Valley of Fire and Lost City Museum Sep 2016

A visit to the Valley of Fire is a visit to a place where the rocks are on fire and history is alive. An outlaw occupied the area near the ‘Mouse Hole’ and there are petroglyphs reminding us that the Indians were here long before us.

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The Lost City Museum is located in a small town near Lake Meade and the Valley of Fire.

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Red Rock Canyon, Ash Meadows, Death Valley Sep 2016

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I’m in Las Vegas for a couple of weeks and I don’t gamble. What do you do in Vegas if you don’t go to the Casinos? Well I am traveling in an RV with a Jeep in tow so I decided to ask many of the more knowledgeable travelers on Facebook. From the many suggestions given to me I decided to visit the following areas:

Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Valley of Fire, Lost City Museum, Hoover Dam, Lake Meade

Then there are many activities in Vegas that are free:

Fountains of Bellagio Water Show, The Botanical Conservatory at the Bellagio, Live Circus acts at the Circus-Circus casino, Atlantis Show & Aquarium at the Caesars Forum Shops, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, Viva Vision Light & Sound show at Fremont Street Experience, Live Music and Flair Bartenders at the Harrah’s Carnaval Court, “I lost my M” 3D movie at M&M’s World, Volcano at the Mirage, Saltwater Aquarium at the Mirage, Miracle Mile Fountain Water Show at Planet Hollywood, Mystic Falls Sunset Stampede Show at Sam’s Town, Interactive Fish Feeding Show at the Silverton, Mermaid Swims at the Silverton, Lake of Dreams at the Wynn

I began my adventure by taking on Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley first. Red Rock Canyon reminded me very much of the Badlands loop drive in South Dakota.

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Many movies were made using Red Rock Canyon as a backdrop.

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You can tour in a Pink Jeep!

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The Red Rock Canyon offers many, many hiking trails. Due to my schedule the day I visited I chose not to hike. This is definitely an area I will return to one day to hike through.

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And of course that is a Ferrari sitting by my Jeep!

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After completing the loop around Red Rock Canyon I headed toward Death Valley’s Devil Hole. Little did I know that the bonus was a trip through Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

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Devils Hole is part of Death Valley National Park but is quite a distance from Furnace Creek Visitors Center. At the gateway to Death Valley there is a beautiful hotel. It appears to be vacant however

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A burned out shell of a building is across the street.

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The lowest place in America is here too!

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Other views as I drove through Death Valley

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Redwood National Park, Mt Shasta and Walker Lake, NV Sep 2016

On the 19th I headed south to California where I could visit the Redwood National Park. I didn’t have an address for the park other than Crescent City and my GPS was taking me much further south than I wanted to go.

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But without this detour I would not have been able to view Paul Bunyan and Blue. A friend tells me that these have been stolen from Minnesota!

 

 

 

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Redwoods are found in many areas.

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Redwood National and State Park

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I did a U turn and traveled to Jedediah Smith Campground. I could only secure one night in the campground so I set out to maximize my time by walking along the river before visiting the groves in the morning.

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Stout Grove is an amazing sight!

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I departed Redwood National Park in the early afternoon and drove toward Mt Shasta with an ultimate goal of Zion National Park. You can see Mt Shasta from many miles away. I’ve captured my approach.

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The terrain changed and I thought these volcanic mountains were interesting.

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As I left the shade of Mt Shasta I drove on a scenic highway that took me through Reno on my way to a night’s stay at Walker Lake. The wind was exceptionally strong and I was fortunate to have found a beautiful setting for the night. The sunset was just beyond description.

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This beauty came with a price however. The wind blew and blew. At times it was so strong that I was concerned my RV might be tipped over. I had to pull in my slide with the bed as the canopy was flapping so hard I was afraid I’d lose it or damage it.

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Sunset over Walker Lake.

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Sunrise over Walker Lake

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The next morning over coffee a young traveler stopped by to enjoy the view and mentioned that there were now 83 wild horses at the other end of the lake and that they could be seen from the road.

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Cactus began to appear alongside the road

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Oregon September 2016

Oregon is a very pleasant state.  Astoria is located at the furthest point of NW Oregon. The Astoria bridge to Washington is a 4 mile bridge over deep shipping channels and sandbars that inhibit maritime shipping at the point where the Columbia river meets the Pacific Ocean. This area is alive with the history of Lewis & Clark as this was the end of their journey west. After spending the winter at Ft Clatsop their westward journey terminated as they went home.

Museums abound. A sea captain’s home now hosts a wonderful museum with gardens in back.

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The Oregon Film Museum used to be the County Jail. The courthouse is active next door.

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Lunch on the shore of the Columbia River was an experience.

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The view for my lunch

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Embedded in the floor was glass that gave a look at the sea lions below.

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A specialty of the house was the oysters with Jalapeno Jelly and cheese. Blue rock salt served as the base.

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The tower has the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition swirled around it. Then the view from the top is just amazing.

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Fort Clatsop was much smaller than I expected.

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The different forts of the expedition

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Astoria is in the far Northwest corner of Oregon. Going south we come to Seaside, Oregon. Mostly a tourist destination with large inviting beaches and home to classic car shows. Sightseeing in Seaside, OR. First up was a walk downtown where many of the cars from yesterday were parked on the street for display. A mural caught my eye as someone has tried to present all the tourist activities of this small seaside town.

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Seaside hosts a small merry-go-round that brings smiles to children and adults alike.

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The beach is just a short walk up Broadway Street. Visitors are greeted at a roundabout with the scene of Lewis and Clark at the end of their journey west.

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On this day there were few people on this vast expanse of welcoming beach.

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A walk further down the beach brings me to the Aquarium. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an aquarium on the beach before! Notice the skeletal form in the window.

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Before leaving Seaside, OR I was initiated into the Elks. Now I have the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Elks Club to find social interaction while I’m on the road.

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Moving further south I visited Ecola State Park to view more of the Oregon coastline.

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At Indian Beach I watched surfers challenge the waves.

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A couple of views from Ecola point show the Haystack Rock formation and the nature of the Oregon coast line. Very similar to California’s coast line.

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I just love these large Historical Markers along the road and capture them when possible.

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Coastal views

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Passing through small coastal towns as I work my way down to Tillamook.

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Lunch in Tillamook at a 50’s style diner.

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Touring the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

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Of course this oddity caught my eye. An RV suspended above the road. I had posted this on facebook and received a few responses. One of the respondents even posted their own photo from a few years ago where this RV was in very good shape. Either the tourist industry is on a decline or these folks just are not maintaining this eye catcher.

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I departed Seaside on Sept. 15 after playing pickle ball and watching a tournament. I traveled to Florence, OR where I stayed for the weekend. I spent those rainy days in the Adult lodge putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It is amazing how much time can be consumed with one of those puzzles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington State – Summer of 2016

I apologize for not providing a travel blog for so long. Life happens and I got caught up in enjoying being alive and with other people. So forgive me for the length of this posting as I catch up on my summer of traveling in Washington and Oregon.

I left Yosemite after the Memorial Day weekend. This was a most wonderful week in one of America’s treasures. After a near disaster filling up with gas in Redding, CA I picked up a young man hitch-hiking to Portland. He and I enjoyed two days of traveling together. I provided him with a signed copy of Sandbox to Sandbox as his sister traveled a similar journey and perhaps my book could help her.

After depositing Joe at his home in Portland I traveled to the Lewis and Clark Campground and RV Park in North Bonneville, WA. The building itself is much like a museum with many artifacts and publications scattered throughout.

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This park is managed by my second cousin Janice that I have not seen or heard of for some 54 years. It was a great reunion and I promised to return in August to spend time with her. I did help build a spreadsheet to help her with billing utilities to the monthly occupants. It is nice to share my talent wherever I can.

I traveled to La Conner, WA where I enjoyed to sights of the beach, Anacortes, La Conner and Seattle.

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While here I was joined by Alexis, my daughter. She treated me to a whale watching cruise from Friday Island. What a wonderful experience.

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I joined Alexis and her childhood friend Libby in Seattle for a hike through Fort Lawton, an old Army Fort, to a lighthouse.

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During June I worked on completing the photo journal of my Route 66 trip. While the book is expensive on Amazon I did purchase 20 to sell at just $5 over what they cost me. If you are interested in a book portraying Route 66 with 904 color photos on 460 pages then email me and I’ll send you one for $40 + $5 shipping fee. To get a good view of what the interior is like go to Amazon.com and search for Paula Coffer and use the ‘look inside’ feature to read the first chapter.

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 July found me in Leavenworth, WA. Leavenworth is a Bavarian Village in the mountains of Washington State!

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I was able to enjoy mountain hikes, lakes and of course the quaint village itself.

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While here I visited Alexis again for a parade in Seattle. I just wanted to spend time with her. We had a great day together before I drove back to the quiet mountains of Leavenworth.

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We also attended International Day or Dragon Fest in downtown Seattle!

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I also learned that Washington State is big on Big Foot! I even caught a glimpse of him in a golf cart!

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July and on into August found me at Long Beach, WA. On the way to Long Beach I was able to visit Mount Saint Helen.

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Washington State is also home to many Christmas Tree farms. How cool is that?

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Long Beach hosts many international events. Here is part of the sand sculpture event just a week or so before the huge Kite event.

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I was joined in Long Beach by my battle buddy John’s wife Norma. She spent a week with me walking the beach finding sand dollars, ocean fishing for salmon and enjoying RV life. Then we went to the Lewis & Clark Campground & RV Park in North Bonneville before I took her to the Portland Airport for her trip back to Washington DC.

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We visited Cape Disappointment too.

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Cranberry pickers and separators at the Cranberry Museum

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There is just so much to see from Long Beach to Westport, WA. One day in the Jeep I drove over 20 miles along the beach. Eagles, Elk, Driftwood, dead fish, dead Sea Lions. So much to see and so little time!

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During this time I have also begun writing a travel guide to Washington State where I have an imaginary, magical traveling companion named Ralf. Ralf is a wire haired Dachshund. I have been fortunate in that a fellow traveler has a wire haired Dachshund that she has allowed me to photograph. No muss no fuss with a dog that doesn’t belong to me!

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In my RV

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In my Jeep

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Then came the Columbian Gorge and Beacon Rock.

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Marina at Hood River

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Adventurous souls in the wind of the Gorge

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Bridge of the Gods

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Bonneville Dam

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Historical Markers gifted to the Lewis & Clark Campground & RV Park

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Pear orchards near Hood River

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Then onto Seaside, Oregon for a few weeks before heading south.

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Haystack rock

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