Time Travelling

Our adult kids know that I enjoy taking modern technology back to the late 1950’s/early 60’s to impress my younger self and friends. I usually play a guessing game: What is this? A radio? a calculator? a flashlight? an encyclopedia? an atlas? a clock? a camera? a phone? etc., etc., etc., with the answer being all of the above and much more! Mind-blowing for that bygone era! 

Betty finally added state number 40 – Washington – to our sticker map.

Well this week Betty & I went back in time – but just not that far back…  In 2010 we dropped our youngest daughter, Lisa, at the University of Victoria, and headed down the U.S. coast in our CruiseMaster. The picture on the first page of our blog was taken just south of Cannon Beach, Oregon, on spectacularly scenic coastal highway #101.

This is our first page pic, taken a dozen years ago on the scenic Oregon coast.
We tried our best to replicate that pic yesterday, but couldn’t get the sun to move to the right angle in the sky. Betty had forced me to retire the Hawaiian shirt I was wearing in 2010, but I found another for this pic. You will note that I am still holding the same coffee mug (with fresh coffee, of course) and that Betty & I don’t look a day older. lol
This was another attempt on a different day. Rather than setting up my tripod, we conscripted other tourists to act as our photographer – a tricky proposition when you have a specific image in mind.
There are dozens of scenic pull-offs along the coast. This was another attempt to get the sun on our faces at one of them.

One of our first posts (Dec.3, 2017) listed favourite places we hoped to revisit.

This pic is of a much younger couple, taken at Cannon Beach in 2010.
Rather than conscripting another photographer, I took this pic of Betty by the Cannon Beach Haystack Rock. I was unsuccessful in persuading her to take off her shirt to add to the haystacks. lol.
She reciprocated by taking this pic of me. I offered to take off my shirt, but Betty thought that would just be too funny looking…

We are currently staying at Nehalem Bay State Park (site C30), just south of Cannon Beach, and have enjoyed both touring Cannon Beach again, and also just sitting on the wide sandy beach in the park, watching families flying their kites.

Our current, quiet site (C30) has electricity & water for $39./night The park isn’t near as full as we expected.
You can just make out Betty & Charlie at the top of the dune, on the way to the beach in Nehalem Bay State Park.
We had a pleasant afternoon enjoying the warm sunshine at the beach.
It was a great day for families to get kites in the air over the long, wide, fine-grained, sandy beach.
Betty & Charlie head back to our campsite after a day at the beach.

Tomorrow we drive just a little further south to Tillamook, for a tour of their famous cheese factory, and are spending the night at another cheese factory – the Blue Heron – a Harvest Host member.

State #41, Oregon, can finally be added to our map. Yeah!

We will be leaving the Pacific Ocean behind, and starting our travels inland toward Manitoba – hoping to return once the seasonal flooding is over. (Otherwise we might have a water-front campsite at Town & Country. lol)

One more “haystack” rock along the Oregon coast. Just “wow” for this scenic drive.

Our next stop this weekend is Portland, Oregon, with upcoming visits to Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South and North Dakota along the way. The Portland visit may include a trip to the Apple store, to see what new technology might replace my aging iPhone 6, which has been acting up lately. Besides, think of the impression I would make if I took the latest iPhone back to the ’60s! Just imagine the past and future colliding!

This Princess line cruise ship was docked in Astoria, Oregon, visible as we crossed the bridge from Washington State.

In the meantime, we have enjoyed our journey back to the future, and hope you also have opportunity to both reminisce and look forward to new adventures ahead!

I couldn’t resist a pic of these bright, colourful tulips, outside a hotel in Cannon Beach.


Attractive Or Disconcerting?

There are times in life when you see and experience things that are difficult to wrap your head around. How do you interpret what is in front of you? This week Betty & I had one of those experiences. But before I elaborate, here are a couple more pictures from our current campsite at Pacific Beach State Park in Washington State.

This pic taken over a decade ago, was posted Dec.3, 2017, and again Nov.1, 2021 as a memorable camp spot – site #5 at Pacific Beach .
The seagrass has grown a little higher, and Charlie found his way into this pic at site #7. But the same wine glasses helped to replicate the earlier experience and vibe. lol
Almost every night we are seeing amazing sunsets over the Pacific – too many to keep adding to this blog… But I had to post this one taken with my new telephoto lens. It shows crashing waves that must have been at least 10 feet high, almost touching the setting sun. You can just make out the birds in the foreground that perform a spectacular ballet at the beach every sunset.

Ok, on to the main story.  Betty & I will often go for a drive around the area where we are camped, just to get the lay of the land and see local attractions. One of the features we like about our current spot is the proximity of the local town, Pacific Beach. It is immediately adjacent to our campground and an easy walk for basic needs.

One of the open shops on Pacific Beach’s Main Street.

The town appears a little run-down just now, with many shops and residences closed and seemingly abandoned. But I think it is more a seasonal issue, and we are here in the off-season.  There is still a hotel and restaurant, gas station, post office, elementary school, church, and most other facilities one would find in a small community.

Not sure if this was a home or a store, but in any event, it’s closed.. It’s likely not a fair representation of Pacific Beach, a really quaint little town.

But just about a kilometer south, we found something unexpected. Not listed on any of our hardcopy maps, but showing up on “Google maps” is a brand-new community. Called “Seabrook”, the town is at least as large as any I lived in growing up – if not larger. While I have a fairly innate sense of direction, there were times without our gps that I wasn’t sure where we were and where we were going! Had we entered The Twilight Zone

This sign invites a visit to a structure that doesn’t yet exist on the land behind the sign.

We found Seabrook to be both attractive and disconcerting. The shops, homes, streets and parks were all pristine – no garbage anywhere and not a blade of grass out of place. Yes, it was totally attractive, but spookily surreal at the same time. It could all have been part of a “Truman Show” set (with Jim Carrey) or “Pleasantville” (with Reese Witherspoon & Jeff Daniels). Let me explain more through the captions on the following pictures.

All the buildings in Seabrook – both shops and residences – are designed to look like they were built 100 years ago, when in fact most would not have been here last year! This real estate office commands a prime location on Main Street.
This cute shop with a wine cafe on the main floor, and presumably apartments above, is across the street from the real estate office.
These cedar-shake clad, maritime style shops, including a soon-to-open barber shop, are on a busy side street. Check out the cute car behind the town’s security vehicle.
The whole community appears planned, down to the smallest details. Many old tourist towns – like Bayfield, Ontario – where my parents lived, had little shops you found down back lanes – opened organically as space in the main commercial districts became filled. Seabrook is starting with brand new back lane shops. They look old-style, but it’s all designed to look that way!
As you look down Main Street, you see the white steepled Town Hall on a curve in the street, making it a dominant feature from many vantage points.
The hundreds of brand-new homes in town are all designed to look like they were built 100 years ago. Betty & I both find that style very attractive, with the wide front porches and colourful siding. Nearly all have “historic style” name plates. This one is called “L’Amour the Mer-ier”. lol
Another attractive feature is that none of these are cookie-cutter. Betty & I have visited new communities that only had a handful of styles, with many simply mirror images of the houses next door. These century-old looking buildings all give the impression of having been constructed by different architects in different decades.
There is a full mixture of single, two story, and two and a half story homes in Seabrook.
More interesting home styles, on pristine, traditional suburban streets.
While we didn’t go into any of the carefully staged homes, I couldn’t help but imagine that the interiors were similarly staged – with open floor plans, hardwood floors, large kitchen islands, stainless steel appliances, farmhouse sinks, yada, yada, yada…
It didn’t appear that anything was left to chance in this make-believe town – even the piece of driftwood in the “ditch” between the street and the homes looks staged.
There are small and large parks all over town, all immaculately kept. The homes in this pic all face the park, with access presumably through back lanes. In this park is a fire pit with a built-in seating area. And of course the firewood is already provided.
Speaking of back lanes – there are narrow, immaculate back lanes almost everywhere, with most having carriage-houses above the garages: Another concept that flourished a century ago; died out; and is now revitalized as cities need to increase density in order to afford services. Seabrook is starting with this old approach to increasing density!
I know none of the history of Seabrook, and my interpretation may be all wrong. But it appears to be a totally, thoroughly, well-planned, attractive community – even down to the addition of a “blind corner”. Being a brand new community, I’m sure it could have been designed without a blind corner, but think it was added on purpose, giving the illusion of organic development.
Fascinated by the architecture and community spaces, I couldn’t help but take dozens of pictures. These are just a handful of the many interesting images in this seemingly make-believe town. Btw, we didn’t see any of the features from Pacific Beach: No school, gas station, church, (many towns and cities around the world were designed with churches as dominant landmarks in the communities), grocery store (although an open air market is planned for week-ends in the summer). There appears nothing that was not approved by a single developer – nothing organically built over decades – only attractive new/old buildings and spaces. Definitely no garbage or graffiti. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we found it a little spooky and disconcerting: Very much “Pleasantville”.
On a prominent location on Main Street (with the Town Hall designed like a church in the distant background) sits this over-sized adirondack chair. It faces the Pacific Ocean at the bottom of the hill on which the town is perched. Many of the town’s residences sport adirondack chairs, often with colourful cushions displayed. It was impossible to tell from this visit whether they were staged or real…

Were we witnessing a staged movie set, or an actual community? It was one of those experiences that’s difficult to get one’s head around. Maybe only time will tell how Seabrook evolves, but in the meantime, Betty & I were left with a real head-scratcher. Was it real, or was it fake?  Hope you can better interpret life as you see it on your travels! 


Looking Forward To This

Previous posts have highlighted favourite campsites where Betty & I have stayed on our overlandish odyssey, or on earlier travels. The sites have exhibited special qualities that made them memorable and desirable. While we value spontaneity, we will also go out of our way to return to a great campground that provided a lasting favourable experience. This week we returned to one of those spots that we had looked forward to for quite some time.

Before we got there, I have a few extra pictures from our stay at Kalaloch Campground, a little further up the Pacific coast.
As mentioned in the last post, campsites are first-come, first-served at Kalaloch, and the few oceanfront sites filled up fast. Most would have been too small for us, anyway.
We spent a sunny day at the beach and found some driftwood we would have liked to take back to Winnipeg. Just a little large to fit on our roof. lol
This well worn driftwood – appearing like a long thin beached whale – was much larger than anything we would find in Manitoba!
The weathered trees had some amazing swirls in their roots – what creative artistry!
It wasn’t difficult to find beautiful images along this beach!
After leaving Kalaloch, we stopped for gas at Taholah, on the Quinault Reservation, where Bet snapped this dramatic pic.

Having booked a seasonal site at Living Forest Oceanside Campground in Nanaimo, British Columbia until April 15/22, we anticipated heading down the U.S. west coast after that for a while. 

Arriving at Pacific Beach State Park a day early, we were able to pull face-first into site #4, with this pic at low tide taken through our front windshield.

About a decade ago, Betty and I lucked out with an oceanside campsite (#5) at Pacific Beach State Park at the base of the Olympic Peninsula. Since there are only a handful of oceanside sites in this small state park, I went on-line to the Washington State Park website last July and booked site #7 for this week. Here are some pictures from the first few days of our visit:

Site #7 is a back-in electrical site, with enough room for our Smart to park as well. That’s Bet sitting on the dune behind our rig.
Sea grasses shimmer in the sun on the top of our current perch.
This pic is a replication of one taken here a decade ago. While Bet looks a little bundled up, the sun was warm on our faces as we enjoyed the sound of the waves crashing in. I may have mentioned to Betty that I was looking forward to this relaxing day (maybe once, twice or a dozen times, lol)
Facing west, sunsets can be quite dramatic here. This pic captures rays streaming below a cloud onto the ocean beyond the beach.
Truth be told: yesterday and today we are experiencing the same kind of rain we had all winter on the wet coast. In this high tide pic, taken through the back window of our motorhome, the beach has all but disappeared. Sunshine and warmer temps are forecast for later this week, and we hope to get another pic that better replicates the one from a decade ago.

Betty & I have a lot more to look forward to, but visiting Pacific Beach State Park again is one more item off our bucket list. Hoping you can also find much in life for which to look forward!

Another fantastic Pacific Beach sunset, taken from our current campsite.


FINALLY On The Road Again!

Like many others, Betty & my travels have been limited by the pandemic coronavirus, and all its varients. Other than flights back to Winnipeg for Christmas, we have been staying put in our ocean-view campsite at Nanaimo, British Columbia for the past six months. The site is nice, but we’ve had far too much rain, and we’re told it’s been colder than usual – although there’s no comparison with the snowy winter and spring our family has been experiencing in Manitoba!

The flowers and blossoms have been out at our Nanaimo campsite for well over a month now.

For quite some time now, we have been itching to get back on the road. With the exception of a couple of day trips south to Duncan and Victoria, there hasn’t been much to post on a travel blog.

Betty & her friend from Manitoba, Arlene, pose for a pic by one of Duncan’s many totem poles.
Betty & I enjoyed an afternoon walking tour with Arlene and her husband around the many downtown Duncan totem poles.
There were too many amazing colourful carvings to include on this post. Just giving a sense that it is well worth the visit if you are in Duncan. BTW, we saw a Tim Hortons while we were there, but didn’t see any Duncan Donuts. (Groan from our kids…)
A recent episode on the Cottage Life tv channel featured the construction of a houseboat in Duncan, so we stopped to see the finished product. The grey top floor of the three-story houseboat can just be seen on the right of the pic.

On our way across the Rocky Mountains last October, our motorhome struggled on a couple of occasions, and we wanted to ensure it was performing at its best as we headed out for the next leg of our overlandish odyssey.  So we took the Boy into Nanaimo’s Cullen Diesel and they changed out the transmission fluid which, according to my records, hadn’t been changed in a dozen years. They also changed the spark plugs and wires, and we seem to be cruising up and down the mountains more easily now. Yeah!

On our way to Victoria we passed Goldstream park, where we had gone with our youngest daughter, Lisa, to see the salmon run.

The sun was shining as we began our trip down Vancouver Island, but we experienced a little of everything weather-wise on our first couple of days.

Bet caught this pic of the B.C. legislature as we drove past.

Arriving in Victoria with plenty of time before boarding the ferry to Port Angeles, Washington, we drove past the B.C. legislature and other famous landmarks.

Victoria’s historic Empress Hotel is featured in the background of this pic., after we boarded the ferry to Port Angeles, Washington.
Pulling out of Victoria’s harbour, the U.S. flag waves on the stern of our ship, with the Empress again in the background.

After clearing customs in Port Angeles – late on Good Friday evening – we received notice from Telus, our phone service provider, that I was incurring some serious roaming charges. This was notwithstanding Betty & I have active Canada-U.S. data plans. There is obviously a mix-up somewhere, but we may not be able to reach anyone at Telus until Monday or Tuesday – a real hassle when we have come to rely on electronic communications these days. Fortunately the Port Angeles Verizon store was open Saturday morning, and we were able to activate our wifi jetpack at a very reasonable pay-as-you-go rate. Yeah again!

Our Boy was nestled in the ship’s hold for the hour and a half ferry trip to the U.S.A.
A cruise ship was docked in Port Angeles, as we arrived on an overcast Good Friday afternoon.

Knowing that citrus fruit and other food items can be an issue at the U.S. border crossing, we made the Port Angeles Walmart our first stop – stocking up the fridge and pantry, and obtaining permission for an overnight stay in their parking lot.

When we awoke Saturday morning, we were surrounded by a fresh coating of wet snow. Unfortunately, the one slide we had extended at the foot of our bed wouldn’t retract because of the heavy 3″ of snow on top. I had to gingerly climb on the roof with a long squeegee to remove the cold, wet stuff so our slide would retract.

Yesterday we headed west and south down Washington State Hwy. 101, again experiencing the full range of spring weather – from sunshine to rain and wet snow at higher elevations, and back to sun as we reached the Pacific coast.

The road west and south is extremely scenic on the Olympic Peninsula. Here are just a couple of pics.
This is a pic Betty got of beautiful Lake Crescent, as we passed by.
We began to catch glimpses of the sandy beaches and crashing waves as we reached the open Pacific, and started looking for a campsite.

I had researched possible overnight campsites on the Olympic Peninsula, but many were listed as closed until mid-May, and others were first come, first served, with no guarantee we would find a spot suitable for our motorhome and car.  Fortunately, when we looped through Kalaloch Beach campground yesterday afternoon, we came across a nice spot, close to a sandy beach, and are looking forward to Easter dinner here later today.

The sun shone brightly as we reached a roadside pull-off overlooking the ocean, so we knew we must be close…
Our site (D6) at Kalaloch Beach ($24./night) was one of the very few that could accommodate a class-A motorhome, especially with a car on behind. We are very fortunate to be here for Easter weekend!

Oh, btw, yes Washington is state #40 on our overlandish odyssey – over two years since we registered state #39 – Colorado. The coronavirus has slowed us all down, but Betty & I are hoping that we can enjoy our time on the road a little longer, and that you also can experience happiness, wherever life finds you. As Willie Nelson sings, yes, it’s great to be FINALLY on the road again!

After we got set-up, we headed down for a stroll on the magnificent fine-grained sand beach.
Betty and Charlie enjoyed the first of many days (we hope) on Pacific coast beaches.