Welcome

The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.



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Monday, July 30, 2012

Meandering the Pacific Northwest – July 18–July 29, 2012

Following our 11-day adventure with our Grandson Taylor, it was time for exploring more of the Pacific Northwest and catching up with lots of friends and family.  This blog report covers our stops in Washington, Northern Oregon and the Oregon Coast.  The next blog will focus on Central and Southern Oregon.

Hoodsport, WA (July 18- 21, 2012)

MerrieAnn & JeffFirst stop was Hoodsport, WA where we were invited to driveway camp with friends MerrieAnn and Jeff Martin.  The Martins are friends we met online when we both had Monaco Monarch RVs.  We normally stop and see them in Desert Hot Springs where they winter.  A few years ago we did connect in Vancouver, WA for 2012-07-18_15-55-49_472an RVers dinner, but this was the first time visiting their new home on the Lake Cushman Golf Course.  MerrieAnn and I got to play two rounds of golf and we joined friends of theirs (whom we had met previously in DHS) for a Mexican dinner out.

Whimsical “Hobbit House” on the Lake Cushman 6th tee box

Parked at Martin'sThe Martin’s driveway and front yard were re-designed  to accommodate three sites with electrical hook-ups for visiting RVs. While we were there we had a 5th Wheel RV in the space next to ours.  (The Martins were cat-sitting while the owners were on an Alaskan cruise.)  Apparently,  the other RVers forgot to chock the wheels on their rig and it rolled forward off its blocks – stopping just short of hitting our motorhome’s living area slide-out.  Whew!

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Close call, but no damage!

Chimacum and Sequim, WA (July 20, 2012)

We used the Hoodsport driveway as a home-base while we did a day drive in our CR-V north along the Hood Canal to the Escapees Evergreen COHO RV Park in Chimacum.  We drove through the park looking for Boomer stickers and remembered that friends Carole and Dick Schneider had just moved into their leased lot the week before.  We had a brief visit, got our Boomer {{{ Hugs}}}, and then followed US Hwy 101 northwest to the town of Sequim.

For years Luke had heard about the unique climate in Sequim, WA from David Hull, an engineer he worked with at McClellan AFB.  Upon retirement, David and a couple of other McClellanites moved to Sequim to enjoy the non-rainy part of Washington State.  We used the internet to locate David’s address and called him from the end of his driveway to see if he was available for a quick visit.  Sure enough and he gladly showed us his property and shop areas.  He now works for the County Sheriff part-time as an Evidence Clerk and does local Search & Rescue.  The guys had a good time trying to remember names of co-workers and what they were up to the last time folks had heard from them.

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We also knew that Boomers Connie Carno and Art Sauerstrom were parked at the Sequim Elks Lodge awaiting that weekend’s Lavender Festival.  They were not home on our first stop, but we left them a calling card letting them know we were in the area.  WConnie & Arte had made a quick trip to the local Costco so Luke could get his new glasses adjusted when we got a call that they were back “home”.  We stopped back at their rig for a short visit.  We have been following their Pacific Northwest travels on their trip journal, “Art and Connie's 2012 Adventures”, so it was good to hear their travel plans to a rain forest on the far western side of the Olympic Peninsula.  They also shared their impressions of the nearby communities of Port Townsend and Port Angeles.  We visited this area many, many years ago, but will save exploring these areas in depth for another trip.

Kelso and Vancouver, WA and Astoria, OR (July 21-24, 2012)

We made the Elks Lodge in Kelso, WA our next home-base while we toured the area. The price of $20/night for water and 30 amp electric was a little steep for a basic parking lot, but it was convenient and located next to a shopping mall where we had dinner one night at a Red Lobster.

Visiting Cool Friends (July 22, 2012)

We are so happy that we devoted a full day to spend with our long time friends, John and Linda Larimer and their daughter Bonnie Etson and her family.

Larimer Easton family

We spent part of the day at a local river park watching the ships coming and going from the Pacific to docks in Portland.  We then headed back to their home in Vancouver, WA where Bonnie’s husband Will joined the gathering for a BBQ dinner and lots of story telling.

For those that don’t know, John and Luke worked together at McClellan AFB and in 1972 we met John’s wife Linda.  As it turned out, Linda and I had gone to Highlands High School together and we soon became best friends.  After they moved to Cool, we soon followed them and became neighbors in 1979.  Their daughter Bonnie was our “second” daughter.  When the base closed, Luke retired but John moved with his job to Utah until he retired a few years later.  When Bonnie gave birth to twins, John and Linda moved to Vancouver, WA to help with Bonnie’s growing family.  They have truly been devoted grandparents that have really enjoyed their new calling in life.

John LarimerWhenever our travels have taken us to the Pacific Northwest, we have made it a point to catch up with the Larimers.  This stop means much more to us this year, because our dear friend John passed away in his sleep on August 19, just weeks after our visit.  Our love goes out to Linda and their entire family.

Columbia River Day Drive (July 23, 2012)

We made the loop from Longview, WA to Astoria, OR a full-day drive in the car.  Our dog Star got to go and she enjoyed her long ride in the car. While she is an excellent camper and happy in her big dog house, having her with us allowed for more freedom to travel since we didn’t have to rush back to the motorhome to let her out. 

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Along the way we made a quick stop at the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to learn more about the creatures that live along the Columbia River.  

 

Astoria – More than a Bridge

2012-07-23_13-32-39_430Astoria is a wonderful seaside community located on the mouth of the Columbia River which separates the states of Washington and Oregon.   All the vessels that travel from the Pacific Ocean to the docks in Portland, Oregon must pass through this route which we learned can be very treacherous.  We spent a couple of hours at the Columbia River Maritime Museum learning about the sandbars and navigational obstacles that have always faced mariners through this passage.  The U.S. Coast Guard displays were informative and we were also allowed to tour the light ship “Columbia” berthed next door to the museum.  We also learned the history (and demise) of the area’s canned salmon factories.

Astoria Lunch Stop2012-07-23_14-41-57_839 (July 23, 2012)

Lunch at the Ship Inn Fish & Chips Family Pub  was our next stop.  We were able to secure a window table that allowed views of the ships on the bay, the nearby Astoria Bridge and the local Trolley that stopped right outside the restaurant. Because we had the dog with us, we opted to do the trolley the next time we visit.  (The brochures do say, however, that some trolley conductors do allow pets.)

Sherwood, OR and Touring Portland (July 24-26. 2012)

We made a short drive of just 65 miles south on I-5 and set up at the Sherwood Elks Lodge for a couple of nights so we could spend more time touring the Portland area.

We booked a luncheon river tour on the Portland Spirit.  It was a “white table cloth” affair, singing waiters and just a scenic trip on the Willamette River.  If we do it again, we’ll take a longer tour to check out ALL the bridges in the Portland area.  

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

We spent a great afternoon touring OMSI. a multi-story, hands-on discovery museum.  While many of the displays were developed for children, there were plenty of children of all ages engaged in the activities.

Another Boomer Fix (July 25, 2012)

Our stay at the Sherwood Elks was at the recommendation of Boomers Dianne and Frank Gruelle who home-base in the area near family.  By now most followers of this blog must have figured out that if there are Boomers in an area, then you can probably figure there is a lengthy meal included with a visit getting caught up on each others’ travels.  We met Frank and Dianne at one of their favorite restaurants, El Sol De Mexico.

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Westward Bound and the Spruce Goose

Our meandering through the Northwest next took us from the Portland area westward towards Lincoln City via Highway 18.  En route we stopped at McMinnvile, OR to tour the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, home of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose.  This expansive museum was built around the huge, all-wooden aircraft that made only one flight.  An 18-minute video and models capture the history and one-minute flight of this unique aircraft. It is impossible to capture the entire image of the plane in just one shot, so you really need to look at the adjacent, full-size planes in the photos to get a feel for the size of the wing span or the height of the tail fin.

The adjacent buildings were also of interest.  On one side is the iMax Theatre where we viewed Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag.  We then toured the Space Museum which traced the U.S. and Russian competition for space flight and modern spy planes.  If you have kids or grandkids traveling with you, drop them at the adjacent Evergreen Wings & Waves Water Park which features a real 747 airplane on the roof of the indoor water park.  It has water slide tubes coming out the various door and hatch openings.  Very Cool!

 

Along the Oregon Coast (July 26-30, 2012)

We have previously traveled along the Southern Oregon Coast, so we made a point of hitting the areas more commonly known as the Central and North 2012-07-28_10-03-23_560Coasts.  We home-based at the Lincoln Elks Lodge Wapiti RV Park and used the tow car to tour Hwy. 101 up to Tillamook and Sunset Beach.  The ocean and coastal rock views from the two lane highway were spectacular with lots of pull-out areas.  We also stopped to check out the Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery where they raise Chinook Salmon in multiple ponds for release May through July. 

A Cheesy Stop (July 27, 2012)

The town of Tillamook is actually inland from Cape Meares and is on everyone’s bucket list stop for the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour.  The self-guided tour is interesting, but the real memorable stop was the snack bar and the ice cream counter.  We did get to sample a berry flavor ice cream mini cone, but we opted for a lunch of baked Mac & CHEESE with a scoop (or two) of our favorite ice cream flavors – butter pecan and black cherry for Luke and chocolate chip cookie dough for Moi.  Knowing we can buy Tillamook Ice Cream and cheese blocks at local grocery stores, we saved our souvenir money.

Another Boomer Fix

While we were in Lincoln City, we caught up with Boomers ZoAnn Lapinsky and hubby John Macom for dinner at Shucker’s Oyster Bar.  We watched them eat the oyster sampler plate while we ordered more traditional seafood.   We would meet up again with them later in the month for a rafting trip on the Upper Rogue River and a tour of Crater Lake.

Shuckers with ZoAnn and John

Florence and Newport, OR  (July 28-29, 2012)

We have stayed at the Florence Elks Lodge along Hwy. 101 before, but this trip we wanted to visit that Lodge’s outstanding campground located a few miles north of town.  We used this 40-space campground while we re-explored the Central Coast, including Newport, Oregon.

We had missed the Oregon Coast Aquarium on our previous visit so that was a definite destination.  The inside glassed tunnels let you see the undersea worlds and the outdoor exhibits with the above water and underwater viewing windows do not disappoint.  The final shot in the following album features the world’s largest Japanese Spider Crab whose legs span 13 feet.  A young girl is watching a diver inside the tank with the crab.  These crabs can live to 100 years of age.

Our Favorite Restaurant Stop!!!

One of our all-time favorite restaurants is Georgie’s Beachside Grill, just north of the Newport Bridge on SW Elizabeth Street.   Once again we had wonderful window seats overlooking the Pacific and outstanding meals.  Unfortunately, we did not see any whales who routinely commute in front of this oceanside eatery.  We both had their delicious clam chowder soup and Luke had the Diablo Seafood Salad while I had the Chicken Spinach Salad.  When in Oregon, don’t waste your money on clam chowder at Mo’s, there are much better choices.

Central Coastal Images

The entire Oregon Coast is one photo opportunity after another.  Here are some more scenes from Highway 101 and the seaside communities of Newport and Florence.  BTW, the sign photo in this album (which unfortunately shows sideways here) warns about tsunami debris that is washing ashore all along the Pacific Northwest beaches. Personally, we did not see any.

Old Town Florence

On our final evening in the Florence area we ventured down along the harbor to Old Town Florence and had dinner at the Bridgewater Fish House and Zebra Bar.   We were served complimentary shrimp cocktails and I had an excellent meal of saut√©ed jumbo shrimp, roasted red potatoes, and a vegetable medley of squash and broccoli. I think Luke had a seafood pasta. Following dinner we then strolled the wharf area at sunset. The dinner, weather and sights were wonderful.  We’ll be back.

 

NEXT:  OREGON CONTINUED --  LA PINE AND CRATER LAKE