Sunday, September 07, 2008


I’m not sure how to review our past week. As usual, when we stow the leveling jacks and prepare Penny the Pace for travel in the late summer the anticipation is exhilarating. It was especially so this past Wednesday knowing it was the first step in a longer than usual trek. If you have been reading Backroad Chronicles on a regular basis, you are aware that we will be heading east in the spring of 2009. Most likely our return to the state of Washington will be extended out to a minimum of two years … maybe even longer depending on many factors. Our expectations are over the top for an entertaining as well as educational tour which we will share with you in the blog.

That said—there is a downside to leaving our family and friends behind. Logically, I know my feelings are irrational, but our good health, footloose and fancy free lifestyle and need to head south before winter has overwhelmed me with self-reproach this year. New life-threatening health issues of my loved ones have come to light and knowing I will not be available for daily support has given me pause for thought. I tell myself that Penny has wheels and even if the weather is bad, we can fly back if need be but even so, popping in for a few days in times of crisis just does not compare to being there for the long term. Have any of my firmly anchored readers or fellow full-timers dealt with these issues and if so, how did you handle them? I would love to hear from you.

Last Sunday we made the rounds saying good bye to family and friends then on Monday while the nation celebrated Labor Day we spent the day repacking the storage unit and loading The Lone Ranger. I had done some serious purging and rethinking our needs while we were in Shelton so packing up Penny on the inside was actually fairly easy. We stopped at sister, Dixie’s house for a couple hours of computer training then we all went to the my niece, Tammy and her husband, Steve’s home for a farewell dinner. I met the newest addition to the family, a tiny new puppy they named Isabella. What a darling animal and I received a major dog fix! On Tuesday, we went back to Dixie’s for her last dose of computer lessons then spent a few hours with our friends and gracious hosts, Gloria and Lester. All summer Gloria has been ill and although she has seen several different doctors, she can not seem to get any positive results. Hopefully, that will change pretty soon!

Our late morning departure was leisurely on Wednesday as we only had a little over 100 miles to travel before we stopped again at Clatskanie City Park in Oregon. The trip was uneventful (just the way we like them) and we enjoyed the sunshine as we traveled south. The park has two FHU spots and we signed up for five nights then prepared for some serious day trip sight seeing along the lower Columbia to Astoria and beyond. On Thursday evening we called our dear Aunt Elaine to find out what she had learned from her doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and the news was not good. For family members that are reading this I’m sure a phone call or a get well greeting would be appreciated by this special and much loved elder of our family.

On Thursday we discovered a little ferry and for three dollars rode across the Columbia River from Westport Oregon to Puget Island and the bridge to Cathlamet WA then traveled west on the WA side and crossed the Astoria-Megler Bridge back into Oregon. After taking a cursory orientation tour of Astoria; preparing for some serious sight seeing on Friday we headed on down the coast to Seaside. Neither of us had ever been there before and it was indeed a sight to see! A weekend car show was starting on Saturday so the town was crowded with classic cars and their enthusiasts. A carnival atmosphere prevailed and although we didn’t stop and spend any of our tourist dollars it was not because the opportunity wasn’t there! No doubt in winter, the place is deserted but this litle town has gone all out to show off for the summer time visitors.

Friday was a full day as we toured all the places in the area that I have had on my list of things to see and do for many years (pictures to follow). It was somewhat cloudy in the morning but the weather cleared off and warmed up making it a beautiful day for our adventures. I don’t usually write a critique of restaurants unless it is exceptionally good but in late afternoon we had dinner at a place on the waterfront called Baked Alaska. The write up in the “US 101 Mile by Mile” website on the Internet made the restaurant sound very special and although we knew it would be expensive, we decided to indulge ourselves. Well, even Joy and Phil draw the line on the cost of restaurant food occasionally and after choking on the prices and expressing surprise at the very limited menu we finally ordered one baked oyster appetizer and two bowls of clam chowder. Phil and I consider ourselves connoisseurs of both and both were a disappointment. The best part of the meal was the dip of pungent extra virgin olive oil and quite possibly the best balsamic vinegar I have ever tasted, for the delicious foccacia bread. The service and presentation were fair to average and I should have known better but after hearing they had a chocolate chip-peanut butter cheese cake I ordered a slice to go. After much anticipation my few bites were such a let down I gladly put aside the remainder for Phil. He thought it was okay—too sweet but okay. Be forewarned that if you want a perfectly exquisite view of the Astoria harbor this is the place to eat but if you want flawlessly prepared cuisine or if not the greatest at least reasonable prices … forget it.

Yesterday morning I called my granddaughter, Megan and left a message for her to call us back. She lives in Longview and we were sure we would hear from her soon so we decided to drive over hoping she would call before we had to leave. After having breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants in town called The Pancake House we went shopping for a new wireless WiFi card for Phil’s laptop hoping to fix some connection problems he has been having. We found one at Wal*Mart and I picked up several other things I needed. Megan still hadn’t called us back so we wandered over to Circuit City and Phil picked the brain of one of the many “Geeks” on the sales floor.
After some heavy duty contemplation, he decided that what was really needed was a new computer after putting up with his old (and slow) laptop for the past four years so we bought a highly recommended Compaq with a generous rebate. By now, there was still no return call from Megan and since she has moved and we do not have her new address we had no choice but to head for home without seeing her and dropping off some gifts for their baby due in November. We ended our day in Rainier Oregon at a little restaurant called The Cornerstone Café where we enjoyed the weekend special of Prime Rib. It was actually pretty good and the prices ($12.99/8 oz and $14.99/10 oz) were just right. Of course, I brought home half of my dinner for another meal. Phil stayed up until 1:30 am getting acquainted with his new best friend.
I will plan a little better next week before I post my blog considering the time it takes to upload the pictures. I could change them to a smaller size but then they might not enlarge as well as they do now when you double click on them. I am also having second thoughts about slide shows and videos but will do some more research to see if I there is a way to quicken the upload process.
Thank you so much for your patience.


  1. Bon Voyage dear ones. Take care of each other.

  2. Hello! We found your blog through Geeks on Tour. We started ours six months ago, and love it. You can see it at:

    Your visit to Oregon reminds us of the wonderful times we have had in that state over the years. and your pictures are great!

    We haven't even tried slide shows yet, but I'm intrigued.

    We'll visit you again, I'm sure.