WEEK SEVENTEEN: STATE PARKS AND CHAMPION ROSES

CONTENTS
Rearview Mirror - Summary of the past week: Beautiful Oregon
Pups Across America! - Peanut, Lucy, Dune Dogs and more
Favorite Photograph - Solo Rose
Travel Tools and Toys - Blogs
Camper’s Corner - Bluebell Campground, Siuslaw National Forest, Coos Bay, OR
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading: More Oregon

REARVIEW MIRROR
Start: Bluebell Campground, Siuslaw National Forest, Coos Bay, OR
Stop: Devil’s Lake State Park, Lincoln City, OR
Stop: Fort Stevens State Park, Hammond, OR
Stop: Stub Stewart State Park, Buxton, OR
Stop: Mt. Hood Village RV Resort, Welches, OR



Sunday
Seaside Stroll
After walking the Pups around our campground in the forest and over to the trail by the trout pond, we headed to the beach. Here we walked for four miles in the chilly morning, seeing only three people the whole time we were out. It was a blast watching both of the Little Ones run as hard as they could with legs a-churning and big smiles on their faces.

Morning Beach`Something to Crow About
Dune Dogs`Playing Mitzy and Jerry

Coasting
Mid-morning we pulled back onto 101 North and drove through Lakeside, Winchester Bay, Reedsport, Dunes City, Glenada, Florence, Yachats, Waldport, and Newport. The temperature was in the high 50s and sunny, but several times when we were close to big water the fog rolled in blocking the light, like the curtain coming down between acts in a play. As we came into the outskirts of Lincoln City, we saw the words that I had hoped for but never expected, “Vacancy” on the sign for Devil’s Lake State Park. We pulled into the park and were able to secure the longest site in the campground—one complete with shade, full hook-ups, and even cable!

After setting up we took a walk through the park among the other campers and down to Devil’s Lake. We then drove off a couple of miles to the supermarket for staples. Late afternoon we sat out by the campfire, first playing cards, then working on the computer, relaxing, and watching the kids and the pups walk by.

Mobile Laundry

Monday
After a nice walk around the campground, I had my regular Monday morning marketing call—the business side all is under control.

Through the Big Cities
Sadly, the campground could not accommodate us for another day, so late morning we were back on 101 heading north through Neots, Otis, Neskowin, Cloverdale, Hebo, Beaver, and on to Tillamook were we stopped for a healthy lunch of foot-long hot dogs, curly fries, and diet root beers at the roadside A&W.

From there our northward trek continued, on through Bay City, Garibaldi, Bayview, Brighton, Wheeler, Nehalem, Mohler, Manzanita, Cannon City, Seaside, Gearhart, and Warrenton. Traffic was light, the weather mild, and the sights made it difficult to concentrate on the road.

Land of Lewis and Clark
We pulled into the Fort Stevens State Campground at the very northwestern tip of Oregon knowing that the campground was full, but always hopeful of a last minute vacancy. After waiting in line behind a grumpy old geezer, it was our turn. The ranger pulled up her screen of availability and up popped a cancellation from the last five minutes. Just as the day before, it was one of the biggest sites in their camp located in a gorgeous, well-shaded area. We were on a roll.

Historic Military Site
After a quick set up, we jumped in the car and drove the five minutes through the park to the old fort. Here is a historical war museum that gives an interesting military history of the fort starting with the civil war, including WWI and WWII. This was the only place in the U.S. that was shelled from a Japanese submarine in WWII, bombed, and had an incendiary balloon explosion that killed five people. In almost perfect weather we walked through the fort remains, hiked out to a jetty, and saw some old structures from the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Back at our campsite we took a quick dog stroll, then Jan had a fire going and we were playing gin rummy in the brisk evening before turning in.

Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
Fort Stevens State Park along with nine other parks and sites across Washington and Oregon make up the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park that chronicles the amazing story of the 1804 exploratory expedition.

Tuesday
We would have stayed here a couple more days, but instead of waiting to see what our chances might be of someone else canceling, the cloudy, misty days helped us decide to go in search of sunnier skies. After a three-mile hike with the Pups through the woods, it was back in BALY, making miles.

Decision Time
Before we left, however, we had a decision to make. We had spent the last 47 days either parked along or driving beside the Pacific Ocean from the southern edge of California to the northern tip of Oregon. It was very tempting to continue up the coast of Washington to complete the tour of the U.S. coast. However, we had a firm commitment to be in central Oregon in 10 days, and we didn’t want to do the coast drive just to do the coast drive. Hence, we thought we’d take our time and visit more of Oregon’s treasures further inland.

East and South
So we wound our way through Hammond and Warrenton, and at Astoria, we headed east for the first time since the beginning of our journey four-plus months ago. Heading east on Highway 30 we passed by Svensen, Knappa, and Westport. At Clatskanie we turned south on 47 and were immediately doing the old left-right, up-down routine that Jan had mastered on Highway One in California. However, contrary to the chilly, foggy, misty weather that we had gotten used to, we travelled in warm sunshine, thoroughly enjoying the trip through forests along the river and into farm country.

Farm Country Pacific Oregon Rainy Forest

Stub Stewart State Park
We passed by Mist, Vernonia, and after another eight miles we ended up at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park. Another beautiful Oregon State Park. After setting up, Jan and I drove to the town of Banks and had a wonderful Chinese lunch. Next door we bought groceries, then on our return to camp we stopped off and cut our own flowers for a soon-to-be-made bouquet.

You Pick Flowers

Hike
There are trails all over this park, so we chose the closest one twenty feet from our campsite. We walked up a hill with a view overlooking the valley, then down into the woods circling back in a two-and-a-half mile loop. By mid-afternoon it was sunny and in the low 80s, so the dark of the woods combined with a constant breeze made for a pleasant jaunt away from the heat.

Grilled steaks
We sat outside enjoying the weather and later Jan grilled filet mignon steaks on the coals remaining from our campfire. The sites are large and the campground was only about one-third full, so we felt as if we had the whole park to ourselves.

Wednesday
Long Hike
After taking the Pups out early and doing business on the computer, I felt the urge to take a long hike. Loading up with camera, water, bug spray, pepper spray, energy bar, and a charged iPhone (coverage was good in the park), I was out the door. In addition, the park brochure showed the trails in detail so there was no worry of getting lost.

Shooting Alex

In the chilly mist I headed up Barberchair Trail, then turned left on Boomscooter Trail, then it was all uphill to Skidder Row, which made a half-mile loop complete with nice views of the Coast Range. It was there along this narrow path that the flowers seemed to jump out at me as I passed. The reds, golds, blues, and oranges were set off by a background of deep greens from the trees. I spent several minutes snapping pics in this area.

From there I connected with the Unfit Settlement View Trail, the trail that reaches the highest point in the park and supposedly has the best views (it got its name from an 1879 surveyor that deemed this area, “mountainous, unfit for settlement”). I was very much looking forward to this challenging section and the potential photographs that lay ahead. However, about a mile into this trek, I came upon a park sign that said, “Trail ahead not finished. Turnaround and go back the way you came.” After pondering this unplanned change of events for a few seconds, I decided to take the verbiage from the sign as a suggestion, not a command. Hence, after looking around to confirm no one was around, I continued onward along a path of sorts until it spilled out into a park service road. As I was searching for anything that looked like a trail, another hiker and his pup approached. We discussed the situation, consulted our maps, and both agreed that if we followed the service road for awhile it had to lead us to one of the other trails that we could use to guide us back—no brainer. Confident in our plan, Dennis, his pup, Peanut, and I strode off down the road at a brisk pace.

Lewis and Clark—Not!
After 90 minutes or so of not seeing anything but the road and the trees, we started to talk trail talk, “We are going south, don’t you think?” “Should be something coming up within the next quarter mile I’d guess.” Forty more minutes later, the conversation changed a tad, “Cripes, I’m not sure what direction we are walking in, are you?” “Think we are still in the park?” “I’m thinking of turning back if we don’t see anything in the next 15 minutes.” Finally, we heard a truck nearby as we came upon the intersection of Bacona and Grenzer, and I made the strategic decision to stay put and call in the calvary. I dialed up Jan, explained the situation, gave here the names of the two roads, asked her to find out where the devil we were, get directions from the rangers, then come get us. Pretty soon, up drove our dusty Element with my Sacagawea* behind the wheel. She confided that after driving so long she was just about ready to turn around. Come to find out, we were 7.5 miles outside the park heading in the wrong direction! Lewis and Clark—not! We dropped off our two new friends and went back to base camp where I had a shower then a well-deserved nap after a day of unplanned wilderness exploration.

Afternoon Drive
Later on, the Kids were bored so we piled into the car for an hour, doing back-country exploration by car. That was enough to blow the stink off of the two Little Ones, and we ended the day with cards, campfires, and chats.

*You may recall that Sacagewea played an important role in helping Lewis and Clark.

Thursday
Early Hike
After taking the Pups out early and doing a little work, Jan and I took the Pups out for a hike. I wanted to show Jan some of the pretty flowers from yesterday, so I retraced my steps and introduced Jan and the Kids to this picturesque trek called Skidder Row.

Wild Flowers

Flower Gardens
Portland is known as the City of Roses, so what would be more fitting than to visit their most spectacular rose garden? Leaving the Little Ones to fend for themselves in the air-conditioned coach, we drove the 33 miles to downtown Portland, into Washington Park, turning into the International Rose Test Garden. This place was just amazing, as our eyes darted from the shapes, sizes, colors, and smells of roses of all varieties. We wandered about shooting photos left and right, oohing and aahing our way among the manicured and terraced roses.

Climbing Roses Eight Creamies Peach Roses

Pink and White Rose Pink Rose Quilt of Roses

Red _ Yellow Rose White Rose

Spartan Rose
Jan’s grandfather was a horticulturalist, Michigan county agent, and proud graduate of Michigan State College (later Michigan State University). Jan has fond memories of her grandpa’s excitement when a new rose was developed at Michigan State and named “Spartan” in honor of MSU. Hence, she looked this rose up and determined its location. It had won the gold medal in 1955, and hence, we found this beauty in the Gold Medal Rose Garden.

Spartan Rose Stop and Smell__ Sepia Rose

Wandering Downtown Portland
After a couple hours of flower power, we were hungry. We pointed our Element east, found some parking and a great downtown restaurant for lunch. Then we wandered around down by the water, first watching kids play in a water spray, then strolling among the people and the pets.

Water Fight

Friday
Leaving Camp
After an early hike with the Kids, and a quick business call, we got BALY ready to roll and were soon on the next leg of our journey. We stopped to fuel up both vehicles, then headed east on Highway 26. Instead of going directly through Portland, we took OR 217 south, I-5 south, I-205 north, 212 east, and finally back on to US 22 for 32 miles. It was a wise choice, as the traffic was light and the roads were in good shape.

The Best Laid Plans...
In my role as navigator, I’d been doing quite a bit of research and had a plan worked out to stay in the Mt. Hood National Forest for the next few days. Although we had no reservation, it looked as though there would be ample camping sites available at several of the National Forest campgrounds around the village Government Camp on a first-come basis. As we pulled into Still Creek Campground we were met with really narrow turns that BALY could not pass through without catching branches. The three 40-foot sites that the computer had said were available were occupied, which was just as well, as none of them were over 20 feet long. Every site in the campground was full, and since this was our best hope of a forest stay, we turned to plan B. Jan pulled alongside of the highway, and I searched the computer for a public campground in the area. There appeared to be only one within 40 miles, so we back-tracked for 20 minutes before pulling into the Mt. Hood Village. This place has over 440 sites, but there was only one left in which we could fit! No hesitation here, we took it. We had been prepared to dry camp, but now we had the opposite, full hook-ups, cable, a pool, and a hot tub—all for just a few dollars more. :’>>>.

Mt_ Hood

BLM Hike
After hooking up and having a nice lunch a couple miles away, we decided to take a walk and get our bearings. The nice thing is that the RV park adjoins Wildwood, a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) day park connected by a trail. We took that walk through the woods with the Little Ones checking out the scenery.

Saturday
Morning Hike
The morning was cool and cloudy as I walked the Pups along a short trail. After breakfast the four of us went hiking, first heading down along the Salmon River, then deeper into the woods along the wetlands. No one else was on the trails so we enjoyed the sights and smells in solitude.

Rainy Hikers

Road Trip
We loaded up the Element with maps, camera equipment, water, and two Pups happy to get to go. My plan was to take the less-traveled portion of the “Infinity Loop,” as Oregon marketers call it, roughly the right one-half of the scenic Mt. Hood and Columbia River route. So we started off east on Highway 26, traveling through Rhododendron and then Zigzag. As we were coming around the mountain, Mt. Hood seemed to jump out at us, filling the sky with its ragged outlines of black and gray greatly contrasted by the bright whites of the snow on its peak. Quite impressive. Just past Government Camp we picked up Highway 35 heading first east then north as we passed through the right-hand side of the Mt. Hood Wilderness. When we reached the town of Mt. Hood, we took a country road southwest to Parkdale, then back north through Dee, all the way to the trendy town of Hood River, right on the Columbia River. Here we walked through the quaint downtown and stopped at a brew pub for fish and chips and fish tacos. Excellent meal.

A Change of Scenery
Heading east on Highway 30, we pulled into a rest stop to let the Little Ones stretch their legs. Man, there were pups all over the place. Here I captured a few shots for the blog, the part wolf pup Malachi along with Chip and Queen. After this photo break, we were back motoring along to the town of The Dalles. Here we changed roads, going south on 197, but we also changed geographies—it was like we were now in the farm country of western North Dakota. Our view was no longer forests and streams but wheat fields and farmsteads. It was a great change of pace, and we thoroughly enjoyed the trip down to Dufur and Tygh Valley. I somehow missed my planned turn to Wamic, so we continued south on 197 until we picked up 216 and pointed in a westerly direction. Driving by Wapinita and Pine Grove, we connected again with Highway 26 and retraced our first steps of earlier in the day.

Malachi Chip Queen

Wonderful week.

PUPS ACROSS AMERICA!
Lots of nice pups this week, but my sentimental attachment goes out to my hiking buddy Peanut.

Peanut Lab in Pickup Lucy the Lab

Pass the Word
Know other Pup Parents that might enjoy this blog? Please spread the word.

FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPH
My favorite this week is “Solo Rose.”

Solo Rose

TRAVEL TOOLS AND TOYS: Blogs
I started my travel blog because I wanted to have recorded memories of our encounters as we motored across America. From past experience I knew that without some sort of written account after a few years (even a few months or even weeks) experiences become blurred, dates tangled, and memories forgotten. In addition, knowing that people will be reading it forces me to give completeness to my thoughts and attempt to achieve some level of quality. Finally, knowing that a summary is due each week helps to keep one from procrastinating and keeping things up to date.

To help deal with the technical aspects, I’ve enlisted the help of Suzanne from PagePerfect Creative to customize the blog, build the Web site, and support the management of keeping it up and running. If you want professional help for your business or personal Web needs, I’d highly recommend them. Just a pleasure to work with. www.pageperfectcreative.com

CAMPER’S CORNER: Bluebell Campground, Siuslaw National Forest, Coos Bay, OR
Forest setting and flat paved sites that are able to accommodate big rigs. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and the campground is within short walking distance to the beach and to a pond stocked with rainbow trout. OK Verizon signal, but a weak AT&T signal. It’s close to Coos Bay if you need provisions. If you are set up to dry camp this is a great place to stay. Highly Recommended. http://www.recreation.gov/camping/Bluebill_Campground_Or/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=75473&topTabIndex=CampingSpot

HEADLIGHTS
August 8 and 9
Mt. Hood Village RV Resort, Welches, OR

August 10 thru 14
Attend the FMCA Convention in Redmond, OR

August 15 to 17
Crater Lake National Park?

September 4 to 6
Estes Park, CO

September 18 thru September 25
Kalamazoo, MI

September 26 to 27
Cincinnati, OH

September 28 thru October 2
Lexington, KY

October 4 thru 6
Asheville, NC?

October 7 & 8
Charleston, SC?

October 10 & 11
Savannah, GA

October 12 thru 14
Apopka, FL?

October 15
Return to Pine Island?

Going to be near? Look us up. Have some suggestions concerning places to see? We are open.
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