Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
Monday October 31st it was partly cloudy with showers at Cape Blanco. We handed in our Hughes House Host Manual and keys and headed into town to do laundry and grocery shopping. The wind blew. We had some rain. We ate our lunch overlooking the Port of Port Orford (from a different angle this time but I forgot the camera). There were a couple of little kids in Halloween costumes at the grocery store—that made my day.

Tuesday morning November 1st, we packed up (a bit of a production when we haven’t done it for a month) and pulled out our host site at Hughes House. We turned north on Hwy 101 and headed up to Reedsport to once again follow the Umpqua River over to I-5. There were 5 bull elk along the highway just before the turn off for the Elk Refuge and I managed to get the camera out in time to snap on shot through the passenger side window as we hurtled by at 55 mph.

Elk Reedsport

We stopped and changed drivers at the refuge which gave me a chance to photograph more elk. The refuge area is really pretty.

Reedsport Elk Refuge

Off in the distance to the southwest there was a big bull and what looked like a pretty good-sized harem.

Bull elk and harem Reedsport

Out to the east there was a group of 6 bulls bedded down in the grass.

Bull Elk Reedsport

And one bull posing for me.

Bull Elk

We continued up the Umpqua in the sunshine and arrived shortly before 3 at Premier RV Resort in Coburg, OR just north of Eugene. Their rates had gone up another $2 a night so it now costs nearly $49.21 (with a Good Sam discount) to stay there. But I had a wonderful long hot shower and that’s worth a lot when you live in a trailer with a 7 gallon hot water heater!

The decent weather held and we had cloudy skies but no rain on Wednesday November 2nd as we headed up I-5 to the Washington Land Yacht Harbor in Lacey, WA. It started to sprinkle in southern Washington (of course) but the serious rain held off and we got set up while it was still dry. It rained on Wednesday night but Thursday morning November 3rd it was gorgeous and clear!

We got up early and gave ourselves two hours to drive from Lacey up to Redmond, WA to our dentist. It only took 1 hour 10 minutes (thank you HOV lanes) so we even had time to go shopping at Trader Joes before we checked in. Walter went first (he needed to have a very old crown replaced) and I drove off to shop at PCC (our wonderful natural food coop). It was already in the high 60’s and the sky was a gorgeous blue.

I got turned around a bit trying to find my way into some alternative parking lot for the dentist and was in a hurry as I headed to the dentist’s office. And I got the toe of my sandal caught in some ivy and took a header into the street! I was really lucky. No cars coming. No broken bones. No chipped teeth. Just a bit of road rash on my upper lip (which of course swelled so I ended up with a bloody fat lip that looked like a Hitler mustache—the height of fashion).

The folks in the dentist office got me cleaned up (with a lovely band aid mustache) and then I spent the next 3 hours in the dentist’s chair having the work done for a cantilevered bridge (two crowns instead of three) to replace my lost baby tooth (it came out while we were at Wallowa Lake) AND having a 23 year old crown replaced because it had started to flake off while we were at Hughes House.

At 3:30 we were in the car headed back to Lacey. The HOV lanes helped very little going south and it took us over 2 hours to get home (see we were right it might take that long we just didn’t know which direction). Traffic in the Seattle area has not gotten better!

It was partly sunny again on Friday and we had the day off. Hooray! We took the morning slow and then drove just a few miles north to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge for a little hike. We were not the only folks who thought it would be a good day for a little walk in the wetlands. The parking lot was nearly full! We got a map and talked to the nice volunteers at the Visitors’ Center and then took the binoculars (and camera) out along the boardwalk through the wetlands.
Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

There were tons of snowberries along the edge of the trail.


And lots of ducks in the water. This American Wigeon was out in the wetland.

American Wigeon

There were kids on tours and families on tours so there were lots of docents out along the trail. This section of the wetland had lots of duckweed on the surface.

Nisqually wildlife refuge

And the mallards seemed to be literally eating it up.


We took the Nisqually Estuary Trail (it’s gravel) out towards the Observation Tower. Here you get great views of the Nisqually Delta (aka the Nisqually Estuary). We had clouds starting to drift in and it wasn’t as warm as it had been on Thursday but it was still lovely.

Nisqually Delta

There were flocks and flocks of Canada Geese out in this area. And off in the distance you could see just a bit of the Olympic Mountains to the west.

Olympics Nisqually Delta

After about 1/2 mile you come to the Observation Tour and another boardwalk that heads yet another mile northwest along the edge of the estuary.

Observation tower boardwalk Nisqually
On another day we would have gone out and back but I was feeling a bit worse for the wear from my fall the day before and Walter had a little hitch in his get-along too so we stayed here and looked at the birds before turning back.

Out past the boardwalk there were Double Crested Cormorants out perched on snags. My bird book says that they are immature which is why they have white chests.
Double Crested Cormorants

And from the tower you get a great view of the estuary looking northeast.

Nisqually Delta

On the way back we spotted some big white birds land in a ditch. Upon closer examination we realized that they were Snow Geese. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a close up view of them before.

Snow goose

At the junction of the Estuary Trail and the boardwalk there are a pair of old barns that are pretty picturesque.

Barn Nisqually Wildlife Refuge
We stopped and rested for a while at a picnic table here before heading back to the truck. We put in less than 2 miles but it was great just to get out in the sunshine—it’s November after all and a two-day sunny period is a treasure that time of year in the NW.

By late afternoon it had clouded up and it began to rain in earnest in the night. Saturday November 5th it rained steadily all day. I had an appointment to have my hair cut (up in Bothell) so headed north on I-5 and made it in time to stop off a do some errands before my noon appointment (1 hour 20 minute drive). My old friend, Margaret was kind enough to come and meet me and we had a marvelous lunch at the local Mexican restaurant and a very nice gab fest.

The drive home was once again a bit of a trial. It was raining pretty hard and there had been accidents here and there so the traffic was clogged up and slow from Bellevue south. I took me just shy of 2 hours—on a Saturday afternoon/evening!Meanwhile Walter spent the day watching college football—his favorite. The Washington Huskies beat the Cal Bears soundly in the evening but he had to follow that on his computer since it wasn’t on TV here.

Sunday we slept away the extra hour we’d gained from the change from Daylight Savings Time and were greeted by sunshine—hooray. We did some housekeeping chores inside and out and then took a stroll around the development here. The Washington Land Yacht Harbor is owned by this development where everyone who purchases a house MUST own an Airstream at least for the first 5 years they live here. All the lots have RV parking and most of the houses are manufactured homes—some new, some pretty darned old. There are places with HUGE garages and carports where folks can park their Airstreams. So it’s pretty entertaining to walk the streets here.

We’re past the peak for fall color but there was still this one lovely tree that looked especially nice against the blue sky with it’s puffy white clouds.

Fall color Lacey WA