Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

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Middle Fork Salmon River, Friday

Friday, July 20, 2018

What fun it was to paddle kayaks in the morning with Llydia and Sarah. Although most of the rapids weren’t bad, we had a couple of challenging ones. They both hit a rock in one and I think came out of the boats. By the time I got past and looked back, they were in the boats laughing and having fun. We kept hearing about “The Wall”, so none of us paddled after this, although Ron said it was all fine. He has paddled the entire 102 miles in a kayak.

We visited a huge Native American cave with pictographs. Steve quipped, “The Smiths have an overhang honey. Why can’t we?”

That evening there was a cake-eating contest, which Bob won. I didn’t see much cake under the whipped cream, but he did have extra strawberries.

Mountain Challenge #2:

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After we setup camp, I was into my second glass of wine when Steven ran down the side of a raft, dove in the river, swam across the river like an Olympian and ran up the mountain, finally standing on top of a granite rock, arms in the air. I am guessing there was some record-keeping for fastest times because soon enough Steve jumped in and hustled up the mountain and climbed on the rock, arms in the air. I wasn’t keeping time, but I think Steven won. Then Tristan dove in the water and hustled up the mountain, and there were three standing on the rock. When no one else followed, they came back down. I stopped drinking and toyed with the idea. I could swim across the river, though the current is fast. The first part is very steep, but after that it looked like it leveled off for the second third. The last part was steep again. By then everyone was back down, and Steve asked the girls if anyone wanted to go. There were no takers, and the regular conversations went on. Then those two darned girls, Llydia and Sarah, raised their hands and said they would go. “Put on a life jacket and some good shoes”, Steve said, and they ran off. Couldn’t believe it. I picked up the camera and followed them to the river when Bob and Maureen walked past me. “Hell, if they’re going, I’m going” I said, scurrying back to put my camera down. It was a harder swim than I thought. Bob reached out a hand, but I declined. The “trail” up was loose gravel and sand with little to hold onto but grass. Gasping hard, I tried to keep up with Maureen when we got to the top of the first third. It didn’t level off. Steve yelled down from somewhere above to take our time. By now he was ⅔ the way up with the girls right behind him. The last third was very steep and slippery. I was pretty sure we didn’t have a shot at the record! We made it though, still gasping for air as we climbed the rock. Steve was talking and telling stories, knowing we needed time to recuperate. Meanwhile Llydia was climbing around on a ledge on the other side of the rock. I didn’t know if I was going to have a heart attack from breathing so hard or watching Llydia so carelessly climbing around. Finally I couldn’t contain myself. “Llydia, get back over here!”

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OK, going down should be easy. Maybe if you are Steven, who ran the 90-some miles up this canyon, or Steve who has spent a lifetime guiding hunting and fishing in these mountains. Totally unaffected, he climbed this mountain twice today. As we trudged down, Steve and the girls walked over to a vertical cliff overlooking camp. Making our way almost to the bottom, Bob’s knee buckled on him and he went head-over-heels down the trail! He was behind a tree, so Maureen and I couldn’t see it, but those in camp thought he was going to die. Thinking I was safely down, I took a slide on the loose gravel with my arm catching a sharp rock. I hit it hard enough, I thought it might have broken, but it was fine – just some good cuts that Steve would later say looked like a bear bite. We walked along a ledge on the river bottom to get upstream before swimming across. Bob and Maureen are expert swimmers, so I followed Maureen. Unfortunately we were swimming downstream. By the time I looked up, I was at the end of the boats, but got safely to shore still panting hard.

After some rest and water, Steve, who looked like he hadn’t done anything all day, said “Get yourself a drink. It’s margarita night.” Then we heard the others talking about Bob’s fall and how scared they were. Steve asked the girls if they could demonstrate a cartwheel to see if that’s what it looked like, but no, that wasn’t it. Then he asked Bob to do one, and everyone agreed that was it. From then on, he was known as “Cartwheel Bob”. I was hoping for “Bearbite Greg”, but it didn’t happen.

As I got ready for bed, I handed out dental floss. We had been discussing the need to floss and that you only have to floss the ones you want to keep.

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Middle Fork Wednesday

Wednesday, July 19, 2018

It’s interesting to see how the landscape changes every day, and how the river gets bigger. It was a treat to buy an ice cream bar at fly-in “Flying B Store”.

Once we made camp that night, we saw the first challenge. I was sipping my wine when I saw Steve making the challenge to swim across the river, climb up the other side and up a BIG hill on the other side. I got up to take a picture, and he asked if I was coming, but I quickly shook my head. David, however, went with his youngest girl. Amazed, I watched them slowly climb to the top of that hill. Steve cut them no slack as he led the way, setting a pretty quick pace. David and his youngest didn’t quite make it. Still it was a lot for that cute little girl, her older sister anxiously waiting on one of the boats. Just swimming back across the river is a challenge, and she was quite proud to have done it. When Steve came back with Josh, Tristan and Sarah, he was talking the whole time, and they were laughing while swimming across the river.

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Meanwhile our guides, AJ, Steven, Tristan, Tanner, Ty and S……………..prepared an incredible dinner. What they can do with those 5 Dutch ovens is amazing.

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Middle Fork, Tuesday

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Since I was early to bed, I was early to rise, at 5:30, but Steven (Steve’s son) was already up, making coffee and starting breakfast. The chairs were all rearranged and a fire was going in the middle. Coffee was ready at 6:00. I almost stepped on AJ, who was sleeping on the beach, between rocks. In fact all the guides slept out every night. Soon Cathy got up and got a hug from her old friends Tanner and Steven. Then a huge skillet went on the fire with sausage. This “roughing it” isn’t going to be bad!

As I wandered around camp, I found Bob shaving! This would be his habit every day. Another VMI grad, ’74 I think, I could see he was setting a standard. We would soon learn there are options every day. This morning, we could hike 3 miles to a hot pool and meet the boats. It felt good to stretch the legs and walk. However, the trail is very narrow with loose footing, sometimes along a cliff over the river. Not great about heights, I tried to keep my eyes on the trail. Besides the river, this is the only way in or out. Well, there are a few fly-in places. Later in trying to learn more about this trail, Steven said he, and some of his high school buddies, ran it! 90 miles! They stayed at camps with the outfitters.

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There were boat options. You could fish, sit back and enjoy the scenery, ride the paddle boat where you take a greater role in navigation, and get more thrills in the rapids, or you could kayak in one of three inflatable boats. llydia and Sarah opted for the kayaks that morning. On the River of No Return, I watched these 14 year-old, best friends forever laugh, play and handle all the rapids just fine, despite never having been in a river kayak before! I was smitten. Over the next six days, these girls would take on every challenge, jump off every rock and bridge, laugh and pitch in and help with any task. They led the way with kayaks in the morning, so Bob and I tried it in the afternoon, while they went to the paddle boat.

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Ancient pictographs are found all along the river. Imagine hundreds or thousands of years ago, the salmon running up this river by the thousands, trout, sheep and mule deer everywhere and a wide variety of berries. Cool summer days and great campsites made this an ideal place. It’s so crazy to think of Lewis and Clark coming across the country in 1805/6 and what has happened in the short time since then. Chief Joseph led his people through here, trying to escape the US cavalry in 1877. Outnumbered, he managed to elude three cavalry units for four months before being caught 40 miles from the Canadian border.

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Tybee Beach, Georgia

May 15, 2018

We drove over the beautiful Moon River, for which Johnny Mercer wrote the song for the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in 1961. Mercer grew up here. 

We drove over to Tybee Island to explore. A nice lady at the Visitor’s Center told us where to go to look at pretty beach homes. Then we walked along the beach a bit. It’s a bit like Virginia Beach 55 years ago, which is surprising with it so close to Savannah. On the other hand, Georgia has so much water front on so many rivers and islands. 

Our nice lady neighbors across from us had a flat tire on their trailer, and asked for some help, since they broke their ratchet wrench trying to remove the tire. I was glad I had a big torque wrench, which made easy work of it.

We went for one more seafood dinner before heading back tomorrow. Our neighbor told us about Pearl’s Saltwater Grill, so we went. I had “Shrimp Three Ways” while Martha had tuna. It was all excellent, and the view fabulous.

Got back just in time to make sure Brynn Cartelli made it through on “The Voice”

Beaufort, South Carolina and Hunting Island State Park

We took a long walk north on the beach at low tide. It’s amazing how flat this beach is, and thus how far the tide goes out. There are lots of shells, sea snails, starfish and little crabs. This makes great feeding for hundreds of birds.

Then we headed off to Beaufort for lunch at Momma Lou’s Gullah cooking (African style from the lowlands). Another Airstreamer told us they liked to walk the old historic houses of Beaufort, so we followed their advice. According to Wikipedia, “The city has been featured in the New York Times, and named “Best Small Southern Town” by Southern Living, a “Top 25 Small City Arts Destination” by American Style, and a “Top 50 Adventure Town” by National Geographic Adventure.[6] “

The Lowcountry region had been subject to numerous European explorations and failed attempts at colonization before the British founded the city in 1711. The city initially grew slowly, subject to numerous attacks from Native American tribes and threats of Spanish invasion. It flourished first as a center for shipbuilding and later, when the colony was established as a slave society, as the elite center for the Lowcountry planters through the Civil War.

Several months after hostilities began between the states, Beaufort was occupied by Union forces following the Battle of Port Royal. Due in part to its early occupation, the city attracted escaping slaves. The Union declared the slaves emancipated and initiated efforts at education and preparation for full independence. The Freedmen’s Bureau worked with local blacks during Reconstruction.

After the war, the city relied on phosphate mining before a devastating hurricane in 1893 and a fire in 1907 brought extensive destruction and economic turmoil. Their effects slowed growth of the city for nearly half a century.

In the latter half of the twentieth century, the community became a destination for tourists. It also benefited by the growth of military installations in the area and related employment. Local groups have worked to preserve Beaufort’s historic character and significant architecture.

In addition to the Beaufort Historic District, The Anchorage, William Barnwell House, Barnwell-Gough House, Beaufort National Cemetery, John A. Cuthbert House, Fort Lyttelton Site, Hunting Island State Park Lighthouse, Laurel Bay Plantation, Marshlands, Seacoast Packing Company, Seaside Plantation, Robert Smalls House, Tabby Manse, and John Mark Verdier House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort,_South_Carolina

As the sun began to set, we walked the beach north through “The Boneyard”, where two hurricanes took possession of a lot of the island, thus littering the beach with fallen trees, chunks of pavement and about 80 campsites. There is a cool tidal pool where herons stalked their prey.

Brookgreen Gardens

After walking out the concrete drive from Atalaya Castle, viewing the wildlife, we hiked the trail to the north end of the beach, then walked back in the surf. We saw our nice neighbors, Jim and Karen, at a wildlife overlook. They come to Huntington Beach State Park often, and always had great recommendations of things to see and places to go. 

After a little rest, we drove over to Brookgreen Gardens not knowing anything about it. You get a 5-day pass, and it would take five days to see it. 

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookgreen_Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, located just south of Murrells Inlet, in South Carolina. The 9,100-acre (37 km2) property includes several themed gardens with American figurative sculptures placed in them, the Lowcountry Zoo, and trails through several ecosystems in nature reserves on the property. It was founded by Archer Milton Huntington, stepson of railroad magnate Collis Potter Huntington, and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington to feature sculptures by Anna and her sister Harriet Randolph Hyatt Mayor along with other American sculptors. Brookgreen Gardens was opened in 1932, and is built on four former rice plantations, taking its name from the former Brookgreen Plantation.[3]

Originally, what is now Brookgreen Gardens was four rice plantations. The plantations from south to north were The Oaks, Brookgreen, Springfield, and Laurel Hill. The current gardens and surrounding facilities lie completely on the former Brookgreen Plantation, which was owned by Joshua John Ward

The Huntingtons[edit]

It is the creation of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington of Connecticut, who purchased four plantations to open the garden to showcase her sculptures. Situated on Waccamaw Neck in Georgetown County, South Carolina, between the Waccamaw River and the Atlantic coast, it is the country’s first public sculpture garden and has the largest collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in an outdoor setting in the world. It is also a nature and historical preserve with a small zoo and a nature exhibition center.

Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington first visited the property in 1929. Because they were captivated by the beauty of it, they purchased nearly 9,100 acres (37 km2) of forest, swamp, rice fields and beachfront. They intended to establish a winter home on the coast, but Anna saw the potential of the property and they quickly began to develop her vision of making it the showcase for her sculptures. Archer, son of philanthropists Arabella Worsham Huntington and stepson of Collis Huntington, and Anna have donated property and contributed much to U.S. arts and culture in a number of states. Her sculpture of Joan of Arc is a feature of New York City‘s Riverside Park.

Sculpture gardens[edit]

About 1445 works of American figurative sculpture are displayed at the Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington Sculpture Garden. Many of the works are creations of sculptress Hyatt Huntington, but other artists are also featured. Walkways and garden paths link the sculptures in their distinctive garden, fountain, or landscape settings, with vistas of the scenery surrounding them.

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Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture38

A 1,600-acre (650 ha) area of Brookgreen Gardens was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.[1] The sculpture garden portion, 551 acres (223 ha), of Brookgreen Gardens was included in the designation of Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens as a National Historic Landmark in 1984.[5][6] Atalaya Castle is just across U.S. 17 which cuts through the former combined Huntington property.

The sculpture gardens includes works by:

[7]

Martha fixed a nice dinner of Vermillion Snapper, potatoes and beets.

Kearnie, Nebraska to Columbia, Missouri

Friday, November 3, 2014

We got off to a late start after I added DEF (diesel exhaust fluid, keeps the exhaust from smoking) to the truck, and put air in a couple of tires. Back on I80, we drove through Lincoln. Outside Omaha City we dropped down to I70 via I29, which is also a pretty drive. By lunchtime we pulled into Squaw Creek National Wildlife Preserve and ate sandwiches. It has been renamed Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Preserve, since squaw is a derogatory term. We started to take the 10-mile drive around it. I could see ducks going everywhere, and it would be a field day for a photographer on an overcast, cool day, but the road was a dusty gravel road. I didn’t want to fill the Airstream with dust again. I could have unhooked, but I could have easily spent the rest of the day shooting ducks with a camera. It’s a very cool area that I would love to return to, but Martha Jean had the homeward look in her eye.

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DON’T VEER FOR DEER

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183 NEBRASKA DEATHS THIS YEAR

Driving through Kansas City was a bit harried on a Friday afternoon. Frantic drivers were anxious to get the weekend started. Leaving proper stopping distance between us and the car in front just makes a void for drivers to pass through, but you just have to do it and be patient. Thankfully out of the city and on our way to the next, St. Louis, we were on I70. We noticed signs for the Katy Trail. From http://www.bikekatytrail.com, “The Katy Trail is a 237 mile (386 km) trail stretching across most of the state of Missouri.  (Use this link if you’re looking for the Dallas Katy Trail).  Over half of it follows Lewis and Clark’s path up the Missouri River, where you can ride beneath towering river bluffs while eagles circle overhead.  After leaving the river, the trail meanders through peaceful farmland and small-town Americana.

America’s longest “rails-to-trail” project, formerly the MKT rail line, is flat and scenic.  It’s ideal for hiking, running, or cycling on just about any kind of bike.  Horseback riding is also allowed on a 35 mile section of the trail, from Sedalia to Clinton.  Also, the Katy Trail’s Tebbetts-Portland section now allows equestrian use.” Reading up on it, this would be a fun ride, all flat and along the Missouri River. I’d love to do it!

We also passed Warm Springs Ranch, where Budwiser’s Clydesdales live. By the time we got to Columbia, Missouri, we had done 450 miles. We stayed at Cottonwood RV Park, where I stayed on my way out. This is an excellent travel facility with nice staff, restrooms, laundry and a pool. It was completely filled since the University of Missouri was playing Florida. They won the game 45-16, so they must have been thrilled.

 

Sol Duc Falls, Salmon, Move, Beach, Second Beach

October 24, 2017

At 8:30 in the morning it was too early for the sun to reach across Olympic Mountain and into these dense forests, but it was just peeking through the trees in those cool, smoky beams of light. It’s a short hike to Sol Duc Falls, but the rain forest is beautiful. My pictures are inadequate for this beautiful spot. It is small, but a long, cascading decent over lush, green logs and rocks, moss and fern. Silently we walked up along the side of the stream and every stop was beautiful. On the way back we passed a serious photographer with his backpack and tripod. Surely he would get the right light, and it would be even more spectacular.

Yesterday we saw two salmon come into the tiny, shallow pool beside our campsite. Driving back into camp Martha said to stop by a pool a couple of sites down from us. Two ladies were gazing over the edge of the creek as we walked down. They said, “Come look. salmon are swimming into the pool”. Sure enough a salmon splashed its way up a shallow riffle, around a log and into the shallow pool. We watched a few more come in. The ladies then told us we MUST go to The Cascades down the road where the salmon are jumping through them. One said, “It’s National Geographic moment. You are going to love it”. I couldn’t wait! I have been looking for this the entire trip. We thanked them for showing us the fish and directing us to the falls

We hooked up the trailer and headed just 5 miles down the road. Lots of cars were there, but we found a place to park the truck and trailer. Crossing the street with two cameras in hand, we could see the falls. Martha yelled, “Look at them! One, two three all at once”. I was looking at the stream near me and saw nothing. She was looking 150 yards ahead at the falls. We hurried along the wet, slippery trail to the falls finding a spot to see. Sure enough salmon continuously launched themselves into the falls, and then I think were washed back down. Big ones, small ones, all leapt into the rushing waters. Two little pools along the side held many fish in the only resting places. You couldn’t see any at the top of the falls, but we know some got up, because they were in our campground.

Two photographers were in a great spot shooting away. The woman was sitting and was really focused on the fish. I was looking at the man’s hat that said something about fly fishing when he pointed to my hat from Misty Mountain Fly Shop. We struck up a conversation about the salmon running, and that these were wild Coho salmon that start their run in July and August. They can make 20 or 30 miles a day. Fishing has been banned this year as there weren’t so many running because of warm El Nino waters. He talked about the hatcheries that clip the adipose fin to distinguish them from wild salmon. All of these had adipose fins, which is a rare thing today, but happens a lot on this river. His accent didn’t sound local, and I asked where he was from – New Hampshire. He loves to fish and he loves this area. He and his wife shoot pictures for the park, but they donate them. They had just returned from Alaska shooting polar bears. That too was something they do for free. Always looking for a way I might pick up a buck or two in my travels, I asked point blank, “How do you make a living”? They own a family golf course in New Hampshire, which his brothers manage.

 

Then he mentioned something about artwork. Their names are Ken and Mary Campbell, and they do wood carvings and nature photography. He has a wildlife degree, his first job being as a marine biologist. We were getting an education on summer-run salmon, winter-run salmon and steelhead. He said you have to be tough for the winter steelhead run in February, but it’s something. He likes to fish the ocean and lakes. The locals say it isn’t like it used to be, but what is? You can catch a lot of big fish in the lakes. “If you come back, call me. I’ll take you fishing”. Sheez, what a nice and knowledgeable guy. He said if you like spring and fall, you will like it here. They don’t get much snow. Yes, it’s gray and rainy for five months, but you adapt. He heard there was a bobcat at these falls last week, but it hasn’t been spotted this week. Surely it would like a nice salmon meal. Now that the fish are getting to the campground, the bobcat probably has easier fishing spots. I could talk with Ken all day, but we had to get down the road. We exchanged cards. It would be great to come back and go fishing with him.

We didn’t have far to go to Mora Campground on the coastal part of Olympic National Park. This is unusual for Martha, Usually a 4-night planner, we were now on the 1-night schedule, but it’s working great. There was no one in Mora, so we could pick our spot. Then we went to James Pond, which is a marsh caused by beavers. We couldn’t find the trailhead, but a gentleman getting out of his car pointed us in the right direction. It’s a pretty spot where a fallen tree provides a walkway into the marsh. Perfect mirror reflections showed trees in better color than when looking directly at them. The gentleman and his lady came out onto the log, and we chatted a few minutes. He has lived here for 40 years and gave us tips on where to go.

We walked back, then drove to Rialto Beach. This is an impressive, beautiful rock beach with powerful Pacific waves pounding the rocks. With such a beautiful beach on a perfect, sunny day, lots of people were enjoying it. A couple brought chairs and sat reading their books. As we looked around, we saw our new friends and went up to say Hi. We talked for a bit, admiring the scenery, and we exchanged taking pictures of each other. As we left, I saw them sitting on a fallen tree, talking and relaxing in a gorgeous spot. He grew up in Falls Church, Virginia. Rialto Beach was Martha’s favorite beach of the trip.

The next stop was a hike to Second Beach. As we gazed from an overlook on the road, a man stopped on his bike. He is a surfer, but these waves were too big at about 12 feet, and one after another. He would wait for a better day. We walked down the trail to a beautiful, black sand beach with “sea stacks” in the cove. Fortunately Martha checked the tides, a very important thing when walking beaches. We have heard a harrowing tale of a couple getting caught on a beach when the pounding Pacific tide came in. They were lucky to be able to climb up a rocky cliff far enough to safety, but then had to wait for the tide to go out again. You could walk on this beach a long way. We walked a bit, then sat on a log and enjoyed the scenery. A hiker came by asking about a campsite on the beach. We hadn’t seen one, but the only likely place was around the corner in a deep cove. There was still no one in the campground when we returned. Sometimes that’s a little spooky, but we didn’t have any trouble sleeping.

Heart of the Hills Trail, Hurricane Ridge and Sol Duc Campground

October 23, 2017

We hiked the 2.5 mile (one way) Heart of the Hills Trail through the rain forest. It’s a pretty trail with walkways over wet areas. I am greatly appreciative of the people who come in here to build these.

Back at camp we heard cars going up the mountain road that was closed yesterday. We decided to take a look, driving up the mountain to Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center. What a spectacular view! You think you are Switzerland with big, snow-capped peaks. We were so lucky to have a beautiful day to see it. These mountains were covered in clouds as we came in on the ferry.

Then back to camp where we hooked up and headed to Sol Duc Campground, only an hour and a half away. We passed along gorgeous Crescent Lake in Olympic National Park. Just after the lake we turned to go into Sol Duc. It is a beautiful campground in a rain forest with huge trees throughout and a small offshoot of the Sol Duc River running next to camp. Oh yeah, and then there are the hot baths. We talked with a nice couple beside the river. They were looking for salmon moving upriver, but we couldn’t see any. They had moved here from Michigan and love it. They were going to stop at the next spot, The Cascades, and see if there were salmon. We decided to get to camp and take a hot bath.

After setting up, we went over to lodge for a bath in natural hot baths at 105 degrees. It was a good day.

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Move to Olympic National Park

October 22, 2017

With a 7:30 start we got to the ferry terminal before 9:00. Fortunately we had a reservation, because it was full. We parked in the designated lane and waited till 10:00 when they came around to check passports and a few questions. It’s an hour and a half beautiful ferry ride across Juan de Fuca Straight to Port Angeles. A bit cold and windy on deck, I got used to it after a while. It’s fun to wander around checking the views and the people, but I had to go in a few times to warm up. We had a nice conversation with a gentleman from California who went to Victoria to look after the grandchildren while his daughter was in a conference. He had some good suggestions about the ways to travel south.

As we approached Port Angeles, Olympic loomed large, covered in clouds with sun trying to peek through. Snow covered many of the mountaintops. Several whales were spotted in the distance, Arriving at port, customs pulled all the campers over to search them. We were the last ones, but the guy was very nice. We found County Aire Natural Foods that had high ratings and ordered some a Hunter sandwich with turkey, pesto, pepperoni, onions and something else and some chili, Both were very good. One should not grocery shop while hungry.

Then up to the Visitor’s Center for some suggestions and information, and on to Heart of the Hills Campground. It was a beautiful day while we were in town, but by the time we settled in camp, the rains returned. We were happy to relax for the remainder of the afternoon. I was happy to have time to sit and read my book, “The River of Doubt”.