Monthly Archives: April 2019

Our last stop on the rainy Oregon coast: Newport, OR

Remember the saying, “April showers bring May flowers?” Well, assuming it is true then the Oregon coast should be covered in wildflowers very soon.

We planned on a 4 night stay in Newport, Oregon but extended it to 5 after the weather forecast was gloomy for our original dates. Having the flexibility to change trip plans on the fly is definitely an advantage of RVing.

If you like beer, check out Rogue Brewery in Newport. I have never liked beer but since the weather was such that it was unpleasant to be outside we decided to go to the brewery. Charlie ordered a beer sampler and it turns out, Rogue beer isn’t all that bad. I won’t go so far as to say that I now like beer, but I didn’t hate our samples. Well, maybe I’d have to admit that the Double Chocolate was good.

We visited the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with hopes of taking a tour, but no tours were available the day we were there. That seems to be a theme with us. As a matter of fact, on our way from Bandon to Newport we stopped by the Heceta Head Lighthouse. They had just lost power due to a blown transformer and therefore, there were no tours available.

Anyway, I digress. Back at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse we did enjoy spending some time in the visitor center. They have a fabulous interactive center and museum.

There are also great tide pools just below the lighthouse. We put on our rain gear and checked them out.

Looking back at the lighthouse at high tide.

Later, during our stay, we returned to the area near the Heceta Head Lighthouse and noticed that the lights were back working. It is a beautiful lighthouse.

There’s a Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast you can stay at on the peninsula. That would be pretty neat. The views from there are gorgeous.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse resides in a beautiful area on the Oregon coast called Cape Perpetua. I had hoped to get a good photograph of Thor’s Well in Cape Perpetua. Thor’s Well is also known as the drainpipe of the Pacific. The well is actually a hole in the rock that appears to drain water from the ocean. The hole is estimated to be about 20 feet deep. It is an amazing sight to see at high tide. The best photographic opportunity is at sunset though, and between bad weather and tide schedules, we did not get a good opportunity to photograph it. We did visit it though. Standing close by the hole can be a little scary, and dangerous, when a sneaker wave crashes in.

Back in Newport, we discovered a unique shop called The Olde Telephone Company. This little shop has phones from the ages. We enjoyed checking them all out.

About an hour north of Newport is the town of Tillamook, home to Tillamook Cheese. They have a state of the art visitor center and a great restaurant. Of course everything on the menu has cheese on it. They also have a popular Ice Cream stand. I highly recommend visiting.

On the way back from Tillamook we drove over to the Cape Meares Lighthouse. Of course it was closed, but the scenery around it was very pretty, even in the rain.

As we drove along the coastline back to Newport we were blessed with a break in the rain and stopped by a beach area. I just love how the rocks stand out in the ocean.

We tried out a few restaurants in Newport. We had halibut fish and chips at Local Ocean Seafood. It was fairly good. We had dinner at Georgie’s Beachside Grill. We really enjoyed this restaurant. It has great views, great food and a very friendly bar tender. The last place we tried out was a small joint just south of the city called South Beach Fish Market. It is more of a local spot and it was very busy. Their Halibut fish and chips were great and they sell fresh seafood. We picked up a pound of fresh Dungeness crab meat. I made some crab bisque and enjoyed it with a great bottle of Regusci wine from our recent stay in Napa Valley. We also bought fresh Halibut and made a Halibut Crab bake the next day. We ate well in Newport.

We stayed at the Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort. Our spot had a beautiful view of the ocean and lighthouse.

Our last night in Newport, when the rain finally broke. It came back the next morning though!

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Bandon, Oregon

After another night of relentless rain in Trinidad, CA we packed up and made our way to Bandon, OR. The drive to Bandon was very interesting. Besides rain we were subjected to high winds and road construction, due to the road having washed away last month.

At one point, as we went over a bridge, it felt like the RV was pushed sideways by the wind. It was a little unnerving. When we stopped at an overlook near Gold Beach I found out just how windy it was. As I opened the door of the motorhome the wind slammed it open and forcefully pulled me outside. Imagine a funny caricature where a person is holding onto something in strong winds and their feet are off the ground as they are blown sideways and you’ll have a good idea of my situation. I was still determined to get a picture of the coastline though, for whatever reason in the wind and rain. As I walked away from the RV the wind blew my eyeglasses off my face and across the parking lot. That was the last straw. I made my way back to the RV and ended up taking a photograph through the windshield of the RV, just for memory sake.

We would have liked to stop by Cape Blanco State Park and tour its lighthouse, but as you can imagine, it was not a good day for that. We continued onward, along Oregon’s coast, to Bandon for a 4-night stay at Bullards Beach State Park.

After parking the RV in our spacious site we headed over to the historic downtown area of Bandon. It is small, but full of quaint restaurants and shops.

We stopped by a fabulous chocolate boutique called Chocolate Mist ( We usually pass by these types of stores but this one had been recommended by fellow travel bloggers Kevin and Laura from Chapter3Travels ( We are so happy that we took their advice. All of the chocolate at this store is made on-site and everything we tried was fabulous! In fact, it was so good that we were compelled to revisit the store.

Their coffee, roasted locally, is also fabulous. During our first visit we tried out their signature chocolate dessert. It is absolutely divine! The chocolate mousse just melts in your mouth.

After our indulgence of chocolate and caffeine we drove along the coastline on the edge of town. There are numerous rock formations along Bandon’s coast. This is a primary reason as to why I chose this location for a visit. I was hoping to get some beautiful sunset photos. That was not to be the case though. This is what it looked like on our first day.

One evening we had a little clearing, but not a full sunset.

We also got a little clearing one morning so we spent a couple of hours walking around the beach area, amongst the rock towers.

We checked out the tide pools and found some colorful starfish.

If you are wondering how these rocks were formed, I’ll summarize a plaque that is located at the Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint:  Scientists believe a history of earthquakes, volcanoes and erosion along the Oregon Coast contributed to the formation of these rocks. Rocks from volcanic activity moved along the Earth’s crust and were pushed deep underneath the continental plate. Under great pressure, they were uplifted and exposed. Certain rocks resisted erosion and formed these rocks.

Beautiful wildflowers were in full bloom along the coast.

Back at the State Park we drove down to the beach area. I’m amazed as to how many trees wash up on shore. I was wondering where they all came from until I looked up the river and saw a number of trees floating towards the ocean. I imagine there are always trees falling along the rivers, especially this year with so much rain and wind.

At the end of the beach is the Coquille River Lighthouse, built in 1896. I always enjoy checking out lighthouses, and the Oregon coast has a good number of them.

There were a couple of nice birds near our campsite.

One afternoon we drove up to Sunset Bay State Park. The coastline is gorgeously rugged in this area.

There is a fantastic hike along the coast, but with all of the recent rain it was extremely muddy. We tried to hike it, but gave up after sinking into the mud numerous times. Regardless, we enjoyed the sights we were able to see at the vehicle pullouts.

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Bandon. It is a beautiful area that we hope to return to one day.


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Trinidad, our last stop in CA

We left Point Reyes, CA on a rainy morning and headed north up Hwy 101 to Trinidad, CA. Hwy 101 is very scenic in Northern California. At one point beautiful Redwoods surrounded us.

We stopped by a cute roadside store and learned that it was not only Redwood country, but Big Foot country too!

It was late afternoon when we finally arrived in Trinidad. We had a brief reprieve from the rain so after dropping the RV off at our campground we headed out to the Redwood National Park. We had just enough time to get a walk in along the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail and a drive along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy before sunset, and before the rain returned. It is amazing to see these mammoth trees up close.

The rain was relentless all night long. We had planned on spending some time hiking at Patrick’s Point State Park, just across the street from our campground, but the ground was saturated and we didn’t have a desire to tromp through the mud. Instead, we decided to check out the small town of Trinidad, with a population of less than 400. We found a very nice trail around the peninsula and as we got to the top lookout point the weather cleared and we were blessed with some beautiful scenery. By the end of the hike the rain returned. There’s a small restaurant at the town’s pier, conveniently located at the end of the hiking trail, called Seascapes. We grabbed a light lunch there and then made our way to Eureka for restocking of groceries.

We enjoyed our short visit to Trinidad. It is a beautiful area of the country. We would have enjoyed a little more time there. After two nights we moved further north, up Hwy 101 to Bandon, Oregon.

Where we stayed:

Azalea Glen RV Park. It was a little tight getting our 40’ Motorhome into the small campground, as there is a very narrow bridge with tight turns you have to maneuver, but once in we had a roomy site. The park is in a perfect location for sightseeing and hiking the Redwood country and coastline.

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Point Reyes National Seashore

After spending a week in Napa we made our way to Olema, CA. Olema is a tiny village just outside of Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS), about an hour north of San Francisco.  This 71,000 acre National Park encompasses a landscape of beaches, cliffs, prairies, marshes, and farms. It is a wildlife sanctuary for Tule Elk, marine life and all sorts of birds. It is a beautiful area, when the weather cooperates. It rained much of the time we were there.

Tule Elk are native to California and were thought to be extinct in the mid 1800s. However, in 1874 a group of them were discovered on a ranch on the Point Reyes Peninsula. The ranch owner made a preserve to protect them. Today, they are thriving, especially at Tomales Point, the most northern area of the park.

Birds love the environment on the peninsula.

I caught this gopher making his underground home.

Wildflowers were blooming throughout the park.

There is a neat area where you can walk through a Cypress Tunnel of Trees.

There are beautiful hills along the coast.

There are expansive beaches.

Historic dairy farms date back to the mid 1800s. Some still operate today.

Following a rainstorm this beautiful rainbow appeared on Limantour Beach.

Here are a couple more pictures from Point Reyes:

We did not get to explore some key areas of the park during our visit, as many areas were closed for various reasons. The lighthouse was under construction and closed. Drakes Beach was closed due to elephant seal activity. The McClures Beach Trailhead was closed due to numerous landslides. Some beaches were closed due to Harbor Seal Pupping Season. This, along with the onslaught of rain, was a disappointment. Regardless, we did enjoy our short visit to Point Reyes. It is such a beautiful and peaceful area.

We had dinner at the Saltwater Oyster Depot in Inverness. The grilled Oysters were fantastic, as was the Salmon. Inverness is another small village, just outside the park.

Just behind The Inverness Store you will find this shipwreck. I’m not sure how long it has been there, but it is pretty worn down.

Below is a picture of this same ship. I took it about 7 years ago when Charlie and I last visited PRNS. It was in much better condition, and we had much better weather. Apparently some people blew off fireworks in the ship a couple of years ago. The ship’s rear and port sides are now destroyed. I kept these areas out of the picture above.

In addition to visiting the PRNS we took a drive up to Bodega Bay. We stopped at various cheese shops along the way. Cheese is a significant industry in this area of the country.

While in Bodega Bay we enjoyed some clam chowder at Ginochio’s Kitchen. It is a great little restaurant. We went there thanks to fellow RVers, whom recommended it.

We stayed at the Olema Campground during our visit. With all of the rain the park was a muddy mess. The campground was nothing to write home about. It served its purpose for us, as it was just outside of the National Park and accommodated our 40’ Motorhome.

We’ll be working our way up the California and Oregon coasts. More on that later….

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Napa Valley and San Francisco

Aside from visiting wineries, which is the thing to do when you are in Napa Valley, we visited the Culinary Institute of America campuses and took a day trip to San Francisco.

Because of so much rain this year Napa Valley was unusually green and lush.

Regusci’s winery allowed Charlie to fly his drone. He captured a good picture of the vineyard and winery.  

I love to cook and going to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Greystone for a tour was on my bucket list. Not only did we take a tour, but we also enjoyed an absolutely fabulous lunch at their restaurant. Lunch is served and cooked by the graduating students. They did a fantastic job! Lunch could not have been any better. I even got to tour the kitchen.

The building is beautiful, inside and out. It was built in 1889 as a cooperative wine cellar. From 1945 to 1989 it was owned by Christian Brothers and operated as a winery. In 1978 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The students in training:

The training kitchen:

Our fantastic lunch:

Because we enjoyed CIA Greystone so much, we decided to see if there were any interesting events at CIA Copia. For clarity, CIA owns both facilities. The students go to school at CIA Greystone in St. Helena, while CIA Copia, located downtown Napa, is used for public events and classes.

CIA Copia’s building is a little more modern than its sister location. This mural, called “The Garden,” was painted by San Francisco Bay area artist Allison Tinati in just 6 days, using more than 100 cans of spray paint.

I love the couple on top of the building, enjoying the views of Napa Valley while drinking some red wine.

A photographic exhibit of Paul and Julia Child was on display so we checked that out and learned a little bit about the couple and how Julia developed her passion for cooking.

We also toured the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum. There are some amazing collections of cookware in this museum.

One day I wouldn’t mind returning and taking a class in this fabulous training kitchen.

The most interesting thing we did at Copia was to partake in the ‘Le Petit Chef: 3D Dining Experience.’ We traveled with Marco Polo on his journey discovering spices and foods in Marseille, Arabia, India, Himalaya and China. The 3D animation played out on our plates and along the table. As Marco Polo arrived at a new region we were given food to align with it. The food, wine and experience were all great. We put together a short video. It is a little choppy, but gives you a feeling for how the experience was. Here is a link if you’d like to check it out:

The weather during our stay was cloudy, chilly and rainy, except for the one day we had tickets to Alcatraz. Fortunately, during that day we had clear skies and temperatures in the 60s. It was my first visit to Alcatraz. Below are a few pictures from our visit. Click on the first picture to begin a slideshow.

Following our Alcatraz tour we walked around San Francisco. We stopped in at The Buena Vista Café for Irish Coffee. This place is famous for these drinks. We sat at the bar and watched the talented bartender work his magic, as he did on CBS Sunday Morning. (

For lunch we dined at McCormick and Kuleto’s Seafood and Steaks. We scored a table next to the window with a view of Alcatraz and the bay. The food and views were both excellent.

After lunch we continued walking around the city, ending the day at The Presidio, a national park site at the Golden Gate Bridge. I wish we had had more time to explore this area.

Below are some final pictures from our San Francisco visit:

The Golden Gate Bridge:

Views of San Francisco from the Alcatraz Ferry:

Looking out over Lombard Street:

Trolleys and busses:

The coolest Ice Cream truck I’ve ever seen:

Our time in Napa flew by. Our next destination is a short stop in Point Reyes National Seashore. More on that later….

Where we stayed in Napa:

We spent 6 nights at the Napa Valley Expo RV Park ( . The park is small, with just 24 parking spots. All sites were full during our stay. The park is optimally located, just a mile or so from downtown Napa. It is very clean and our site was fairly spacious. We would definitely stay here again, as there are not a lot of alternative options in the area.


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Yosemite National Park

Wow! Yosemite truly is an awe-inspiring National Park. We spent 4 nights at the Yosemite Falls Lodge, in the valley of Yosemite.

Shortly after passing through the Big Oak Flat park entrance you are blessed with beautiful landscapes.

The Waterfalls were flowing quite well due to a winter full of moisture and slightly warming Spring temperatures.

Below is a picture of Yosemite Upper and Lower Falls as seen from the Sentinel Meadow. The cars in the foreground give some good perspective to size.

We were saddened to see a large number of trees destroyed from the Ferguson fire, which hit Yosemite last summer. Additionally, the park was hit hard by winter storms in February.

Many of the trees that survived the fire were weakened to a point that they just snapped when the winter storms came. The fire damage was wide spread.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is located in the northwest corner of Yosemite.  It is about an hour and a half drive from the Valley. We hadn’t heard about this area of the park but it looked like an interesting side trip. The drive is full of scenery and at times, tight mountain turns.  We really enjoyed it.

We also took a side trip up to the Yosemite Ski Resort. There was quite a bit of snow at the resort.

There are some beautiful landscape views on the way up to the ski resort.

During our stay we had 3 days of overcast weather, a little rain, low temps in the 20s and highs in the upper 40s.

It wasn’t a washout though so we were able to get out hiking every day. We hiked between 8 – 10 miles a day. It is very easy to do this in the valley as it is pretty flat and so scenic that you forget how long you have been walking.

We enjoyed a walk to Mirror Lake, although with overcast skies we didn’t get very much of the mirror effect.

The trail was very lush.

On one of our walks we stumbled upon a small cemetery. Some of the graves date back to the mid 1800s.

We didn’t see very much wildlife in the park, aside from these deer and a couple of coyote.

Below are some final pictures from our visit:

Half dome:

El Capitan

The Three Brothers

My favorite view of the Valley is from Tunnel View. We visited this spot numerous times during our stay and it wasn’t until we were leaving the park for good that we got a nice shot with bright blue skies.

And the final picture, with Charlie and I.

Our Stays along the way:

We left Marina Dunes RV Park, near Monterey, CA, March 18th and drove to a winery in Merced, CA. We found Vista Ranch and Cellars through the ‘Harvest Hosts’ app. ( ). They allow RVs to stay overnight on their property and they even supply 50 amp power. It was a good location en route to Yosemite. The wine was just average, but we enjoyed the wine tasting experience. We would not stay here again though, as I think the train goes through their front yard. We heard train horns continuously through the night.

On the way to Merced we passed some fields adorned with beautiful wildflowers.

We left Merced early in the morning and made our way to Groveland, CA. The road from Moccasin to Groveland is interesting. It is very steep and windy, an interesting road with the RV.

Groveland is the last town before reaching Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat’s entrance. It has the ambience of a former Gold Rush mining town. We parked the RV at Yosemite Pines RV Resort. It is a stretch to call this a Resort. However, it served its purpose as a safe parking spot for the motorhome while we stayed at the lodge in Yosemite. The only time we ventured into the town was for dinner on our first and last nights.

The most unique restaurant/bar in town is the Iron Door Saloon. According to its proprietors, it is the oldest continuously operating saloon in California. We enjoyed a drink there before heading across the street to the Mexican restaurant, Cichio. They have fabulous tacos. We tried all of them; beef, chicken, shrimp and fish.

After we left Groveland we headed over to Lodi, CA where we stayed at another Harvest Host winery: Jessie’s Grove Winery. We parked in a huge grassy field, surrounded by vineyards.

Due to the wet winter and spring, the vineyards were very lush.

The wine at this small winery was pretty good, especially the ports.

While in Lodi we visited the old town district.

We ventured into a fantastic cheese shop. We had a personalized tasting and learned quite a bit about cheeses. If you are ever in Lodi, check out Cheese Central.

Our next stop is Napa Valley. More on that later…..


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