Our 2014 Pacific Northwest adventure continued on May 6 as we headed south and a bit east toward Central Point, Oregon. We had stopped at the KOA in Central Point on our way north to Washington State. This time we planned to stay a few days so Jon could reconnect with an old friend from high school.
About 15 miles north of Grants Pass, we noticed a covered bridge near Interstate 5, so we had to stop to have a look. Covered bridges are not a common sight in our home state of California.
The Grave Creek Bridge in Josephine County was built in 1929 and once carried traffic from U.S. Route 99, the Pacific Highway. In 1979 the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Closed in the late 1990s for repairs, it reopened in 2001. The 105-foot Howe truss bridge includes six Gothic windows on each side, rounded portals, and a shake roof.
Jon connected with his friend, and we enjoyed a dinner with him and his wife. They recommended the Upper Table Rock trail for a bit of exercise and a fantastic view of the Rogue Valley from the volcanic rock plateau. The clear skies and warmer weather were welcomed as we walked through the trees that towered above the trail on either side.
Wildflowers dotted the terrain here and there with their blossoms tracking the sun. Pacific Madrone trees along with California black oak, Douglas fir, and incense cedar provided shade for hikers and homes for the birds and rodents that live in the area.
Pacific Madrone trees
I always find it interesting to learn about the geology of a place. The Upper and Lower Table Rocks brochure tells the story that began 7.5 million years ago when a shield volcano (similar to Kilauea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii) erupted.
The volcano’s lava spread over the entire valley causing the valley floor to rise 800 feet to the height of the plateaus. Over millions of years, the ancient Rogue River eroded and carved out 90 percent of the lava rock, leaving the rich valley, a few monoliths, and the two horseshoe-shaped mesas known as Table Rocks.
As I stood back from the edge of the mesa, I tried to imagine the valley filled with lava rock. It must have looked similar to Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. Then I tried to image a river flowing so powerfully to clear out the basalt. It’s the same old geological story of building up and breaking down. It makes me wonder what Craters of the Moon might look like in a few million years.
After our hike, we stopped in at the Del Rio Winery for a tasting and to see if they had a bottle of something we might enjoy.
The tasting room is located in Gold Hill in the historic Rock Point Stage Hotel. Constructed in 1865, the hotel, as noted on their website, has quite a history of ownership.
The winery offers both red and white varietals, a picnic area for visitors to use, and concerts during the summer.
Next up we continue our 2014 tour and make a stop in Eureka, California.
Our mini-vacation in Victoria, B.C. came to an end, so we boarded the ferry and returned to the rainy cold weather in Port Angeles, Washington. On May 1, 2014, we headed south in search of sunny skies. We weren’t sure how much sun we’d see, though. The Oregon coast is known more for its foggy and wet weather. We selected the Astoria Seaside KOA for a two-night stay.
The Goonies is one of my favorite movies and I’m not ashamed to say so. There’s a sentimental reason for my selection, but today is not the day to spin the tale. I can say that when visiting Astoria, all dedicated fans of the movie must visit the Oregon Film Museum. The movie was filmed there, after all.
The museum is housed in the old county jail, which was used as a movie set not only for The Goonies but Come See the Paradise and Short Circuit. Inside, visitors will find exhibits and galleries where they can learn the movie-making craft by producing their own movie. One gallery is dedicated to all things Goonies and, of course, there is a museum store.
Across the street from the museum stands the Captain George Flavel House Museum. The house, constructed in 1885 in the Queen Anne style, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. We weren’t able to tour the home during our visit, but I sure want to in the future. While conducting research, I came across interesting stories about Captain Flavel, his descendants, and the home’s restoration while conducting research. Now I want to walk through the rooms where these people lived to feel what it’s like to live a Victorian home.
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
We made it into the visitor’s center at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park by dodging raindrops. While we waited for a cloud burst to pass by, one of the volunteers pointed out places on a map for us to explore. Armed with our rainproof hoodies and umbrellas, we ventured out onto the soggy trail.
The replica of Fort Clatsop gave us an idea of how the Corps of Discovery spent their winter from December 1805 to March 1806. It must have been a cold and wet place to settle in the early 1800s.
The replica dugout in the photo below depicts one of three the Corps used when they left Fort Clatsop on March 23, 1806, along with four Indian canoes they bought, and another one they found.
Visiting the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park inspired us to incorporate additional Lewis and Clark historical sites in our future trips. We have ticked off two spots. This one in Astoria, and the Sacajawea State Park and Interpretive Center in Pasco, Washington, which is included in our “Tri-Cities Wrap Up and On to Oregon” post. Only 14 states left for us to explore out of the 16 located along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Under the 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, the trail was extended 1,200 miles to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Hope we’re back on the road again soon so we can get started.
We continued south from Astoria to Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is where the Corps produced salt needed to preserve meat. Due to the inclement weather, we didn’t venture out to the Salt Cairn, but we did make it to Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock. I was only able to capture an obscured view in the photo below. The fog hung so close to shore it reduced visibility to only a few yards.
Then it was back up the peninsula to Fort Stevens State Park where we walked to the beach. I thought it strange to find the remnants of the Peter Iredale shipwreck. The four-masted steel sailing vessel ran ashore on October 25, 1906, and there she rested on the beach 108 years later at a point along the Graveyard of the Pacific.
The Peter Iredale is but one of more than 2,000 shipwrecks that have occurred along the northwest coast from Tillamook Bay to Cape Scott Provincial Park on Victoria Island.
I missed capturing Haystack Rock but took home the next shot as a consolation photo. Unfortunately, I have no idea exactly where the photo was taken, somewhere along the Oregon coast between Astoria and the Waldport/Newport KOA, where we stayed for one night in gale-force winds.
Coos Bay and Cape Arago
Coos Bay was our next stop for two nights where the highlight of our visit was exploring Cape Arago.
The lighthouse that remains on Chief’s Island, was the third lighthouse built. An original lighthouse met its demise in 1936, a keeper’s duplex and the second lighthouse were razed in 1956 and in the 1960s, respectively. Also, a bridge from the mainland to the station was removed to prevent unauthorized access and restore the shoreline to a natural state.
The Coast Guard signed over twenty-four acres of land including Chief’s Island to the Confederated Tribes on August 3, 2013. Under the terms of the agreement, the tribes are required to make the light station available to the general public for cultural, educational, recreational, and historic preservation purposes. Apparently, the Confederated Tribes plan on developing an interpretive center, but a quick search did not reveal anything available for visitors as of July 2019.
Along the highway are places to get out of the car and view the rocky cliffs and beaches.
Then there is the Shore Acres State Park. The park began with the 1942 purchase of the Louis J. and Lela G. Simpson’s oceanfront estate and formal garden. Additional acquisitions expanded the park boundaries to its current size. In 1970, garden restoration efforts began, returning the garden to its earlier grandeur.
Back in Coos Bay, we checked out the Boardwalk. The Lady Washington was docked next to a couple of smaller and more modern looking sailing craft.
The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftan tall ships offer 3-hour tours when in the harbor. These replicas of historic ships travel the coasts of Washington, Oregon, California, and B.C. The crew let us on board to walk around the deck before they shut down for the day. But it was too late for a tour.
Also on the boardwalk, we found this sculpture as a tribute to veterans.
It would be my preference that there was never a time for hate or war. Unfortunately, since hatred and war have been in the world since the beginning of time, I doubt my dream will ever occur.
Next up: We stop at the Central Point KOA again to take in a hike and taste a bit of Oregon wine.
What’s a travel blogger to do when she can’t travel? Take a break and stop posting? No, I did that after my surgery. Change the focus and write about other topics? How about politics, global warming, news of the day, or writing tips? Naw. Too much noise out there already and I don’t have anything unique to add to the discourse. Besides, I like writing about travel.
I’ve got it. Let’s go back in time. Back to 2014 to the trip that started it all.
Cue the time machine sounds. And away we go . . .
We were in a hurry when we left the San Francisco Bay Area on April 21, 2014. The tulip-watch websites declared the flowers in prime condition and visitors streaming into Skagit Valley to experience the colorful displays. Our goal was to arrive before the farmers chopped off all the tulips.
The second goal of the trip was to test out our new travel trailer (a 23′ 2013 Aluma Lite 207QB) and determine if the RV lifestyle would work for us while exploring America.
A quick stop in Medford, Oregon, for a night stay, then on to Portland, Oregon. Arriving early in the day gave us plenty of time to explore the Pittock Mansion and enjoy the Pacific Northwest rainy weather.
Henry and Georgiana Pittock began building the ‘mansion on the hill’ in 1912 and moved in during 1914. The couple met in Portland after they each crossed the country on the Oregon Trail. They helped shape the great City of Portland from a stump town in the 1850s into the industrial city that prospers today.
Henry worked as a typesetter for The Oregonian and in 1860 became its owner. He also invested in real estate, banking, railroads, and many other industries. Georgiana, meanwhile, founded several charities and cultural organizations.
The last Pittock family members to live in the home moved out in 1958 and planted a for sale sign. On October 12, 1962, the Columbus Day Storm arrived with its hurricane-force winds. The storm hurled tiles off the roof and smashed windowpanes. Water seeped through, damaging the interior.
Developers came sniffing around two years later. They wanted to tear the mansion down and build a housing development.
Many thanks go out to the dedicated residents of Portland for raising the funds to purchase the property, save the mansion and restore it to its earlier glory.
It’s hard to believe that the restoration took only 15 months. It was ready for its public debut in 1965. And to think the developers wanted to tear down such a beautiful historic building.
Wandering around exploring the inside of historic homes is one of our favorite past times when traveling. We found a beauty of one such home in Portland, Oregon. Both guided and self-guided tours are available. We recommend the guided tour to learn the inside scoop and gossip.
On July 26, 2017, Junipers Reservoir RV Resort in Lakeview, Oregon, turned out to be another working ranch. We have had good experiences staying at ranches and hoped for the best here.
About a mile down a gravel road off the main highway and tucked behind hills, the RV sites were arranged in a circle with tent sites at the edge of the grassy center field.
This was a great place to clean the trailer, wash clothes, then sit back and relax.
One evening, we walked along one of the ranch roads and veered off onto a trail where a deer grazed among the trees.
The trail continued until we came to a creek. “Come on,” Jon said. “We can cross on those dead tree trunks by the barbed wire fence.” Say what? With care not to fall in the little creek or grab one of the fence barbs, we balanced on the logs and found the trail up the hill. I was glad to see a road that connected with the resort and relieved to have made it back to the trailer with no damage to any of our body parts.
Here are a few more photos from around the ranch.
Before leaving the area we headed into town to restock the refrigerator and the pantry. While there, we found a little nature trail that circled up a hill at the city park. We didn’t make it through the entire trail because at one point bushes grew over the trail. I wasn’t about to blaze the trail with bare legs and arms. Before heading back down, we enjoyed the view.
We bought a bag of limes and other items from the smallest Safeway I had ever seen. We then drove to Goose Lake. There is not much there except a state park that would be a good spot for an overnight, but not much longer. Smoke from a fire in Alturas blew in overnight raining ash even though we were an hour away.
On July 29, 2017, we turned the wheels toward Graeagle, California, our next stop. Smoke grew thicker as we continued on Highway 395 and approached Alturas, California. We slowed and stopped at the California Agriculture Inspection. The woman greeted us with the usual questions of where we had stayed and then said she had to look inside our trailer. What? We’ve never had that happen before. After her grand tour, she stepped out of the trailer carrying our newly purchased bag of limes. Really? The limes we purchased yesterday from Safeway? Safeway had probably transported the limes into Oregon from California, now California Agriculture was confiscating them? Note to self, when traveling from Oregon into California, don’t carry any citrus products.
About ten miles from the crappy rest stop with pit toilets and some kind of water feature, the skies turned blue and clouds became visible. We stopped in Herlong, California, at a The Mark mini-mart and 76 Station for fuel and as a bonus purchased fresh made-to-order deli sandwiches. Be aware the sandwiches are huge. They also sold the usual pizza and fried food, such as corn dogs, chicken, and burritos. The picnic table inside and the one outside were both filled with people chowing down their lunch, so we stood next to a retaining wall, which was the right height for eating our sandwiches. When driving on Highway 395 we recommend a stop at this 76 station. As you can see there is plenty of room for RVs and semis to park
Moving West RV Resort
We arrived at Moving West RV Resort and they assigned us one of the best spots in the park. The fifth wheel fit snuggly among a stand of trees. On the curbside was a large grassy area with a triangle tarp for afternoon shade and a newly installed redwood fence along the dusty lane, which rarely saw a vehicle pass.
The reason we stopped at Graeagle was so Jon could take advantage of his Christmas present, a Raptor Adventure with Jim Tigan. How wonderful to be up close with Louise the owl,
Fifi the golden eagle,
and go for a walk with Sonia the Harris hawk.
The owl didn’t much care for Bonnie, the new terrier that joined the family two weeks earlier. Louise ruffled her feathers and hissed at the little dog. Bonnie was more curious than scared of the owl.
Although apprehensive at first to be nose to beak with the birds, Jon warmed up and was soon talking to them like he would an old dog. He petted their soft feathers and felt them breathe under his hand. The birds were so sweet and docile, soft to the touch, yet they possessed strong talons.
Jim taught Jon how to call Sonia from her perches, land on the glove, and peck at the meat he held in his hand.
I even got a chance to feed Sonia. She was so light she didn’t jostle my arm when she landed or when she plucked at the piece of meat I held in the space between my gloved thumb and first finger.
We always marvel at these creatures whenever we see them atop electric poles searching for their dinner or in the sky coasting on thermals with their wings spread wide. We appreciate their magnificence even more after meeting them up close and personal.
To see a PBS program about Jim and his birds, click here. To see a Youtube video of best friends Annabelle the dog and Louise the owl click here.
The next day we took a hike to Madora Lake. We saw signs the trail was under construction, but no one was working that day. In places, large rocks edged the trail and fine gravel filled the space between the edges.
We next drove to Eureka Lake on a dirt road for 1.3 miles and hiked up a trail until we had broken through the tree line. From the side of the mountain, the view gave us the feeling that we were on top of the world.
A cold Frostee was in order after our drive and hikes.
On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, we put the adventures and miles behind us and turned the truck toward home. We’ve seen wonderfully beautiful mountains during our travels these past few months, but Donner Pass on Highway 80 in California had to be one of the best with its high cliffs that rise above the freeway and rushing river that flows not far from the road. As we dropped down into the Central Valley, blue skies and puffy white clouds gave way to gray haze and smog. Temperatures nearing 100 degrees and a spare-the-air day welcomed us home to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Stay tuned for our next adventure to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona where we gazed down at the hoodoos of Bryce, up at the cliffs of Zion, and across the Grand Canyon from the North Rim.
The museum tells the story of Sacagawea, her husband, and the Lewis and Clark expedition near the site where the party made camp for two nights at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers while traveling to the Pacific Ocean. Other displays include the stories of the Native Americans who resided in the area.
Why the different spelling of the Shoshoni woman? Recent research and study of the original journals indicate the proper spelling and pronunciation with a hard ‘g’ not a ‘j.’ The name of the state park kept the original spelling.
Besides the Sacajawea Center, the 257-acre day-use park includes two boat ramps, fishing, swimming, boating, and 1.2 miles of hiking trails.
We made one more visit to the Ice Harbor before we left the area. This time we opted for the Clover Island Marina location, which is an upscale version that includes a more inviting building, more food selections, and the same great beer.
The American Empress came into view near the harbor so I managed to snap this photo between the trees. I wish I could have gotten the paddle wheel. The steamboat vessel cruises the Columbia and Snake Rivers along the Lewis and Clark trail.
After spending the past couple of weeks in noisy locations near or on major highways and freeways, we craved a quiet place. We made reservations at Crooked River Ranch RV Park near Redmond, Oregon and crossed our fingers that it would satisfy our craving.
On to Oregon
On Sunday, July 23, 2017, we followed the Columbia River through golden cliffs, rivers the width of small lakes, windmills on top of cliffs, a few farms, of course, and Mount Rainier poking his snowcapped peak above the terrain. In Washington, the air had a smoke haze look to it, but cleared as we entered Oregon. At one point, we could see the snowcapped peaks of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, and the Three Sisters. What a sight.
When we arrived at Crooked River Ranch RV Park, we were pleased to find that for at least three nights we would be far from any major roads.
Newberry National Volcanic Memorial Park
The next day we visited the Newberry National Volcanic Memorial Park. We arrived just in time to hear a ranger talk on the geology of the park. Afterward, we took a hike with him partially up Lava Butte, a cinder cone, where he pointed out examples of what he had discussed on the patio.
A shuttle bus took us to the top of Lava Butte where there were magnificent views of the valley below and peaks to the west. The lava flow reminded us of Craters of the Moon in Idaho.
Lava Butte erupted 7,000 years ago creating a 9 square mile lava flow. Besides Lava Butte, visitors can see Lava River Cave, Big Obsidian Flow, and Paulina Falls and Paulina Peak, which rises 7,984 feet. Hikers, horse riders, and bicyclists can enjoy the many trails within the park that range from easy to difficult. Several tent campsites are available in the Newberry Caldera and East Lake has one RV campground with 45 sites, all of which are reservable, while the tent sites have some first-come-first-served sites.
We also visited Sisters, Oregon, a small town of less than 2 square miles and a population of 2,038 as of the 2010 census. We found Sisters a quaint little town with plenty of stores to keep any shopper busy, restaurants to satisfy hunger, and places to rest at night.
A small park with a couple picnic tables was the perfect place for us to eat our packed lunch before heading to the Whychus Creek Overlook Trail.
Continuing down the road, we came across a burned out area giving way to views of the peaks.
On our way back to Crooked Ranch, we drove by alpaca grazing in a field.
There are a total of four alpaca farms in the Bend, Oregon, area. We come across a lot of cows and cattle in our travels, but this was the first time we saw alpacas.
Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint
We stopped in at the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint in Terrebonne, Oregon. The viewpoint includes views of basalt cliffs, river, and peaks along with the closed Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge. Several signs warn visitors to watch children at all times and leave pets in the car.
The night before leaving Crooked River Ranch, smoke drifted into the valley creating a spectacular sunset view of the hills and sky beyond the bridge.
Next up we continue searching for out of way places and Jon redeems a Christmas gift.