September 30, 2017

First part of September!

We returned to the Northwest just before Labor Day and got to spend some time with Mike's family before we loaded up Gracie and headed to the mountains!  We were happy to be home again in Gracie and excited to venture to and explore around Mt. Hood.

We had been to Toll Bridge Park earlier in the summer and barely scratched the surface of all we wanted to see and do in that area, so we had booked, in advance, (something we don't often do) a spot for several days over, and past, the holiday weekend.

And, we loved it there!  The park itself is tucked into a forested area just off the road to Mt. Hood, about 15 miles from the cool city of Hood River.  Lots of nearby hiking trails and waterfalls, mountain lakes to paddleboard, bike trails to explore, orchards to enjoy...and the city itself is very cool!  It's a community centered around all of the outdoor opportunities available, tucked in the Columbia Gorge, it's a very popular place for wind and kite surfing...and at the foot of Mt. Hood which is an amazing ski area, it seems everyone in town is headed out to play!

We have a drone!

The Timberline's where the movie "The Shining" was filmed!


Behind Temanawas Falls!

Our new friends, Chelsey and Christina.

Mt. Hood...I think it's my favorite mountain!

We paddled on Trillium Lake, hiked to Temanawas Falls, picked fresh peaches at Mt. View Orchards, took the chair lift up on Mt. Hood, watched kite surfers on the river, went to a yummy dinner in town and hung out around camp, making new friends out of fellow Airstreamers @streamingnomads.

The Eagle Creek Fire
The only negatives we dealt with here was a skunk that seemed to return every night to test our olfactory senses...and the horrible smoke caused by the fires ignited in the gorge.  Sadly, tens of thousands of acres were burned, apparently from a human caused event...hundreds of people were displaced, the freeway was closed for at least a was awful, and it will take the area awhile to fully recover from this tragic event.  But, it will!  And it is a gorgeous area for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds...  I think it is safe to say that we will be again, we left feeling like we had just scratched the surface!

We moved on, around the mountain, to Silver Falls State Park, just outside of Silverton, east of Salem.  It was a lovely haven from all the smoke lingering in the gorge...and it is most significantly known for the amazing waterfall loop hiking trail.  Mike had been there once before in the winter and the falls were pretty impressive, so it was a little bit disappointing to see them trickling, but the hikes themselves were still gorgeous!

Home, sweet home.

Gracie loves being tucked into the trees!

Moving west, we opted for a winery not too far from Salem, a Harvest Host site.  (If you don't know what Harvest Host is, the link will take you to their page...and if you are a fellow traveler, you ought to consider a remarkably easy membership!)  Aracane/Wheatland Cellars was a great stop!  We enjoyed the heck out of our hosts, Jeffrey, the owner and Delores, who poured the wine!  Their Chardonnay is exceptional...the property is quiet and lovely, along the Willamette River...we even got to pick some fresh apples right out our front door!  After purchasing a few bottles to take with us, we moved on to another Harvest Host, the Blue Heron Cheese Company in Tillamook, to get some yummy cheeses to go with our wine!  This place is less serene, but super convenient and a wonderful place to overnight, a great place to get prepared for what was up next, our two week stay in heaven...

Arcane Cellars

Hint...we were headed a little farther west...

September 19, 2017

August! Part One!

We headed West in early August with a loose idea of where we wanted to be...and our first stop was Caldwell, to check in with our Airstream dealer for a couple of tiny tweaks; our door lock hadn't been working for awhile and a hinge needed a quick repair.  I hear people have issues of all kinds with a new Airstream purchase, but we have been not only supremely impressed with the craftsmanship and durability of our Airstream but also have had a great experience with our dealer, Airstream Adventures Northwest.  They have recently completed a mini-park in order to accomodate Airstream owners in need of an appointment, or new Airstream owners wanting to plug in and check everything out before heading out on the road.  It's a much appreciated addition to their already great service.  (I had even managed to drop something behind the bathroom cabinet (why is there dead space there?!) and they were creative about helping me retrieve my curling iron cover, using a coat hanger and a tiny pipe camera!)

Thanks for the overnight accomodations! 
Airstream Adventures Northwest
Off we went, with a working deadbolt into and partly across Oregon.  Our thought was to maybe grab a boondocking spot along the Columbia near Rufus, but upon pulling into the gravel bar where we have seen other RV's, we did a pretty quick turn back onto the freeway, opting for hookups at Memaloose in the 104 degree heat!

A nice, cool home at Memaloose!
Somewhere along the way we had decided we would try to make it over to the coast and lucked into a couple of nights at Fort Stevens State Park as a result of some cancellations.  In fact, we ended up with a full week and though we had to move sites a couple of times, we thoroughly fell in love with this huge campground...largely because of the biking trails!  We aren't huge bikers, but we do enjoy a good, relaxing ride now and then and in Fort Stevens we found ourselves taking long bike rides every day!  And walks through all the's a huge campground!  

Not a bad view.

One of our three sites!

So much greenery!!!  This is along the bike path...forests upon forests!
We also explored the forts that are tucked into the forests along the shore, which are really cool and very interesting, telling an important part of US military history.  Of course we did make it to the beach a couple of times, including one evening for sunset, along with about 40 other people, all pointing cameras at the wreck of the Peter Iredale.  

The forts are really cool and fun to explore...preserved in a unpreserved kind of way...!  

I love rusted stuff!

I had a birthday!

The gaggle of tripods!

Slow shutter...the tripod gang left before the light got really good!
Another highlight was Astoria!  We had been to Astoria, my parents actually lived there for a little while, but had never really spent time exploring...and it's such a cool town!  Lots of restaurants and bars, we made it to the top of the column, walked the waterfront district for some yummy's a cool, seaport town.  We discovered the Bow Picker (saw the line forming and looked it up on Yelp!), a quirky boat parked in a parking lot in town with the best tuna fish and chips!!!  And just south of Astoria we found a little waterfall, Youngs River Falls, for a nice afternoon hike.

It was a little windy at the top of the Astoria Column!

The waterfront district was neat!

A mural on the back of a building sweet.

After a wonderful week in Fort Stevens we drove east to Battle Ground, Washington where we had a beautiful moochdocking spot awaiting us at Mike's brothers home.  

Moochdocking at it's finest.
We hung out and enjoyed family for a day or so...and caught an early plane for a big family adventure in Southern California!  Hint...big black ears...!!!  

July, Part 4, the Tetons!

We drove from Butte and back into Idaho (but first, we spotted an incredible sunflower farm, acres and acres of these beautiful blooms) and landed back at home for a couple of days, pulling into the newly renovated and improved Pocatello Creek Road KOA for a quick stopover to regroup, and then headed up to our backyard National Park, the Grand Tetons, for a wonderful, fun week long stay in the Gros Ventre campground.

Sunflower farm in Montana...acres and acres of these beauties!  Tried a drone video, but because their heads are down, it's not all that great of a drone shot!

Drive by shooting!

KOA in Pocatello

Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton National Park

We got a nice, open spot in Gros Ventre, with a tiny peek at the tip of the Grand!

While in town getting grocieries and stocking up for the weekend, we got to visit with our favorite wildlife photographer and friend, Henry Holdsworth...if you are ever in town, be sure to stop by his gallery and say hi, he’s pretty fabulous!

Our daughter and her family came up for the weekend, which was our first opportunity to share our new lifestyle with them...and we had so much fun!  The granddaughters got to have a sleepover in Gracie and waking up to them snuggling was a highlight for us!  We played and paddled String Lake all day...went to pizza at Leek’s Marina Saturday night...and Sunday, we pretty much hung out at the campground for a lazy day (note to the under 6 years old group...don't drink the water at String Lake, it really will make your tummy sick!).

Nana comes prepared...we carry this "kid bucket" in Gracie for these wonderful opportunities!

Good morning Ashley!

Leek's Pizza (Marina) is THE best!  And so are these guys!

Stole this from Byron's Snapchat!  So cute!

Little paddleboarders!!!

All the heart eyes!!!!

Chillin' on String Lake!

This beauty wandered right past the kids' tent!

Once the kids headed home we did our usual meandering in the park, out to Oxbow, looking for bears on Pilgrim Creek, watching sunsets at Mormon Row light up the East hills, etc...and played a bit with our drone up the Gros Ventre River to Slide Lake, beautiful!

Eastern sky at sunset.

Pink cotton candy!

Gros Ventre River looking west...breathtaking.

I am very new at this drone thing...don't actually LOVE the flying part...but the aerial perspective, oh my gosh...I can't get enough!

On our second to last day we decided to take our paddleboards up to Jackson Lake, one of the few spots we have never actually paddled, because the winds were pretty much non-existent that day so the lake was glass! We paddled south around the islands all along the east side of the lake, had a nice picnic lunch, watched osprey on the lake, found a cool teepee...and about 4 hours in, the winds picked up, and of course they were coming from the north and we had a hard paddle back! But it was great exercise and so much fun!

Us, in a teepee on Jackson Lake.

We packed up to head home for some doctor appointments and to regroup once again...this time, heading west to Oregon!

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