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Olympic Peninsula Vacation

Glamping!

What do the words hiking, camping, eating, drinking, laughing, public defecation, games, chillin’ have in common? Well, they are words involved with the annual camping trip with the Kelly’s……..yahoooooooo! That is exactly what happened and then some! The location of this annual epic event was in and near the Olympic National Park which, by coincidence, was near to our retirement spread. As a matter of fact, we made a quick pit stop on our way to the first camping spot! Being busy folks that we are, it was Deb and my first trip in the trailer this year and that sucks! Well anyway, it was late September and we got ourselves loaded up and headed for the first spot, Shadow Mountain RV Resort. During our visits to our house in Sequim, we had driven by this place a few times, but still had vague memories of it. We were all pleasantly surprised to find it a great place to stay. They had full hook ups, 30 & 50 amp electrical, a very well stocked general store that had a deli inside which created great breakfast sandwiches, by the way. The laundry and showers were spic an span and it was located just of highway 101 which made it easy to travel to some destinations we had in mind! Our first trip took us to Rialto Beach, which was a beautiful beach that one of Debbie’s friends had told her about! The weather was stunning that day and we got to take the four-legged lima bean with us too!

 

 

Another great trip and hike was to Cape Alava which started at Lake Ozette on the Ozette Trail. Rich and Pam had been out here many times before and did the whole triangle and also camped on the beach. We were only able to do the cape trail in and back because we just didn’t have time for the whole triangle because we had to leave Cordell back at the trailer since dogs were not allowed. But speaking of this, thanks to the kind generosity of two lady campers next to us were we even able to do this. We had met them and had a chat. They also had  a dog and became buddies with our Cordell. They kindly offered to take Cordell out for a potty break and a walkie while we were gone. As Cordell is now a senior guy, he would have never made it for as long as we were gone and would have made a little mess in the trailer. They saved our asses that day and allowed us to enjoy a great hike! It is a gorgeous place, just look below at the pictures!

During the third day of the trip, we had to pack it up and head to our second destination which was the Sol Duc Resort. Although the distance between the two was short, it took awhile due to the continued construction on the main highway, but it was soooooo worth it! Taken from the website: “Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is located 12 miles into the heart of Olympic National Park. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort offers a unique, and relaxing experience. Discover the outdoor pure mineral water hot pools. Melt away tension while being surrounded by forested peaks and the sound of the Sol Duc River gently tripping over pebble and stone. You’ll be able to enjoy an outdoor lunch at Deli Cafe, take a short hike through majestic primeval old growth rain forest with the rhythm of Sol Duc Falls in the background.” The first thing you will notice is the smell, a pungent smell of rotten eggs or smelly gaseous farts. Pam and Debbie should be used to that being married to us boys! There is a very small store, a bar and restaurant. The RV sites are okay and sufficed for us. The one thing is there is no cell service or wifi of any kind, so you are definitely off the grid! The resort had three separate mineral pools, each with a different temperature. The best way to enjoy them is start with the coolest one and slowly pop into each of the warmer two. The warmest one hovered around 106 degrees and it was toasty! We met some interesting people working there, can we say……..eclectic! Had some very interesting conversations with a few and was intriguing how they got there and what they plan on doing in the future.

Along with time in soaking in the pools and having a few drinks in the bar, we once again hit the trails for some more hiking in nature’s wonderland. We headed out to Ruby Beach for another day of beach combing, looking at sea stuff, and enjoying the ocean spray. Once again, the weather was beautiful and the beach was dog friendly, so Cordell got to romp around to his pleasure. We also drove down to Kalaloch Lodge to explore and see if it might be a future destination to stay at! None of us had ever been there and it was in a wonderful setting and not that expensive for being right on the beach. Another hike we took was up the Sol Duc River and over Sol Duc Falls. It was deep in the woods and beautiful and you could cross the river and hook up with other trails, which we did. We took the Lovers lane Trail back along the south side of the river and back to the resort. It was on this trail that we had two exciting events. The first, a bear lumbered across the trail about 50 yards in front of us. It was a big one at an estimated 350-400 pounds. I was in front of the pack and since I was looking down, I didn’t see it until Rich called for me to stop and yelled bear! Guess who didn’t see it…….Debbie…..the minute she heard the word she turned a made haste to the back of the line and it was gone before she had a chance to turn around. The bear never even made notice that it even knew we were there. Then, just a few yards down from where we say the bear, was a raging wasp/hornets nest in an old stump right by the trail. Of course none of us even noticed until I got stung in the calf by one of the crazy bastards. Then we noticed it and were they ever pissed. We surmised that the bear might have stirred them up and one of them took it out on me! Once we got back, we went in the pools and ran into a guy that was on the trail too and got stung ten times! I guess I was lucky!

 

 

One final hike we took was on the Mink lake Trail up to, you guessed it, Mink Lake! This was the most beautiful of all the hikes we did and the toughest. Most of it is uphill on the way to the lake. We only saw one other couple the whole way and back! At the lake there is a wood shelter and we had a backpack lunch there before heading down. It was so quiet and peaceful but still no damn internet…heh heh! Actually didn’t want to leave it. The day before we left we had rain finally and it was a day spent chillin, going into the pools (twice), hanging out watching movies, one more evening in the bar and dinner at the restaurant, and games and drinks that night. So winding up, it was a fun trip. We figured we estimated around 28 miles of hiking, and during one of them, I had my usual gastric disturbance and lived up to my name of Volcano Joe, fouling a second national treasure!! Guess that prevented me from gaining more weight than I did. Heading back, we drove right by our Sequim house and was just going to continue on back to Snoqualmie so we would have another day to recover. Then on a second thought, we decided to go and just hang out there overnight and do our laundry and cleaning of the trailer there. So glad we did. It was like having one more day of vacation and the recently repaired hot tub was extremely enjoyable. Another vacation down, but there will be another camping outing in November on the coast in Grayland for Thanksgiving. We will be joining the Kelly’s for their annual holiday trip for the first time and will cross our fingers for the weather and take what comes! See ya!

 



THE PICS

 


Good times with good friends!

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Vacation 2013 Part One

It is vacation time again and we took two glorious weeks off!! The weeks were as separate as night and day and we start off with part one, the first week! This was the fun one. We got or trailer hitched up and made our way down to Oregon to hook up with three other couples and their trailers to make the Crazy Caravan! After enduring the horrible Friday afternoon traffic in Portland, we finally made our first destination and hooked up with the first couple (Rich and Pam) in Eugene. Our overnight stay was at Premier RV Resort which is a clean and convenient stop for an overnight stay! We had a nice evening hanging out and catching up.

Our next stop and destination was near Cave Junction, OR at the Country Hills Resort. There we hooked up with the rest of the gang, Patti & Bob, and Rob & Ursie. It was hotter than hell and luckily we had power to run our A/C cause it was a furnace! The place was nice and tucked back into the woods but soon we felt a strange vibe about the place. There wasn’t anything wrong with the place, just strange and had some strange folks staying in the other sites! More about that later! It was also where some trailer breakdowns started occurring. Bob’s brand new rig had one of the cabinet and doors come away from the mount. Rich’s fairly new trailer’s water pump started leaking. Our shower stall started leaking water onto the floor when showering. That just took some heavy duty caulking to finally get it to stop! I had recently bought a new fangled PocketHose that seemed perfect for the trailer! I was excited as I hooked it up, it expanded, and water flowed into the trailer….all was well with the world! My trailer buds were ready to buy one ASAP! The very next day this happened:

What a piece of “made in China” shit!!!! Do NOT buy one of these pieces of crap!!! That deflated my bubble and back to the old stiff, hard to manage, regular hoses we went. At night we would hear strange noises and see shadows in the woods and out of our trailers. Scary and weird! Then to top it off, we had the “magic mushrooms boys” across the way from us. Twice they brought us various containers, one being a blue pumpkin candy holder and the other a glass with figures of nude females on the sides, filled with glass beads. Then on the way out, I ran into him again and he offered me some of his magic little shrooms of which I courteously declined. The big highlight of the stay was taking a trip through the Oregon Caves. That was a blast and it was a refreshingly 44 degrees in them also and the caves themselves were fascinating! Another highlight was all piling into the McEvoy rig and playing Cards Against Humanity! Yes, we are all horrible people! It was nice to finally pull out of there and head on down the road!

Down the road meant driving into Northern California and heading toward the coast and into the redwoods. As we did that, we watched the temperature plummet from the low 100’s into a very cool and comfortable low 70’s. i may speak for myself but I was now a very happy camper! Our next stop was at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. It was a beautiful place hugging the Smith River. We took a nice hike into the majestic giants and felt really small and insignificant against these beauties of Nature. We decided to take a break from campground cooking and cleaning up after and drove into a fog shrouded Crescent City and located a nice restaurant, the Harbor View Grotto, and had a decent meal, drinks, and camaraderie.

Up into the Oregon Coast we went to our next destination, Humbug Mountain State Park. I had driven by this locale many, many times in the past and had never stopped. It was a very nice campground and just a short walk to the beach where whales were spouting off in the distance. We hiked the Humbug Mountain Trail, which was a pretty steep trip and surprisingly offered few good views of the coast and ocean, but was beautiful none the less. Then the inevitable occurred as it always does when Rich and I get together, we got really spanked on Jager and stayed out on the beach until 3am with our girls. We were looking at the mountain in the darkness and saw lights among the trees and actually thought there were hikers up there in the dark. It turned out to be the full moon rising up from behind the trees! I didn’t feel too hot the next morning and also pulled my back out, just great for the rest of the vacation. I managed to get camp up with help from Rich and Bob and hobbled on to the next and final stop.

Cape Perpetua was our final stop of this fun trip. In my opinion it was the most beautiful part. The coast of Oregon is at its most rugged and captivating along this stretch. It took awhile to get there, as I was contacting my local doctor trying to get a prescription for something, but after a long wait in the parking lot of a Safeway, they declined to get me anything. So I just winged it with a little help from my buddy Rob who shed some of his muscle relaxers to get me through the worst of it. Since some of us were either injured or just worn out, we did minimal hiking. We went up to the top of the Cape and went out to the rock shelter. We also went into the town of Yachats and had big Bob’s 60th birthday dinner at Ona Restaurant. It was a great dinner and we had a fantastic waitress who endured our craziness and partying. Bob had a good time on his milestone day and it was a great fun trip with some great fun friends. Check out the pictures in the photo set. Stay tuned for part two of the 2013 vacation……more work…less play on that one!

Summer Adventures

It has been a busy summer so far. Much of the spring was involved taking monthly trips to our island cabin, furnishing, cleaning, decorating, fixing, etc. I am having to learn how to fix things now and even tackled replacing the kitchen faucet and range hood, thanks to help from my buddy Larry! We had much of the interior painted except for the two bathrooms and one bedroom. We are going to do those rooms ourselves as we didn’t have colors picked out yet. The painter was a local guy who didn’t really do that great of a job and is still not finished and says he won’t be until the first week of September…….fucking unacceptable! We are not happy and I have paid the dude in full already, my very bad mistake!!! We have pictures that we cannot even put up because the mistakes really show up in the flash. At any rate, it looks better than before and is getting very cozy and comfortable with many of our touches. We have accommodated guests twice now and they felt very much at home and our little cabin was big enough for them all!

We finally de-winterized the trailer, cleaned her up, loaded it with supplies, hitched her to the truck and headed back to………yep, Oregon, once again! Our destination this time was the coast once again and we camped at Beverly Beach State Park. It was beautiful. We explored the coast again, heading to Newport, Depot Bay, Florence, Agate Beach, etc. We also scoped out campgrounds, visited scenic sights, lighthouses, and did a little wine tasting as we always do! We never tire of the Oregon Coast and are planning the next trip to start from the California redwoods and drive back up the coast next year!

Duplicating our route in February, we drove to central Oregon over the Santiam Pass to our secret camping spot near Sisters, OR. There we met up with some very good friends Rich, Pam, Kelsey, Rob, and Ursie. We all camp together in the middle of the woods and eat, drink, build big camp fires, hike, shoot guns, drink, ride dirt bikes, more eating, and drinking. It is hot, dusty, and dirty, but a very fun time with great friends! Have a look at the few photos we took of the trip!

Camp Givens

After we got back, the following weekend we rode the Mt to Sound Greenway Snoqualmie Tunnel Bike Ride. It was a twenty-five mile bike ride down the John Wayne Pioneer Trail which took us through the two and a half mile tunnel. All these years of living here and we had never been to the tunnel. Going through an old two-mile, abandoned train tunnel is dark, cold and spooky, but was fun as hell! At the end we had a great BBQ. It is fun to get out and explore what is just right outside our doorstep. We have a wedding coming down in Portland we are going to, the Boeing Classic Golf Tournament that we always volunteer to work and watch, then we will be spending a whole week at the cabin right after that which takes us right into September. Wow, where did the summer go!!!???

Oregon Vacation 2012

It is obvious we seem to love the great state of Oregon because we keep returning there year after year. Once again we took a road trip back there. We first headed to the coast winding up in Newport. We have driven through the quaint coastal town many times in the past, but never stayed and explored it much. This time we did and discovered it to be very beautiful. We stayed at the Hallmark Resort right on the beach. Cordell loved running on the beach. He goes crazy out there on the sand and watches the waves and seagulls and explores the driftwood and bits washed ashore! If you just drive down the coast highway like we have done many times past, you don’t discover the very cool part of the town, the old historic dock part of the town. We did and it was very cool with many shops, galleries, restaurants, and sights. We had one of the best dinners ever at a place called Local Ocean! It was fresh and wonderful and if we lived here, it would be our favorite dining stop. We also took a drive up the coast a bit and ended up at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Debbie loves going there and any time we are within driving distance, we go eat cheese!!!!!

Leaving the coast for our second leg of the trip, we drove to central Oregon over the Santiam Pass to our next destination of Suttle Lake near Sisters, OR. There we met up with some very good friends Rich and Pam and bunked together at the Lodge At Suttle Lake. It is a very beautiful property nestled in the woods on the shores of Suttle Lake. We had a very nice cabin but no internet and you know I needs my internets!!! We had dinner with another couple of friends Rob and Ursie at the Tumelo Feed Company where you can get great steaks and a nice big plate of rocky mountain oysters (no….Deb nor I tried them). It was very nice being together with all these great people at the same table. We have shared many good times together! The next day was snowmobiling time!!! Rich and Pam have their own, so Debbie and I had to rent ours. The weather was iffy at best with the wind blowing hard. In Bend things looked hopefully, but by the time we hitched the trailer with our sleds and followed Rich up to the sno park near Mt Bachelor, the wind was howling and snowing sideways. Well did that stop us, hell no and off on the trails we went. It was fun but slow going as visibility was an issue for all of us at times, sometimes not being able to see the trail in front of you. We made it to the Elk Lake Resort where we dried and warmed up a bit with a hot coffee drink before heading back. We were going to do a loop, but due to time constraints and needing to get the sleds back in time, we had to go back the way we came. The trip back was much better as the wind and snow stopped and the sun came out! It was fun regardless of the weather!

Well we parted ways and started on the third and final leg of our trip driving down the road to Sunriver where we had a fabulous room at the Sunriver Resort! The place is gorgeous!

The Lodge

We absolutely love this area and have thought about retiring here many times! Having a state income tax on top of the federal taxes have changed our mind about retiring in Oregon though. We just don’t feel like giving an additional 10% of our pensions to the state. We have settled on somewhere else, but more on that in a later post! We took Cordell on a nice long walk around the grounds and into the Village, had a great dinner in the restaurant, and enjoyed the accommodations. The next day we went skiing at Mt Bachelor. The weather was perfect, but my skiing wasn’t. I think I rented the wrong skis and spent a lot of time on my back. It was pathetic and poor Debbie’s day was ruined waiting for me! I think some lessons are in order since I have never had any. I just pointed myself downhill one day at Ski Apache in New Mexico on fine day long ago and headed down and figured it out. I am sure I learned some bad habits along the way that need to be corrected. The next day ended our time and we had to head back home. Actually it was in the nick of time, as bad weather and snow had come and made driving a bit tricky at times but we made it back safely. The time had gone by very fast on this trip and the next scheduled vacation won’t happen until July. We will be busy though as you shall soon see, meanwhile have a look at the few photos we took and we’ll see ya soon!

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