Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Following Lewis and Clark

We got to the Columbia River on Sunday and stayed at Memaloose SP right on the river. I included a photo looking out from out campsite over the river. On the way we stopped in the town of The Dalles, which is the western terminus of the Oregon Trail and also an area passed by Lewis and Clark on their famous exploration. (both of us read Stephen Ambrose's book about Lewis and Clark's trip). We spent several hours at a museum on the site of an old fort.
The next night we stayed at Ainsworth SP and hiked up to the top of Multnomah Falls which is about 600 feet high.
Today we checked into an RV park in Portland Oregon to 1)do laundry 2)get the oil changed on the truck 3)hook up to the Internet.
We took a short drive into Portland and conclude that it is on a big river, but otherwise looks like most big American cities - lots of traffic and congestion.

North Again

We left Bend and headed north towards the Columbia River. We stopped at Smith Rocks SP on the way out since this is a world class rock climbing area. I have included some photos of the rocks and a face with a number of climbers on it.
We had just been listening to NPR in Bend about a recent visit that they made to the Town of Antelope Oregon, where an Indian guru, Bhagwan, bought a ranch in the 1980's. Hundreds of his followers moved in and eventually took over the whole town. This was the cult that bought the Bhagwan dozens of Rolls Royce cars for him to drive once a day down a muddy lane while his acolytes praised him. Anyway, he was deported because of income tax fraud and his followers left town. We just HAD to make the small detour to Antelope. There's no sign of any cult now, just a very isolated ranch town that has seen better days. It is in an unbelievably beautiful setting.
A little further on, we camped at Palisades Cove SP which is a deep canyon cut into the flat plain and filled with a reservoir. We hiked to the top of a magnificent butte where I took a few of these photos.

We Gotta Get Outta Here!

The constant rain, cold and wind finally wore us down and so we excaped over the Cascade Mountains to the dryer east side. I have included a photo of us going over Santiam Pass. If you think that this is a lot of snow, you should have seen the western side of the pass - the snow must have been ten feet deep! We camped at Tumalo SP just outside of Bend Oregon where I got some pics of the sun going down over Mt. Jefferson.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Roughing it in the rain!

Here's some photos of the Roosevelt Elk that we saw in Redwoods NP. We moved on up the coast and spent a night at Honeyman SP and visited (between rain showers) a beautiful garden that once belonged to a timber baron whose mansion burned down, but the garden is still maintained.
We continued to have bad weather on the coast. Wind, rain and cold. I have included photos of us eating our rough "camp" dinners so you all can appreciate the hard times that we have had to endure. Finally sick of the wet weather we decided to strike inland and now find ourselves in Bend Oregon. Bend is a hip little town with a brew pub on every corner and everyone does outdoors sports year-round. We shopped at REI for raingear and I left my mountain bike with their mechanic for some major repair.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Redwoods!

We spent a awhile in Redwoods National and State Park hiking and biking. We are now in Oregon near Coos Bay and the weather has been cold and rainy for the past several days. In spite of the weather the coast is still beautiful. We may head inland if the weather does not improve soon. Here are some new pics.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Lost in the Redwoods

We are now in Eureka California. We spent a delightful several days at Van Damme State Park where Bill rode several mountain bike trails and Bill and Debbie hiked up to a waterfall in Russian Gulch SP. The highlight was paddling the sea kayak up the Big River where we saw harbor seals sunning themselves on a log. It was weird to see marine mammals so far up a wilderness river. We loved Mendocino which had an amazing general store that sold everything from organic produce, local wines to auto parts. They even had a whole aisle devoted to art supplies - normal for this hip community of about a thousand people.
Tomorrow we are off to Redwoods National Park.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Finally Something to Drink.

I forgot to tell that we spent most of the day yesterday driving through Sonoma Valley, which has hundreds of wine vineyards. We stopped at two. First was the David Coffaro vineyard where we tasted about ten different wines. Next we went to the Unti vineyard which we had read about in the Lonely Planet Guide. The guide said that Unti had a "big slutty Shiraz". Needless to say we had to sample THAT! Oh yeh we bought several bottles. Both of these wineries were small family run establishments and it was quite an intimate experience to taste there wares in what was essentially there warehouse. Here's a pic of Unti's vines.

Up to Van Damme SP

Tonight we are in the most beautiful California State Park. The camp ground is empty except for about three groups of campers. It is a five minute walk to the beach on one end and there is a fabulous canyon to hike at the other end.
Bill and Debbie hiked up Fern Canyon today and later Bill rode his bike up the canyon to the pygmy forest on the top of the mountain. He did a screaming descent back to the campground. Oh, did we say that we can get fast internet wireless right at our campsite? There is no cell phone service or tv or even fm radio - go figure! Here's some pics...

Back to the Coast

After Yosemite, we headed back to the coast where we stayed at Salt Point SP. We had heard that you could sometimes see grey whales migrating north for the summer. WE SAW A LOT! Each evening a pod of whales would swim by. We could see them spouting from the window of our camper. Here's the pics.

Yosemite - finally!

It has long been a dream of Bill's to visit Yosemite NP. Yosemite was the first National Park. It was actually established by Abraham Lincoln. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, called it the most beautiful place on earth. It also happens to be the birthplace of modern rock climbing - an avocation that Bill pursued in one of his past lives. We did a lot of hiking up to waterfalls. Did you know that Yosemite has two of the ten highest waterfalls in the world? We climbed up to Vernal Falls and Bill went to the top of Yosemite Falls which is 2,700 feet high. Debbie hiked to Mirror Lake. Although there was snow at the higher altitudes, the weather was sunny and nice. Here are some pics.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Big Time In Big Sur.

We are back in warmer weather on the coast in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Back to big trees and clear flowing streams. We have been doing a lot of hiking and Bill riding his bike. After a visit in Berkley with Debbie's nephew, we are off to Yosemite Valley NP and the cold again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From winter to summer in the same day!

We spent a delightful time in Sequoia NP looking at the world's biggest trees and awoke to find that four inches of snow had fallen and it was continuing to snow heavily. We had a rather treacherous drive down from the Sierra Mountains to Morro Bay on the pacific coast. These pictures were all taken on the same day.
We are heading now to Big Sur south of San Francisco where we will camp and hike for a few days before heading inland again to Yosemite NP.