Arches National Park Utah

The Adventure Begins
We are new snowbirds, very new, as this is our first time to say good-by to our home and not return for 5 months. In the past the longest we have been gone is around 32 days and that was in Canada. Setting off when the fall leaves are at their prime, saying good-by to our friends and neighbors was a very heartwarming for me. We tried to remember everything we thought we needed-ha, I’m sure we way over packed!! We winterized our house and yard, set the alarm, closed our eyes and drove away. We have a full agenda planned with memories and explorations to be made. Follow us as we head out to the daily unknown with the first Thompson Snow Bird Adventure.
Day 1 – Driving, Driving, Driving, left home with a snow storm and 28 degrees – burr, drove until 3pm when we arrived at the elks lodge in Caldwell, Idaho, $15.00 for overnight, included water and electric.
Day 2 – Caldwell Idaho to Mona, Utah, drove most of the day, decided to fill up with fuel and stay overnight at a truck stop-Free.
Note: This was our very first truck stop experience, actually not bad.
Day 3 – Up at 5 am – yikes, where is a Starbucks. We realized (our navigator GPS – Phoebe) took us a little past our turn off, we turned around and headed back to Spanish Fork (20 mile detour) oops. Then it was on to Moab, that’s when the landscape started to get amazing. Around every corner was a new surprise, beautiful this time of year with the landscape slowly changing into its fall colors and massive red rock canyons. This is when it gets difficult to drive, so much beauty to look you need to pull off often. We arrived in Moab at around 10 am heading to Goose Island, hoping and praying there was a site available. We lucked out, as this is a BLM first come first serve facility (no reservations) and luckily, as we arrived, someone pulled out-yay-we got a spot. This is pure dry camping, no water, sewer or electric. They do have very nice vault toilets, garbage, very nice picnic tables and fire pits. Sometimes it pays to be a senior as the fee for us was $7.50 a night, thank You America the Beautiful Pass.
Here we are settled in our camping spot Litterly on the Colorado River, looking up at Arches National Park. There are no words to describe the majestic beauty and serenity of the Moab area.
Day 4 – Off to explore Arches national Park, the entrance fee is $25.00 a vehicle, with an America the Beautiful Pass it is free. Leave super early as its crowded and limited parking. Touring this park, you need good hiking boots, 2 quarts of water each and a sun hat, walking sticks help on some of the dicer trails and Shade is limited. Even though this is the end of the tourist season, you need patience, as it is crowded and snowbirds move slowly.
NOTE: Summer daytime temperatures can reach 110 degrees, heat and dehydration can be fatal – advised 1 gallon of water per person per day.
We stopped at every turn out and vista view area working our way to Landscape Arch a 1.6-mile moderate walk located at the Devils Garden trailhead. A hidden gem just off the roadway was Sand Dune Arch (0.3mi) an easy sandy walk and great for kids as it is a huge natural sandbox with narrow partition rocks to climb through and at the end a hidden arch. Of all of the National parks we have visited in our lifetime, I have to say Arches is the most spectacular. Every corner you hike around is another wow!
Day 5 – Boy are we out of shape! Today we visit Balanced Rock (0.3mi) beautiful paved trail, wheelchair accessible. Double Arch (0.5 mi) Easy trail through some loose sand, spectacular arch. Delicate Arch (3mi) round trip – Difficult trail with elevation gains, no shade, at the end open slickrock with close exposure to heights-not for faint of heart, but worth it.
Day 6 – We are going to stay around camp today, catch up on laundry-walk the beautiful bike trail that leads to Downtown Moab that just happens to be 200 feet from our campsite. Does it sound like we are resting today, ha not us as we have 6 Geocaches calling our name along the new bike trail!!!

Don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass
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Cheers From Just Around the Bend♥♥♥♥

Next Adventure we are off to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point

 

Fort Stevens State Park – Oregon

Fort Stevens State Park in the fall is another 10 experience. The weather has been perfect with 72 degree days and 60 degree nights. Wind, none-that’s unheard of at the beach-right. Even though the park is literally packed with snow-birds, you would never know it. You practically have the most pristine paved trails to yourself and once you are back in  camp, it’s quiet and so relaxing. The campsites are situated so you have ample privacy, lots of trees and vegetation separating you from your neighbor. All sites have fire pits, tables, water and electric. Two larger loops have full hookups. Restrooms are clean, pretty modern with token paid showers. Full hookup for us was $32,00 a night, well worth it.

Our first day we were so excited to explore the many bikes trails, we actually got up early, packed snacks, water and off we biked hoping to end up at the beach. We geocached along the way and found many, ending up at the beach and exploring  a wrecked cargo ship named The Peter Iredale . Well what’s left of it.

Second Day was exploring bunkers, watching ships come in and out of the mouth of the Columbia River and more biking. This particular bike exploration brought us to a new trail which led to a very pregnant very large elk just grazing in a marsh right next to the trail. Wow are they big! The last day of our time here we are going to spend at the beach and yes probably get there by bicycles. What a fun, relaxing and memorable time this has been.

 

 

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What To Do Here:

First thing we did was get our bikes unloaded and hit the many miles of beautiful trails.

Find the beach – yes we rode our bikes directly to the beach- You can drive there also.

Tour the many bunkers

Geocache – So many very creative caches to be found, most you can find on your bikes or by walking, we found many!!!

Start a fire in your fire pit  and relax

Explore The City Of Astoria and be sure to ride the train

Visit The  Peter Iredale a wrecked cargo ship

See you next time from Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

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Olympic National Park – Hurricane Ridge, HOH Rain Forest and La Push-Wa

Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. In clear weather, fantastic views can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Hurricane Ridge is located 17 miles south of Port Angeles on Hurricane Ridge Road, off Mount Angeles Road.

 

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HOH Rain Forest

The Hoh Rainforest is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state, USA. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Within Olympic National Park, the forest is protected from commercial exploitation

Two short nature trails loop through the forest near the Visitor Center — the Hall of Mosses Trail (.8 miles), and the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). Now for the big walk (we missed this one today)  Hoh’s major hiking trail is the Hoh River trail, which leads 17.3 miles to Glacier Meadows, on the shoulder of Mount Olympus. The Hoh Lake trail branches off from the Hoh River trail just after the ranger station and ascends to Bogachiel Peak between the Hoh and the Sol Duc Valley.

We opted for the two shorter walks and it was incredible. Highlight of the day, we encountered a huge male elk. Thank goodness he was just resting as they had warnings there had been several elk attacks.

 

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Last stop on our Olympic Rain Forest Adventure is La Push,Wa. La Push is a village on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It lies at the mouth of the Quillayute River, surrounded by Olympic National Park. It’s known for wild Pacific beaches like First Beach, with its huge waves. Forested trails lead to Second and Third beaches, where numerous birds gather on offshore rock formations. At Rialto Beach, tide pools surround Hole-in-the-Wall, a natural rock arch.

 

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See You On The Road – Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

 

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Sequim Bay State Park- Washington

Sequim Bay State park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking through pristine forests, biking the Olympic Discovery Trail,  which runs right through the middle of the park, or go kayaking in the Bay. The park itself is well maintained with state of the art restrooms and token showers. Absolutely the cleanest grounds we have ever experienced and the staff and ranger so nice and helpfull. We chose site 83.

Amenities : Firepit, picnic table, water available and a million dollar view of the bay. We paid $30.00 a night. Quiet, pristine, I rate this park a 8.

Things To Do:

We Geocached at John Wayne’s Marina. With breathtaking views we sat for sometime taking in the busy boat traffic and watching the crab fisherman bringing in their catches of the day.  Sequim is also known for the longest sandbar, a mere 5 1/2 mile walk one way-well maybe next time. Don’t forget the Lavender farms, there are many, Purple Haze Lavender Farm was our favorite and their lavender ice cream – Soooo good. There is also cute boutiques for fun shopping, bistros and good coffee shops. We also found  the best bakery ever ” Pane dAmore” with fresh bread made daily, their whole wheat sourdough bread is amazing. I am sure I am forgetting lots of things to do, but if you visit Sequim this will give you a good start.

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See You On The Road Cheers From Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥

Purple Haze Lavender Farm

This is our second Harvest Host experience and believe me another amazing adventure. The hosts and helpers are all so friendly making you feel right at home. Upon our arrival fall was certainly in the air

When you visit the Sequim lavender farm at Purple Haze, you are invited to wander the fields, enjoy the beauty of this sweet smelling herb, pick your own bouquet of flowers and picnic on the lawns. This of course depending on the season. We arrived in late September so the store at the farm was closed, yet we were welcome to wander around and even stay with our RV for the night. As members of Harvest Hosts this was a very nice option. I  need to mention that Purple Haze has a gift and ice cream shop in downtown Sequim. The shop is adorable and the lavender ice cream is amazing, well worth the drive into town. At this time the lavender farm is closed so head downtown Sequim to their unique and aromatic store and dont forget the ice cream, it is amazing.

 A Little History
Lavender is a plant rich in history and myth. With its roots in the ancient herbalists, lavender’s properties as a disinfectant and antiseptic grew through the centuries, even gaining the reputation of warding off the plague. Lavender’s popularity with the English royalty gave it a berth in the ranks of a cosmetic herb, and it was with Queen Victoria that lavender was recognized as a tonic for nerves.

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Until Our Next Adventure From Just Around The Bend

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CLIFFSIDE RV PARK WHIDBEY Island, WA

We are headed to Cliffside RV Park to meet up with our son Ian and his adorable wife Alicia for a family camping experience. They have just recently purchased a 23 foot Keystone Passport Travel Trailer, so this will be fun.

Nestled along the shoreline of NAS Whidbey, Cliffside offers 57RV sites as well as several tent sites, and six furnished yurts overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island, the San Juan Islands and the Olympic Peninsula. These sites offer water and electrical hookups; there are great restroom and shower facilities in each loop. More than that, these homes away from home provide the ambiance of shoreline living, an open window on an ever-changing marine environment and unparalleled sunsets. There are several miles of private military beach strewn with interesting driftwood and lots and lots of rocks.

Our camping site faced the Strait of Juan de Fuca, couldn’t have been more perfect, even the weather cooperated. We explored  surrounding capes, abandoned bunkers, homemade ice cream and fresh fish caught that very day. Staying in camp was a relaxing treat, to sit in our chairs, drinking fresh made Kombucha and listening to the soft sound of the ocean. Then there is the trail system, miles of paved walking or biking trails with views of the ocean and driftwood art along the way.

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 Until Our Next Adventure Hope To Meet You On The Road – Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥
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Langley Washington on Whidbey Island

Perched on a bluff on Whidbey Island, overlooking the waters of Saratoga Passage and the Cascade Mountains, Langley’s quiet streets are lined with historic buildings, bookstores, antique shops, clothing boutiques, cafes and restaurants. So what’s with all of the rabbits???? I mean everywhere you looked there were the cutest rabbits, we even the asked locals, but nobody had an answer?

Langley has its own special character– or “characters”– who turn this small town into a rural Bohemia. One arts festival, “Choochokam,” has run for more than 40 years, and the annual Langley Mystery Weekend, a “whodunit” that involves the whole community, are but two of the notable events that take place in Langley.

But whether or not there’s an event scheduled, Langley has plenty to fill a weekend or more. When when we arrived there was a festival going on with irish dancers performing, super fun. We enjoyed exploring this quaint town, not to mention the geo caching.

You can walk the beach, go to a throwback movie theater, attend a live performance in a state-of-the art venue, and stay in charming bed-and-breakfasts both in and near this quaint but vibrant seaside community.

Cheers from Just Around The Bend

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