Our Travel Blog

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Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our Journey. Don retired October 2011 so hopefully the travelling part will increase! When we are not vacationing check in for updates about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Champoeg State Park

Wow – what an  amazing scenery greeted us when we pulled into this park.  It has been such a great part of this September adventure!  This park is located just south of Portland Oregon, which is not an area we have spent much time in.

In two days we saw so many new things I don’t even know where to begin.  On Tuesday before we reached the park we stopped for the day at the Evergreen Aviation Museum.  Howard Hughes Spruce Goose is at this museum.  I think Wikipedia best describes it:

The Hughes H-4 Hercules (registration NX37602) ("Spruce Goose") was a prototype heavy transport aircraft designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft company. The aircraft made its only flight on November 2, 1947. Built from wood because of wartime raw material restrictions on the use of aluminum, it was nicknamed the "Spruce Goose" by its critics.[1] The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built, and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history.[2] It survives in good condition at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, USA.

Don has researched and watched documentaries on the Spruce Goose and it was a great stop.  It took over 6 hours and I think a return visit some day would still be in order.

The area around the state park was such a scenic farmland.  Fall was out in it’s most splendid colors.  And the city of Portland is majestic to say the least.  We followed our usual pattern of shopping, eating and sharing a few beverages.

What a great holiday:)  Stay tuned

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beverly Beach State Park

As I said we did not move too far south.  The weather which I didn’t mention last (for a reason) has greatly improved.  The word dry could even be used somewhat.  Bev has taken some beautiful beach scene photos which I will download soon.

Between eating, drinking beer and walking on the beach our 2 nights here were exhausting:)

We explored the beautiful city of Newport.  The historical waterfront district is one of my beautiful places.  The sea lions were active as always, and the view for a beer on the waterfront was great.

We were finally able to have a fire last night, although the wood was still quite damp.  The fog sets in pretty heavy here in the morning and late evening.

Today we are on our way to Portland.  We will be stopping at the Evergreen Air Museum, where Howard Hughe’s Spruce Goose is located.  Everyone ois excited to see that!  It will be in the next blog.

Oh by the way the weather is now HOT!  Ha ha never happy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tillamook Oregon

Today we say goodbye to one of our favourite spots in Oregon.  As I mentioned before the Tillamook area is home to Tillamook cheese.  But it is also a beautiful area, lush farmland and dairy, still right by the sea.

We stayed at Cape Disappointment State Park.  I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful Oregon’s state parks are.  You can count on their consistency every time.  We were along the ocean, just a sand brim between us, and the waves again to put us to sleep.

I am saying this a lot but we didn’t do too much while here:)  Don and Ron visited the Tillamook Air Museum while Bev and I did laundry.  Imagine having to do such hard work on vacation!

As always we drove around, exploring and enjoying the ocean beached and coastline, and in general snooping around.  We seem quite good at that!

Off south, but not too far…

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Long Beach Peninsula

We pulled into Cape Disappointment State Park on Friday September 17.  This state park is located at the farthest south point of the Long Beach Peninsula, on the farthest south point of Washington.  There are 2 lighthouses on the peninsula, North Head and Cape Disappointment.  Cape Disappointment received its’ name in an odd/sad way.  Explorers were searching for an entrance to the Columbia River and finally stopped here, disappointed they were not going to find it.  Turned out they were there, and never knew it!

It is hard to pick our favourite state park in Washington or Oregon, as they are all unique on their own, but this one ranks high.  All the sites are no more than 3 minute walk to the ocean beach.  If you aren’t backed on to the ocean you are across from it.  And the beach is a perfect walking spot, rain or shine. 

We can’t claim we did anything the first few days we were here.  Usually at the beginning of a holiday of this length, we are rushing to see and do everything, then the pace slows down and we relax.  We are definitely in full relax mode.  We started Friday and Saturday in a non serviced site, and spent a lot of time driving around and renewing ourselves with the area.  Although we enjoyed some ocean beach walking time, it rained continuously, so no fires and long walks.  On Sunday our reservation expired and we had to decide where to go and for how long.  Ron and Bev were on their way to meet us, arriving Monday, so we decided to stay here and took a full service site for two more nights.  That was a great choice as having the electric heat on really took the damp out of the trailer.

Ron and Bev arrived Monday and we started the explore/tourist thing again.  We have shown them our favourite haunts, including the outlet mall in Seaside, and the oyster store in Oysterville!  I must admit the photo of the Oysterville store is from old stock.  This building is no longer used and a new replica is built beside it.

Another landmark here is the Astoria Bridge.  Completed in 1966, the bridge joined Washington and Oregon on Highway 101 for the first time.  It is built to span ships, and is more than 5 miles miles long.  I don’t have a photo – it is one of those things I bought a postcard for.

The rain stopped on Monday and we had two glorious days for sitting at the fire at night, walking the beach every morning and in general just enjoying ourselves.  Today we are headed 150 km down Hwy 101, into Oregon and Cape Lookout State Park.  We have reservations for 3 nights there.  That will conclude our “planned” part of the route, so the rest is as we feel.

The next stop includes Tillamook, home of the famous Tillamook cheese.  Not so famous to you, but we try to buy enough stock for a couple of months when we are anywhere close.  And Don may have Ron hooked now too!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mt St Helens and Area

We arrived in Seaquest State Park Wednesday.  We decided to drive around and explore the towns around, as the  weather was not exactly great for mountain viewing.  No surprise by this point that it was raining!  But we had a nice campsite, and power again, so I took advantage and watched Dirty Dancing.  This is only about the tenth time I have watched it so there were still some new moves to learn:)

Today we made the drive up the mountain.  There were places you could see the volcanic action form 1980 but unfortunately you could not see the top of the mountain.  We took one of my chosen scenic routes home, which don;t always work out:)  But oh well.

Below are some beautiful photos of Mt St Helens that we took in 2005, the last trip with our  old reliable 1985 24’ pull type trailer.

Tomorrow we are headed to Cape Disappointment State Park.  This is one of our favorite locations.  It is hard to find a campground that is not within a minute’s walk to the ocean.

Talk to you from there!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Seattle Washington

We arrived in Seattle on Monday morning.  By 11:30 we were in our campground, Vasa Lake Resort.  It is a simple little private campground on Sammamish Lake.  I have to say I really like camping with power.  Don prefers being out with nothing, but I am spoiled.  We also have internet and laundry:)

After we set up the trailer we drove out to explore the area.  We needed groceries, and were hoping to find a Verizon dealer to sell us an American wifi card so we could have internet anywhere there was phone service.  Driving around cities looking for addresses is a great way to explore.

Today we went to Pike Place Market.  This is one of the coolest Farmers Market you will ever visit!  Of course we came away with fresh seafood, salmon for Don, and scallops for me.  Also we bought our fresh fruits and veggies for the next few days.  After completing the trip with a bowl of yummy clam chowder, we drove north of Seattle to check out Premium Outlets mall.  I wanted to shop at J Crew and Carters.  J Crew was an awesome store, but I didn’t end up buying anything.  I keep thinking I have lots of clothes and until I find a job where will I wear something new?  Poor me:)  As for Carters I was hoping to find Christmas jammies for the kids, but there were none out yet.

We took a very scenic long route back to the trailer, and had time for a drink and a nice supper before dark.

So our stay in Seattle ends tomorrow.  We have decided to visit Mt St Helens, as it has been a few years since we were there.  I will let you know how that is when we have internet again.

Take care

Monday, September 13, 2010

Watching Salmon and Fun Times in Surrey!

We arrived back in Jasper on Tuesday afternoon and went in to town for a light supper and a walk.  Wednesday morning we were up bright and early hoping to camp at North Thompson campground in Clearwater.  The trip there is so majestic, I inserted a photo of Mount Robson.

We found a beautiful site right on the river and set up.  #26 for $21 (just for me as I forget by the time I get home where we stay).

This is a beautiful part of BC to stay in.  One of the attractions for us is being able to go and watch the salmon trying to swim upstream at Baileys Chute.  I’ve shown a few sample photos of this, simply amazing!  On Thursday morning we were on our way to Stewart’s in Surrey.

What a great time we had.  On Friday we took the sky train and ferry to Lonsdale Quay and shopped and ate a little.  We ordered in Chinese for supper and visited.  Saturday we went to Army & Navy – what a place to shop.  Then we headed to White Rock for a walk along the ocean and of course, eating.  We seem to have our favourite bar there, and as always was fabulous.  That evening we met Rick and Deb at a Greek restaurant and enjoyed a lovely supper.

Sunday we lounged around and in the early afternoon went to Uncle Ed and Auntie Ethel’s for supper.  I was hoping for turkey and she didn’t let us down!  It was really good to see them and know they are still healthy and happy.

We had a great visit with Stew, all his kids and precious grandchildren, and were so happy to meet Susan, his girlfriend.  Susan is soooo nice – good choice Stew!  Stew is such a great host.

We left Stew’s bright an dearly today and are headed to Seattle for a few days, hoping to visit Pike Place Market.

Till the next time…

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September Long Weekend

Our September holiday starts officially today!  We are off for what has become the traditional September family weekend in Jasper.  Sadly for us, not them, Lindsay and Jeremy are in Greece.  Also we typically have Erica and Dion along and they are in Regina.

We arrived in Jasper with enough time to have supper and hang out with Emerson before she headed to bed.  I bought the most awesome Cars sticker book at Costco and Blake and I had fun with that.  The weather was great and we took advantage and had a campfire as well.  It must have been nice out as I even stayed around the fire which doesn’t happen often.

On Saturday we headed out on a road trip to see some sights and walk around Jasper.  We shopped for a bit and stopped at the Bears Paw Bakery for lunch.  This place is amazing!  Then off we went to see Athabasca Falls and Maligne Lake.  They were beautiful as always and Blake and Em had so much fun wandering around and seeing water everywhere.

It was a full day for everyone and home we went.  The weather cooperated and we had another nice campfire.

Sunday the forecast was for rain, and as Em doesn’t care for really hot water and Tracy can’t go in hot tubs right now (she’s having a baby), we opted to take the kids to the Jasper pool.  Although it is quite an old facility – Don and I took Tracy and Lindsay when they were young) – it was a great place to go.  Blake demonstrated his floating skills, Emerson demonstrated her absolute fearlessness of water, and the both went down the slide with Dad.  We also had ice cream for our treat.

Don stayed back at the trailer to nap and make supper, and it was ready when we arrived, which is nice with 2 hungry and tired kids!

Monday it was time for everyone to head home.  Except for us kind of:)  We left our trailer in Jasper as we are headed west to Washington and Oregon.  We went back to Stony Plain as I had a Tuesday morning appointment.  Since I was dismissed form my job I wanted to meet with a lawyer and hopefully receive some reassurance that all was as good as it could be on my severance package.  He gave us some worthwhile advice:)

Blake and Em rode back with us, which is not as quiet as usual:)  God we love those kids!

So it is Tuesday and the appointment is over and we are headed back to Jasper.

I will try to catch up again after our weekend at Stewart’s in Surrey.

Take care

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where did August Go?

It has been a month since I last posted:)  Sorry about that – I know I need to be more diligent.  We have had many adventures since August.
On August 6 we travelled to Saskatoon to attend a family wedding.  Kerie Colburn was getting married.  She is the daughter of Ron and Margie Colburn.  Margie is Don’s cousin.  The wedding was held in Delisle.  What a typical hot Saskatchewan summer day!  As in all weddings the bride and all attendants were beautiful and the groom and groomsmen were handsome.  The girls were in a gorgeous shade of pink.  So deep and rich.  We were pleased to be able to visit with Don’s Mom, as well as Ken and Brenda  (and a brief appearance by Brynn) and Karen and Darrell.  Of course there were tons of other family as well, but far too numerous to mention.  Thanks to the Colburns, they were generous hosts and the wedding was splendid.
We were planning on going to a wedding in North Battleford on August 14, but decided almost last minute that we would not go.  Although I wanted to see my mom, she was not too interested in attending the wedding and frankly neither were we.  Although the groom’s mom is my cousin, we had not seen each other for probably 20 years, and I had not met the groom.
Soooo  - at the last minute we planned a camping trip with Paul and Mary.  We went to William Switzer Park north of Hinton, and of course had a blast.  The guys spent Saturday fishing and Mary and I shopped in Hinton and visited with her sister Lorna.  I’ll tell you that family is a hoot!  So lucky to have each other:)  Paul and Mary went home on Sunday but Don did not work Monday so we stayed another night and travelled to Grand Cache.  It was just a short one and half hour trip, and what a beautiful town, nestled in the mountains.  I can totally understand living there may be challenging from a travel perspective though.
That takes us to August 21 weekend!  Lindsay came home on a quick trip, and we attended Nicole Ryckman’s bridal shower and supper.  Almost sad to see Lindsay and her friends grown up and married – it was hard enough to see Tracy and hers:)  That was a fun but brief visit with Linds.  Lindsay and Jeremy are in Greece on a belated honeymoon as I write this.  It has been fun getting her updated emails and catching some iPhone whatsapp? from her.  Whatsapp? is an iPhone app that allows 2 iPhones to talk to each other at no cost.
August 28 weekend now!  A very exciting time for grandparents!!  We got to participate in purchasing Blake’s first hockey equipment and skates.  We all travelled to United Cycle.  I have always appreciated this store, and they have outfitting the little ones down to a science.  They make it seamless and easy.  He looks like he is ready for anything now, and hockey registration is September 9.
Between all that we have had some other interesting times.  On August 11 I was put on stress/sick leave for a week, with a reassessment in one week.  At that point I was put on for another week, which made my return to work day August 26.  I have been struggling at work since the new manager came on board.  Between stress and dealing with my fibromyalgia this was a well needed break.
In the ten years I have worked at the Town, for the most part all employees at all levels have had above average work ethics.  The leadership of the town manager supported teamwork, and although you were not always rewarded in hours or pay, you always knew what you were doing was appreciated by all who were involved.  That made work a challenging and inviting place.  Having said that there has been a swing in that attitude lately, and I have observed the new staff were not as engaged in the community and making things happen, as in the past.  This could be for several reasons, one of them being I have too high of standards?  As I was attempting to find/develop a working relationship with my new supervisor, I questioned what would work best.  Now to make a long political statement story short – upon my return to work I was let go!  The devastating part of this for me is that I loved working there, and thrived in my various positions over the years.  BUT – all things happen for a reason:)
So starts a new chapter in life and brings us to September.  We had previously booked 2 weeks vacation at the end of the month, and Don extended his to be all of September.  We think this will give us time to discuss/replan/etc. where we are going in life.  Don’s possible retirement looms in October 2012, and he has already formed a consulting company.
So the next few weeks of postings you can follow us around Washington and Oregon!  And I will try to post more often.  Live Writer is fantastic as I am writing this as we travel down the Coquihala, and will post it as soon as we get WiFi!
Talk soon.