Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Finding Nemo, Going Coastal

    Lynn had taken a short leave of absence for us to hit the road for a couple of weeks in September.
It just happened to be the same time our friends Ben and Tory, aka "Nemo" on, were coming back from their trip to Alaska and camping along the Olympic Peninsula just as we were. So we all decided to get together, somewhere, maybe. Like I generally believe, the best things in life just happen without planning.
(Warning: Two weeks worth of pictures coming on, change the channel anytime.)

With the Fun Mobile locked and loaded we were on target for a two week vacation.

The drive from Boise through Idaho, Oregon then California backroads was dull yet exciting just to be in backroads America. After all, there was no direct route to Gold Bluffs Beach in northern California, our first destination.

A picture of the back roads. Well?...

We stopped for our first night in this back road kind-of-place at an unknown lake fifteen miles off the main road, Sliver lake. I know I said unknown lake and it was unknown until we saw the sign. We were pleasantly surprised with an empty campground and beautiful skies.

While taking this picture a dragonfly landed on my hand, giving me good juju for the whole trip.

With no straight shot to Gold Bluffs Beach in Northern California from Meridian Idaho, we drove many backroads and for a brief second we were part of the lives of the people living there. As in part of a cattle drive, 

only we were driving the wrong way. And this cow let us know...mad cow.

They went around us, afraid of my cattlelytic converter.

Our first destination, Gold Bluffs Beach. No great camping pictures since our camp spot was behind a row of bushes and we couldn't see the ocean, though it was right there.

Bear boxes for food it seems they don't need reservations like we did. Last time here reservations weren't needed, oh how things have changed.

We did an 8 mile hike through the "big trees", California Redwoods that grow down to the sand. Walking counter clockwise through the trees and hills we had two miles of beach to walk back to camp at the end, it was the most perfect hike/walk we've ever taken.

An intriguing sign...

That's funny, I didn't think three people could fit in that little privy.!

Ah but it was the pump house after all. They must want us to jump in the water tank!

Our reason for taking this eight mile walk, huge trees.

Not a great picture of a banana slug you can barely see his little black eyeball at the end of it's stalk.

Speaking of stalk, he was stalking a girlfriend. We waited a few minutes to see what would happen but it was like watching paint dry, we left while it was still wet.

Yes, there I was, inside a tree. I could have lived there if I had my trunk with me. My trunk, well it was my only tree joke, I'll lumber along now before you get board.

Is it me or do these twins look like they're barking at each other?

Look close to see Lynn...

Yes I know, it's not a good thing to do when you're as clumsy as I am. Believe me, turning around was fun too.

Look close, again, to see mini-me at the trunk of that giant tree. It was amazing to touch them and know they were there before Columbus landed in America.

The hike climbed for a few miles making an out-of-shape guy like me breath hard, but I was 
not to be de-turd. 
In actuality those were smart pills. That's right, if you were my city slicker friend and saw them I'd tell you that, and they make you smart if you eat them. You'd pick one up and put it in your mouth and tell me right away that they tasted like crap. And I'd say see, you're getting smart already.

It's a bit strange to see trees or stumps long dead yet sprouting life from other growing plants. The stump itself is long dead, the greenery being from other shrubs.

Like this up-turned stump with roots that has two other trees that have become one with the stump. I know it's a little hard to picture it but the tree has fallen in the opposite direction many many years ago.

The trees were all standing with boughs drawn tight waiting for the maestro to signal the start of their  symphony. A small breeze is all it takes to start the music and it is my wife's favorite sound in all the world. Take it away maestro...

Towards the end of the hike I was a bit sore from leaning back so much. 

Coming down off the mountain we dropped into Fern Gulch...

where these ferns are descendants of plants living here thousands of years ago.

When we came out of the Gulch and hit the grasslands I started looking, and was not disappointed.

The two mile walk on the beach back to camp was a kick in the pants, or was that my shoes?

By the time we made it to camp my back was killing me, walking in sand is harder than I remembered. There's a grain of truth to that. And too bad you can't see the Pink Pony bandage on my left foot, I'm not that manly after all it seems. I was strangely proud and wore it for a week.

While Lynn made it look like, a walk on the beach.

After two nights camping on sand we drove on up the coast.

We were looking for a Costco for more margaritas. Whatever you do don't buy any, you'll be hooked.  Not the mix but the ready to drink.

But I had to ask if along the coast, shouldn't it be Coastco?

 Instead we found Paul and Babe. Paul was quite taken with our GMC and Outfitter rig, just sayin...

Driving up the Oregon coast we were in familiar territory, we used to live in Bend and came to the coast quite often. Lynn and me wanted to find an old path down to an incredible stretch of beach where we used to take our girls when they were small. The trail that I, say it again, I, named the Hobbit Trail. Way back in the eighties no less. We couldn't find the trail so had to stop at the Park Headquarters to ask. I'll be a son of a beach if the official name isn't now the Hobbit Trail. 

Lynn found a friend,

or two.

I'll buy that for a dollar.

I caught a nice sized crab and named it Sushi, I don't know why. 

We stopped at a lighthouse, very lite on "house."

Then we hoofed it on up to the Olympic Peninsula, looking for Nemo. We did have to drive twenty miles inland one night on the way up to find an open campground. All campgrounds on the coast were booked up tighter than a five pound sausage in a one pound wrapper. It seems a lot of campers had gone coastal because of inland fires. Wouldn't you know, that was our reason as well!

We did make it to the upper Washington coast known as the Olympic Peninsula, an area that gets between 140 -200 inches of rain a year. I'm not sure, that sounds like a lot to me.
And there we met up with Ben and Tory...Nemo.
Well Ben is Nemo, Tory is Mrs. Nemo. Ben is an ex-submariner, hence "Nemo." I forgot to ask if he likes sub sandwiches.

Our first two days and nights together the weather was...rainy. Was that a surprise? And the beach was less than optimal, but we endured and had fun anyway.

Ok we were faking the fun. Geez that was a cold wet wind.

But Ben had fun, doing his geriatric version of the Karate Kid.

Later we drove to and camped on the Hoh River. This is Ben's picture from over next to the bushes. I don't know what he was doing but I ain't walking over there barefoot

Ben had a hatchet that he said didn't cut very well. Oh contrar, I went through several cords of wood. Ok it was a few pieces but felt like a cord.

That evening I gave Ben some good tips on taking the best pictures with his new camera. 
Do you believe that?

The next day we took a walk through the forest. What kind of forest you might ask, a rain forest of course.

There was moss and mas moss.

I found a moss mass that used to cover a large branch. The branch must have rotted and dissolved over time leaving the moss to continue growing around the opening where the branch used to be...Huh?

Well, it looked possible.

Lynn had bought some hand puppets for our twin granddaughters, Ben and I thought to have some fun with them. The problem was mis-identification. I thought they were beavers, then squirrels. Ends up they were sea otters, I otter know that, geez.

This fallen tree was almost two hundred feet long. Whether a person was there or not, it made noise when it fell.

There we were, holding a giant log off Ben's head but he could care less. Logs of luck next time Buddy!

Leaving the rain forest I almost felt like I was following myself.

These two are Ben's pics. You won't notice on these small pictures but on full size they compare technically better than any of mine... I won't post any of his pictures next time. You believe that?

Another cold wind-swept beach was on our tour-de-sea.

A light house on an island. But how do they get pizza delivery?

Lynn gets one point for this picture.

Can you see that we're all very handy people? And what else do you do at the beach besides wave?

Weather was closing in so we drove to Kalahakalugi or some strange name, to see if there were any open camp spots.

Our spirits were were buoyed by finding the perfect spot for two Outfitters. I don't know how it worked out but Ben never seemed to mind going drag, I mean riding drag when we pulled into a campground.

Ben's nice homemade bike carrier attached to his ladder. Told you he was handy.

During a group meeting I asked everyone if they thought I was the coolest dude they ever met...need I say more.

Two rainy nights we spent having a fire and fun under that canopy..

Well I had fun anyway, seems I'm not that cool dude after all.

So I did have some fun after all. I had to promise no more jokes.

The view from camp oh yeah.

Ben calls this the money shot, I don't know why.

Same picture with sparkles on top.

The next day was rain free, we were plenty excited. Ah but who took the picture?

Me and Ben took a whole bunch of pictures that day, you'll sea.

I was thinking it was Lynn's Happy Birdday.

Ben got some fantastic bird shots leaving me this picture to take. I wondered if this was a crap shoot but no dice, it was on a mission. As it dropped it's A Bombs I yelled to Lynn "Duck!" Ah but it was a pelican after all. Yes thank you.

There were crab shells everywhere. When Lynn picked this one up it seemed to sprout very large eyes and I could hear it thinking, "Hallelujah, my prayers have been answered, blonde hair and blue eyes!"
Well that's how I felt almost 38 years ago anyway, when she picked me up, in a bar, at 2am. You believe that? Lol she was 18 when we met and 18 when we married, no bars. Well...different bars. Did I just say that out loud?

Up on the cliffs an octo-tree monster was crawling down to the beach.

It was obvious the tree was there long before the dirt washed out from under it, but I swear I saw it eat a bird.

About this time Ben and Tory, aka Nemo, left us to continue their long drive back to Louisiana, sadly. We had such a blast with them and surely wish they lived closer. We hope to sea them again soon.

Lynn and I stayed another day, moving to a different single camp spot. Funny how you're in a forest with the ocean a spit away.

Another fabulous evening on the beach, it's not something we get to do everyday.

There were some kind of surfactants on the water, natural or pollutants we didn't know but I put my shoes back on.

I was hoping there was a Dollar Store nearby.

I call this the honey shot.

The trip and report is on it's way home, are we glad? We stopped at Lake Chelan in Washington State, a gorgeous Lake to see. And we were the only people in the campground, it was Chelantastic.

The backroads where uncrowded and a joy to drive.

Then came Banks Lake also in Washington. We were not in a hurry to get home, enjoying the scenery of the Northwest and each other's company.

Then Lake Pend Oreille. There's a great book "The Old Man and the Sea" by Hemmingway. I'll call this "The Old Man and the Lake".

Then Payette Lake. Well, the lake is there but by this time my shutter finger was about to fall off so no lake pictures.

When we left Boise two weeks before the temperatures were in the solid nineties. Driving back into the Treasure Valley and home the high temps were now gone and local mountains had their first dusting of snow.

Wow this was a long trip report, I'm tired of pictures and camping.
You believe that?

Besides camping along the west coast we spent nights at Silver Lake, Lake Chelan, Banks Lake, Lake Pend Oreille and Payette Lake. The last time I saw so much water my friend Noah came by with all his pets and took me water skiing for forty days and forty nights. Now that's a lot of water.

Thanks for reading...
Dave & Lynn

And don't take pictures in the middle of the road.

Can I throw in some beautiful granddaughter pics? Ok thanks.
Getting ready for Halloween in Meridian, 2017
3 1/2 years old putting on lip gloss. A Princess Ballerina can do that you know.

What's your point there Grand Pa?

Oh my gosh, there's enough personality in these two to light a city.

First stop was our house don't you know.

Watch out world, these two just might set you on fire.