I have had an intense couple of days driving. I started off yesterday morning on the Western coast of Washington and today ended driving right next to the Idaho border. I spent last night in Randall, Washington, right between Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens. I was planning to stop today in Yakima, but when I got there I was feeling good and just kept driving. I went down to the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) to get fuel and headed northeast. It was fun driving by so many wineries. I really enjoyed driving through the large Palouse area and am staying in a city-run RV park in the town of Palouse that is 3 miles from the Idaho border. Fewer than 1,000 people live in this town.
There is no hardware store in Palouse, so I drove down to Pullman to buy a new green garden hose since I got a kink and split our last hose. I then drove through the Washington State campus and saw their football and basketball stadiums. I was quite impressed with their football stadium. The Cougars are literally the only game in town. I have heard people say that it is difficult for other PAC-12 teams to get to Pullman for games with Washington State. Most teams usually fly to Seattle, then fly to Spokane, and then get a third flight down to Pullman. There are Cougar banners everywhere in town! Washington State certainly has an enthusiastic fan base.
I have heard of people going on photography trips to the Palouse and now I understand why. The rolling hills flow in all directions and it is nice to study their shapes and colors. I imagine the colors shift through the seasons as fields are planted and harvested. I wish I could spend more time here, but I need to move down the road.
After several days of running all around, today was a day to sit on the beach and enjoy the sounds, smell, and, tranquility of the beach. I found a quite beach in Ocean Shores that looked out over the Pacific, pulled out my chair from the back of the Jeep, planted it in the sand and grabbed my Kindle to read. It was very nice and very refreshing. I needed a sweatshirt because it was cloudy and windy, but it was so nice to enjoy.
One very cute black Labrador came to visit and it made me wish I had a dog. This guy was very happy and friendly and it was fun to watch him enjoy being on the beach. He walked up and put his nose in my lap and we enjoyed greeting each other. However, soon he ran off to join his owner. What a great dog!
I have enjoyed meeting my neighbors. In our six RV spots, there are only 3 RVs (including me). In the other two spots are two women (Jackie and Nancy) far more experienced than me being fulltime RVers and traveling all over the US. In our conversations, every town or city I have named, they have already visited there. Often multiple times. One drives a motorhome towing a small car and the other drives a truck and pulls a 5th wheel trailer. Sometimes they travel in tandem seeing different places together and other times they split up and meet again some months in the future. We love our current RV park as it is very quiet in this small town and we have all kinds of room around us.
Jackie and Nancy have given me great advice. When I told them I was heading east, they suggested I take highway 12 across Washington so that I would not have to go through all the traffic in Seattle. When I told them there was a tunnel on highway 12 that I was not sure I would fit through, they whipped out their trucker’s guide and showed me that highway 12 is used by large trucks, so that there would be no problem with me fitting in the tunnel. They strongly recommended that I buy one of those truckers’ atlases the next time I go to a truck stop. I strongly agree. They also recommended I try to join the Moose organization as a number of states have Moose Lodges with RV hookups. That is good information to know.
They had recently been in Yakima (the general direction where I am headed) and they said it was well over 1000 and that they wanted to come to the Olympic Peninsula to cool off. I hope it is much cooler when I go through Yakima! They also really like Spokane, where I will be headed after I drive through the Palouse area of Washington. They described how it was only about 30 miles from Coeur d’Alene. Another RVer I met in Enumclaw told me about a tunnel east of Coeur d’Alene that is famous for riding bicycles through and then taking a shuttle back to the starting area. I am really looking forward to seeing that! Last night I asked them about traveling through Montana and Wyoming. They got big smiles and suddenly started telling me all about the beauty of Glacier National Park. They told me where to visit, good places to park the motorhome, and a road to avoid when driving the RV. When they talked about Wyoming, they loved describing how awesome it was to see Devils Tower National Monument. I look forward to seeing that too! As they were describing places they visited, Jackie grabbed her laptop and started searching her journal. She journals everyday describing her thoughts and travels. She found her section the last time they went through Montana and started reading off some of the places they visited and a funny story about sleeping in a truck stop in their RVs. When they discussed Idaho, they told me it was much better to buy alcohol in Idaho instead of Washington. Apparently, the taxes on alcohol are much lower in Idaho compared to Washington. That also led to a discussion about boxed wine. I was taught about the “poor quality” boxed wine and the better quality boxes wine. They told me where to buy the better quality boxed wines. They also liked boxed wines for RVing because they were not as heavy as multiple bottles of wine and they could not break like glass bottles could. Lastly, Nancy showed me that when she was all finished with a boxed wine, she rinsed out the bag, and would blow it up with air to use as a packing pillow to keep glasses and dishes from breaking. Very practical information indeed. Nancy went to the laundromat yesterday and said that Hoquiam had a high quality laundromat that was in her top 5 across the entire United States. Good to know. I do not doubt her since she has traveled to so many places and used laundromats everywhere.
However, I surprised Jackie and Nancy when I told them I read that there was a distillery in Aberdeen, Washington. They got excited and then their eyes sparkled as they told me about going on a tour of the Jack Daniels distillery in Tennessee. They laughed because they said the county where the Jack Daniels distillery was located was a dry county so you could not buy liquor in the very county where it is made. Odd. Today Jackie and Nancy brought me a sack of all kinds of brochures about places in eastern Washington. It will take me a while to sort through everything they gave me, but I certainly appreciate the opportunity to learn about places I will visit very soon.
Today I visited the beaches to the south of Hoquiam. This is such a beautiful area of our country. It was quite windy and cool. It was also fun to watch many people flying kites along the beach.
I absolutely loved being a fulltime RVer and having the opportunity to visit so many new places and meet so many fun people. It is a wonderful retirement lifestyle! I saw a photo on Facebook yesterday that showed a couple wearing t-shirts with the phrase “I have a retirement plan – I plan to go camping!” I agree. I plan to go camping too.
Nancy and Steve told me that I should be sure to visit Ruby Beach and Kalaloch in Olympic National Park. Therefore, I made that my first agenda item for my first full day of sightseeing. I was extremely impressed! It was gorgeous and quite unique from other beaches I have visited.
Sections of the beach were rugged and there was more river rock that sand in a number of sections of the beach.
Sometime there was a hazy mist that would blow onto the beach from the ocean that created some fun scenes.
I especially liked seeing the “sea stacks” made of rugged rock on the edge of the beach. Some of the settings were spectacular.
As I was heading back to the Jeep, two teenagers were pointing into the water as there was a seal swimming nearby. I wish I had a larger telephoto, but if you use your imagination, there is a seal swimming in the water!
I finally made it to the Pacific Ocean on this trip. When going through California and Oregon, it did not work out to go to the coast, but here in Washington, I finally made it to the Pacific. It was very beautiful. The water was cold, so almost all the people in the water were wearing wet suits. Certain roads led right to the beach and we were allowed to drive right along the beach.
There was a mist right above the water that often drifted over the beach. It was very beautiful. The temperature was cool and there was a heavy breeze blowing in from the ocean. While standing on the beach, there were beautiful cliffs behind me.
Today was a very special day to meet together with cousins. It has been decades and decades since Tom and Nancy were together during a camping trip to Zion. It was fantastic to be together with Tom and Adriana as well as Nancy and Steve. Who would have guessed that we would meet together at a Log Show in Buckley, Washington??? Life is funny sometimes; however, I absolutely loved being all together!
The second day of the Log Show did not disappoint. People with the top scores yesterday advanced to the finals today. In addition, there some new events too. As with yesterday, it is simply shocking to see the power these people have to climb, chop, saw, and throw. Amazing skills for sure.
The car engines connected to a chain saw were quite impressive. Sawdust flies everywhere and the chain saw mows through a log in just a few seconds. WOW!
One of the funniest events was having people get inside this plastic bubbles and then run around bouncing off each other and falling to the ground. This would clearly be a big event at a family picnic!
New events in the Log Show included team competition, climbing out on a log over water to tie a cable, and log rolling. I could complete none of the tasks, but it was amazing to watch other people attempt the tasks.
Today was a wonderful day to experience the culture in the Pacific Northwest. I attended the Buckley Log Show which started with a parade and ended with a series of competitions in chopping and cutting wood.
The parade was fun. It was a hot day, so people loved when they were sprayed with water from the people in the parade. The clowns were especially popular.
Some of the competitions were quite scary. Climb on a high pole with only a rope and spikes on your boots, and then have to use both hands to saw through a log on the top of the pole! Very scary!
I had always heard that you were not supposed to run with scissors. Instead, how about a competition where you run with a chain saw and then run up a log to cut off the end of the log. I would fall for sure.
The Log Show competitions were quite impressive. These were especially strong, talented individuals. I do not think I would do well racing as fast as possible to saw through a large log. In one event, a woman used a handsaw and beat a guy sawing through a log next to her. The women in the audience shouted loudly and the moderator teased the guy that lost. However, I would not have been able to keep up with either one of them.
The most difficult event was “tree toping” when you have to climb a pole around 60 feet in the air and then cut off the top layer of the log on top. This is an extraordinarily difficult event. Some people tired so much climbing the pole with a rope that they had little energy left to saw the log at the top once they scaled the whole pole.
However, the event that wowed the crowd the most was watching the modified chain saws slice through wood like butter. In this category, people added V8 car engines to a chain saw. There was large noise and enormous power as these chain saws sliced through the large log. It took 4 people to carry these chain saws to the log and then two people needed to hold it for the actually sawing. It was very impressive!
I absolutely love watching thoroughbred horses run. They are powerful, fast, and very graceful. I love standing next to the horse track and feeling the ground shake as they rush by the railing. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to Emerald Downs and watch the thoroughbreds run.
It seems like all the facilities are being upgraded. Everything was clean and shiny and I enjoyed the comfortable, covered seating area. Very few horse tracks have a view as spectacular as Mount Rainier in the background.
I enjoyed taking photos of the horses running so fast. Simply spectacular!