Wednesday, November 5, 2008

SOUTHBOUND - FINALLY!





All images taken at Nehalem Bay State Park

With the help of two brothers in law, Aileen and I got my parent’s house empty finally. What a job! We feel we’ve now done our share and can carry on with our travels. We’ve both felt our feet getting itchier and have been champing at the bit to get going. I made a couple of prints from the party which I gave to Mom and Dad before we left on Thursday afternoon. I guess we neglected to say farewell to most people but we just decided it was time to go.
We spent the night (October 30) at cousin Garry’s in Duncan then moved down to Goldstream Park near Victoria for the last two nights. I had some Banking business to attend to at one of the RBC branches and I needed to restock my printer inks again. I dropped Aileen at Hillside Mall to shop for our grand daughter’s Christmas gift.
We got together with son Richard and Georgia for the morning and went for a Chinese smorg lunch. We dropped them off at a funeral for a little boy who was an even smaller premie than Georgia and was in the intensive care wing with her for their first few months. He just didn’t wake up the other morning. There seemed to be a very large turnout. We hooked the truck to the trailer while it was still light on Saturday afternoon to make it faster to depart Sunday morning. Aileen and I took Mitzy for a walk down the creek before dark then walked out to the main road to wait for Richard, Robin and Georgia. They picked us up and we all went to Langford for supper.
Sunday morning saw us on the road shortly after 7 AM and at the Blackball Ferry dock downtown before 8. Stood in line for awhile to buy our tickets then had nearly an hour before the customs inspectors arrived. Richard, Robin and Georgia came in and visited with us until the inspectors showed up. My sister Wendy and Randy were also on the same sailing so we visited some too. They plan to be in Florence, Arizona in about 3 ½ days. We’ll probably be 3 ½ weeks! After a stormy night, we left Victoria under beautiful sunshine. The high winds didn’t materialize either and we had calm water all the way. We saw a couple large whales quite close to the ship about half way across to Port Angeles. I got parked with the trailer door jammed up against the side of the boat so was unable to access my camera. I neglected to get it out earlier as I was expecting poor visibility. I always say leave the camera behind if you want to see wildlife!
We had to visit Safeway right away to restock the cupboards when we got to Port Angeles. We’d given Richard the balance of our foodstuffs yesterday to make it hassle free at the border. After shopping then lunch in the trailer we bought gas at Safeway for $2.499 US. We took Highway 101 west towards Forks then down a little farther to a free campsite I’d found on FreeCampgrounds.com and I was pleased to find it exactly as described. We’re right on the Hoh River not far from the highway. Good road into here and only a couple of young fishermen to share the area. There are about 8 sites available but only a few suitable for larger rigs like us.
On Monday the 3rd we didn’t have such a good day. We drove all the way up to the Hoh Rain Forest visitor’s centre only to find that Mitzy wasn’t allowed out of the parking lot so we turned around and left. I did get some pictures along the return route and we did see a bunch of elk so not a total loss. We hooked up the trailer and had lunch at Ruby Beach where we enjoyed some large waves and Mitzy had a good tear up and down the beach. Shortly after that it commenced to rain and in some places it really rained. We stopped along the road near Artic, Washington and had a hot drink. Aileen went online and found us a campsite in Raymond another few miles south which we got to no problem. I got quite wet doing a minimal setup and hookup. That’s when I noticed a flat tire on the trailer – great! We’ll leave it for morning and hope it’s drier. We’re parked in a pool of water as there’s water laying everywhere. When I went to go online to check weather and routes and whether there is a tire shop in this little town – population 2900, the internet wouldn’t connect. After trying everything we could think of, I called my local girl in Salmon Arm. She finally sent me to the techs. All the tech lady could come up with was that Telus didn’t have a roaming agreement with the Raymond tower. However, my cell phone works as I was talking to her on it. Apparently data is under a different agreement than voice was the story I got.
Well, Tuesday November 4th is about over and we’ve sure had a mixed bag of weather. Rain and sun alternating and together, hail several times, a couple of nice rainbows, some wind and some calm. I guess my birthday present was the new trailer tire this morning in Raymond, Wa. It was neat driving over the two mile long bridge to Astoria, Oregon. There is a pretty steep climb on part of it to put you high enough that the large freighters can go underneath on their way to Portland and beyond. We stopped at a few viewpoints along the coast this afternoon and didn’t get too far south. We drove somewhat less than 200 kms today. We were on the road about 9:30 after having the new tire installed. We’re in Nehalem State Park just south of Manzanita. Arrived here about 2 PM as the crew determined we’d come far enough. Aileen wanted time to bake me a cake so how could I argue that one? I spent over an hour with a couple of Telus techs trying to sort out my internet problem to no avail. Aileen and Mitzy went for a walk on the beach. I went with them later. There were great big waves and lots of sand so I blasted off lots of shots. I spotted a deer right when we first arrived so blasted him with lots of megapixels.
Wednesday , November 5th sees us at Harrisburg, just north of Eugene, Oregon on I5 arriving here about 4 PM. We’d left the Nehalem campground at 9:30. We tried for internet again in Newport but nothing, so decided to head inland to test the Telus tech’s idea that along I5 would work. Didn’t! The tech I called from Corvallis thinks the problem is that US Cellular is the main provider in Oregon and that Verizon is probably renting space on their towers. Since Telus has an agreement with Verizon but not US Cellular, he thinks we are denied access. I don’t know how we are going to actually find this out unless we suddenly start accessing service again down the road. Tonight we have wireless service from the campground we’re in although it’s very slow.
We had rain all day again. It rained even harder the farther inland we went. Just plain yucky! We got soaked every time we ventured out of the truck. We were looking at weather in California and Arizona tonight and Aileen says we’d better pick up the pace. That’s the opposite of what I’ve been hearing the past few days. We checked Siskiyou Pass in southern Oregon and the weather is getting iffy there. Snow is possible tonight but mid day temperatures tomorrow are promising so we may make a big push in the morning to get over it. If it looks bad then we’ll head back to the coast.
We were able to talk to Richard and Georgia online with Skype tonight although the voices were sometimes breaking up.