Weather report: It has been beautiful here on the coast of Oregon all week. Some fog in the morning but much sunshine later each day. At 6:30 am today the fog was thick but the forecast is for 80 degrees today. I am publishing my daily diary in an attempt to speed up this blogging process on Sunday morning.
Last Sunday: Granddaughter, Megan returned my call. She had not looked at her phone all day Saturday and just found my message that morning. They had a full day planned with church and dinner with friends in Morton—a long drive in the opposite direction from where we were. I took responsibility for the mess up since I should have called her the day we arrived instead of waiting until Saturday morning. We said our good byes over the phone and she told me they might see us the winter of 2009-2010 in Florida as they have made tentative plans for another adult play date in Disney World. Since they do not plan on bringing the baby with them, I guess I will just have to be content with seeing photos of the newest great grandchild until we return to WA. Bummer …
We drove back to Astoria (did I tell you we loved Astoria?) and wandered through the Sunday Street Market which is three blocks long and two and three blocks wide in spots with over 100 vendors. Everything for sale is either made or grown by the vendor. No “made in China” products here. After enjoying a delicious ice cream cone, we hopped on the Astoria Trolley and took a leisurely, 45 minute ride for just $1.00 from one end of the Astoria waterfront and back again with a very informative narrative about the history of the city by the knowledgeable, volunteer lady drivers. We learned a lot and realized this should have been our first stop instead of our last. We sat outside on the patio for dinner at The Cannery Café, another restaurant on the water with a wonderful view of the Columbia River. The prices were again very high so we restrained ourselves and I ordered a small plate of fried Willapa Bay (in WA) oysters and Phil had clam chowder. I gave Phil the slaw that came with mine (I thought it was awful) and he finished off my French fries and two rolls so we both got plenty to eat. This time the chowder was fair and the oysters were delicious. We watched as a Coast Guard Cutter and a small tender did some interesting maneuvers and saw a river Pilot climb from the Pilot Boat up the ladder hanging over the side of a huge tanker while neither one even slowed down. I had forgotten to return the SD card to my camera after transferring the last batch of pictures into my computer so we only managed to take a few pictures that the camera can hold without the card.
Monday: We drove from Clatskanie via Astoria to Lincoln City and settled into the Chinook Bend RV Resort. The weather was beautiful all day and the peek-a-boo scenes of the Pacific Ocean through the conifers along the highway were great but frustrating. The views of the Pacific from Hiway 101 are a lot more open in southern Oregon. Chinook Bend is a membership park for us and we paid only $10 per day. We will stay for a week while Phil decides where our next stop will be. All we knew for sure at this point was that it will be farther south and a bit east. After getting set up we drove into town and had dinner at the Hilltop Restaurant. Very much like a Denney’s … good service, reasonable prices and satisfactory food.
Tuesday: Not much sun for most of the day. The fog hung low out over the ocean nearly all day but the temperature inland made it to 70 degrees. In this park, we have minimal cell service here and for some reason, our satellite internet is on again, off again and totally undependable; very frustrating! We had breakfast/lunch at Lil’ Sambo’s a local eatery not affiliated with the national chain known as Sambo’s. I had a Taco Salad and Phil had biscuits and sausage gravy. The food was good, appropriately priced and since his portion was small and mine was huge, Phil finished my salad for me. While in town I called and talked to my cousins in Salem and Newberg and made plans to visit this week then tried to reach a cousin who lives here in Lincoln City without any luck. We drove down to check out the little town of Depoe Bay then after we got back to Lincoln City went to the Chinook Winds Casino. Phil and I rarely gamble but since their machines take real money, we made a small donation on our way back to the door after checking out the buffet line and the menu in the dining room. The buffet was typical and the dining room menu was too high priced for our budget so eating at the casino is not in our plans. We had our dinner at a restaurant named Roadhouse 101. They advertise the best burger on the Oregon coast … excuse me … we beg to differ. I had a deep fried halibut fish sandwich that came with fries and slaw. I passed up the bun and gave Phil my slaw again as it was really bad. This time, even he couldn’t eat it. The halibut was overcooked and much too greasy so with the few French fries I had, I ended up a bit sick to my stomach on the way home, too much grease for me. When we got home … still no internet! Grrrrrrr!
Wednesday: Phil fixed the Internet by tweeking the dish. We had already deployed the dish before we put the slide out so the cantilevered weight on that side of the coach repositioned the dish. Every time any weight was over there (Phil on the couch or one of us in the dinette seat) we lost our signal. Hooray Phil! You are my hero! We headed out to visit with my cousins, Dottie, Sandy and Sy in Newberg. Had breakfast at Pig n’ Pancake … great small appetite menu and we both had a tasty meal. Of course, my sweet cousin Dottie had thought ahead and late afternoon presented a wonderful spread of delicious food complete with coconut crème pie … Phil’s favorite! We didn’t get home until 9:30 pm but the drive west on Highway 18 was uneventful except for being stopped a couple times by flaggers for some overnight paving going on. Stinky!
Thursday: Our ultimate goal was the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville and we took all the back roads we could in order to check out all the little towns along the way. Viewing the “Spruce Goose” was quite the experience … it is huge but they haven’t missed a bet when it comes to charging for every move you make. There are two museums and an Imax theater and the price goes up with each choice. We only wanted to see the airplane so paid the least amount at $12 each. If we had wanted to go up to the cockpit it was an additional $20 and if we wanted a photo of us in Howard Hughes seat it would have been $50. It is a beautiful complex and the buildings are spectacular so I suppose it takes a lot of money to keep it in good order but I can imagine many people passing on the experience because it is so expensive.
As we were leaving, the local state and county police had lined up their cars for a couple blocks along highway 18 for some kind of event or perhaps a display for American solidarity in regard to the anniversary of 9-11. No signs or clues were evident. It would have been an ideal time to rob a bank in McMinnville … the cops were all busy outside of town! Crawled the back roads photographing farms, farmland (I love seeing all these farms and farm houses- my heart is definitely a farmer’s heart) and of course post offices in all the small towns along the way. Got back to town at 6:30 pm and had dinner at the Kernville Steak and Seafood restaurant which is just at the end of our road where it joins Highway 101. Every night the parking lot has been packed and we just had to try it for ourselves. The service was good but the food was only fair and VERY spendy. I guess the river view is the big draw. I ordered two pork chops, baked potato and veggie with a cup of chowder ($16). Phil had seafood fettuccini ($20). The chowder had hardly any potatoes; I had to search for the bits of clams (I think I found two miniscule pieces) and my pork chops were thin, pale and had little flavor. I brought one of them home along with half my baked potato. Phil’s dinner grew on him as he went along but he says it still wasn’t as good as Olive Garden. The best part of dinner was watching the seals hunting in the Siletz River from our window table. The restaurant provided a set of binoculars which was nice. We didn’t see the seals doing any catching … just hunting … so the salmon must be around somewhere but we heard later that the fishing has been poor for two years. Home late again and very tired.
Friday: After a lazy and late morning, we finally got on the road about noon. We stopped for breakfast at Pig n’Pancake again then headed east towards Salem. We were using the map and trying to find back roads to see some new country and actually got lost. Phil had to program our GPS, “Carmen Garmin” to find our way to cousin, Sherry and her mother, Lola’s house and we didn’t get to her house until after 3 pm. We had a short but wonderful visit and Sherry baked us a wild blackberry pie sweetened with Splenda to take home with us and gave us tomatoes from her garden and a bag of plums. She also gave me a box of genealogy related pictures and papers that belonged to her brother, Bob who died from cancer in 1992. We went to Wal*Mart on our way out of town and bought some supplies then programmed “Carmen” to take us home. We arrived at Chinook Bend RV Park about 9:30 pm safe and sound.
Saturday: A stay at home day. I cooked, cleaned out the fridge and Phil walked and walked and walked some more. His back has been hurting him a lot the past few days and the only thing that seems to give him relief is walking. He bought new walking shoes because his old ones are falling apart and of course, the new shoes seem to make his back worse. Still no word from my cousin here in Lincoln City (they must be out of town) and tomorrow is travel day. We will drive south then turn east at Reedsport toward Roseburg where we will hang out for a week at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Here comes the sun! ;-)