Ocean City, WA

Ocean City sits on the coast of Washington about mid-way between the borders of Oregon and Canada. We choose this location for the proximity to Olympic National Park, and our stay here will have been three weeks when we leave next Monday. We are lucky to have arrived in this part of the country during their official “summer”, August/September. As you can imagine, rain forests do not thrive where there isn’t an abundance of moisture. Marine layers aside, we have been lucky that our first big rain day since we arrived over two weeks ago is today. Perfect opportunity to throw some dinner in the crock pot, bake some cookies for Bob and get the blog caught up a little.

Our campsite overlooks a large field and we watch for the family of deer that appear every few days. A short walk down a narrow trail over the dunes takes us to the beach. Expansive and hard packed, at low tide Bob has been able to enjoy many miles on his bike, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my meditative solitary walks. Bald eagles land at the shores edge and broken sand dollars and tons of dead crabs are scattered in the sand.

After a few visits up to ONP we are glad that we planned for so much time here. It takes about an hour to get to the southern most part of the park so we have done a few day trips. The entrance road to the Hoh Rainforest however is almost two and a half hours away, and we knew there were a few long hikes that we wanted to do. We decided to spend a few days away from the motorhome at the Rainforest Hostel that is very close to the park, a great experience we won’t soon forget.

Wild blackberries are EVERYWHERE! Many hours have been spent picking and eating these juicy morsels. We have about 10 quarts in the freezer now, and hopefully will add to them before we leave next week. As Bob says, “We can get meat and things anywhere, but when will we have this opportunity for fresh picked berries?” I agree, and our plans are to have some left in the freezer when we get to the kids this Fall. Hmmmm, that’s going to be a tough one.

Our Friends and Family Tour has continued also with a wonderful visit from Rose, who we haven’t seen for a few years. She had moved from Fallon up to the Northern Peninsula of Washington back in 2016. Just coming off of a four day back country 20+ mile hike towards Enchanted Valley, the end point was not far from us here in Ocean City. Brought tears to my eyes when she was getting ready to leave. Not only because I will miss her smile, and it was so great to see her and catch up with her life, but that Bob took the moment to sincerely thank her for all the hours she helped us build our business at the nursery. I hope she always remembers those words, because I know for him to have opened up his heart to say them - he meant every word. Right now we are having a great visit with Ged, our friend from Kamloops, that we visited a few years ago at his home in British Columbia. About the best thing about this last three years is the opportunity to continue to re-connect with friends and family that we see so rarely.

So by the time I am finish today I hope to have a few posts caught up, thank you for joining us on the journey.

Jimmy & The Rainforest Hostel

We stepped out of our comfort zone a little bit in order to spend a few days up in the Hoh. After deciding that the drive was to far to allow us to do the long hikes we were planning, we thought we would just get a motel up near Forks for a couple nights. About 12 miles from the entrance to the park it seemed like the perfect solution. Well the location was great, but the pricing per night was not. Still benefiting from the Twilight phenomenon, the town was not only mostly booked, but the few available rooms we found were 125.00 - 175.00 a night!!! for a Motel 6 style room. Did a little more research and I found the Rainforest Hostel. Checked out the reviews on Yelp, and the majority of them were good, so I gave the number a call to see if I could book us a spot.

We have never stayed in a hostel in all our travels. Not knowing exactly what to expect, other than the owner- Jimmy - had told me on the phone when I reserved that we would need to plan on some morning chores. He also told me a few times “Did you check out our website to see what we are about?” I told him I hadn’t, but I would before we arrived. After I got off the phone I loaded up his website and toured through the pages.

Jimmy opened the Rainforest Hostel about thirty years ago. When we arrived late in the afternoon after a beautiful hike at the Hoh he greeted us and led us into the living room of his home./hostel. We sat through “The Talk” that he gives to every person staying there. It consisted of 3 parts, most all words in favor of Bernie Sanders. But what we took away from it was a “Be kind to all you encounter”. Well, we pretty much feel that way too - so even though we don’t play by maybe the same political book as he does, it was an interesting talk. He then led us out to our “room”. Because we were a couple, we weren’t in the house where most of the rooms were filled with bunkbeds. Our “room” turned out to be a 1960’s era travel trailer surrounded by ferns and trees and parked under a covered carport. Bob and I both kind of gave each other “the look” when he walked us outside, but when we stepped inside it was clean and warm and all we really were in search of was a dry place to lay our heads for the night. It fit that bill. And did I mention it was $10.00 per person/ per night with 15 minutes of chores each morning required.

The next morning we got up and Bob got our coffee going on the jet-boil and put our chairs out. We carry pretty much everything with us in the Jeep that we need for camping, we just hadn’t wanted to sleep in the tent this trip. About an half hour later Jimmy came out and sat and talked with us for awhile then we got our "chore list” choices. Bob choose wood stacking and I pruned a little in the greenhouse.

Over the next two days we spent quite a bit of time with Jimmy. Learned his 76 year history, and shared ours. Bob and he had a lot more in common than we would have thought that first night we met. I will leave you with this haiku that he placed on his website. And would we stay here again, yep.

Everyone who stays will be given a “Bernie Sanders” sticker if you want one.

For Bernie:
all streams lead
meet rising tide
sea change!
by Jimmy Conomos

Rocklickers

Rock-licker
-n-
A person such as rockhound, lapidary, bonehead or mineral collector that licks rocks to bring out the color potential within the rough stone. Wetting a rock shows what the stone might look like once polished.
IMG_9666 (1).jpg

Well we finally did it. We broke down and bought a rock tumbler to carry around with us in the motorhome. Bob has been known to exaggerate occasionally…….but I don’t think he is very far off when he says we are carrying an extra couple hundred lbs. around the country - of ROCKS! We have found a new hobby that we both enjoy. Where else can you get great outdoor time in search of natures wonders? From petrified wood in Arizona to agates on the beaches of Oregon, we are finding so many treasures in every state. The first batch is in the tumbler and I can’t wait to see what they look like without us licking them :}

On to Seaside

This was our second visit to the coastal town of Seaside. We had the grands with us here last year, and we sure are missing them. Our camp area is a mile or so to their old town area that is filled with shops, restaurants and breweries. It’s a busier town than we normally like, much more of a tourist area than our last two camps, but we did enjoy the fact we could bike to the beach promenade and explore the area. Up and down the side streets it’s quite common to see fresh flowers for sale out by the sidewalk. Most are $3.00 a bunch, and the honor system is in place. Even found a few Little Free Libraries, and returned on my bike the next day to add some to their selection. When we eventually settle somewhere that will be one of the first things I ask Bob to build me.

Ecola State Park had a challenging and beautiful hike from the cliff-side parking area down a steep trail of switchbacks that led us to the beach. Agates galore, sea stars and even a huge cave to explore before the tide came back in.

Seaside is also close to Astoria, making it nice to hit their huge Sunday Market. They close off about three blocks in the old town area and while it was mostly artisans, not produce as we had hoped, it was still fun to wander up and down through the booths and see all the local talent.

Got up super early, for us, and took a day trip to Cannon Beach in hopes of walking all the way around Haystack Rock. One of the lowest tides of the year was forecast, but we were thwarted by a strong storm that morning that made the surge to dangerous to attempt it. Still a beautiful morning filled with sea creatures and I even got to see a Black Oystercatcher with babies.

It’s on to the Washington coast next. Excited to explore some areas that are new to us.

Ecola State Park
Ft. Stevens
Astoria Sunday Market

Return to Cape Lookout

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If I lived here, this would be my weekly hike. Some kind soul placed this bench 1/3 of the way up the trail from the beach. It’s a reminder going down that you are almost there. You can hear the waves crashing against the rocks and see that the beach is deserted.

On the way up, you can feel in your legs how much farther you have to go. Your heart longs already to be back down on that beach. Searching for stones and enjoying the moment. It’s also a good place to stop, have a sip of whiskey and then continue the journey up.

We leave for points north tomorrow, but we have already made plans to return to Pacific City in September on the way back down the coast. This bench will still be here I hope.

Dory Days in Pacific City

"The Dory Fleet of Pacific City"  (Images of America) by Jeanna R Bottenberg

"The Dory Fleet of Pacific City"
(Images of America)
by Jeanna R Bottenberg

Have to admit, before we got to Pacific City I didn’t know much about what a dory was. Over the course of the two weeks we were there though, we learned a LOT! About the history of the boats, the areas dependence on the use of them for fishing off the coast and the culture that surrounds them. The Dory Days weekend was everything a small town boasts about. Community, pride in their history and just plain fun. Parade, pancake breakfast and fish fry, sand dune races and cider on the patio of Pelican Brewing. It was a great way to meet the town.

Just what is a Dory?
Pacific City Dorymen’s Association