Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Exploring Strange New Worlds

We had a great time in our old stomping grounds but decided to push south. When we lived in Oregon we used to visit the Pacific coast as often as we could - the beauty of the rugged coast -where the forest meets the sea is truly amazing. We never took the time to stay and explore though.

The drive to the coast was crazy fun in the big coach. The road, as you can see, is not wide. It is a well traveled highway and quite scenic. I'm suggesting to anyone who may get the chance to make this drive - Highway 199 from Grants Pass OR to Crescent City, California straight through the giant Redwoods of Jedediah Smith Park. The air is still and pungent in this ancient rain forest - massive groves of massive trees. I'm talking beyond incredible. Our big coach and Toad made stopping here difficult but we are still in the area and plan to drive back for a day of photographing the dolls in the forest. The light that filters through the towering canopy is nearly magical. But that's another day and another blog!

After passing through the Redwood groves, we dropped into Crescent City California to a warm, sunny day.

The Felt Alive Boys loved checking out the view.

And the Petal boys traveled a very long way to get finally get a chance to romp on a beach. There is something about beaches and dogs.

Of course we had to stop in our favorite seafood restaurant in Crescent City. It's too bad we had to drive over 3000 miles to enjoy the best Alaskan cod ever. The fish and chips at the Chart Room are just about to die for.

Situated right on the Crescent City Harbor, watching the local sea lions sunning themselves
makes for a very authentic seafood dining experience. I don't often order seafood unless I can actually see the sea!

From Crescent City we drove north along Highway 101 into Oregon's Banana Belt on the Gold Coast. I have read that this drive is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. I wouldn't argue that. It is breathtaking where the lush coastal evergreen forests meet the vast Pacific Ocean.

Ethan has had his heart set on spending some time on the Oregon Coast since we started this whole adventure so we decided to find a great spot to settle down for a month or so. We have so much work to do to get workshops scheduled and moving every few days is not easy, even when your home is on wheels. So, we found a beautiful spot right on the beach complete with it's own lighthouse!

We are in a cool little coastal community - our home is prime beachfront property. The beach is just out our front door; literally, out the front door - there is short trail through the sea grass to the open Pacific. We walked and played on the beach the first two days we were here - The sun felt so amazing on my pale, Alaskan skin. I braved the cold water's edge and the surf and sand felt like heaven swirling around my feet. Wasilla Lake, back home in Alaska, is now frozen. I like ice skating ok but I LOVE the surf in my toes!

Gazing at the sea from the lighthouse tower is mesmerizing.

And the view from the tower looking down at our temporary home site.

It is hard to get any work done with the beach beckoning but it will be our home for a while so the novelty may wear off. Part of the thrill of our adventure is to find amazing spots and take the time to explore the area. This part of Oregon is really amazing. The weather here is quite diverse. But it rarely freezes and that I love. It can be sunny and 70 degrees one minute and then horizontal sheets of rain soaking you the next. It seems to stay at least 50 F and I am not chilled all the time like I was in Alaska.

We have been here about four days now. Even though we stopped moving, I still haven't gotten much work done- we've just been having so much fun in the sun and taking long walks on the miles of expansive beaches just out our front door. It's was a vacation that was very much needed.

Beach Shanty


Surfer Dude

But then some wild winter coastal storms hit that chased even the bravest surfers out of the water. The Dolphin (the brand of our RV) weathered the storms so well. We were cozy and comfortable as the wind and rain hammered the coastline. The next day the sun was out again but the ocean turned from a gentle creature into an angry beast. A huge storm in the Gulf of Alaska created some large swell conditions that made their way here - the beautiful beach shanties made by visitors during the long days of summer were destroyed as giant waves battered the shoreline. Ethan and I have discovered the thrill of watching the high surf. It is dangerous to be close to the shoreline as a sneaker wave can overcome you at any moment. The high waves tossed logs all the way down the winding beach trail leading to our rv park. I would not want to get caught up in that yet the ocean beckons us to watch the immense power of the 25 foot breakers relentlessly slamming the shoreline. I prefer watching the show from the safety of the little lighthouse, far above the tumultuous surf. I will post pictures of the storm in my next post.

And my Li'l Donald Trump is finally finished but still hasn't posed for his official portrait in the lightbox.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Giant Oregon Outhouse Fly

I thought we grew things big in Alaska! This funny landmark is in the tiny little community of O'Brien, Oregon. Very near to our old hometown of Cave Junction, staying in O'Brien felt like being home. There is a casual, laid-back spirit in these parts.

We were fueling up and it took me a few minutes to figure out what the people willing to brave the giant fly were carrying - they were GIANT fly swatters! So funny! I guess they hand them out when you get the key for the restroom! I must admit, it was very nice to have my own private john in my traveling home that does not require a giant fly swatter!

We did so much work to set out on this great journey; we totally upturned our lives and uprooted ourselves and our dogs in order to make this happen. Now that the monumental task of getting out of Alaska is behind us, Ethan and I were talking the other night about how we are both finding comfort in our old familiar territory here in Oregon. We lived here for several years and have already explored this area but we found ourselves reluctant to push down the highway - even though the weather is getting cool and rainy. We set up camp in a nice RV park just behind the giant fly.

They boys are both really doing so well adjusting to RV park life. Very well mannered! The Giant Fly RV Park had a nice trail leading to a creek - the dogs love rv parks with places for them to romp free. But Spikey got the first tick! They visited their old vet just the other day to get all set up for life outside of Alaska - the tick was dead but GROSSSSSS!! We don't have ticks, fleas or heartworm in Alaska.

And we finally put my vinyl graphics on the sides of the RV - it is just my business name and website - pretty low key - but I have a funny story to tell about those graphics. I was at the Alaska State Fair with my friend, Mindy, and we spotted this booth doing vinyl graphics - I guessed at the dimensions and had the guy make a pair - one for each side. Fast forward to somewhere in the Yukon - Ethan and I spotted this fresh cinnamon bun place - it was a roadside lodge on a long, lonely stretch of road and hot, sweet bread sounded SO good - we learned that they were sold out because somebody bought 70 of them (mutters under breath - 70???? - damnnnnn!!!) There was another disappointed couple there too - they were also traveling out of Alaska with their howling husky mutts - we started chatting because all of our dogs were howling while waiting for us. It turns out the guy remembered me from the fair - he had made my graphics. Small world!

And here is a picture of the Toad - RV'er lingo for a towed vehicle.

View Through the Pacific Northwest in a larger map