November 1, 2020

September 2020 - Fort Stevens, Oregon, Pacific City, #atnanasbeach

September is my favorite month (I repeat that sentiment annually)!  Each September, for the past nine years, you could find us at our favorite place, often with our favorite people, big and small!  It's not often enough that we can all be together so it's definitely something we all look forward to!

But first, we stopped in Fort Stevens State Park, just outside of Astoria, Oregon.  It is one of our favorite campgrounds (if you get a good spot in a good loop!) largely because of the bike paths.  Lots and lots of bike paths!

And, north of the campground is Fort Stevens Historic Area...abandoned military buildings dating back to the late 1800's, established to protect the mouth of the Columbia River.  

Dave atop one of the forts.

Cozy nights.

We must've biked a marathon in our few days there!

We also went into Astoria once or twice...such a cool old town.  Dave and my parents lived in Astoria for a time in the '80's...they lived in a cool old house on the hillside overlooking the mouth of the river and the long stretch of the bridge.  They really enjoyed it there, until a particularly rainy winter when their backyard slid right off the hill and into their down-side neighbors house!  They had to abandon their cute home there on the one of the days there we drove around the neighborhood to see if we could remember which lot was theirs...we did not recognize it because, well, it was 40 years ago?!

We also made a stop at, and introduced Dave to, our favorite fish 'n chips place...the Bowpicker!  If you are in Astoria...the lines are worth it!

Astoria's wharf district has some very cool architecture and artwork.

And then, we headed to Pacific City!  The fires all along the west coast were horrid this year...including one that had erupted just outside of Lincoln City, to the south.  So when we arrived...this was the eerie scene that welcomed us.  So awful.

The smoke was so thick and filled with ash....literally couldn't stand outside for more than the time it took to take this picture...and when I came inside I had to brush the ash from my clothes and hair.  As if 2020 hadn't already been kind of a sh** show...and at this point we were actually considering calling off the reunion.

It was bad.  And the poor people whose homes were in the path of this fire...

It slowly started to improve.  The Lincoln City fire jumped the highways and gave the firefighters quite a challenge, but eventually they got it under control.

The kids arrived and the smoke cleared!  

All the kiddos in Dave's trailer!

They're my favorite!

Girl's Day!

And another #atnanasbeach was in the books!

We said our goodbyes to our family and just needed a couple of days somewhere close by to regroup, so we headed to a nearby Harvest Host! 

And then south to Newport because we weren't ready to leave the Oregon Coast!

October 2, 2020

August 2020, part 2 - Olympic National Park & the Hoh

We'd heard about a good dry camping spot outside of the Olympic National Park so we made our way around the peninsula and over toward the Hoh Rainforest to see what we thought.  We loved it!  It's actually privately owned land so there is a daily fee...and you absolutely must be fully self-contained (no tents, no outdoor showers, etc.) and respect the land.  It seems silly to state those things but more and more dry camping spots are being disrespected and misused...and I'd hate to see this one go away.

Anyway, we found ourselves a couple of spots along the drone pictures make it seem as we were all alone, but of course we were not...but it wasn't crowded, at least not on weekdays...and having the river right out the window was pretty amazing.

There is a lot to explore from here...Forks is a funky little town...used to be the mania headquarters for the series Twilight...and having wandered through the forests a bit, it's an appropriate place for the setting!  The Hoh Rainforest is awesome and there are lots of hiking opportunities, short and long, that begin right at the Visitors Center.  We were tree huggers at the "Tree of Life" near Kalaloch campground, drove up to the "big Cedar tree" and drove a bit south to check out the "biggest Sitka Spruce".  The enormity of the trees individually is astounding...and the density of the forests are amazing.  We paddleboarded down the Hoh a couple of times and went to the mouth of the Hoh River as well.  Beautiful waters!  

A particularly interesting profile on the big cedar tree...

the Tree of Life

The largest Sitka Spruce

One particularly overcast evening a gentleman from another trailer (he looked to be a summer resident!) came knocking on our door to suggest to us that we move to higher ground.  It'd been drizzling a bit that day but no real accumulation...but, he told us, it'd been raining pretty hard in the Hoh Rainforest and when the river rises, it rises quickly.  So, we hitched up and moved to higher ground, afraid we might wake up in the water!

Dave decided to wait it out.  We checked on him late in the evening and he thought he'd be fine overnight, though the river had already crept up to his doorway...and in the morning he'd reassess...

Early in the morning, he hitched up in knee deep water...!  All was well...the sun came out and the river receded, but we stayed put on the higher ground, having learned our lesson!  (Dave didn't!  He went even farther down the bar and waited out another tenuous night of watching the river rise!)

We enjoyed the heck out of our time here and knew upon leaving that we'd be back again someday!

The View from our Loo!

Hot stone therapy!

Our house-boat!

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