loudly off the beach cliffs.  Finding this beach was well worth walking through the small cave.  I wouldn't want to get caught in high tide there, though.  The picture on the right is the "cave" beach from a high viewpoint up the road.

Next, we drove on to Cape Meares.  Cape Meares not only has an interesting, small lighthouse, but a tree known as the Octopus tree.  Although there is disagreement on its odd shape, it is thought that the tree was shaped by the local Native Americans to hold canoes with their deceased.  I like this story and I'll just go with that. (The other explanation was that this was just a mutated tree...boring.) The scenery on the Oregon Coast is getting wilder the farther south we go with soaring cliffs and more variey of birds.  The views from this location really are breathtaking.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good Bye, Lewis and Clark

Our three-week stay at the Lewis and Clark Golf and RV Park is ending; tomorrow morning we leave for Netarts Bay RV Park located about 60 miles south of Astoria, Oregon.  The Lewis and Clark Golf and RV Park was just what we were hoping for when we arrived on June 1, 2010; quiet, safe, and a beautiful view.
The golf course was, well, it needed to be developed a bit more (but remember, it only costs $10 to play!).  Normally, it takes a groundskeeper and several employees to mow and maintain the greens at a golf course. If you throw in a small RV park, add another couple helpers to mow, weed and keep the place clean. Only two dedicated owners at the Lewis and Clark Golf and RV Park maintain the bucolic golf course view and the tidy, level lots for your RV. They are particular about the care and feeding of this place and it shows. This determined couple are trying to build their golf course and RV Park into a thriving business.

The land was formerly their farm and they have now converted it into a “Big Rig” friendly RV Park with a central location in the northwest tip of Oregon State. The park is slowly building with a thoughtful and quality approach; adding restroom/shower facilities, on-location Laundromat, and a small store. No, all the special amenities such as a pool, hot tub, and clubhouse aren’t found here; but instead you get a quiet, clean, safe and beautiful location to relax, and a convenient launching pad to explore all the interesting sights, activities, and great restaurants in the area.  If you read our blog from June 1 through June 19, you can get an idea of the things to do and see--only some unseasonable rain held us back for a few days.

Our PC Gnome says "keep on truckin'".

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cannon Beach Rocks!

Love, love, love, Cannon Beach.  When you pull into town, right away, you are stunned by the size of Haystack Rock along with other impressive rock formations down the beach..  The town is the quintessential seaside resort with weathered gray cedar siding and white trim on every residential and commerical building.  Fun, primary colored adirondack chairs are found on every restarant, hotel, and home deck and patio.  Add to the mix that the sun was shining and everyone was having fun. 

Today, was the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest 2010.  People watching was as much fun as watching the sandcastle sculptures emerging from hard packed sand.  These guys are serious about their sand.  They worked for hours on their selected theme--castles, cats, buddhas, octopussies (is that a word?).  We got exhausted just watching!

We had lunch on the street-side seating of the Cannon Beach Cafe; and ended up chatting with a couple from Portland for an hour there.  They had all kinds of tips for things to see on the Oregon Coast.  Don't you just love it when everyone is relaxed and having a good time?

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Astoria Column

"The Astoria Column is the final, crowning monument in a series of 12 historical markers erected in the early 1900's between St. Paul, Minnesota and Astoria, Oregon."  The brochure doesn't mention the location of the other markers, but it sounds interesting doesn't it?

The weather report showed today as the last sunny day for a while, so it was time to see and climb to the top of "The Astoria Column".  The location is at the highest point in Astoria--without going to the top of the column you can see for miles.  The column is narrow and the spiral staircase inside has a banister on one side only.  A little scary when you meet someone coming down--not to mention it makes you dizzy walking around and around.  My picture doesn't clearly show the art on the outside, but 12 events are depicted that occurred in the region--mostly the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The view is spectacular, but let me tell you we didn't dwell too long on top.  The viewing platform is small, and it was filling up with too many people. 

But, you can see forever, can't you?  Look east down the Columbia River gorge, look west out to the ocean, north to Washington State and the picture to the right shows south into Oregon.  If I wasn't so darn nervous up so high, I would have relaxed and enjoyed it more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Golf Fix

Mike occasionally needs a game of golf and yesterday afternoon the skies cleared and the wind was just a breeze--an omen for a good game of golf.  Not too far from our RV park in the little town of Gearhart, Oregon, you'll find The Highlands.  It is a 9 hole golf course meandering through the coastal dunes, nicely kept greens, and a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and Tillamook Head.  Just by chance, it was $10 Tuesday with all the golf you want to play.  Mike played with a few locals for 18 holes.  The Highlands is also the home of, where they claim you will find the lowest prices on golf equipment in the United States.

Tuesday became a reading binge for me while Mike was playing golf.  If you need a great read, try "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," by Stieg Larsson.  Not only is it a suspenseful crime novel, but you also get a glimpse of Swedish politics and culture.  This is the first of a three book series by Stieg Larsson

A dilemma for us on the road was finding a good barber for Mike.  It is so easy to get a bad haircut, and he has been spoiled the last 25 years by a great stylist, Ann Ketchum at Sirs & Hers.  Fortunately, the folks he golfed with recommended Jennifer's Barber Shop in Gearhart.  He got a great haircut today and he is good to-go for another six to eight weeks.

So far, all the stars are lining up!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gathering Our Nuts

Several years ago, we purchased an audio book, "Younger Next Year" ( and it changed the way we looked at exercising and eating right.  I can't say that we have been following the book's advice consistently over the years; it seemed making a living and other commitments always got in the way.  Now that we're retired, no more excuses. There are two basic rules (1) exercise an hour every day (the book says it's a primitive need, something to do with gathering nuts or hunting) and (2) stop eating crap.

With such spectacular places to hike every where we stay, the exercise is something we look forward to every day; but eating right has been a challenge.  We're working on that.

Fort Stevens State Park has an extensive system of biking/hiking trails throughout park.  Today, we hiked for an hour through the park woods on wide asphalt paths.  The weather can be windy on the beach or in town, but you take this path through the dense forest of cedar, ferns and deciduous trees and your environment is suddenly very...still and quiet.  Along the way, a deer came out from a side trail not five feet ahead of us--never heard her coming.  There have been cougar warnings in the area; so I either walk in front of Mike or by his side.  No need to intentionally chum for them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fort to Sea Trail

The Fort to Sea Trail is a beautiful 6.5 mile trail starting at Fort Clatsop to the Pacific Ocean.  The weather was absolutely perfect today for a hike at 70 degrees and a cool breeze.  The trail includes four different ecosystems (1) thick forest, (2) wetlands, (3) meadow/pasture, and (4) ocean.  We started out at 11 a.m. this morning with Ranger Susan and a large group of fellow hikers. 

We decided to head out ahead of the group.  The following pictures tell the story better than I can:

(1) The Forest (left)

(2) The Wetlands (mucho mosquitos) (right)

(3) Tunnel under Highway 101 (left)

(4) A sign instructed us to walk quietly around the cattle...this was dicey (right)

(5) Path through the pasture (left)
(6) The Sea!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Long Beach and Days Gone By

Back in the 1970's we spent many years vacationing (and a whole lotta partying) on Long Beach in Washington State--many a 4th of July was spent on that beach with our friends, Frank, Jeanette and Jenay and a mob of others.  Today we went back down memory lane and visited all the old haunts--Frank's cabin in Ocean Park (he sold years ago), the beach you can drive on forever, the antique shop where Mike bought me an old 1940s-era asian teacup (I still have it), the tavern on the corner and The Ark restaurant in Oysterville.  Unfortunately, The Ark is closed down, but the old building had a sign in the window saying they reopened in Klipsan Beach.  We found them!  Jimella's Seafood Market sign is a little misleading because inside is a small cafe with eight tables and the same quality food they served years ago at The Ark.  Besides the oysters, steamed clams, and chowder; we splurged on the calories today and had the lemon custard and cake dessert.  

Ilwaco, Washington is known for their charter fishing boats and over the years we've gone out ocean fishing several times for salmon. (That's me 35 years ago with a 32 pound salmon.)  Ilwaco is exactly the same as I last remembered.  The same marina, the parking lot style RV park across the street and boats in all shapes and sizes.    

Cape Disappointment was another stop today.  A lighthouse, a museum and a walk in the woods--the lighthouse was picture perfect, the walk refreshing, but please no more museums.  That's it for a while; we know every fact known about the Lewis and Clark expedition. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You've Got Mail

Modern nomads can have a few extra challenges, especially with mail delivery.  Fortunately, there are a number of mail forwarding services that are very flexible about when and where they forward your mail.  We chose the Escapees Mail Service out of Livingston, Texas.  You establish your new mailing address with them, call them when you want your mail and have it sent to your location's post office (your name, c/o general delivery, and town).  Cool, huh?  We stopped by the Astoria post office today to verify they accept general delivery, they do.

Based on a friend's recommendation (thanks, Kathy), we had lunch today at the Ship Inn on the waterfront just off of 3rd street.  The best fish and chips.  The breading on the fish was light and crispy; the fish cooked to perfection.  Every seat in the restaurant has a view of the Columbia River, the Astoria bridge,the deep green forest on the Washington State side of the river, and the fishing boats waiting to hook onto the "big one".

Yesterday and today was rainy and a bit windy, but tomorrow the weather gets better and predicted to be sunny and perfect next week.   Looking forward to a hike on Saturday, golf next week, and a number of outdoor activities before we leave the area.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lewis and Clark Expedition

Fort Clatsop was the last camp of the Lewis and Clark Expedition before they returned back east; and is part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Park just outside Astoria, Oregon. The park includes a replica of the fort and a museum with all kinds of artifacts from the early 1800's. Having seen at least half of the Lewis and Clark Trail (from eastern Montana) and lived on the Lewis and Clark Trail in eastern Washington, it was interesting to see the final stop of their journey.

As part of our trip across the country, we wanted to purchase a National Park "passport" and we found one here at the Lewis and Clark National Park. It looks very much like an international passport. Each park stamps your National Park passport with the date visited and the name of the park (looks just like a stamp you would get on your international passport). There are 392 national parks (including national monuments, historic national sites, etc.) with locations outside of the continental U.S. in Samoa, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. If we want to get a stamp from all of them, we've got some serious traveling in our future. (Ryan, maybe you can help us with Guam trip?)

Another good dinner and good music. Dinner included fresh salmon, spinach salad with raspberry dressing, almonds and orange slices (thanks for the recipe, Judi). A litte dinner music by Melissa Gardot and Madeleine Peyroux (1930's style). One of the songs sung by Madeleine Peyroux, "Careless Love", was one my grandmother, Peggy Hopp, sang in a band in the 1930's. I have an old recording and the style is very similar. One of the reasons I love Madeleine's music so much.

Did I tell you how much we enjoy retirement? It's all good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

To Market, To Market

Astoria, Oregon has a Farmers' Market every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. taking up three blocks downtown. It not only includes seasonal fruit and vegetables, but fresh fish, oysters, crab. They also have a large food court, a live band, and craft booths. It is a little early in the season for the fruits and vegetables, but we found a wine tasting booth, Nehalem Bay Winery. Nehalem Bay Winery only sells from their winery, website shipping, and the Astoria Farmers' Market. It has been in existence since 1974, and their wine is really pretty good. We bought two bottles of chardonnay. Mike negotiated a "senior citizen discount" price for the two (hey, we're on a fixed income now!).

The Market layout leads you down to the river walk and the Wet Dog Cafe. We stopped for lunch and had the crab cake melt and DaBomb Blonde beer (this one is for you, Barb!). The cafe overlooks the Columbia River and sturgeon fishing is now open. Several boats were fishing not too far out from the restaurant and in plain view of our table. A sturgeon was caught while we were having lunch--that doesn't happen very often. The after meal "mint" is a key lime flavor. I didn't know key lime candy existed (what a sheltered life I've led) and it was really good (this one is for you, Jerry!).

Astoria has a new Costco and we had to pick up another Tri-Tip (Classic style marinade) for the freezer. We barbequed a Costco tri-tip last night and it was to die for. So good. Is it time to eat again?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Beautiful Morning

Fresh salt air, cool breezes, sunny skies and a walk on the beach. Remember the band, The Rascals and their song, "A Beautiful Morning"?

It's a beautiful mornin' Ahhh
I think I'll just go outside a while
An jus' smile
Just take in some clean fresh air, boy!
Ain't no sense staying inside
If the weather is fine an' you got the time

Great song, great day.

When we drove to the Columbia River jetty a few days ago, we noticed a wildlife viewing sign along the way. Today was a perfect day for viewing, so we stopped at the sign and walked into the wetlands created by the Columbia River. Most of the wetlands I've visited have been hot, humid; and well, a little stinky. Surprisingly, this was a nice walkway into tall grasses, pine and out to a lake with a good-sized beach. We caught sight of a large bald eagle--too high to take a photo.

What is cool about staying near Astoria, Oregon is you are centrally located to a lot of interesting places. This past week, the farthest we've traveled is 19 miles to Seaside, Oregon. On June 19, we plan to visit Cannon Beach for the sand castle contest and it's only 26 miles away. For the three weeks we are here, we've got something to do or see every day. One day, we'll have to play the golf course at our RV location--Lewis and Clark RV Park.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pier 39

Pier 39 tenants include the Rogue Ale Public House, the old BumbleBee tuna cannery, a scuba shop and a number of others. We headed to the Rogue Ale pub. We heard the Kobe blue cheese meatballs were the appetizer of choice. And boy, did they get it right. Pair the meatballs with some beer samples and you've got a great meal. We conducted our own beer taste test with 1 as the lowest and 5 as the best; (1) "Mom's"-Mike/5, Terry/4, (2) "Honey-Orange"-Mike/4, Terry/3, (3) "Irish" -Mike/4, Terry/5 and (4) "JJ Juniper Ale" - Mike/4, Terry/2. Really, in the end they were all tasty.

The Astoria, Oregon trolley "Old 300" runs from Pier 39 along the river for 4 miles under the Astoria bridge. It is v.e.r.y...s.l.o.w. The slow-go did help you see all the restaurants, canneries, the Columbia River Pilot building, and condos. I think we'll be back to a few restaurants before we leave the area. Contrary the name, the "Wet Dog" smelled especially good; but so did the BBQ joint.

Twenty-five years ago, "The Goonies"(Steven Spielberg movie) was filmed in Astoria, Oregon, and is a BIG DEAL here. This weekend is the "Goonies" 25th anniversary and the town is crawling with Goonies. We considered attending the premiere of the "The Making of The Goonies" documentary" and the "The Goonies" movie both showing in the newly renovated Liberty Theater (built in 1925). But, $20/each--I don't think so (are we getting to be cheap retirees?). We'll rent the movie. I'm pretty sure we saw the movie in 1985, but a refresh is in order.

I won't bore you with our dinner picture, again; but I have to tell you the buffalo steak we grilled for dinner was the best. The meat has 76% less fat than a beef steak and cooks very fast. So tender, it melts in your mouth. Highly recommended.
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