Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Cuisine’ category

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park and Port Renfrew

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Martha said I got to choose what we do today. I wanted to go back to Port Renfrew where we saw people lined up on a bridge over the Gordon River. There was nowhere to park the trailer, so we couldn’t stop, but I knew there was a big salmon run. It’s only 41 miles. I knew it was a long, curvy, bouncy trip with the trailer, but thought it would be faster with just the truck. I was wrong. It’s an hour and a half trip if you don’t stop. The Road to Hana in Hawaii has nothing on this winding road, but it’s worth it.

We stopped at French Beach Provincial Park and walked down. there is a beautiful picnic area, a playground and benches along to edge of the beach. It’s a round rock beach where the waves roll the rocks back and forth, a very cool sound.

Driving on, we came to a very cool spot, Jordan River, where surfers and paddle boarders worked some small waves. A fire kept onlookers warm, but it was a nice day by now. A coffee shop sits on the other side of the road, and a small campground sits right next to the water.

We stopped at China Beach, where the Juan de Fuca Trail begins. It goes for 47km along the coast next to Juan de Fuca Straight. We hiked it for two hours to Mystic Beach and back. Of course nothing can go in a straight line on this rugged, beautiful coast, and neither does the trail. It winds up and down hills in this section, and you have to be vigilantly watching roots that go everywhere. Martha slipped on one and took a fall. It could have been nasty, but she was OK. It was Sunday and there were a lot of people on the trail, and everyone had at least one dog. One young lady was running the trail with her music plugged into her ears. I don’t know how you would run this trail! It’s cool though. You can camp along the trail or on one of the beaches.

We thought about hiking another section, but decided against it. It was a beautiful, warm day when we arrived at the Gordon River Bridge, but chilly winds blew off the ocean and up the river. This is the look of British Columbia I love. A big river surrounded by mountains thickly covered in pine trees. It still appears wild and free. There was only one fisherman on the bridge. We gazed into the water and saw four, big salmon moving upriver. It certainly wasn’t a big salmon run like there must have been on our trip down. Maybe the tide has to be right. Another fisherman worked form a kayak in the middle of the river, while a couple sat under an umbrella, soaking up the sun.

We drove into town, now hungry for lunch. Two places were closed for the season, but we stopped at The Renfrew Pub, not knowing what to expect. Motorcycles, trucks and sports cars were parked in the lot. It has to be a great trip for motorcycles. It was busy with people out for a Sunday spin on a pretty day, maybe the last for the next spell. I ordered a salmon burger and fries, and Martha had seafood chowder and fish tacos. It was all very good with good service. We walked out back of the pub and down the dock. Martha posed next to a beautiful Indian Motorcycle. There were the cutest tiny cottages right on the dock with great views and gas fires to keep you warm. I asked Martha if she wanted to stay the night, but she declined. Looking into the water, there were thousands of small fish, sardines I suspect. On the other side, we saw two large crabs. It looks like a healthy, beautiful environment.

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Just north of Port Renfrew is the end of Juan de Fuca Trail at Botanical Beach. We walked down to the beautiful, rocky beach at low tide where a small forest grows on a rock. Then we got back on the road for the long drive back. Well, it’s not a long drive, but it takes a long time.

Rain Forest Trail, Bog Trail, Information Center, and Tofino

October 10, 2017

We had rain last night, a good thing for British Columbia. It’s also good when it comes at night. Although chilly when we set out at 9:30, it was most pleasant for a hike. The Rain Forest Trail is only 1km, the whole way covered by a beautiful wooden walkway. Whoever built this was a real craftsman. This forest is gorgeous, so pretty it took an hour to travel the short distance, and I could have taken longer.

A raven clucked softly in different tones the entire walk through this magical forest. I wish I had recorded him or her. Huge trees, one giant cedar being born in 1247! Signs educated us about the forest, plants and trees. It told us about how huge, dead trees serve as nutrient for new trees. If you see a straight line of trees, you know they grew from a fallen one. Gardens grow on tree stumps and limbs. One sign told us one very old fallen tree harbored more insects and animals than all the humans on earth. Last night’s rain brought the forest to life, and the sun was perfect for pictures. I rank this hike with one of the best I have ever hiked, along with yesterday’s Wild Pacific Trail.

True athletes that we are, we went for another 1km hike at the Bog Trail through a totally different landscape. Warnings were posted for bears and wolves, but didn’t even see a sparrow. On to the Kwisitis Information Center.  It’s a great view from the deck of the Information Center of Wickaninnish Beach. The real treat was their movie. Like everywhere else, this area was ravaged by Europeans. The salmon were fished out. Whaling had been done here for thousands of years with little effect, but with more advanced methods, the whales were soon fished out. Then lumber companies were stripping the island of age old forests. Finally the Tla-o-qui-aht had enough, and their chief made a stand. In what became standoff battle, other residents and people from other parts of Canada joined the First Nation people. The story is the question of how to make resources sustainable. Vancouver Island is an incredibly beautiful place. How do you protect it and still let your citizens make a living. This is an excellent film that should be required for all inhabitants and visitors. If anyone has a link to this film, please share it.

We went into Tofino and had lunch at The Shelter. It was excellent – great food, great waitress and great view. Thanks Brian and Leslie, for the recommendation. Then we went to the library to post and read e-mails. It’s a very small library, but steadily busy for the two hours we were there. One lady ran the show, and while I was trying to write, I couldn’t help listening to her. The way she handled people was a delight. After helping a little girl find a book and telling her all about it, the little girl turned to her mom and said, “Do we have to leave”? That’s when I started paying attention. One young lady came in with a book overdue. She was apologizing right from the start, but the lady in charge said, “What are you? Canadian? Stop apologizing”. Cracked me up. A persnickety woman was searching for some magazine and couldn’t find it. The lady in charge went over and said, “Nope, we don’t have it. We don’t have any A’s”. Others asked about a book, and the lady had comments and suggestions about all of them. I wondered if she had read every book. I couldn’t write any more, I was so mesmerized by this woman, and sorry I hadn’t paid more attention from the start. I was really sorry when it was time to leave. I went up to her and told her she was the best ever. She looked at me quizzically and said, “Are you messing with me?” I told her I wasn’t. I didn’t tell her how many libraries I had been in since July – big ones, small ones, good ones, bad ones. This one may be small, but if you want a warm, comforting atmosphere with an incredible lady running, count your blessings. I said, “No, it’s the truth. You are the best. Thank you so much”. She stared at me, wide-eyed, mouth hanging open, and hesitatingly said, “Well, thank you”.

Hop-on-Hop-off Tour of Vancouver

October 3, 2017

It is sometimes best to get the big picture of a city with a bus tour. We should have stuck with the first lady, who was quite good, but we got off at Granville Island, an area that was converted from warehouses into shops, food markets artisans and restaurants. It’s fun to walk around the busy area with music playing in parks. There is a huge market area, where you can buy any food imaginable – baked goods, seafood, vegetables and fruits. We had a nice lunch at the Sandbar Restaurant overlooking a busy waterway with its cute little water taxis.

Hopping back on the trolly, we got the worst driver. We should have gotten off. He was a poor narrator and he hit one car and ran over a few curbs. I can’t imagine driving that big thing in this busy city, but he was pitiful. We walked back to Bella Gelateria that won the best gelato in the world award. I don’t know how they won. It wasn’t that good.

Back in town, we went to a very nice grocery store and got some cheese and crackers and wine, hoping we could get together with another Airstream couple from Germany. Heinz and Birgett accepted the invitation, and we had a very enjoyable evening trading stories of where we had been and of places to go. They are retired physicians who keep their Airstream in California. They explained the complicated rules they must follow in order to keep coming back to the US. They must leave the country after 3 months, which is why they come to Canada. They will go back to Bavaria for the winter and return next year. We talked about the shooting in Las Vegas, the problems in the US as well as the problems Europe is having. They like to bike and showed us on the map where they like to go. If we had another day it would be fun to do, all along the water past Stanley Park. Being the only campground in the city, this is a busy place, and you can’t just add a day. I’m sure there will be other biking opportunities. We enjoyed our evening with Heinz and Birgett.

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Lewiston

September 20, 2017

On a rainy morning, we went to the Hell’s Gate Visitor’s Center and watched an excellent movie about Lewis and Clarke’s crossing the Rockies in Idaho. Then we read the plaques and pictures throughout the center and looked at a big relief map showing their incredible journey through these huge mountains in the snow. They never would have made it without Sacagawea or the help of so many Native Americans along their whole journey. It would be fun to ride horses along their route. I don’t know how they made it in 11 days, but they almost died.

We went to the very nice Lewiston Library to post and pay bills. It is worth the trip just to see all their art and statues. We had sandwiches at the Stax Restaurant, which was quite good, then went down the block to the Nez Perce Museum. I was disappointed that only a small part was about the Nez Perce Indians, but realized this is Nez Perce County, so it was more about history of the county. The Nez Perce were instrumental in saving Lewis and Clarke’s expedition only to be persecuted by the Army years later, stripped of their lands and forced to cross the same treacherous mountains in spring high waters to a reservation in Montana.

On a rainy, cold afternoon, we took the afternoon off, read and watched a movie.

Boise

September 14, 2017

Martha and I spent two days exploring a bit of Boise. We walked and biked the great riverside trail along the Boise River. What other city has a river running through it where people fish for trout? We explored  downtown, shopping and had a nice lunch at Wild Root. In the evening we met Ron Lowry for drinks and dinner at the Ram. Ron is a VMI and MCV grad a class ahead of me, and is an avid fly fisherman. We enjoyed hearing his stories about fishing throughout Idaho. We are going to sign up for a trip he has taken every year for 15 years down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, a six-day trip through wilderness. I can’t wait until next July! Boise is a beautiful city with an interstate running through it, about the size of Richmond, Virginia.

We drove out to World Center for Birds of Prey. They were vital in the restoration of the Peregrine Falcon after DDT caused their demise. Now they are working on restoring the California Condor along with other projects. Even Martha enjoyed the great presentation, pictures and displays.

As we were packing up to leave, Justin, the manager at Mountain View RV Resort, came over to say goodbye. Not only is he a biker, but also a fly fisherman who grew up in Riggins and McCall. He gave me some good tips on places to fish as we headed north. He also told us to stop at Tackle Tom’s in Cascade. What a nice young man!

Driving north, Route 55 follows the Payette River, a world-class white water river. We stopped for lunch at a pull-out where there is a white, sandy beach on the river. We went into Tackle Tom’s and met Tom, who has been working there for 38 years. I bought a fishing license and a few flies as he gave us great advice where to go hike as well as fish. He advised us to stop at the Boise National Forest-Cascade Ranger Station just down the street, so we did. I bought a couple of maps as Steve advised us on places to go, and explaining the fire restrictions. Ranger stations are getting to be one of my favorite places to go.

We drove through McCall and out onto a peninsula jutting out into Payette Lake to Ponderosa State Park. Kevin Handford had recommended it. He is another VMI grad as well as an excellent financial advisor, who has a place in McCall. There was no one at the gate. Reading the board, most of the campground was closing next week. We drove through and picked a nice spot, filled out the form, put the money in and put the envelope in the slot. Martha said five days would be good.

Fishing The Granby River

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Granby River

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Although the Granby is very low and temperatures are in the 90’s, we decided to give it a try. In the first three holes we saw fish rising, one coming all the way out of the water, so we were inspired to keep at it. In two of those holes I got my fly caught, waiting while Kelly fished around my line. He caught a few fish and kept one. Unfortunately, those were the only fishable holes for the next mile. By the time we got to the bridge, we caught up with two other fishermen, who kept moving ahead of us, obviously scared we would jump ahead.

We drove up to the top and fished for a while. I didn’t find anything, although the river and scenery are beautiful. It is tough to walk on those big, round rocks and tougher in the water when they are covered by a slippery film.

Then we drove back downstream where Kelly cleaned the two fish he kept. There were a couple of big pools, so we fished those. Kelly had the right fly on and caught some small, but hard-fighting trout. Despite changing flies a number of times, I only got one strike all day, and I missed him. Tired after a full day of walking the stream, we headed back to Grand Forks.

As we were having drinks and getting dinner ready, we noticed a crowd over at a dirt bike track in this municipal park. We walked over, finding kids of all ages, dressed in all kinds bicycle gear and helmets, mothers and fathers helping, announcing and running a very well-organized event. It was a blast standing by the rail and taking pictures. What a great track and a wonderful opportunity in this little town.

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The next morning we walked downtown (3 blocks away) to Yakky Jacquie’s for breakfast. Rated the best in town, it lived up to its reputation – great omelet, great coffee, great people.

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Solar Installation Naples, Florida

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March 26, 2017

The whole reason for this great trip was to have state of the art solar installed on the Airstream. After many hours of research and considering doing it myself, I found the best man for the job was Lew Farber in Naples. Lew splits his time between Oregon and Naples. I am so happy I didn’t try to do this job!! Lew did a fabulous job and is a really nice guy. It took 8 days for Lew to get it done, so we toured Naples for a week, which made Martha very happy. 

We stayed at the best Best Western there could be. The staff was great, the grounds were very cool, nice pool and a good location. I have never seen so many fancy, expensive cars in my life. Rolls, Bentleys, Ferraris, Teslas, Porsches, Jaguars and Maseratis. Mercedes, BMWs and Lexus were a dime a dozen. The car of the year in Florida though is the Mustang. I have never seen so many Mustangs. Of course this is a very rich city with incredible houses, and there are stories of success everywhere. 

We rode bikes through neighborhoods with landscaping so beautiful. We took the tour tram to get the big picture. We drove to beaches and restaurants, the winner being Capt. Marco’s for fresh fish, fried plantains and black beans. The chocolate soufflé was the winning desert at an Italian restaurant. Then there was the gourmet hotdog place. We had to leave town while we could move! 

There are so many new developments surrounding this area, it is mind-boggling. All the congressmen want the Federal government to help them with water to save the Everglades! Typical! There are just too many people in Florida. I could say that about Charlottesville too. The amount of development and people with all the water consumed and put back into the system makes me wonder how it can be done. Then the landscaping, and every house has sprinkler systems. Fruit and vegetable farms are abundant, along with cattle. They have to irrigate a lot too. The Everglades are at the end of the water line.

Robert is Here Fruit Stand

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March 25, 2017

On our way out of the Everglades, we got to stop again at Robert’s Fruit Stand, 19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034. We picked up a few more things, including a wonderful milkshake. They have so many kinds, it’s hard to choose. Waiting in line, I asked what looked like a veteran in front of me. A very nice gentleman, he said he had been here hundreds of times and tried most of the flavors, but settled on orange/mango and he puts a little honey on it. I did the same and it was great. For my own edification, I would like to try all the others. I talked again with Robert and a nice lady took our picture. This guy is so nice, you feel instantly like you are friends. He knows fruits and vegetables like no one else. They ship fruit and vegetables all over at https://www.robertishere.com. The stand is listed on the National Culinary Heritage Register. Do not miss it!

The history is cool: from Emma Court and the Miami Herald, June 27, 2014:

It’s hard to imagine a time Robert wasn’t here. But back in 1959, Moehling’s father was a struggling farmer with a harvest of cucumbers the broker couldn’t sell and no money to buy boxes for the latest harvest.

He sent Robert — then, a first-grader — to sell the surplus cucumbers by the side of the road, propped on a makeshift table. Robert didn’t sell a single one. The next time, Robert put up a big sign, script painted on some spare hurricane shutters, “telling the world I was here,” Robert explains. The cucumbers sold out.

The stand is still in the same place and has the same name. No longer a piece of plywood and some crates, the stand has expanded in size and selection — scaly fuchsia dragonfruit alongside plump beefsteak tomatoes. Moehling, who has worked at the stand since he was 6 — the schoolbus dropped him there after school — can still be found behind the counter. He met his wife, Tracey, there; his four children, as well as two daughters-in-law, all work at the stand. They built the Splash Pad, a sprinkler for children, in the back because Moehling — who works more than a hundred hours a week — wanted to spend more time with his grandchildren.

Moehling himself grew up at a young age: he hired his first employee at the age of 9; at 14, he bought 10 acres of land complete with a house, a car and a lawnmower. By the time he got his driver’s license, Moehling was helping broker produce sales for other farmers.

“I didn’t have a normal childhood like a lot of people might grow up doing. Laying around watching cartoons on weekends is something I’ve never done,” Moehling said. “Even today I can’t watch television — usually I fall asleep.”

Robert is Here has both longtime and first-time customers. Rod Richards of Cutler Bay, who ordered a strawberry milkshake for his young son, said he’d passed by many times and always meant to stop. Having finally checked it off his to-do list, he said he’d be back.

Linnell Truchon, a Philadelphia native who works at a summer camp down the road from the stand, comes by frequently for smoothies. She enjoys the flavored honeys and tropical fruits.

“I’m from up North so I don’t know what these things are,” she said. “They’re really cool.”

Though the stand’s immense popularity is not a recent development — Moehling says he couldn’t handle the number of visitors in 1964 and that it has been “growing equally insane every day” — he is still awed by the number of customers who come in.

“It’s just amazing. I grow fruit and sell fruit and have a family. That’s all I do. I don’t operate on people, don’t change people’s lives for good, don’t fight for you in the courtroom,” he said. “It’s so much responsibility — getting all this for doing just my life.”

Now pushing 62, Moehling says he’ll probably be working at the stand until the day he dies.

“This is not a retirement job,” he said.
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/homestead/article1973051.html#storylink=cpy

Mount Desert Island Marathon

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45℉ at 6:00 and high of 67

Sunday, October 16, 2016

We took a bike ride in Acadia National Park for an hour and 15 minutes, came back and showered and went just two miles to Southwest Harbor to catch our friends at the finish line of the marathon. Isaac was shooting for 3:20 and we were late, but we did not find him. Martha checked the desk and he crossed the half at 1 hour 45, so he was right on schedule. We were getting worried as we waited, but at 4:03 he came across. He was tired and said it was tough. We walked to pick up his race bag, then went back to look for Diego and Andrea. It was Andrea’s first marathon, though she has done half marathons. She came smiling across the finish at 4:20. She said, “There was no pain!” So happy to have finished and to still be fresh, she was dancing and smiling! Everyone else crossing was cramped up, limping and looking quite tired. Diego came across at 4:54. He said he walked some and enjoyed the scenery, but the hills and wind got him a bit.  Although the first half of the marathon was without cars, the last seven miles there was normal traffic, and the running lane was narrow. There are only 1500 runners and most of those are half marathons or 10K, so they can’t stop all the traffic on a very busy island for so long. We wondered why they didn’t run through the park more. 

There were a lot of people around the finish line, cheering runners along. It was cool to hear the announcer call our friends names saying they came all the way from Mexico City. After a little rest and some drinks, our guys recovered well. There were a number of bands that played, and I thought they were all good. Walking down the street, we went into “Quietside Cafe” for lunch. Lobster rolls, crab rolls, fish sandwiches, clam chowder and blueberry pies were enjoyed by all. This is a happening place where the owner, Francis, talked to every customer, especially locals she knew well, hugging everyone. The food was excellent and so was the hand dipped ice cream. 

I was surprised at these marathoners as we then walked the streets of Southwest Harbor and into the neighborhoods, then the 2 miles back to the truck. They had walked all day yesterday in Bar Harbor, ran a marathon and now we were still walking! But they all gave a big sigh of relief when they sat down in the truck and drove back over to Bar Harbor.

Bar Harbor

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33℉ at 6:00, but colder on top of Cadillac Mountain, high of 68

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Martha, Diego and drove up Cadillac Mountain to watch the sun rise. Everyone else was there, as it is the “thing” to do here. We parked in a bus parking spot, because there was nowhere else to go. People lined the crest of the rocky mountain top and down the other side, everyone jockeying for a clear picture. I don’t know what the temperature was at the top, but it was cold. Our hands were the coldest, trying to take pictures without gloves on. It was all worth it though, as it is a beautiful view of a beautiful place. A big cruise ship was approaching the harbor as the sun rose. They would all be shopping and eating later.

Fortunately our bus parking spot was toward the front of the line and we were able to slowly start down the mountain. We woke Andrea up, and Isaac was ready for breakfast. Walking to the opposite side of Bar Harbor to the recommended breakfast place, “Two Cats”. The restaurant next door had a line waiting to get in. Two Cats had a line, but it was much shorter. The lady asked if we would like to sit on the plastic-enclosed porch, and Andrea said yes. There was a big heater, so it was a good spot. I ordered strawberry and banana pancakes and they were the best pancakes I have ever had in a restaurant. Freshly squeezed orange juice was great, and they had good coffee. Everyone enjoyed the meal.

We spent the rest of the morning cruising Bar Harbor’s many shops. I am not a shopper, but I did enjoy the Patagonia store. A very nice guy worked the counter as I admired a sea kayak hanging on the wall. It weighs #25 and folds up so you can easily store it, being made of the same opaque plastic used to make boxes and shipping boxes. They also had an inflatable paddle board I liked. Of course their clothes are great quality. Andrea bought a nice fleece vest. 

We spent a lot of time in a very nice outdoor store across the street and a couple of blocks up the street. We all went our separate ways and met for lunch at Paddy’s Irish Pub for lunch. Lobster rolls, fish sandwich, salads and soups were all great. The only thing about Bar Harbor is the crowds. Our group from Mexico City thought nothing of it, and you do get used to it after a while. Lines of people waited to get into restaurants, and they of course want to turn the tables over, while we wanted to sit and talk.

At low tide, we walked across a sandbar to Bar Island. We had seen this at high tide, wondering what it would look like. Pretty amazing to walk across the harbor while that cruise ship is still floating. Shuttle boats looked like they had to choose their routes to the ship. It is a nice view hiking to the top of the little island. Walking back to Paddy’s, our runners didn’t want a heavy meal before tomorrow’s race. Blueberry pie with ice cream seemed to do the trick. Martha and I kept eating like them, but we were not going to burn the calories off like them!