Sunday, July 29, 2012

What happened to the sunshine?

Oh yeah, that's right, we're in Washington now.  :-)  We spent the past 4 months in sun EVERY day, very few clouds and only a brief shower.  Now that we're in Washington it's a little different and the clouds and rain/mist are actually a welcome change (for a short period of time, of course).  With the clouds, mist and regular winds comes a little change in temperature as well.  We were used to 90's-100's and now are in the 50's, 60's and once in a while low 70's.  That was a bit of a change to us (especially me, who gets cold easily - I feel like a Floridian!).    

We spent the first two weeks in a little town called Ocean City (right next to Ocean Shores) with our campground right next to the beach.  We enjoyed our morning walks on the beach and an occasional sunset walk as well (b/c there are not that many visible sunsets on the beach here).  We even had the fun of driving our Jeep on the beach the first night we arrived.  They have several miles where vehicles are permitted but with lots of warnings about being careful to not get stuck or get too close to the water when the tide is coming in.  The beaches here are so very different than east coast beaches.  Mid-July and they are practically empty!  

July - and we have on long sleeves and pants!

Olympic National Park - we were a 1-2 hour drive from the park so we got to spend many days hiking in the beauty of the rainforests, stunning mountains and wildflowers in bloom.  

Hike to Wolf Bar...

the water is quite chilly!

some nap spots are more wonderful than others

Hoh Rainforest hike...

We took a little vacation from the RV so we could get to the western most point in the contiguous 48 states (Capa Alava) and the northwestern most point in the lower 48 (Cape Flattery).  We spent two nights in Forks at the Forks Motel.  I was so excited as I finally got to take a bath!  I's the little things.  When we moved out of our house I said I would miss taking a bath and I surely do (especially in the chillier weather).    

Cape Alava - we hiked the Ozette Triangle - 9 miles round trip.  This hike started with a beautiful 3 mile hike on mostly boardwalk through the rainforest to the beach, then 3 miles down/on the beach and ended with another 3 mile hike back through the rainforest on another mostly boardwalk trail.  What a great hike!  

Western most point

Bald Eagles are regularly seen here - we saw 4 during our 3 mile hike on the beach
Cape Flattery - this was just a short, but gorgeous, hike to the tip of the point. 

Northwestern most point

Cape Flattery Lighthouse

Overnight backpacking trip - We took an awesome trip to Enchanted Valley (accurately named!) - 27 miles round trip.  Let's just say we were a bit tired when we got back but it was so worth it!  

Westport Winery and Lighthouse - my first Washington wine tasting!  What fun and good wine too!

Grays Harbor (Westport) Lighthouse

We are now in Birch Bay - which is at the tip of Washington next to Canada.  We'll be here for almost 2 weeks and plan to do a lot of hiking in Mt. Baker - Snowqualmie National Forest area.  We got a little taste of it today on a drive to check out the area and to get some hiking maps.  We are certainly in for a treat!

they just opened this road on Tuesday!

Til next time...Happy Trails!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

California Beauty

California is so big and we've only just begun to explore little areas.  But so far we've seen some incredibly breathtaking scenes.  From our campground tucked away in the San Benito area (south of Hollister) we had to drive a bit to reach things but it was sure worth it.

We took a drive down the coast on famous Highway 1 from Monterey to Big Sur.

BIG SUR!  There's not much to say about this area except it's magnificent!  The views were incredible and some areas we even felt like we were in the Caribbean and not on the CA coast.  The pictures will say it all.

Monterey - Only July 5th we celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary.  We spent the afternoon checking out the sights of Monterey and then on Fisherman's Wharf we had a wonderful dinner at Cafe Fina.

the sea lions lounging in the sun on the dock at Fisherman's Wharf

anniversary dinner on Fisherman's Wharf

Point Pinos Lighthouse

Santa Cruz - Since Tom's a HUGE Patagonia fanatic we had to take a trip to the Patagonia Outlet in Santa Cruz.  After a little shopping and of course finding some great bargains, we headed down to the wharf for lunch and a view of the water.  This area is very different from Monterey with a boardwalk and many rides.  We even took the Sky Ride just for the fun of it!  :-)

ahhh...the life.  We found him floating on his back and then even stretched for a big yawn.

Looks pretty relaxing.

Pinnacles National Monument - This area is very popular for hiking and rock climbing.  The views are fantastic but those rock climbers are crazy if you ask us!

heading into the cave area

climbing down into the cave

at the other end of the cave ready to exit

Whale Watch - Tom read in the USA Today how the Blue Whales (which are pretty rare to see) and Humpback Whales are off the coast of Monterey due to the large amounts of krill in the area.  So we tossed it around and decided we should take a whale watch cruise to check them out.  Let's just say we don't ever need to take another one of these cruises!  Don't get me wrong, we did enjoy seeing the incredible whales up close but the cold weather and rocking of the boat did us both in that day.

Campground wildlife - Our campground had no shortage of hummingbirds.  They would go through an entire feeder in 1-2 days.  Tom would fill it and before he could get it hung they would be drinking.  We even got to see a few bob cats, a coyote, 2 skunks, an owl, deer and more than enough squirrels.

bobcat walking away with it's morning catch/breakfast

notice the hummingbird flying to the left of Tom's head and one on the feeder before he can get it hung

As I type this, we are on Route 5 heading up to Washington.  We spent the night in Wal-Mart's parking lot in Medford, OR and plan to get to Ocean City, WA by early evening.  We decided to head out of CA a little early so we have more time in WA and OR before heading back through CA and spending the winter there.  We'll have plenty of time to check out more of CA later this fall and possibly next spring/summer.  We'll catch up with you in Washington.

We are enjoying the fantastic scenery on our drive but let's just say it's not quite as flat as the drive across Texas was!  :-)  Lots of signs telling us about the next 6% downhill grade for 3-4 miles.

a view of Mount Shasta on our drive
Til next time...Happy Trails!