Lake Whitney TX Public Library

PHOTO_20150521_145747Lake Whitney, TX Public Library
602 E. Jefferson Ave, Whitney, TX 76692

This beautiful library is just a few years old with something for all ages. I was greeted by a warm and friendly staff who are available to answer questions and give directions. I appreciated the ongoing book sale a was able to pick a paperback to carry and read this summer. For more information go to whitneylibrary.org.

South Tillamook County Library Pacific City, Oregon

Pacific City, Oregon Public Library

6200 Camp Street, Pacific City, Oregon  97135

This lovely welcoming library is part of the Tillamook County Library System. The free wifi 24 hours a day is a great asset to this community with all the tourism that comes to the beach. There is also a variety of materials for all ages and a comfortable area where parents can interact with their children. Around the Library are comfortable chairs for reading  and tables to spread out if needed.  One sculpture in the Children’s area that caught my eye is “Philbert” the Oregon Beaver. It was handcrafted by Jim Stober in 1988. Beside the library is a community garden with all produce going to local food banks.  This is  a welcoming place for a get away from the crowds on the beach.

 

Pacific City, OR and Surrounding Area

We’ve enjoyed a very pleasant stay here. From our campsite we can take a short walk and sit on a swing under a gazebo and have a beautiful view of the waves rolling onto the beach.

One highlight of our visit was the self guided tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory. As we walked along the second level we read the history of the factory and learned about the making of cheese. Just below us on the other side of a large glass wall we could see the workers processing and boxing cheese on the floor below. At the end of the tour we tried several of the free cheese tasting samples. We especially liked the cheese curds and bought some to take home. Then we purchased some of their excellent ice cream to eat right there in the cafe.

Sunday after attending worship we drove out to Cape Meares Lighthouse. We took the short but interesting Ranger led guided tour of the lighthouse and was able to go up to the light itself and see how the glass was cut to reflect the 60 watt light that was amplified to be seen 20 miles out to sea. Unfortunately, it was quite foggy so we couldn’t see very far out to sea but we enjoyed seeing the waves on the rocks near the shore and watched the fog move around the rocks further out. We also took the short hike to see the Octopus Tree. The trunk is huge and there are several branches going up but no main center branch, very interesting!

We visited Cape Kiwanda with it’s wonderful beach at Pacific City several times and enjoyed each each visit. When arriving at the beach you can either park in the lot or drive down on the beach. The haystack rock, “Chief Kiawanda Rock,” is impressive and can be seen for miles. Part of the beach attraction is the huge sand dune that was always full of people climbing up and running or sliding back down. An unusual thing about this beach is that dory boats are allowed to launch and return here. While we were watching one dory came running toward the beach and when it started getting shallow they lifted the motor and slid up on the beach. Another was going out, they backed down to the waterline and two crewmen pushed the boat out in the waves until the motor could be lowered and they could head out.

Munson Creek Falls outside of Tillamook was a pleasant surprise for us and our good friends of many years, Ron and Theresa Corwin. Following the sign we turned down Munson Creek Road that turned into gravel and became very narrow. The road ended in a parking area. From there we hiked back a 1/4 mile trail to the 319 foot falls. It is beautiful, tranquil and well worth the drive and the walk.

All the Oregon coast is beautiful and this area is no exception.

Long Beach, WA and surrounding area

The best part of being in this area near Cape Disappointment is watching the surf roll in and crash on the rocks. We’ve spent a lot of time walking the beach and enjoying the view.

There are also several farmers Markets and we enjoyed the one at nearby Port Ilwaco on a rainy Saturday. In spite of cloudy skies there was a vegetable/fruit stand along with other food and craft vendors along the marina. We enjoyed looking in various shops including a bookstore with new and used books.

Just a few minutes from our campground is Beards Hollow Overlook. There is a great view of the beach along with some historical information. After that we visited the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment. We took the self-guided tour with pictures along a historical timeline. There were many exhibits showing types of clothing, boats and equipment used on the expedition and a short documentary film. The hike to Cape disappointment Lighthouse was strenuous but we enjoyed our picnic lunch on a bench by the Coast Guard building. This lighthouse is not open for tours so we backtracked to the parking lot and drove a few minutes to North Head Lighthouse. A short .25 mile walk took us past restored buildings to the lighthouse itself. Again, I am amazed at the beauty of the ocean and size of the waves coming in.

We took a driving tour of the peninsula, driving as far as historic Oysterville, WA. There are several restored homes and a beautiful Baptist Church built in 1892. On our way back we stopped at the Cranberry Museum and Gift shop. There we enjoyed seeing the antique equipment and learning about raising cranberries in this area.

We took a day trip to Astoria, OR and visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum. It is well worth with the $12.00 entry fee. The exhibits tell the history of fishing and shipping on the Columbia. There are excellent short videos as well as hands on projects for children. Included in the museum is a self guided tour of the Columbia WLV-604 it served as a floating lighthouse from 1951 and was decommissioned in 1979. Also of interest was 20 foot boat that was lost in Japan during the 2011 Tsunami that was and washed up on the shore nearby. From the museum we drove over to Fort Clatsop a National Historic Park. This is the site where the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1805-1806. The visitors center has historic Exhibits and a place for children to do hands on activities. We enjoyed walking through the replica of Fort Clatsop seeing the small space in which they spent that winter. There were activities going on all day with people in period dress explaining how they lived that winter. There are also a variety of hiking trails that can be walked.

Another interesting part of the time here is just getting here. The Astoria-Megler Bridge,
stretches 4.1 miles from Astoria, Oregon, across the mouth of the Columbia River, to Point Ellice, Washington. The bridge’s main span is 1,232 feet in length, the longest “continuous truss” in the nation.

We also enjoyed the Kite Museum in Long Beach, OR. The collection includes kites used in WW II and kites from around the world. We saw kites used to train anti-aircraft gunners, a kite to use with emergency rescue equipment and a mail kite used in Alaska so airplanes could get mail without landing. The beauty and variety of kites from around the world was amazing. Some of the fighting kites are huge! There are several videos available to watch about the various kites.

Being here on July 4th was an experience. We knew the city of Long Beach provided a fireworks display that could be seen from the beach by our campground. We began hearing lots of fireworks being shot off by early afternoon and by the time we went to the beach the crack of fireworks was non-stop. There were thousands of people shooting off fireworks – many were big ones, loud, high, and colorful. For about 2 hours we sat and watched fireworks up the beach as far as the eye could see. The city fireworks were impressive but people kept on shooting off their own all through the show. It was an amazing event.

There’s a lot to see and do here in the southwestern tip of Washington and the northeastern tip of Oregon. I guess you could say we weren’t disappointed at all in Cape Disappointment!

2014 Coupville Washington Library

Coupeville Public Library

Coupeville, WA 98239-0745

Coupeville Public Library http://www.sno-isle.org/locations/coupeville/ is part of the SNO-ISLE Libraries serving Snohomish and Island counties.

This lovely library in Coupeville has several displays set up to encourage reading by all ages. The building is inviting with places to set and read, public access to the internet and many windows giving it an open feeling. What caught my eye was the beautiful arch over the entrance to the children’s department and the Large Print collection near the reading area. The Friends of the Library have a book sale area near the entrance.

 

2014 La Conner and surrounding area

Our campground for this stay is near La Conner, WA – an area filled with interesting things to see and do. La Conner, itself features a beautiful Rainbow Bridge which we crossed on the way into town. This is a nice town set up for tourism. The walkway along the river has shops and restaurants with a view. There are many other attractions in town. Pioneer Park, named in honor of Lousia A. Conner is a day use park on the edge of town near the river. Be sure to check out the trail that goes under the bridge.

Saturday we attended the Anacortes Waterfront Festival which featured a variety of food and craft booths along the riverfront with ongoing music. There was a Corvette show going on and we enjoyed looking at all the beautiful cars. The waterfront theme was taken seriously: the local Kiwanis had boat kits they were giving to the children. There was a place to assemble and sail the boats. The adults as well as the children were having fun. Not too far away a full size boat building competition was taking place. The builders would take them out onto the water and race them the next day. People were encouraged to pick their favorite team to win. Nearby was the Saturday Farmers’ Market where we bought local cheese and fresh bread for lunch. The town itself has a variety of shops with something for everyone.

After attending church on Sunday morning we purchased Subway sandwiches and went to Campbell park where we drove the loop road. We stopped at an overlook and enjoyed our meal then continued on around to another overlook where we had an enjoyable time on Face Time talking with family and letting them see some of the wonderful view.

Monday we drove to La Conner to check the mail and then took a farm road and followed directions on the sign advertizing strawberries for sale. We followed the road to a farm house with a fruit stand. There is a sign directing shoppers to put their money in the red box. We followed directions and then enjoyed some excellent, fresh strawberries for a few days.

Another fun trip was our Ferry ride to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We parked in the lot and walked onto the ferry. Our hour ride was enjoyable with beautiful scenery to watch as the ferry took us through the Islands to the town of Friday Harbor. This is a friendly town that mixes tourism with everyday life. We found a bakery and had coffee and scones. Cell service was excellent so we took time to update our email and Facebook. One of the attractions is the Whale Museum — a very educational stop for a family. There are several whale skeletons for viewing as well as videos and posters showing the various Orcas and their markings. Several places in town offer whale tours if that is what you are looking for.

Another day we drove to Whitbey Island. We stopped to look at the bridge and water at Deception Pass which is the most famous spot on the island. We we also spent some time at the overlook of Ebey’s Landing, an original homestead that is now a National Historic Preserve. We could see the open prairie land where they farmed for many years with a glimpse of the Olympic Peninsula across the water in the distance. Nearby Coupeville is a lovely little town with buildings built by the early settlers. We found many places of interest. I especially liked the Dutch shop offering lace, glass, chocolate and other items of interest as well as the Lavender shop with lavender-based health and beauty products and also a small bakery. On the pier is a cafe and a coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating.

We’ve enjoyed this area and we know we’ve barely scratched the surface of things to see and do. We’re looking forward to returning on future trips to the northwest coast of Washington.

2014 Canyonlands National Park, Utah

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Canyonlands NP although we only saw the Island in the Sky and not The Maze or The Needles. Island in the Sky has good roads and is relatively easy to access. The other two are more remote requiring hiking and 4-wheeled vehicles. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center and looked at the displays and watched the video introducing the park. I was surprised that in spite of it’s beauty Canyonlands was not made a National Park until 1964.

We followed the main route and took the short hike to Mesa Arch. While we were driving and talking about the park I accidentally said it was an “abunderful” place and it truly is both abundant and beautiful.  Each overlook is breath-taking and the main stops are easy walks. Canyonlands National Park has been called the Grand Canyon of Utah.  I can see the resemblance with its amazing canyons, beautiful colors, towers, and views of the Green and Colorado Rivers.  We hope to visit this “abunderful” place again someday.

2014 – Adventure Mesa Verde

Visiting Mesa Verde was fun and brought back memories of 20 years ago when Scott and I first visited here. There is a new visitor’s center that is very nice. As you walk to the desk to purchase tour tickets you can see the 3 major tours and how many ladders are required for you to climb to see them. There are dioramas and archaeological exhibits and a bookstore. We chose to visit Cliff Palace, a one hour guided tour.

fter driving 20 miles up a winding climbing road we met our tour group. To get into and out of the dwelling we climbed four vertical ladders. One going in, one while in the dwelling, and 2 going out of the dwelling. As we walked though the ruins we learned a little of the history of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here, how they lived, and suggestions as to why they left.

After the tour and after needing some time to catch our breath we drove to the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum area. There’s a video telling the story of the Ancestral Pueblo People and many items found while the ruins were being uncovered and documented across the years. There is also a gift shop. Near the museum there is a very nice view of the Spruce Tree House. This cliff dwelling can also be visited. It is a free, self guided walk that is 1/2 mile down a winding, paved trail that has a 100-foot decent/ascent.

As we were driving back the 20 miles to the highway we stopped at Park Point Overlook which is at an altitude of 8,572 feet. We walked up the winding path to the fire lookout. There’s a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. We especially liked seeing Shiprock Mountain in New Mexico off in the distance.

Overall it was a strenuous day due to the altitude and ladder climbing but was fun and well worth the time and effort.

2014 – In And Around Albuquerque, NM

We’ve been in the Albuquerque, NM area a little longer than we intended to be but the weather was cold and very windy so we stayed put.  While here we’ve enjoyed seeing some of the area.

Monday was our last day in the area and we went to Old Town Albuquerque and enjoyed seeing the many shops with Native pottery, artwork, and jewelry.  There are shops that will fit all tastes and budgets as well as a variety of restaurants, candy shops and bakery.  The San Felipe de Neri church completed in 1793 is the center surrounded by a lovely courtyard and shops.  We parked by the Art Museum and enjoyed all the sculptures in the area surrounding it.

We have enjoyed our stay here with a view of the Sandia Mountains out our back window.