Monday, October 18, 2010

My Travelogue, Part Four

Oh my! This seems to be taking longer than the real holiday to tell! Meanwhile, life is going on and I’ve hardly blogged at all. It doesn’t help when my knitting projects are all gifts so I can’t tell you anything about them. Yet.

The best news is that I went to see Dr. Seriously Grouchy Dermatologist this morning and he wanted to get rid of me nearly as much as I wanted to get rid of him. Yay! Free at last! Oddly though he said that if my Itchy-Peelies flare up again I’m supposed to get my family doc to send me back to the light therapy clinic. Ummm…isn’t that why they wouldn’t give me light therapy in the first place - because I was flaring so badly? Would it make sense to try that one again? Guess it depends on how badly, huh? Plus I’m not sure that would work anyway. If I’m really fortunate, it won’t come back and I’ll never have to find out! He did actually admit that my “rash” was oddly unresponsive to the usual psoriasis meds. D’you think???? Meanwhile, I’m supposed to use the Protopic ointment on hands and feet for another month. That should just about see me through my current supply. Happily it held out a lot longer than I thought because it spreads very thinly on my skin. Since it’s super-duper-expensive I’d rather not have to get any more if I can help it. I already have enough pricey-but-useless partial tubes and jars left over as it is. Funny that it was The One Thing out of all the meds we tried that actually worked, isn’t it? Too bad we didn’t try it first instead of last.

All righty then. Back to the vacation. It seems like so long ago now but we’ve really only been back for two weeks. Really. So where did I leave off? Oh yeah – Newport. After leaving South Beach state park we made a big jump further north. We passed through cute little Depoe Bay and stopped in Lincoln City for a few supplies, including a stop in the Jo-Ann’s where I got some buttons for the current supersecret project I was knitting on and another ball of yarn in case I ran out. (Which I did. But I never used that yarn, instead waiting until I got home to use some leftovers from the stash box.) I was pretty sad that Jo-Ann’s seems to have gone so downhill over the last few years. Is it the same in other places? It’s not like people have stopped crafting! There were empty shelves and it looked like only traditional quilting and scrapbooking were being actively supported. Any theories as to what’s up?

Continuing north on the more interior route (instead of the usual Three Capes side trip) because we had a long way to go. We went through Tillamook which seems to be prospering more than some of the other places we saw. Didn’t stop at the cheese factory though we sure ended up buying enough of their products in several different Safeways! Onward through the little tourist towns of Rockaway Beach, Wheeler and Nehalem to the Nehalem state park which is one of our favourites.

There’s a lovely little paved loop trail around through the forest and past the bay at the end of the tiny airstrip runway:

Nehalem Bay

Tide’s out! There’s actually a small gap for boats in there between the mountains and the sandbar that protects the bay. The big waves were on the other side of the bar out there. We were having so much fun after the loop trail that we continued riding along the road into Manzanita, a little town to the north of the park. Some of the houses there have a fabulous view of the ocean and beach. Might have to change their windows and refinish their siding really often though! Lots of places were for sale so it’s obvious all is not perfect in paradise. No, we weren’t tempted to buy one.

We stayed two days at Nehalem but were quickly running out of time. North again past Cannon Beach in the fog and a stop at Seaside for ground coffee and fudge. So touristy but a lot of the summer “traps” were closed for the offseason and a number of empty storefronts for rent. There were several big new hotels though since the last time we’d stopped so it wasn’t a total sad story. However they’re crowded close to the beach which made the main street kind of dark in their shadows. Odd planning if you ask me.

We continued north as far as you can go in Oregon to Ft. Stevens state park. It’s huge with miles of paved trails and hundreds of campsites. The weather was sunny and fairly warm considering we were at the end of September. Of course we couldn’t wait to break out the bikes and use our assist to go farther than we’ve ever been able to before. 6 miles to the end of the road where the Columbia River meets the sea. There’s a platform where you can look over the breakwater:


The next day we said goodbye to Oregon and headed over the bridge at Astoria to Washington. This time instead of going along the coast we went straight up through the mountains and cut across toward Shelton where we were hoping to go shopping at Frantz Glass. T-Man hasn’t really used the supplies he got there in a previous trip but of course that shouldn’t stop him from wanting to see what else was available! Unfortunately it was closed for inventory. Boo-hoo. Figures, the one time we were able to get there in years and it was closed.

It wasn’t out of our way though. We just kept going north through Hoodsport where we bought the most expensive bottle of wine of the trip and on to Dosewallips State Park. We got a great campsite right on the river and watched eagles and turkey vultures vie with the crows and seagulls for the remains of the spawning salmon. It felt much more like autumn with the falling leaves all around us. We crossed the bridge over the river and walked out to the mouth of the Dosewallips where it meets the Hood Canal. There was another viewing platform (we love these!) and we spent quite awhile watching the Canada geese beginning their migrations:


From there we continued up to Port Townsend, just in time for their annual Kinetic Cirkus race. Everyone was in a fun mood with various shopkeepers and audience members in costume as well as the participants themselves:

PtTownsend circus

I’ve always been fond of a little homegrown fun and playfulness and this event has it in spades. It’s very much a DIY thing and the people-powered “kontraptions” are hilarious. This is the second time that we’ve caught a piece of the action in Port Townsend. It’s a great little town and another of the ones that seems to be doing well with lots of new construction and businesses.

Before we caught the ferry over to Whidbey Island we went for a walk along Water Street. They’ve built a beautiful new facility at the end of the street for the Wooden Boat Festival and lots of wharf space for the boats. I popped into a fabu little clothing shop that carries indie designers with a consignment shop downstairs. I really liked the styles and the sizes are larger than most of the similar shops here (aka they actually fit someone larger than a skinny 12-year-old). Didn’t buy anything of course but got several interesting ideas. I also checked out the Diva Yarn shop and Wynwoods Beads. Diva has the best and most diverse selection of needles and hooks I’ve ever seen especially for such a tiny shop. I bought another Clover Softouch hook for my collection and two new sets of Clover Takumi 5” bamboo sock needles. I needed a replacement for the one I lost out the van door when we stopped to fix the roof that had popped up because I hadn’t closed it properly. So of course I had to get a whole new double set! I wear those things out even if I don’t break or lose one. Nice to have lots of spares.

A quiet ferry ride while we stayed in the van and then we were on Whidbey Island. We headed north to Fort Ebey state park and got the second-to-last campsite for our last night out. The weather was cool but still sunny so we rode our bikes over to the picnic area and went down to the rocky beach for awhile. I love the smooth glacier-tumbled rocks on this island that come in every size and colour. This time though I resisted bringing any of them home. I already have lots from previous visits!

The border was a breeze and we got home on October 3 to lots of garden clean-up which we are still working on. T bought a new chipper/shredder to replace our old worn-out dangerous one so we should be able to add to our own compost again instead of sending it all off in the green bin to the city’s composting facility. The broken awning is still on the van wrapped up in rope. No word on its repair possibilities yet. I think we’re still afraid to look! Meanwhile I’ve nearly finished with the veggie garden: the garlic and most of the fall rye planted, weeds and debris removed and some pathway creeper plants split and replanted. Still have the front gardens and the dye garden to do but that shouldn’t take as long as the veggie patch and the greenhouse did. The weather is supposed to be good for the next few days anyhow. Moving right along.


Suzanne said...

How fun to read of your traveling! we love that Nehalem state park as well. It was our first outside of Canada camping trip with the kids, though it was a rough start: there was a huge storm during the night, violent winds, tarp flapping and at first light, a couple feet of water in the campground. We found a nice B&B in Manzanita for the next night: weather was perfect after that

Louisa said...

We have also been there during a huge storm - one that lasted 3 days! The sand on the beach was shifting sideways and the puddles were so deep we couldn't get out of the van without stepping in 10 cm of water. We stuck it out though. So glad to have our little heater! When we were leaving we ended up driving through a flooded highway too. Now we know how the houses near the beach get so sandblasted!