April 20, 2010

Driving The Great Northwest - On The Road Again

Just a quick note to let you know that we are leaving tomorrow for Montana.  Our home exchange has come to an end and I still have a few more stories to write about during our time here.

So I will have some more posts of our adventure very soon and I hope you have enjoyed reading about what we have been doing since we started "Driving The Great Northwest".

April 14, 2010

Driving The Great Northwest - Cape Disappointment

It's another beautiful day here in the Northwest and we are going to take advantage of it today.

One of the many great things about home exchanging that I love is that your hosts leave several pamphlets, booklets and maps on things to see and do in the area.  Something I found while looking through everything was a place I knew I had to see, "Cape Disappointment".  Why?  Because there is not only one lighthouse there, but two!!!

After heading about 40 miles north on Interstate 5, we then start due West on US30 for 50 miles to "Astoria Oregon".  A few of you might remember some of the great movies that were filmed here like "Kindergarden Cop", "Free Willy I & II", "Short Circuit", and my favorite "Goonies". 

With only about 20 more miles to get to Cape Disappointment Washington, we now drive over the mouth of the Columbia River where it enters the Pacific Ocean on US101.  

This is such a cool drive right over the top of the water!

At the end of the bridge we are back in the State of Washington and within minutes we have parked and we are ready to see the first lighthouse!  We first see the keepers duplex houses right from the parking lot.  You can actually stay overnight in one of them and the other is for park personnel.  Click 'here' for information on rentals.

We then follow a very short trail to the "North Head Lighthouse".  

It's said that North Head is one of the windiest places in the United States, and today is no exception.

So we make our way back down to the "Cape Disappointment Historic District's scenic loop" and head for lighthouse #2.  We took the North Jetty Road and found a great spot to stop and take pictures of the "Cape Disappointment Lighthouse", and it wasn't windy down here at all!

Okay, I need to get closer!  And lucky for me there is a beautiful trail to the top of that lighthouse!

This reminded me alot of my hikes in the rainforests in Australia on my last home exchange in May of 2009.  We also pass a beautiful little spot called "Deadman's Cove".

And then there it is...."Cape Disappointment Lighthouse"!

The views from here are spectacular!

It's been a georgous day and it was wonderful to get out and explore and do a little hiking.  And then to top it all off, on our way home we stumble upon an old covered bridge!  Another absolute favorite of mine!

I would say that today was not a disappointment at all!  How about you?

If you would like to see more pictures of our day just click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Cape Disappointment"


April 12, 2010

Driving The Great Northwest - Go Trail Blazers!

It just seems fitting that if you are in the Portland area you should go see a Trail Blazers game!  Especially since the Blazers were heading to the NBA playoffs, and neither one of us has ever been to a professional basketball game. 

It was tough trying to decide whether to watch Friday's game against the Dallas Mavericks or Monday's game against Oklahoma Thunder.  So after talking with some people who know more about basketball then either one of us, we chose the Blazers vs Thunder game on Monday April 12 and headed to the Rose Garden. 

To fit in with the 20,000+ fans we bought some Blazer hats and then made our way to our seats and settled in for the game. 

It was a great evening and a great choice.  The Blazer's win 103 - 95!
And because the Blazer's made 100 points, all the fans were treated to a free Chulupa from Taco Bell!

I could so become a Blazers fan!

There are a few more pictures of the game if you would like to see them.  Just click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Go Trail Blazers"

April 10, 2010

Driving The Great Northwest - Waterfalls, Waterfalls and More Waterfalls

Okay, it's already April 10 and two days of rest is enough!

I'm not sure if you know this about me, but as much I as love lighthouses, I love waterfalls even more!  So today we headed for the "Columbia River Gorge" to explore and enjoy the waterfalls! 

We start towards the Gorge on I84 heading East, but decide to exit onto "Historic Route 30" which brings us to our first waterfall of the day!

Wahkeena Falls is a 242ft waterfall with a great trail that takes you to the base of the waterfall.

Our next stop is Multnomah Falls and here we take the 1.25 mile trail to the very top of the waterfall.

There are 11 switchbacks on the way to the top of this 620ft waterfall and on the way we have some amazing views of the Columbia River and Washington in the distance.

After we reach the top and have a look over the edge, we decide to continue on the trail that takes us along the upper part of the falls.

But as beautiful as this is, we need to get back down to the car and see some more waterfalls.  And within just about 10 minutes down the road is "Horsetail Falls".

Here you just park and walk across the street and you are feeling the mist of the water of this 176ft fall.

Our last waterfall of the day comes as a complete surprise as we were driving West on  Historic Route 30 on our way back to Vancouver.

Latourell Falls has a couple of great options for getting some great views of the 249ft fall.  We of course did both.  First the little walk of 0.1mile to the bottom where we could just look straight up at the fall.  Then we also took the little walk from the parking lot to the viewpoint.

Okay, back on the road to get home.  But then we end up with one more unexpected stop.  Built between 1916-1918, "Vista House" was built as a memorial to Oregon Pioneers.  This is a great place for unbelievable views of the Columbia River Gorge.  However the wind was blowing about 50 miles per hour up here, so we took a quick tour and some pictures and headed home.


Of course there are more pictures to see of all the waterfalls we saw today at "Where's Debbie".  Just click on the album Waterfalls.

April 7, 2010

Driving The Great Northwest - Let's Go Crabbing!

It is absolutely beautiful in Coos Bay Oregon this morning!  The sun is shining and there isn't a cloud in the sky.  This is very unusual for this time of the year on the coast of Oregon and we are going to take advantage of it by doing a little crabbing before we continue on our road trip today to Vancouver Washington.

A great place to crab in this area is at the Charleston Marina.  So after a little breakfast we head on over to Charleston to get our 3 day crabbing license, a couple of crab rings and two pieces of frozen chicken for our bait.  Yes crabs love chicken!

As we make our way down to the docks to pick our spot for some morning crabbing we are forced to pick another spot because there are some sea lions sunning themselves right where we want to crab.  They seemed very disinterested in us but I'm sure once we started pulling crab up they would have quickly become our new best friends.

Stijn has never crabbed before so a little lesson from me based on the limited knowledge that I have, Stijn is ready to throw in the first crab ring of the day.

Well the first thing we discovered was that my instructions for leaving the ring in for only about 5 minutes was incorrect.  As Stijn brings up the first ring, we see we have no crabs.

The day wasn't a total loss however.  We did get some crabs........................

........and even some starfish!

Well 4 hours has gone by and we must get on the road.  It's another 200 miles before we reach Vancouver Washington. 

We do make a few quick stops along the way however, it's just too pretty not to.  At "Cape Perpetua" we stopped and took a look at the "Devil's Churn" 

and then in Newport we had some dinner at "The Chowder Bowl" in  "Historic Nye Beach".

Well it's just about 9pm and we have arrived in Vancouver Washington!  Our home for the next 2 weeks.

If you would like to see more pictures of our day just click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Let's Go Crabbing!"

April 6, 2010

Driving The Great Northwest - From the Redwoods to the Oregon Coast

It's 8:30am and it's a beautiful morning as we start our day from McKinleyville up the US101.  There is a nice light rain falling with the ocean on our left and nothing but green up ahead.

I've choosen the US101 as our route to Vancouver Washington because the scenery that you can see while driving is absolutely breathtaking!  Besides that, there are so many points of interest along the way.  And within 30 minutes we see Roosevelt Elk right along the highway just outside of Orick!

Soon we were in the Redwood National Forest and here we decide to take the more scenic route and exit at the Newton B Drury/Scenic Pkwy.  This takes you through these magnificent trees on a very narrow winding road with some spectacular views of the ocean.  There are several stops that you can take along the way and follow a trail.  We took advantage of this at "Big Tree".

We spent a lot of time exploring this area but it was time to continue up the coast.  And of course once we arrived in "Crescent City" it was time to take another break.  Why? We had only driven about 30 miles.  Because there is a lighthouse here people!   And you know me and my lighthouses.    I've been to the "Battery Point Lighthouse"  before, but I've only been able to enjoy it from a distance.  You can only visit the lighthouse when the tide is out, and lucky for us....it was!

After about another 30 minutes of driving we finally hit the Oregon State line!

Your probably wondering by now, do we ever eat?  Well we did have a nice breakfast that was included at the Holiday Inn Express back in McKinleyville this morning.  So 40 minutes into the State of Oregon we stop in "Gold Beach" and get ourselves a Blizzard from Dairy Queen.  We then found ourselves a spot on the mouth of the Rogue River and enjoyed not only our blizzard's but the spectacular views and the barking of some sea lions sunning themselves on the docks and shoreline.

After driving about another hour we make one last stop in "Bandon-by-the Sea", before reaching our destination today of Coos Bay Oregon.  No we didn't stop here to have a decent meal, we stopped because the "Coquille River Lighthouse" is here and I must have pictures!

What a great day and about 30 minutes later we are checking into our room at "The Mill Casino" at 5:30pm.  As comfy and cozy as our room looks we are now officially hungry! 

We decide to have dinner at "The Plankhouse"  whick is located right here at The Mill.  This was the perfect choice with a little table for two and a view of the sun setting over Coos Bay while enjoying our seafood Paella and a nice bottle of Oregon wine.

There are so many more pictures of our day here "Where's Debbie". Just click on the album "Redwoods to Oregon Coast"

April 5, 2010

Driving The Great Northwest - Snow, Sun and Rain, Can't Keep Us Away!

It's time to hit the road, and nothing was going to stop us from making our destination today!  Not even snow!

We woke up bright and early in Reno and discovered that it had snowed overnight.  This of course didn't bother me at all. I lived in central Nevada for 30 years and you just don't let snow get in your way of going where you want to go.

So we filled up with gas and made our way up US395 to Susanville for some breakfast at the "Black Bear Diner".  This is a great place to have breakfast at a moderate cost, but boy you better be hungry.  The servings are huge!

The sun is shining now and after our hearty breakfast we headed out of Susanville on CA36 towards Red Bluff.  But along the way the snow started to fall again and since we didn't have chains (which were required to continue) we are forced to alter our route at the CA32 and detour to Chico.  This turned our 106 mile drive to Red Bluff from Susanville to 141 miles.

The rest of our drive was certainly alot less stressful with only some light and heavy rain showers as we continued west from Red Bluff on CA299 through the Trinity National Forest.

It was a long day!  And about 10 hours later we arrived on the coast of California and stayed the night in McKinleyville.  Our room at the "Holiday Inn Express and Suites" was a welcomed retreat.  With a recommendation from the hotel reception, we decided to take a little drive up the US101 to "Trinidad" and have dinner at the Seascape Restaurant.

What a perfect place to have dinner.  On a pier overlooking the ocean, eating seafood and having a glass of wine while reflecting on our day and all the elements we had to endure to get here.

There are a few more pictures of our day.  If you would like to see them click here "Where's Debbie" and then click on the album "Making it to the Coast"
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