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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Vacation 2017, Trip #2

    And now, for the next part of the story -- completely different trip, same summer.

    DAY 1 – HOME to WOODLAND, CA – 513 miles - 11 hours (took our time)

    We left in the wee hours this morning, wishing to get through LA before the rush began. Really, there was no traffic to speak of through LA and up the Grapevine. Got more cars once we were down the Grapevine and of course, trucks. We stopped at the Tejon Pass rest area and there were loads of cars with sleeping people in them. Stopped for breakfast at the exit before Buttonwillow, at IHOP. We were puzzled over the sale of "bio-diesel" and hoped that we wouldn't have trouble finding good-old diesel #2. (And later, did not.) Walking after the meal was in order, for both our own bodies as well as to take our time in getting where we were going.

    Comin' through the Grapevine:


    Next stop was at Coalinga Rest Area, for a walk and then a long rest of the eyes. It did both of us good, though I don't think we actually slept. Stopping in Santa Nella at our usual haunt, Rotten Robbie's, we found fuel was $2.77/gallon (yuck) and the truck was thirsty. However, 16.5 mpg was nothing to sneeze at, considering the uphill and the winds we were battling in places. Next stop was the Westley Rest Area, for another walk and rest of the eyes and to kill time, as we didn't want to try to check into our motel too early.

    Our choice was the Best Western Shadow Inn, as we wanted to try the BW chain, and the Internet price was right. We unloaded, got situated in a fairly decent room, then donned swim attire and went for a 20 minute swim. The pool water was absolutely wonderful, "just right". The room itself is quite nice, with a king sized bed, fridge and microwave in a nice cabinet that contains a working sink, TWO luggage racks, a small TV, a large desk, a loveseat and two chairs, and a “coffee table”. The bathroom is a wee bit small but no big deal, we're only here for a night. Everything is super clean and in good order, with plenty of lighting.

    This was supposed to be a 525 mile day, according to Google Maps planning. Leaving early was mostly to avoid driving through LA during the daytime. However, the other side of that is arriving at the destination before your motel is ready for new guests. If we had not taken our time at breakfast, and then two long rest area stops, we would have taken a little more than 9 hours to get here, instead of almost 11. Traffic through Stockton and Sacramento was fine, nothing too heavy. Now we are wondering what the traffic will be, north towards Redding and into Oregon.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Day 2

    DAY 2 – WOODLAND CA to ALBANY OR – 493 mi - 9-1/2 hours

    We left a little later than we usually do on a 2nd day, just at 8, after getting ice for the larger cooler at the mini-mart next door to the Best Western. We drove to Willows, about an hour down the road, before stopping for breakfast at a cute little place right next to the airport. The place was called Nancy's Airport Cafe, and they served some wonderful food.

    Then we drove and drove, stopping at a couple of rest areas. The one near Lake Shasta, just north of Redding, had a full parking lot, so we parked with another car in a long slot meant for RV's or trucks. (I hate to do that, but what else were we supposed to do?) At the rest area near Weed, which was located next to another airport, we waited as 4 cars pulled out all at the same time, so we had our choice. At that rest area, hubby and I took about a 13 minute walk, down to look at an old CDF plane which was obviously there as a “show-and-tell”.

    I-5 crossing Lake Shasta:

    The lake level has come up in the past year or so:

    Mt Shasta:

    Once across the Oregon border, we fueled up in Medford at a Fred Meyers. That was an adventure in itself, as the Gas Buddy map said one thing and the directional sign said another. Fortunately we believed the directional sign, which took us to the right place.

    Back on the freeway, we stopped at one more rest area. Oregon seems to go on and on. It seems to go up and down. While the morning's CA mountain passes heated up the transmission a bit, the ones in Oregon didn't even make it blink. We forgot how much you go up and down in Oregon.

    Pulling into the hotel at around 5:30, we had to wait in line for the one check-in gal to get through two others, then when we got up in line she said she didn't have a king room ready for us. Would we be okay with a double queen? Well, no, not really, we wanted a king. So she offered us a complimentary upgrade to a king spa room. No problem! It's a lovely room, with a jacuzzi right in the room.

    We took a brief dip in the indoor pool, which felt really great again after a full day on the road like that (9-1/2 hours). Then when we went back upstairs, I pulled out the cookware and dinnerware, and we had Chicken Alfredo in the room. Sort of wished we had a salad to go with it, but neither of us had wanted to stop at a store today!

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 08-02-2017 at 09:08 PM. Reason: added photos, corrected typos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    DAY 3 – ALBANY, OR to SEQUIM, WA - 320 miles - 8 hrs 50 min (included 1-1/2 hr hike)

    Today was not the best day of our trip, that's for sure. Trying to find ice first thing, we finally found a Fred Meyer and got gasoline as well as ice. Later, I realized that my FitBit Charge, which had been in my purse, was no longer there. (I was wearing the other one.) Thinking back to the morning, I realized that it must have fallen out in the fuel station at Fred Meyer. This was discovered at breakfast in Wilsonville, 50 miles later. So I called back to the store and yes, someone had turned in my Charge! A phone call later, they had mailed it back to me, no charge. I must remember to send them a $5 bill for the postage, when we return home. In the meantime, I have only this other one, and it does not give me the time, my heart-rate, nor does it give me instant feedback about number of steps.

    Portland was the next headache. It got so bad that hubby had already vowed and declared that he did not want to drive this city in the opposite direction on Saturday. If that weren't bad enough, the truck started to buck and kick like it does when something is interfering with a sensor, while we were on the bridge about to cross into the State of Washington. Fortunately it didn't last long, but when you're in monstrous traffic, going up a bridge and your truck starts to revolt, you are scared.

    Finally getting off of I-5 at US-101 north, the drive was better for traffic, and for scenery, especially once we began to drive along the Hood Canal. The water is so green! At Hoodsport, we turned west to go into the Lake Cushman area and back into the Staircase region of Olympic National Park. Nice road for the first 10 miles, then it turned into hard packed dirt, then....yuck, washboard. When we hit the ONP border, it went back to paved road again. Had trouble finding parking at the trailhead, so we had to use the overflow lot. (We would have been upset if we'd have tortured our vehicle and ourselves to that washboard road and not gotten to take the trail.)

    The trail was a mile in each direction, plus the walk from the overflow lot to the trailhead itself. A bit of up, some rocky, rooty paths, but nothing that was a problem. Beautiful views of the Staircase Rapids. We turned around and went back the same way we came, but in retrospect, it would have been just as easy to take the northern trail back.

    Donna ONP 001

    Back to Hoodsport, then north again. No more stops until we got to Sequim and our evening motel at 4:30 pm. I had overplanned, so we didn't make it out to Port Townsend. Oh well. EconoLodge is a let-down after our nicer places of the past 2 nights, but it has everything we really need (except a pool).

    Went to dinner at a place recommended by the staff at the motel: Paradise Restaurant. It was a wee bit on the high priced side, but the food was excellent and the service decent. I ate way too many calories, but after the hike we took today, it worked out OK.

    When we got back to the motel, though, I looked at the tires because I thought I heard a rock in the tire. Instead, I found a nice, 1-1/2” long crack. After some debate, we decided to call AAA and have them change it to one of the spares, so that we could avert a blow-out or a flat on a road like Hurricane Ridge Road tomorrow. Evergreen Towing here in Sequim came to help, but he wasn't really equipped to deal with our large truck. Fortunately, we had everything except a decent truck gauge (will pick one up in Port Angeles, tomorrow) and an air pump. He had a small one of each.

    We are praying that tomorrow will be better.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 08-03-2017 at 08:56 PM. Reason: added mileage

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I apologize for the long duration between entries. Unfortunately, we ran into a couple of places with very slow Internet, where uploading photos was almost impossible, and other evenings were just plain busy!

    DAY 4 - SEQUIM, WA to FORKS, WA – 143 mi – sightseeing, 9 hrs

    Departing from our motel at 7, we stopped at a Safeway store to pick up ice as well as lunch supplies for today, then set off to Hurricane Ridge.

    Up, up, up. Smoky, smoky, smoky. When we got up there – 5242 ft – no visibility whatsoever. It turns out that a major fire in Canada, or combination of several, are cloaking the entire Olympic Peninsula in smoky air. BIG disappointment for both of us, but particularly for hubby since he has never seen this, and it was the purpose of the trip. We headed back down, stopped at the Olympic NP main visitor center, then went off to find fuel for the truck.

    First station – the diesel pump was almost inaccessible to us. It seems that we arrived just as the station's tank supplier had arrived. Second station – wouldn't accept our debit card and they wanted to hang onto our credit card or DL while we pumped. Um, no thanks, move on. Third station – a Shell station – finally, fuel. Truck got 17 mpg despite all that slow going yesterday.

    Off to the next spot, which was supposed to be Elwha River Road and the Madison Falls. Nope, that was in a major construction area, so we skipped it and went on to Lake Crescent. Found the Mount Storm King Ranger Station and set off on a 1.5 mile round trip to Marymere Falls. They were pretty, but nothing to get excited about. It was a good workout, especially the last 2/10th of a mile, up a lot of stairs.

    On the Marymere Falls Trail:
    Donna ONP 027

    Marymere Falls:
    Donna ONP 028

    Then we went off to the next spot, Sol Duc Hot Springs Road. After traversing 12 miles down that road, we pulled into the commercial Sol Duc area in search of a gift shop with national park t-shirts. Not a great selection of the non-Sol-Duc shirts, but we bought two. When we went back to the truck, lunch was in order, so we ate the sandwiches we bought and the mustard potato salad. Fortunately, there are forks in with the coffee stuff. It was a good lunch.

    Drove down to the Soleduck trailhead and set off on the trail to Sol Duc Falls. It was more of the same type of trail as the two previous to this, through old growth forest. But the falls on the end? Beautiful! And much more interesting than the Marymere Falls. That was another 1.5 mile round trip trail, so we ended up doing more than 3 miles, because we also had the steps to get from the vehicle to the trailhead.

    Sol Duc (or Soleduck) Falls:
    Donna ONP 037

    Donna ONP 042

    After Sol Duc, we were pooped. Back to the vehicle, drove the 12 miles back to US 101, made a left for Forks. When we finally got there, we stepped out of the truck into HOT weather. Looking at my phone app, it was over 95. The motel looked sweet, Olympic Suites Inn, and then they told us: NO AC in any of the rooms. No AC? In a motel in this day and age? There was nothing else available, everyone else was booked/full in a radius of 75 miles, except 1 which also had no AC. But for $140, that's ridiculous.

    Then we headed into town, just to see what Forks was all about and to stay in some air conditioning. Our younger daughter had read a series of books set in Forks, the Twilight books (and movies). So we drove around and took a few pictures for her, after stopping in Forks' rendition of Walmart: the Forks Outfitters, which consisted of an Ace Hardware (bought that tire gauge), a clothing shoppe (bought daughter a Forks Twilight shirt), and a grocery store (got more diet soda for me).

    A little later, we went back out to pick up some dinner, at The In Place. Hubby had Seafood Alfredo, and I had a chef salad. On the way back to the room, we went looking for “Bella's house”, found it and took a picture of it. It's falling apart, obviously nobody lives there or if they do, they don't take care of it. There's a big No Trespassing sign across the driveway.

    The weather is starting to cool down, so maybe we'll get decent sleep tonight. We opened all the windows, have three fans blowing (2 of them in the bedroom), it's noisy in the room from all the fans, but it's cooling down.

    The sooner we can leave tomorrow, the better.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    For the Twilight series fans on here, here are places that the book mentions. Sorry, nothing was actually filmed in Forks or even out in La Push or Port Angeles.

    Forks High School:

    Tribal School Bus (think: Jacob)

    Bella's house:

    Performing Arts Center:


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    DAY 5 – FORKS, WA to ABERDEEN, WA – 145 mi – 7 hrs 52 min - mostly sightseeing miles

    We honestly couldn't wait to get out of that motel at Forks this morning. Neither of us had had a full night's sleep, because we were too hot. We stopped long enough in Forks to pick up some ice and some coffee, since my attempts to make coffee this morning were not very successful, and we didn't want to wait for the pot to brew.

    I should add this about Forks: there are NO retail chains here - all motels are no-name-brand, mom-and-pop type; no fast food chains, though there is fast food; no chain sit-down restaurants; no chain stores like Walmart or Target. It's a very small town, and judging by the way cashiers and waitresses were greeting people at the places we went, it's an "everybody knows everybody else" type town.

    Our first stop was about 32 miles down the road and another road, at the Hoh Rain Forest. We took part of the mini nature trail, and part of the Hall of Mosses Trail, to see the forest. Went as far as the Maple Grove, and I got so cold we turned around. Hubby didn't mind, as he was not visibly impressed with the rain forest.

    Donna ONP 055

    Donna ONP 059

    Donna ONP 064

    On the way out, we stopped at the Hard Rain Cafe to see about some breakfast. Long wait, followed by more issues: they had no real sugar, Coffeemate, or half-n-half for coffee. Hubby went outside, I just used the Splenda they had and the 2% milk while he raided our own coffee makings. The eggs were hard-fried instead of over-medium, the toast had no butter (only sugary blackberry jam), no salt and pepper or napkins were on the table.

    Our next stop was at Ruby Beach. Taking the trail down to the beach, it was heavy with drifted logs and there were lovely rock formations. We walked up and down that beach for an hour, enjoying the breeze/weather, the photography opportunities, and looking at the dead crabs on the sand.

    Donna ONP 072

    Donna ONP 075

    Donna ONP 084

    Donna ONP 093

    Later, we had a much better lunch at the Kalaloch Lodge (pronounced Clay-lock) and another half hour walk on the Kalaloch Beach, checking out the sand and sea life. We saw a whale spout!

    Donna ONP 098

    Donna ONP 103

    Continuing the drive, we decided that there wasn't much more to see that we wanted to see, so went on to Aberdeen. We found the Best Western Plus on the east side of town, needed to leave US-101 temporarily in order to stay there. It's a lovely place – indoor pool and spa (which we used immediately after unloading), nice room facilities, and more. Much better than last night!

    Decided that after a heavy lunch, a lighter dinner was in order, so we walked over to Burger King which is across the street. It gave us an opportunity to see how to get us back to the US-101 South, since we had to take US-12 to get to our hotel.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 08-08-2017 at 03:19 PM.

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