August 19, 2004

Y'all come back now, hear.

We leave tomorrow for a trip I have been waiting to do for more than a decade. To get a private permit on the Grand you have to wait an average of ten years, and as long as fifteen if you want a specific date. The group we are embarking with is solid. We have done many, many, river trips together, they are our dearest friends, and I wouldn't want to go down this river for my first time without them.

Running the Grand is logistically huge, here are the stats; 16 people, 21 days, 6 rafts, 4 kayaks, 960 meals, nearly 150 cases of beer, 14 rocket boxes, 5 aluminum kitchen boxes, 8 coolers, 24 oars, and a total trip cost of just over $11,000.

Rocket boxes filled with dry goods.

Only the finest brew for river trips. Actually beer snobs may not raft, no glass allowed, so you must adopt a quantity over quality attitude.

Here is my major accomplishment from the last two months. I crocheted 16 beer coozies and washcloths for the members of the trip. Yes folks this is what "retirement" does to you.

Thanks to everyone for following along with us these last 8 weeks. We'll be back in mid-September. I just purchased a new "super camera" for this trip, so I ought to bring back some decent pictures, and no doubt some good stories.

Cheers to All.
Rachel and Dan.

August 16, 2004

Summit Fever

August 14th, 2004
The Loneliest Highway Home.

We had intended to a take four days driving back to Durango, but summit fever got the best of us and we raced back in two days. Our fever pace didn't leave much time for photographs, but then again we were on the "loneliest highway" most of the way so there wasn't much motivation to stop. We were entertained by numerous fighter jets on training missions, a long stretch where people write their names in the sand banks alongside the road with lava rocks, and this fascinating anomaly, the shoe tree.

We made a pit stop in Moab determined to go for a mountain bike ride, but as I stated way back in a past post, Moab in the summer is hotter than the surface of the sun. Even though we should have endured the heat, as a form of training for the Grand in August we couldn’t do it. The pull to drive on the three more hours to Durango and a soft bed, hot shower, cold beer etc. was too great.

Note: While our free guide didn't mention this place, we found a nice road-side camping spot just east of Ely, NV. Look for the National Forest sign east of the town and the camping spots are on the right side of the road, probably 5 spots and a large lot if those are filled.

So here I sit at the in-laws palatial estate, sipping their coffee while they are cruising through Alaska. It is like being at a really nice B & B without all of the other people. Dan is washing his truck and in his happy place as a result. The remainder of this week will be spent rigging and preparing for our Grand Canyon river trip.

Heads Up: While I expect to post at least one more time before then, I am going to be unable to post for three weeks. Now before you all find newer, better, younger, web logs to adopt in my absence, please understand that I will be back and it will be worth the wait! My absence is due to a 21-day river trip down the grandest of all rivers. I have many, many megabytes of photo storage to bring along and I fully intend to post a book-sized photo journal of the trip upon our return.

Additionally I will not be able to respond to emails from the 19th to the 12th of September. If you really want to contact us, you can send us post cards/ mail/ care packages, c/o Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We expect to be at Phantom on the 27th of August. Here's their address.

River Mail
Dan and Rachel Goddard
c/o Phantom Ranch
P.O. Box 1266
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

August 12, 2004

The Golden State

Our trusty guide to free camping lead us to spend Monday night at the Irongate Reservoir in Northern California. This spot turned out to be very nice, right on the lake, and yes... free. We met some nice folks from nearby who furnished us with beer, a boat ride and even a free guitar lesson for Dan. Thanks to Cheryl, Debbie, Larry, Bud and Vincent for welcoming us to Cali.


Lassen Mountain in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Tuesday we spent the night in a super nice Forest Circus campground outside of Quincy, CA. It too was free and as an added bonus we had the entire place to ourselves. Dan went for a bike ride without me, as I am suffering from a bit of a cold. While he was gone I realized that it was the first time I had been totally alone in 2 months.

Snake Lake as seen from here...

Our campsite at Snake Lake.

We have a meeting in Truckee, just north of Lake Tahoe at noon. We are meeting the lovely and talented Ms. Lara Beth Mitchell, my best friend. Beth lives in San Francisco and will be joining us in Tahoe for a few days.

Skip ahead to Thursday. Dan, Beth and I just returned from a nice short hike up to Eagle falls. We are camped at Meeks on Lake Tahoe. It's been great spending time with Beth. Having her in the camper with us is like old times, we all lived together before Dan and I got hitched. Tomorrow Dan and I begin the trip back to Durango.

Rachel, Dan and Beth.

Lake Tahoe.

ExpensesFrom last week.

Fuel $118.92
Liquor $1.00
Treats $22.00
Repairs $-
Camping $38.00
Park Fees$5.00
Other $108.00
Total $378.57
Remainder ($98.57)
**Included in "other" was our $93 oil change. Note that our overage is almost equal to the cost of the oil change.

Note: Lots of people been emailing lately asking about our camera and software, I will try and address the most common questions here. We use an older model Fuji Finepix. Ours is only a 2mp model with a 6x optical zoom. The current version of this camera has the same zoom, 3.2mp and sells for around $199.
I use Dell Picture Studio v 2.o for my software. On occasion I have used the panoramic feature of this program to splice multiple pictures together, for instance I recently posted a picture of Horsetail Falls and this is a splice of two photos since I could not fit the entire falls into one shot. Aside from this feature and some cropping from time to time, the photos are posted as I, or on very rare ocassions Dan, took them.

Another note: I have finally, with the aid of Blogger Support, added a comment feature to the postings. Please feel free to use this as a guest book, or for, you guessed it... commenting.

August 09, 2004

Waldport, Oregon.

August 8th, 2004

Yesterday we decided we should have a beach day. Despite our efforts to not drive much we still drove about 50 miles. This stems from an affliction we both suffer from. F.O.M.S., or Fear Of Missing Something. Our friend Dr. Bob Daniels was the pioneer researcher in this area; in fact he is the one who gave this particular disorder its name. F.O.M.S. can be debilitating for Underaged RV-ers hell bent on seeing 3 countries in 52 weeks. This affliction is in large part the reason that we have been putting on so many miles thus far.

F.O.M.S. lead us to retrace our steps yesterday, back to the lighthouse we had visited the day before. We hadn’t had time then to check out the tidal pools and so we HAD to go back. F.O.M.S. is not always a bad thing, in this instance it lead us to see some truly amazing sites. Here are pictures from the tidal pools.

Coastal Shots.

See the surfers?

After the pools we finally made it to a beach. However, even though the skies were much sunnier today, the winds were just as strong. Dan surfed in his kayak for a while, the waves at this beach weren’t as friendly though. After an hour or so of continual sand blasting and wave blasting we called it quits, and retreated to the camper. We were just about to leave when the kite surfers showed up. We had to watch. These guys were surfing waves wind assisted and then jumping like 40’ in the air while spinning. It was amazing, we have to try it. I think if I hadn’t been so cold I would have tried then and there, but generally I have to really enjoy a sport before I am willing to freeze while doing it. I think this will have to wait for Mexico.

Last night we played a game of chess, (current stats are Dan 1, Rachel 1, stalemate 1) made fish tacos with fish we bought at Pike Place and drank a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck. Really RV-ing is the life for me.

Sunday, August 8th, 2004
Near Coos Bay
Yesterday we were treated to an amazingly beautiful, and apparently rare, day of sun, warmth and no wind on the beach. This will be our last day at the ocean for over a month, what a great last day. The pictures tell the tale.

Campgrounds in this area are pretty pricey so we took a page from our buddy George's book (if you don't yet know George, check out his blog under our links "visit our favorite vagabonds"). We enjoyed our day and evening at the beach and then after dinner we parked at Wal-Mart for the night for free. George never pays for camping and he figures why do you care where you sleep, you're asleep. Works for us. Now we are heading towards California. We have a hot date in Tahoe on Wednesday.

August 07, 2004

Cape Lookout to Waldport, Oregon

August 6th, 2004

Last night was bit rough on everyone at the Cape Lookout Campground. Around 2am a storm hit, a true storm. We aren’t talking hurricane or anything but rain and high wind, yes. The tenters in the meadow area were particularly hard hit and once the sun rose the meadow had taken on the look of a shanty town after an earthquake. Even the port-a-potties had been blown over! We faired much better in the camper, just a bit sleep deprived from all the ruckus. Also Dan’s kayak paddle had been blown about 10 feet from where it was last night.

Cape Lookout Campground and Beach.

Today the torrent continued shrouding much of the coastline from our view. The fog banks made for a very Lord of the Rings-esque drive through the forested sections of the road. We made two stops en route to our camp. The first was in Pacific City, which we had heard had good surfing. Well as soon as I got out of the truck the skies unleashed and I was instantly soaked.

It was right about the time that I was thinking no one should be out in this when I heard an air horn. And not just any old air horn, no, no, this one signaled time’s over for a surfer competing in a surf-off of sorts.

Go figure, the surfing must go on. I am not that hardy so the impulse to go rent a board and enter the competition was squashed early on.

I am fascinated by lighthouses. I just think they are so cool and I have photographed every one I have ever passed. You can imagine that the chance to go into one was compelling for me.
Rachel: “Hey Dan, that sign says lighthouse tours”
Dan: “Yeah so?”
Rachel: “So I have never been in one, I wanna go.”
Dan: “But it costs.”
Rachel: “If you love me you’ll stop.”
This is how we came to tour the Yaquim Light House.

The lighthouse.

This is all the light that the bulb omits, the rest of the work is done by the lens. Neither of us can remember for sure, but we think they said the light can be seen from 11 nautical miles away.

The lens.

The view from the light house.

Memorial to lost sailors.

Tonight we are camped in a Passport America campground outside of Waldport.

The campground is located on the Alsea River, about 4 miles from where it lets out into the ocean.

Before dinner we walked out on the pier right off of our campsite and we saw a seal not 5 feet from us. This and a full hookup for $11! We are staying for two nights.

Parting sunset shots.

August 05, 2004

Hood River to Tillamook

Off for the coast we go. On the way we veer off of HWY 84 and onto the historic and scenic road which parallels it. This road follows along a tree canopied path past 8 water falls. The one pictured above is Horsetail and this one is Multnomah Falls.

From the falls we ventured into Portland just long enough to stock up on Two-Buck Chuck at Trader Joes. If you do not know, this is a fairly decent bottle of vino only available at Trader Joes and it sell for about 2 bucks. This is no ripple folks this is a palatable, even nice bottle, therefor worth braving city streets for.

Our local this evening is Lookout Cape south of Tillamook,OR -you know the cheese place. This is a state run park, camping here is out of our price range really, but the proximity to friendly and kayakable waves made it a required stop. Here are some pictures of my husband in his "happy place".

This having Internet access every night stuff is pretty nice. Sure makes posting a lot easier. Cheers to all, and to all a good night.

August 04, 2004

Victoria to Seattle

August 4, 2004

Coffee on our porch in Victoria.

Final thoughts on Canada. My overall impression is VERY positive. B.C. is beautiful, vast and varied. We were warmly welcomed everywhere we went. Travel is easy and camping is very plentiful.

Here are a few items to consider before you travel in Canada.
1.Fuel prices are very high, even after the conversion.
2.There is no free camping. Canada does not have the equivalent of BLM land. Average cost per night of camping in a provincial park $17 Canadian.
3.The conversion essentially results in a 25% discount on prices. (.75 cents U.S. = $1 Canadian), however the prices are inflated in large part, so most items are as expensive or more than in the U.S. The exceptions are mostly in services, for instance helicopter tours seem cheap by comparison and restaurants can be a good deal.
4.Liquor prices. The cheapest 12-pack we found was $22.00 Canadian.

These observations are not intended to dissuade anyone from visiting our neighbors to the north, they are just some of the realities. Again we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

We think we could definately live in one of these "house boats" in Victoria.

As to where we will be spending the winter… we don’t know. We visited the immigration office in Victoria to find out about working holidays- not available to Americans- or temporary work visas- no go. Finally we asked about the possibility of our purchasing some sort of business there. The immigration officer, who looked remarkably like Bull from Night Court, informed us more or less that we weren’t wanted. Then he photo-copied our ID’s to keep on record should we ever try to circumnavigate the system, thereby eliminating our ability to plead ignorance in the future.

This was pretty much what we expected, but we had held onto a bit of hope, which has now been dashed, shattered into so many broken pieces as it were. The idea of spending 3-4 months in one place and not being able to work at all is bothersome. While a year of no work may sound fabulous to many, I enjoy having a task to complete, and working is a way to meet people and immerse yourself in a community. Not to mention that some extra money would help to prolong our trip. So basically we have some thinking to do on the subject. There are many fabulous ski areas in the states where we could get part-time jobs and life might be easier, or more fulfilling, or what have you. Fortunately we have about 5 months to figure it out.

Alright enough of that, we spent 3 days total in Victoria. Mostly we rode our bikes around town and checked out the sights.

We attended afternoon tea at the Ellis Historic House, we toured the house and enjoyed their croquet field while eating scones. We ate at a fabulous Thai restaurant and probably clocked about 35 miles of bicycling during our stay. Sunday afternoon we boarded the ferry to Port Angeles, Washington. Once back in the states we headed for Seattle and our dear friends Jim and Barbara Pender.

The Penders driveway made a nice home base for two days of Seattle touring. We visited the locks, the fish ladder and Pike Place Market.

Famous fish thowing market at Pike Place

Flowers are ridiculously cheap here, and so pretty.

Required fruit shot from the market.

We needed an oil change for the truck, we found a Jiffy Lube that would take us but they weren't quite tall enough, here's how we got in :)

After our long days of sightseeing we pummeled the Penders over and over at Euchre and had a fabulous time re-living the good ‘ol days with Jimmy.

From there we headed south to Puyallup to visit my Uncle Bob. Since we have not had an address for two months now, my family sent my birthday gifts to uncle Bob’s house. Mom and Dad, thanks for the pretty picture book and cousin Heather came through with the t-shirt pictured below.

Can you read it?? It says “I’m blogging this” HA!

Here are my cousins, Heather and Shannon last month on the Great Wall in China. What a jet-setting family we are.

Uncle Bob said those magic words that bring that special light to my husband’s eyes. “Dan you wanna use my power washer to clean your camper?”

So now we are heading towards Mt. Saint Helens in our shiny, shiny truck. From there we will be spending a week in Oregon.

Later that same day…We are now camped at Hood River Reservoir high above Hood River, OR. This camp spot is free and very nice. Out free camping guide wasn’t very specific on distances, so I will be. It is about 25 minutes out of Hood River on a paved one-lane road which is not super well maintained. On our way here we visited Mount Saint Helens which even 24 years after is magnificently impressive.

Spirit Lake at the base of the volcano.

Mount Saint Helens from the southeast.

We also swung through Stevenson, WA and were treated to throngs of windsurfers and kite boarders on the Columbia. Then we went to The Carlson Hot Springs. This place is so cool! But get there soon if you want to see it like we did.

The whole place is being re-built. Currently it is a building divided into two bath houses, men’s and women’s, each bath house is filled with claw foot tubs which are filled for you with 120 degree mineral water which you can cool down to your desired temperature. You get to soak as long as you like and when you are done you get a hot wrap to relax you even further. During the week all this costs only $12 per couple! What a deal.

After our soak we paid .75 cents to drive a cross the really narrow and somewhat frightening toll bridge from Washington into Hood River. Finally as we were cresting the hill into this campground a big black bear ran across the road not 20 feet in front of us.

Yet another magnificent day for the Goddards.