Saturday, June 26, 2010

Astoria, OR to Westport, WA

Not a lot happened today… just driving.  Headed toward the bridge over the Columbia River in Astoria, OR… that thing really is scary.  It looks so tall from below.

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Crossed over into Washington State, now me and all my descendants (5) are all in the same state.  That might not happen again for a couple years, if ever.

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Missed my turn and ended up out on a peninsula in Long Beach.  Neat little town and they had Doggie Olympics going on there.  I turned back and headed for the right road to Westport, WA.   Very interesting drive, by the way.

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Now I’ll just post all the Pirate photos of my granddaughter’s group.  Will point out my granddaughter and daughter-in-law.  Not much else to comment on… just enjoy.  Tomorrow I’m going to walk around the rest of the festival and see the other vendors before heading toward Port Angeles, WA.

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That be my granddaughter….

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…hey, granddaughter…..

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Finally, Tori turns around.

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My daughter-in-law, Rhonda, came out for the day to video the performance.

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The kids were loving all the noise.

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Cracking whips.

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Boy, I hope my vandweller necklace looks like that one day.

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Firing the cannons.

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Red skirted gal… my granddaughter Tori, waiting to deliver power to the cannoniers.

An interesting bus…. vendor selling cotton candy, boy did that smell good.pirates_ 008

Back in Pirate Camp…

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Cleaning of the guns.

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Black shirt… that be my eldest granddaughter, Tori.  Fellas are busy cleaning their guns after a nice demonstration.

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It’s been a long and fulfilling day.  I am HERE.

Chinook Winds Casino, Lincoln City, OR

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Last night I parked at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, OR.  Free parking close to beach, fresh salt air, cool temperatures… really great sleeping.  This morning I went into the Casino with $1.00 and got a free breakfast, thanks to Robin, plus two bananas and an orange to go, and came out with $10.50.  Last of the big gamblers.

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Then I went for a walk on beach and found some agates.  Finished up about 1:30 pm and got ready to hit the road.  The beach is down below those two buildings (hotel on left and casino on right).  Then checked email and learned that metal detecting is allowed on this beach… and good items have been found.  Also there is gold down there and I could have panned if I had known.  I feel my schedule is a little tight with having to meet up with Tori (granddaughter) this weekend at a pirate festival, so I decided to put the metal detecting and gold panning off to the next visit to OR.  Then I plan to spend about a week in the area.

So, just sat in the van for awhile wondering “Does it really get any better than this?”  I didn’t even care that my socks and tennies were all wet and sandy.

My sister left a phone message to say she was just thinking about my beautiful haircut and decided to call me up.  We will talk over the weekend.

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Approaching Tillamook, OR, the smell of cow dung in the air was so thick, I could not breath, but soon thereafter the scenery improved greatly and I wished I was not driving so I could just take photos. 

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No choice so I just held up the camera and clicked aimlessly away hoping to get a couple of good shots.

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Got to Warrenton, OR and met a friend from last year (Dave Roche)… who did interviews of me he later posted to You-Tube.  I ran into him when I was first driving my van down onto the Oregon beach… I took a photo of it down there and that is what I used for my personal cards.  He was so interested in my plans for kayaking American he asked to interview me.  He is an amateur but has an amazing eye for beauty and is quite the philosopher.  I feel like he is my soul brother.

Here are  the  video links.



He treated me to dinner at DQ and we philosophized about the NOW and living in the PRESENT and we agreed that is really isn’t something you can explain to someone else… they have to come to it on their own.  I was bad and the chili cheese dog was yummy. He said he thought he’d never see me again, but I can’t imagine passing the area without saying hello.  I can’t tell his story… but it is very inspiring.

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It was a good day… and I am good-tired, and settled into the Costco parking lot for the night, and spend some time catching up on email.  Finally did catch up with mail from two of my groups.  It is nice and quiet here and I’m going to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

No, it doesn’t get any better than this… until tomorrow, when I hope to see my granddaughter at a pirate festival.  Yeap, Granny is going to a pirate festival.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Newport, OR

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Today, I found the ocean and I met up with That Coastal Girl Robin.  We met at the Oregon Coast Aquarium… and had fun looking at the new exhibit… Swampland for an immersive experience with colorful mural work replicating different types of swamps.  

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One most impressive items was a freshwater Alligator Snapping Turtle.  I didn’t know they got so big.  The guidebook says they weight between 155 and 175 pounds.  They live 70 years in the wild.  Gosh, I pray I NEVER run into one that big in the wild. The guidebook says they are NOT Threatened.  Duh???

This thing must have been six feet long from nose to tail.  I had a run-in with one of those once in Coastal Virginia.  My boys were small.  They stayed in the van while I went to move the turtle off the highway.  I approached from the rear… it was only about 2’ long.  It got up tall on it’s feet, then squatted and jumped into the air about two feet and made a full 180 degree about face… and landed facing me and hissing.  I left him in the middle of the highway and returned to the van rather quickly.  And smell bad… oh my gosh.  But six feet long!  Sure glad he was in a really big solid tank.

Other nice exhibits were the kelp forest and the touching pool.

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The Kelp Forest - A sting ray swimming overhead.


Anemone with guest… photo by Robin Smith (That Coastal Girl)

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The touching pool

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I wanted to buy stuff for my granddaughter, but my brain kept saying… it’s gas money… so I took a photo instead.  Zoey, this one is for you:

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Robin is delightful and fits right in with my Vandweller tribe.  She was worried about that.  Even has a dog, so Homer, Tori and others will be happy.  She is eagerly awaiting for her last fledgling to fledge.  Two years to go and we should begin watching for her at southwest gatherings.  We traded beads… and she gave me a metal feather charm and seven agate beads.  According to American Indian tradition, Robin says, the seven beads represent wishes for a successful completion of a task… and for me.. that means completing my 50-state paddle and agate also represents good luck.

In the parking lot of the Aquarium… we saw this neat rig. 

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The couple designed it and had it built.  They are travelling all 50 states, golfing each as they go.  It was really nifty.

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After the Aquarium, we drove out to the Jetty where you can get a really good view of the bridge.  It was rather cold… so we then headed over the Embarcadero for lunch. 

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Yum, shrimp melt (English muffin, shrimp sauce, small shrimp, topped with cheese – melted) and a side of cole slaw.  It was so good.  Nice view overlooking the marina.

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We then went over to Wal-Mart where I looked for that tent that goes with the First Up Canopy… and they did not have it… so I bought some scarves and hats… for my bald  head.


Photo by Robin (That Coastal Girl)

After saying goodbye to Robin, I drove on up to Lincoln City where I plan to hunt for agates tomorrow.  Also, if you register and get a Players Card at the Casino… you can get a free breakfast brunch.  That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

It was a good… no… a GREAT day.

Thanks Robin.

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.