As committed travelers during 60% of any year, we spend a lot of time perusing travel articles, scoping out travel deals, and making reservations and plans for the next year. Most of the time, we proceed as planned, with minor adaptations for weather and RV repair; most of the time. Our plan for our predictable Oregon Coast Summer, and Autumn in British Columbia seemed unremarkable and easily achievable.
Massive wildfires in Oregon fowled the air everywhere except on the Coast. Our 2nd year as hosts in our Oregon Coast campground was welcome for the clean air and campfire time with our Portland Pals, Amy and Simon (woof!) and Rochelle and Chris (our BBQ chef extraordinaire).
Almost two year old Linus from the Netherlands and his mom (our Airbnb host from Jerusalem) joined us for the eclipse as we were 2% (30 miles) from the line of totality. Linus now has an expanded vocabulary, pronouncing it Eeeeeeeeeeeee-clipse with a huge grin!
We told our lovely City Hall staff that we would not be returning as campground hosts next year due to our peripatetic nature; we got a bad case of “itchy feet” way early this year. We left our RV at PDX to fly home to my niece Francesca’s wedding in San Francisco. After a huge Italian wedding mass and a joyous procession through North Beach, we celebrated at the San Francisco Art Institute on an outside terrace. Sally’s son Jacob and girlfriend Shelley joined us on the windy ramparts for a family portrait (minus the bride and groom).
Upon our return by flight to the Pacific Northwest, we drove to Mt Baker outside Bellingham WA, camping on the banks of the Nooksak River under cloudless skies.
With no camp notice that there had been an unusual summer infestation of field mice, we of course left our doors open in the evenings and ended up with 3 mice hiding in our rig until nightfall…when they came out and ate like giant beasts. Motorhomes have so many electric, plumbing, sewer, heating and lighting lines running behind the paneling that the inner walls are very “porous” leaving lots of hiding places for tiny critters! Sally caught two mice humanely with peanut butter in paper bags for outside release but the last one was too smart for Sal’s tricks. This one eluded us for days until we finally succeeded with a deadly mouse trap baited with a delicious casserole of bacon, cheese, peanut butter, and chocolate. Yummy!…and did the trick. Sorry little mouse; it was war, and we had to win it!
Although we didn’t sleep well at night until we cleared all mice, the daytime hiking was extraordinary with constant views of Mts. Baker and Shuksan, many lakes, and sweet plump mountain blueberries!
Mice free, we headed to British Columbia with our Bike Friday folding bikes hiding under the RV bed. Hot springs and hiking in rain forests were a great start to our relaxing plan for Autumn.
In Vancouver, which has numerous urban bike trails, Steven had a lovely ride through Stanley Park, Gastown and the West End of Vancouver…until the domino effect prevailed; a speedy cyclist clipped the two riders behind Steven who crashed, taking him down too. They were stretchered off with severe injuries and he was advised to get an elbow X-ray given the substantial swelling evident. His arm was loosely cast and placed in a sling to await a new cast after the swelling abated from his…fractured elbow. Unfortunately, the one winged man couldn’t help with driving and we were 17 hours from home (not including 7 hours of intense traffic in Vancouver BC, at the US Border Crossing, and from Seattle to Olympia….Grrr!)
However, heading home for future medical appointments, we enjoyed a sunset ferry ride on the last ferry that still crosses the mighty Columbia River, at Cathlamet, WA where we camped on the River. We found nearly empty campgrounds at lakes and rivers in Washington, Oregon and California on our way south. The only sour note was the enduring heavy smoke in Oregon due to new wildfires in the luscious Gorge on the Columbia River. Such a tragedy! Even though theatre season is still alive in Ashland, OR in late September, the streets were empty and the few headed out to activities sported face masks.
The great thing about taking a forced break from traveling is having more time with our friends at home. We timed it right for the 3 day Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco with our friends Julia and Keith. We camped near the park in our RV, enjoying up to 8 stages of music, all free and very eclectic. The Blue Angels, providing acrobatic jet and contrail shows (courtesy of your tax dollars), clearly enjoyed performing for the crowds at the Festival.
We kept returning to the “Silent Disco” enclosure, where two DJs spin music on two radio frequencies to the free headphones provided to the dancers. Lotsa people dancing their brains out…in complete silence so there is no disruption of acts on local stages. This guy won the “Best T-shirt” prize for his very topical version of, “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching”, a phrase we love and embrace.