November 11th, 2017

Adventure, Just things, Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

The last few days I have had the traveling Jones so I got up this morning and went to Sequim and the wildlife refuge I worked at. I got to see some friends today, but one good friend was out of town unfortunately.

I took a walk down the the Spit. It was a trip down memory lane walking down that trail. The cabin I lived in for 2+ years has been torn down so that was a bit of a drag to see. I knew they had torn it down but I had not been down the trail since they had done so. I was the next to last person to live in it and it was full of good memories.

Walking on the beach and looking NW towards the Olympics is beautiful always and is a sight I always looked at first when I got to the bottom of the trail and onto the beach. You get to see the mountains and ocean all in one picture and it was so good to see that view again. I do miss living there, being near the water, and I miss seeing and hanging out with my friends there.

I had considered staying in Port Townsend tonight but decided to just go home and save it for another time. I need to go back and catch up with some other friends and will do that when I am off work and can stay a few days. I don’t want be too rushed and I want to enjoy some nightlife in Port Townsend. I guess that I’ll have to plan a little to get someplace close to all the happenings. Luckily it’s mostly walking distance in town.

It was a good day full of good memories around every corner…a day spent reminiscing about a lot of things. I’m anxious to go back and visit some more.

This Week’s Journey…

Adventure, food, Outdoors, pictures, Travel

I saw this sign on a side street as I pulled into town:

The Western end of U.S. 20 - Newport, OR

I just might have to do this one too!

Yep, my training was five horrid days spent on the ocean in Newport, Oregon. Man, what a beautiful place this is. Gorgeous ocean views and lots of food choices.

I came down the interstate and turned off where Siri told me. It ended up being a nice drive through small towns on a blue highway. Definitely a worthwhile drive if you are heading down this way.

I passed one place that caught my eye. The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum you really cannot miss driving past. There’s a Boeing 747 sitting out front in the yard. Looking it up as I write this post, I find out that it is the home of the Spruce Goose – Howard Hughes’ famous plane. Gotta go back there and see it.

Next door is the Wings and Waves Waterpark. Apparently, one of the waterslides goes through another 747 parked on the rooftop. Wow. I bet that is pretty cool. Too bad I cannot ride that stuff any longer or I’d be all over that.

I enjoyed spectacular views the last 30 miles or so along U.S. 101 before getting to Newport. The coast is so pretty along here – rugged and impressive, with beautiful sunsets. In this area alone I saw numerous State Parks and plenty of places to park the trailer. It would be a great trip and I know it is one that many people have made due to the scenery.

My hotel was nice and I would stay there again. I was at the Holiday Inn Express in Newport. It is in a pretty convenient location but not too much for views. Rooms were clean and nice, staff was friendly, a great breakfast bar, pool, hot tub…I suffered the entire week.

The weather was nice almost every day and the one day it WAS bad, of course, we had to be out in it for training. It was a great trip and the training was very helpful in many ways. I even aced my test! It was hard being indoors sitting in class for 3½ days. I am glad to be back home and I can get back outside daily to do my job.

As far as dinners, I ate some really good food. The restaurants that have links I have linked to their websites and the one you will have to be happy with a Yelp link. I usually check Yelp for food recommendations and follow the ratings pretty closely. I don’t want to give my money to a place with bad service or food. So here we go:

I walked to the Rogue brewery and had my usual brew – a stout – and some food, which was short rib poutine. It was pretty good and quite filling even though I thought the portion was a bit small. It was a little more stout than my usual Guinness but it was a good beer. They have quite a selection and a cool industrial atmosphere.

Mmmmm...Beer

Me at the Rogue Brewery

The next night I went to Local Ocean Seafoods. I was looking for a dive but decided to try this one. It is really not my type of restaurant but it never hurts to try something new. I ended up with lingcod tacos. They were really tasty and the fish was local caught. It was cooked perfectly and the pico was fresh and delicious.

The scenery here was nice and the smells of the ocean were wonderful – fishy and salty air – that I enjoyed with every step along the boardwalk. It was great to be back near the water once again.

Bridge in Newport, ORSeal Docks - Newport, OR

I also walked to the South Beach Fish Market. Just what I love – a dive. Real down-to-earth  food that was fresh and fantastic. I got the clam strips and fries and they were nothing less than delicious.

Every Bit as Good as it Looks

Every Bit as Good as it Looks

The red stuff on the side was their own homemade cocktail sauce. They warned me it was spicy and they were not joking. It was straight horseradish with a dash of red color it seemed. Opened up my sinuses! It had a great flavor though and you know how spicy can be addictive…

As I said previously I really like the dive-type places. It’s not the prices, since dive food can be trendy and spendy in some places. It’s the atmosphere and the “realness” of the food; the “working-class” aspect of it. The South Beach Fish Market was just that as you will see if you click on the link and look at the pictures and the menu. It reminded me of the first place like that I went to in Rhode Island for seafood 30 years ago – clam fritters and fish and chips in an old converted house on a small rise looking over the Atlantic. Watching “No Reservations” for many years probably fed into my becoming somewhat a foodie and liking these types of places as well.

I also went to a place called Thai Elephant. I was tempted to go back to the South Beach Fish Market again, but I wanted to have Thai food and have something different after two straight nights of seafood (yeah…like THAT’S a problem!). They served Thai food. Surprise! I ordered my usual pad Thai with Chicken, and I also had an interesting appetizer called “Bikini Shrimp”. Oh man…

Bacon and Shrimp...What's Not to Love?!?!

Imagine if you will, shrimp wrapped with bacon and deep fried, served with a mildly sweet sauce that may have been fish sauce. There were seven of these tasty morsels to an order. The pad Thai was excellent as well and a generous portion so I left quite full.

The trip back home was north on the Oregon coast, heading from Newport to Astoria to head home. It is such a beautiful drive and I cannot wait to bring the trailer back down and spend time here leisurely driving the coast and staying along the way. It is easy to see why it is such a busy highway.

Speaking of that, if you are on a highway like this and you are holding up traffic for miles please pull over! I got stuck behind someone from another state pulling a trailer 35 MPH in a 55 zone for over an hour – possibly two. Some of us need to get places so have some courtesy.

It was a gray, misty, and beautiful drive and I got to see some new sights. I had one last meal on the road this trip at a place I stumbled across on 101 that has been around for quite some time called The Pronto Pup.

The Pronto Pup - Rockaway Beach, OR

I got a spicy one with fries, which was a chorizo corndog and it was delicious. Not overwhelmingly spicy but definitely chorizo. It was a large chorizo before it was battered and was very filling with the fries. The interior has been renovated, but a classic and a must-do!

Across the street were some railroad tracks. These paralleled 101 for several miles and earlier I saw an old steam locomotive on it. Waiting for my order I heard it so I went out and took a picture .

Steam Train - Rockaway Beach, OR

Looks like one more thing I will need to go back and do in the area! I like trains and have ridden a few old steam trains. If you really think about it, trains have never really changed since they were invented and that’s pretty fascinating.

Well, off to bed. It was a long drive and a long day.

We’ll be chatting again soon! Write if you need to!

Morning on The Spit at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Just things, Travel

Morning on The Spit… an incredible time in an incredible place.

It is so interesting to see this place, but morning (and evening as well) are incredible to behold.

I went for a quick and late debris collection trip on the beach just before closing last night. As the clouded sun falls behind the mountains, The Spit has such a calmness that it feels that it really is the end of a day and nature is taking a breather. The harbor is filled with thousands of ducks and brants of various species, calmly floating in big flocks. The open water side is becoming calmer as if it were tucking itself in for the night as well. People are gone. Nature seems at rest.

In the morning, however, a new day begins and the cycle of thing starts over. Everything in nature feels new and fresh and ready to start the day. As I type this the tide is coming in and will be high shortly, no one is here yet, and there is a bit of surf so walking on the beach becomes interesting with so little of it to walk on. I see six ships in the Strait – what appears to be a tanker, a smaller ship, and four cargo vessels to quench our thirst for cheap products made offshore.

I also see birds swarming in fast-moving flocks, darting about like schools of fish making sudden choreographed turns. As I look out across the harbor toward the flash of the lighthouse I see some ducks sitting in the calm waters.

The beach is an interesting place. Everything is destroyed and rebuilt minute by minute. On The Spit, we have more than just sand so it is quite obvious the changes that occur. Logs are moved, gravel bars appear and reappear, and the assortment of flotsam and jetsam washing ashore is sure to surprise. The constant action of erosion of the nearby sand bluffs deposits sand at the end past the lighthouse so it is growing 13-15 feet a year. It is so alive with action!

It is a gray, cloudy day today, but I have become accustomed to that. The sunny days are so beautiful here; I can deal with the overcast ones.

This place is something to marvel at.