Thursday, July 30, 2015

Forks (Final)

I think I mentioned there is a lot to do around Forks, Washington.  Our final day we drove a much shorter 15 miles to check out the beaches at La Push.  We had heard there were three beaches there, cleverly named First, Second, and Third.  Two of them required hikes to access - what to do?  So we stopped again at the Forks visitors center.

I hadn't noticed this carving on our previous trip.

Now we know that the Forks area is known for lumberjacks.  We even saw them at work.  But who's the little guy?  Is that a tree elf?  The knowledgeable visitors center employee didn't know!  Anybody?

But she did recommend Second Beach as her favorite in La Push, so off we went.

We walked the 7/10 mile trail from the parking lot through some more lovely green woods.

And arrived at Second Beach with its many seastacks and interesting formations.

Oh, look!  A bridge or maybe an arch.

My camera doesn't take very good pictures when it's cloudy and we've had a lot of clouds and rain since we've been in this area.  But since Forks receives and average of 12 FEET of rain a year, I guess we can't be too surprised.

Some of the rocks were remarkably pointy.

While some were weirdly flat.

After doing a bit of beachcombing, we headed back up and over the ridge to the parking lot.

La Push is part of the Quileute Indian Reservation.  Have you ever seen a more gorgeous bus stop?

By the time we reached town, the sun was out and First Beach looked beautiful.

As well as the view across the mouth of the Quillayute River.

I like the unusual totem in town.

I wasn't aware that this area is also famous as the setting for the Twilight books.  The tourist industry has boomed since their publication.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Forks (part 3)

The group made plans to visit the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park, but since it was Sunday, Ron's traditional breakfast came first.  Nobody else wanted to go and, although we suggested that they head out to the rain forest without us, they graciously waited.  

I don't usually talk about restaurants, but the decor in the back room of The In Place was outstanding.  There were huge murals on the walls . . .

But, even more unusual, were the painted table tops.  This was ours which shows the machine that hauls the logs up the hillside, as well as the grabber that moves the logs around.  (Obviously I didn't learn much on our logging tour.  I'm sure these machines have names.)

A local waterfall - I think it's Marymere Falls, although that's down the road for us so I can't be sure.  I'll have to look for the bear when we get there.

These paintings (and they were actual paintings) covered the whole 3' by 5' tables.  It was incredible.  I would have taken more pictures, but I couldn't get the people to pick up their plates while they were eating.

At 9:15, we were ready for the 33 mile drive to Hoh Rain Forest.  What a place!  We took the 8/10 mile Hall of Mosses Trail.

I never saw any place as green.

It was cloudy and misting a bit for most of our walk, but I guess that's to be expected in a rain forest.

As soon as a tree falls, it instantly provides nutrition for new trees to grow.  None of that lying around unchanged for years like in the desert.

Ron even spotted this Sasquatch who was trying to disguise himself with moss.

Then the skies opened up and it began to pour.  We were fairly prepared and just kept walking, unlike this family who had enough sense to come in out of the rain.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Forks (part 2)

Together with some of the other WINs parked here, we took the 116-mile (round trip) drive to beautiful Cape Flattery.  Whew!  Quite a drive, but it was certainly worth it.

Along the way I was trying to stop at 'offbeat tourist attractions' that I got off my GPS.  Unfortunately I only found one out of three.  What do you think?
Cape Flattery is on the Makah Indian Reservation, so we stopped in Neah Bay to buy a $10 pass for the car.  Good thing we did because we would have been really upset to drive all the way to the end of the road and discover there was no place to buy it then.

In the parking lot we admired this classic bike and sidecar.

There is a gorgeous 3/4 mile trail to the tip of Cape Flattery.  It begins almost wide enough to be a road.

Here are some of our WIN friends posing with a tree that is as individual as we are.

The first viewpoint is stunning.

When the trail narrowed, a lot of it was boardwalk.

At trail's end, we could see the lighthouse on Tatoosh Island. 

The view was lovely and dramatic.

We stayed back from the edge after seeing all the sea caves below.

I shamelessly stole this picture that Wanda posted on FaceBook.   We had two more in our group, but they were off doing their own thing.

On our way back to the car, Ron stopped in this convenient phone booth to make a call.  

After a tasty lunch at Linda's Wood Fired Kitchen in Neah Bay, we were ready for the Makah Indian Museum.

No photography is allowed past the lobby, but it is a beautifully laid out museum highlighting hundreds of objects excavated from a Makah village that had been buried and preserved by a mudslide about 500 years ago.  Well worth a visit.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Forks (part 1)

No, not dinner forks, but Forks, Washington.  Located on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula, Forks is conveniently located for trips to the rain forest of Olympic National Park and the Northwestern cape of the contiguous United States.  We moved with our WIN friends to the Elks there - $20 for hookups and $10 for dry camping.

One of the guys arranged a lumber mill tour with the local visitors center.  At first I wasn't enthused since we've seen quite a few lumber mills during our travels.  It turned out much, much better than expected when we actually got to see the logging operation instead.

Wow!  Those are some big machines.  We had fun watching them move the logs around like toothpicks.

The crew was thinning a steep hillside, which involved a lot of hand work.  Imagine tramping up and down the hill lugging a chain saw.  The logs are dragged up the slope with cables.

One of the guys showed us his 'lumberjack pose.'

This is the nifty machine that quickly strips the branches and some of the bark off the tree.

Take a look at it in action.

Our tour guide told us about a beachcomber museum that just opened a few weeks ago.  We had to see it.

This sculpture of crab pot buoys welcomed us.

Obviously the proprietor had been collecting for years.

He did research on the objects he found.

These slippers have an interesting story.  (You'll probably have to click on it to read it.)

Many cargo containers end up in the ocean and the contents reappear on the beach like these Raggedy Ann doll heads.

Whoa!  I wonder what happened to the rest of the plane.

This is just a small sample of the innumerable objects in this unique and interesting museum.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time at the Beach

We spent a few days at Quinault Beach Casino in Ocean Shores, Washington.  I'm going to copy Dave's idea and report on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

First the 'good.'  The casino offers free RV parking during the week and we were there Monday thru Thursday.  They offer $6.95 dinner selections in their restaurant Sunday-Tuesday and Thursday and $2.99 breakfasts that were pretty good.  As you might imagine,we ate out a lot.

The best of the 'good' was that we ran into some fellow WINs who were staying there too.  This is not a picture of them.

The 'bad' was the fact that there wasn't really much to do.  We walked on the beach, checked out the town, and drove around, but nothing really impressed me.  Could I be overdosing on beach?

And the 'ugly' was the aggravation of the noise and fumes from generators which ran continuously.  Hey, I use our generator to run the microwave and, sometimes, to blow dry my hair.  But if you need to run it for hours and  hours, you need to get hookups.  It was not hot, so don't think that was the reason either.

Okay, I'm off the soapbox.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Long Beach Peninsula

Our first stop in Washington was interesting Long Beach Peninsula.

(Why the frying pan?  I have no idea.)

At less than 5 miles wide, about 20 miles long, and located between the ocean and Willapa Bay, I pictured the peninsula with high rise condos and cheesy motels.  There is none of that.  And, although the town of Long Beach is definitely a tourist area, the rest of the peninsula is not.  I was surprised to see so much forested land.  The little town of Ocean Park, where we stayed at the Moose, was a typical small town that you would see anywhere.

It is a good area for growing cranberries and the museum is much more interesting than I expected.

We happened to be there during the Sandsations Sand Sculpture Contest.  What fun!  On the days leading up to the main event, there were sand sculpting demonstrations where one could ask questions and learn the process.

I didn't ask anything, but it was obvious that this procedure is the opposite of your normal sand castle building.  These guys start with a pile of sand and carve and shape it, hence the 'sculpture' in the contest name.

We promised ourselves that we would return for the contest on Saturday, but meanwhile we had more to see.  It was a gorgeous day and we were off to Cape Disappointment State Park.  Unlike Captain John Meares, who named the headland in 1788 to reflect his feeling on not discovering the Northwest Passage, we were not disappointed.  We walked on Benson Beach for a view of North Head Lighthouse.

I tried to convince Ron that this piece of driftwood with its encased rocks would be a wonderful addition to our yard in Mesa.  He SAID it was too heavy.

This darling fawn seemed to be interested in us.

We hiked the 1 1/2 mile Coastal Forest Loop Trail.  Not my favorite, but it did have this nice viewpoint.

We enjoyed Waikiki Beach with its view of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and didn't even have to fly to Hawaii.

On Saturday we returned to the beach for the sand sculpture contest.  The entrants had between 10 and 2 to create their masterpieces, with judging to be done at 2 before the high tide would wipe out their efforts at 4.

We went about 11:30 because we had to make the 25 mile trip back to Oregon for a 2 o'clock appointment at Costco to get tires on the car.  First we enjoyed the finished demo sculptures from the previous day.  These were along the road out to the beach and way above the tide.

And these are the two that were works-in-progress in my previous pictures.

When we arrived at the contest site, my first thought was that these people were never going to be finished in two hours.

Most of the participants didn't seem to be worried about the deadline, but this group was really working, although with little noticeable results.

I liked this kid who was creating without any adult help.

At one point, we heard the judging had been moved up to 12.  We could understand the change in schedule since the water was obviously approaching.  I thought they could predict these things.

I call this one, "Rearranging chairs on a ship that's going down."