Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oregon coast

We are in familiar territory again. We are traveling south through Oregon down the coast that Kris has been camping and playing on since she was a kid. We stopped in Portland so Cheri could replace her broken computer, then fought the Friday traffic out towards the coast. Most campgrounds seemed to be filled with weekend campers so we ended up boondocking at the Spirit Mountain Casino. Cheri had a good night playing with her money before the other poker players finally wrestled it away from her.

Flying kites on the beach.

On Saturday we finally made it to the coast and every campground we passed was still full with weekend campers. This is the first time since Memorial Day weekend, when we started our trip, that we have had a hard time getting a campsite. We stopped at a commercial "RV Resort" and they had two sites left. We had a wonderful afternoon playing on a relatively secluded beach.

We have just a few days left on our trip and we expect that weekday sites will be easier to find.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slowly heading home

Well, we spent some time at the Royal BC Museum on Monday. It was a holiday in BC and we were amazed watching traffic congeal around the arteries of Victoria. We had no problem finding a campsite that night though. (Well, after we ignored the GPS - because it directed us to the Parks Maintenance yard several miles away first.) We stayed in a National campground just above the main road leading to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. It wasn't too bad if we pretended the traffic noise was wind in the trees. We arrived at the terminal at 7:20 a.m. in hopes of making the 8:00 ferry to Vancouver - it was not to be. We watched as a plethora of trucks and cars were loaded without us. When it was clear we were not going to be loaded - Cheri went out and turned our propane back on and made breakfast.

We were able to meet Jenny from the last paddling trip for Dim Sum lunch when we did arrive on the mainland. Then we started our drive south. We were warned to expect an hour delay at the border - so we were happy it only took us 50 minutes to get through. When the Officer heard we had been gone three months he looked at us and asked. "So are you folks employed these days or what?" When Cheri explained that she was retired and Kris was a teacher - he stopped asking us questions and sent us on our way. We didn't even get a chance to declare the new waterproof camera we bought in Canada.

It is a good thing we ran into a little traffic on Vancouver Island yesterday. It helped to prepare us for the freeway driving and the incredible snarl of traffic in Seattle. Of all the miles we have put on the Bee in the past few months - we haven't driven on a freeway or had any traffic issues since we left California in May! We had to readjust our defensive driving from watching for wildlife to watching other drivers. We both are suffering from a mild case of culture shock.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Nuchatlitz adventure

I'm back from my kayaking adventure on the west coast. The trip was great, with amazingly good weather, great people, and a nice mix of exploring the sandy beaches and time on the water.

We saw many sea otters, but never close enough for me to get a good picture. At one campsite, there were two otters that hung out and ate just off our beach at dinner time. Some shorebirds are starting migration south, and I saw some small flocks of semipalmated sandpiper and black turnstones. Lots of driftwood on the beaches, and some interesting plants, like the big-headed sedge below.

The first day was very hot and sunny, and then the fog moved in and kept it a little cooler, but I think I spent the entire trip paddling in a shirt and shorts. We were a big group on this trip, and Ali and Luke, our guides, did a great job keeping us on track and feeding us.

But the day before we were picked up by the water taxi had to be the most spectacular in terms of wildlife. A small group of us went for an afternoon paddle after setting up camp. We were crossing to another island, when one of the group called out "Orca!" and we watched a large male and a smaller companion swim right past us and out towards the ocean. Amazing.