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Summer of 2017 - Forks, Washington

Our home for the next 4 months
We had a very busy start to our summer at the Forks Timber Museum.  We arrived on April 26th and had to park in the parking lot because the path to our usual spot was a muddy mess.  A few days and lots of gravel later we were all set up behind the Museum.  We started work on May 1st and immediately began helping with preparations for an open house on May 31st.  A new exhibit (Tavern) was built by Joe and Tom.   Marty and I helped with updating photos and adding descriptions to exhibits in other areas.  Marty even made "fake" bacon for the the cookhouse, pioneer area and look-out tower. May was a drizzly month and we couldn't do much outside so working in the museum kept us busy.
Joe, hard at work building our new tavern exhibit

This tavern is a representation of Art's Place from back in the "hey-day" of Forks' logging industry

Breakfast, anyone?
Marty did an amazing job updating and restoring old photos to add to exhibits.  The previous "wall-page" exhibit had photocopies of photos with very little description. We spent lots of time going through the museum photos along with a few trips to the Port Angeles Library photo archives.

This page depicts the openings of Hwy 101 near Forks in 1931
The pages are now updated with photo prints and descriptions along with some pertinent, interesting artifacts.

While Marty spent most of his time working on photo restoration, I was busy entering more information into our database.  All cards for all objects, photos, and documents are now entered - all 10,000+/- of them!!  It was a very busy summer.

 We used one of our days off to hike on the Elk Creek Trail in Forks.  This is our third summer here and it's the first time we heard of this trail - thanks Merry Parker for the info.  It's about two miles total, just right for a quick hike.

Look Ma, no hands (or railing)

Some of us are not so brave

are they nuts?

Linda and I spent a morning at her "happy place", Clallam Bay.  She looked for agates and beach glass and I looked for a good place to relax and enjoy the sun.



Hiking the Hoh
Our work days were Saturday, Sunday, Monday and sometimes Tuesday.  We took advantage of our days off to do some exploring.  One day we took a drive out to the Hoh Rain Forest and hiked the Hoh River Trail.  It's a 26 mile trail, we did part of it, a 6 mile round trip hike out to Mineral Creek Falls. 

On our way back to Forks we stopped at Peak 6 which is a store owned by the Peterson family.  Minnie Peterson was an early pioneer of the area, she had her own business guiding folks thru the wilds of the Olympic Rain Forest.  She was a remarkable woman, we have a small exhibit on her in the museum. 

Mineral Creek Waterfall

Later during June we gave Linda a ride into Seattle so she could catch a plane.  Her flight was early in the morning so we left the day before and and stayed overnight to do a little sightseeing.  We had a confirmed reservation at Motel 6 but that didn't work out - no "clean" rooms?!?   The very indifferent customer service clerk was unbelievable.  We offered to clean a room but "that's not allowed".  I asked to speak to her manager "they're not available".  I asked what she would do if there was no manager available and she had an emergency "I'd call 911".  Motel 6 is the only hotel in the area that accepts pets so things didn't look good.  Luckily there was another Motel 6 close by and for "only $20.00 more" we had a room - phewww!   I wrote a review on yelp and trip advisor and received a reply to call their customer service department to resolve this issue.  I did that and they promised to get back to me - I'm still waiting.  You can turn the lights off, we won't stay at Motel 6 again.
A deck of cards w/survival tips

We spent the next day driving around Seattle (so much traffic!).  We visited the Klondike Gold Rush Museum which is part of the NPS so I was able to get another passport stamp - YAY!  The museum was very informative and had an awesome gift shop.  I even bought my brother and niece a present for their July backpacking trip to Glacier N.P.

Traffic in Seattle was crazy so we headed back to Forks in the early afternoon.   We're sticking to the Forks area for the rest of the summer, too much traffic in the "big city". 

Back on the Olympic Peninsula we took another day trip, this time to Lake Quinault which is about 1 1/2 hours south of Forks.  This is probably my favorite part of the Olympic National Park, it's just a little too far to go regularly.  We drove the road around the lake, some of it paved and some not so paved.  We did a little hiking out to a homestead on the north side and also saw a few waterfalls on the south side.  We also took a short trail to see the world's oldest Sitka Spruce - a measly 1000 years old!

Another "infrared" photo

Hiking the Maple Glade Trail
1000 year old Sitka Spruce tree

Another "happy place"
As we headed back north to Forks we made a quick stop at Kalaloch Beach. 

Time to head back to the car



We were in the Forks Fourth of July Parade!  The Forks Visitor Center Director, Lissy, didn't want to drive their van in the parade so she asked Marty to do it.  I asked if I could wave my 2016 Cubs World Series Flag out the window - she said sure!  It was fun and I did get some cheers (and a lot of puzzled looks).  The Forks Timber Museum was well represented in the parade; Linda and her "Red Hat" ladies rode in their very decorated truck, Joe and his son-in-law walked next to the "lumber carrier' which our board president, Tom, drove.  The lumber carrier even won a first place ribbon!

Go Cubs!!!

Red Hat Ladies

Tom and the award winning Lumber Carrier
Craig and Joe walked behind the Lumber Carrier

After the parade we had a picnic with Joe and Linda and their family back on the museum grounds.  Fried chicken, potato salad, and lemon cake - yum!
Not Portillo's but it will do until we get back to Chicago
Here are some sights from our day trip to the Elwha River on July 11th

Madison Falls
Elwha River
Infrared Photo of Elwha River

During July, we also visited LaPush (about 20 minutes west of Forks) for "Quilleute Days" celebrating the local Native American tribe.
Canoe races

1st Beach
Are you my llama?

I love the Pacific Ocean!


This is a mural painted on a building near the dock in Port Angeles - doesn't it look real?

We had many visitors in the museum this summer who told us they had seen whales at Kalaloch Beach or along Hwy. 101.  It was driving me crazy because I've never seen one in our three summers here.  Marty and I drove to Kalaloch to look (actually he just wanted to take a picture of the "Tree of Life").  No whales that night but after another visitor said they saw them we tried again and found them!! 
Whale watching along the coast

Hard to get a good photo - but it's a whale!!

The "Tree of Life", this tree is amazing, hanging on by its roots.

We have a new trail up the hill behind the museum.  It's about a 5 mile loop although we walked 2.6 miles without finding the "loop",  we just ended up turning back.  It starts in a clear-cut area and then climbs up to second growth and then into an old growth forest - very primordial. 

The most exciting event in August was the Eclipse.  We had 94% totality which was cool but next time (2024) we will be somewhere with 100%!  We waited until the last minute to get eclipse glasses and, of course, they were all gone.  Luckily, we have very nice people visiting the museum and a couple from Seattle gave us a pair. 

Amazing Photo

Amazing Photographer!

Marty made a pin-point hole in the roof of the log house

When the moon hit your eye like a big pizza pie........

Crescents through the trees
This very nice Badger fan gave Marty some welders glasses
Cool glasses and shirt


Sunset at the Northwest most point in the United States

Hiking to Cape Flattery

We stayed busy in September finishing up projects, doing a little more sightseeing and getting ready to head back to the Midwest.  We were originally only going to spend three months in Forks but the workcampers who were scheduled to relieve us had some health issues so we agreed to stay until 9/25.  This is the latest we've stayed but the weather looks good going east and we're planning to take Highway 2 and stop in Glacier National Park on our way home.  Our fingers are crossed that the forecast stays fair. 

Goodbye Joe and Linda - We Miss You Already!!

We left Forks on Monday, September 25th and expect to be back in the Chicago area for some October baseball on October 10th.  It was especially hard to leave Forks this year because we're not coming back until spring of 2019!  Next summer will be a new adventure for us - a logging museum in Maine. 

Traveling Month, April 2017

After four months in Mesa we were happy to hit the road and head northwest to our summer destination - Forks Timber Museum in Forks, Washington.  We left Mesa on Monday, April 3rd and headed north thru Nevada.  Our first night was spent in a small campground in the town of CalNevAri which is at the border of - oh never mind, I'm sure you've already figured it out.

Slot machines at the grocery store, only in Nevada!
On Tuesday we continued thru Nevada heading to Pahrump (I just love saying that name!).  Pahrump is between Las Vegas to the east and Death Valley to the west.  There is an Escapee park (Pair-A-Dice) in Pahrump which had a special for 1st time visitors of $50.00 for the week - can't beat that.  I believe this is our 4th Escapee Park with that 1st time visitor rate, we still have a few more to check out.

We only drove into LasVegas once and skipped the "Strip".  It's too crowded there and hard to find parking.  Instead we visited the Pinball Hall of Fame and Fremont Street.

The Pinball Hall of Fame was a one (large) room of video games - old and new ones.  After getting some quarters, we enjoyed trying a few.  I'm not sure why they call it a "Hall of Fame" it really was just an arcade but it did have some cool old games.

Pinball Hall of Fame

Trying my luck

Fremont Street is in the older section of LasVegas.  It's calmer and the casinos are older.  We had some good luck at Binyons - sat down at one machine with a $20.00 bill and came out with $100.00.  Then sat down at another machine and put in my voucher thinking it was a quarter machine and played maximum (what I thought was $1.50).  It was a dollar machine and very lucky for me, I hit and won $645.00!  It truly is better to be lucky than good.  I left that machine and Marty pretty much dragged me out of the casino before I could lose anything.

We even got lucky at the parking meter - note the time

After our LasVegas adventure it was time to get back to nature.  We spent one day driving through Death Valley and checking out the sights/sites.  It's a beautiful park and I definitely would not go any later in the season than April.  We had temps in the 80's and in the summer it can get up to 120+.   The hottest temperature ever recorded in the world was 134 degrees in Death Valley in 1913!

Our first stop was at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.  We like to visit the Centers, they usually have a movie that tells about the history and geology of the Park.  I also like getting my NP Passport stamped.

The next stop was at Harmony Borax Works.  They really did use "20-mule teams" to haul the borax out of the mines.

Badwater Basin was next on our drive.  This is the lowest (282 feet below sea level)  and hottest (can reach 120+ in the summer) point in the United States, you can hike out pretty far and you're walking on a salt crystal crust.  The visitor's guide says " Don't hike here in hot months".

Badwater Basin - pretty hot even in early April

Back in the car we drove the "Artist's Drive".  Vehicles over 25' are not allowed on this road, it's a narrow drive (one-way loop) thru a canyon.

Inside Golden Canyon

Next we stopped at Golden Canyon for a little hiking. It was good to get out of the car and we hiked in about a mile before turning around.  It's pretty cool to hike thru a canyon (literally).

Our last stop for this day was a Zabriskie Point.  It was an easy, paved trail to the top and the views were amazing.  So amazing that we got up early the next day to come back for sunrise pictures.

We weren't the only ones who got up early



Death Valley is well worth a visit.  The best times to visit are November thru March/April.  One thing that we didn't see but that looked very interesting was "Racetrack Playa".   Here's a link:


After six days in the Pahrump area it was time to continue north.  We drove north on Highway 95 to the tiny town of Tonopah.  We stayed in a "RV Park" that was a parking lot behind a casino.  The best thing about the casino was the TV in the bar where I got to watch the World Series flag  raising ceremony at Wrigley Field (you didn't think I could actually write a post without mentioning the World Series and Cubs - did you?)
Go Cubs!

Tonopah was small but they did have two museums, an interesting cemetery and a "Clown Motel".   We visited everything plus drove south about 30 miles and visited Goldfield - "A living ghost town".
In 1907 Goldfield was the largest city in Nevada with a population of over 20,000.  Today the population is less than 300.  When we were there not much was open but we did visit an antique store and talked to the proprieter who was selling out and hitting the road in his RV.  We exchanged cards, maybe we'll run into him again some day.

You have to really like clowns to stay here - it's a little freaky!

Tonopah Mining Museum
From tombstone in Tonopah Cemetery

Main Street Tonopah

Out of Business Goldfield Storefront

These train entrances were in an empty lot in Goldfield, no information on where they're from, just thought they were cool


After two nights in Tonopah we continued our drive north and spent two nights in Fernley, Nevada at the Desert Rose RV Park.  Since Fernley is in Nevada and since every town in Nevada has a casino we had to try our luck. Hmmmmm, which casino looks lucky?  Since we have a Silverado truck and there was a casino named "Silverado" it was an easy (and lucky) decision.


We spent a day visiting Reno and Virginia City; just wandering around (need to get those steps in for the Fitbit).  It was very windy and blustery in Reno so we didn't last long outside.  Virginia City is a tourist town and it was fun visiting all the shops.  When we left Virginia City to drive back to Fernley we ran into snow flurries - Yikes!


We left Fernley on Friday, April 14th and drove northwest on Highways 395 to 44 to 89 to Weed, California.  The view out our back window was Mt. Shasta (when it was clear out).

We spent Satuday playing tourist.  First stop was the Visitor Center but since they didn't open until 10 we drove over to the local museum.  Amazing museum with lots of cool exhibits and we got lots of ideas to share with our friends in Forks.  We then drove back to the now open Visitor Center and got some information on things to see.  The woman at the Visitor Center recommended we drive over to Lake Siskiyou to get a good view of Mt. Shasta so that was our first stop.  We really lucked out with the weather and the view of Mt. Shasta was gorgeous.

Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta in the background

After leaveing the lake we drove up Mt. Shasta as far as we could (lots of snow up there, so the road isn't open all the way to the top).  We climbed a little bit up the snowy road and had fun watching all the people playing (tubing, skiing, snowmobiling and just hanging out).  It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for seeing the mountain.
Lots of people had the same idea including these bicyclists

Like a Christmas Card


We got back in the car and checked out the water falls at McCloud River.  There are three falls, Lower, Middle and Upper and we visited all three.  We drove to the Lower Falls and then to the Middle Falls.  From the Middle Falls we hiked up to the Upper Falls.

Middle Falls
Lower Falls


We finished the day at the Hi-Lo Cafe back in Weed.  Nice place but strange waitress - she was very scripted.  Very unusual way of speaking and when we came back the next day she used the exact same script. Odd.


We left Weed on Monday (4/17) and headed to another Escapees Park, this one is in Sutherlin, Oregon right off of I-5.  We thought we'd be able to visit Crater Lake from there but the weather and the distance didn't work out.

There were some interesting creatures at this park - the biggest rabbits I've ever seen (thought one was a small deer).  There were also lots of turkeys wandering around along with some deer.  This is the most wildlife we've seen on this trip.  We stayed in Sutherlin for four nights, checking out the area (and one casino - our last one for this trip). 


Once back on the road we headed to Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington.  This was our favorite park of this trip.  Even though it rained a lot we still had a good time.  This park is right on the ocean and we had a short walk from our site to the beach.  This is also the point where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean and where Lewis and Clark finished their historic journey.
They have a wonderful museum detailing their trip and we spent at least an hour visiting it.  We also drove over to Long Beach and found Scoopers Ice Cream Shop - an amazing selection and huge scoops - YUM!

Jetty between the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean
So happy to be back at the ocean

Maddie's happy too!

View from Lewis & Clark Center


From this point it was only about 150 miles to Forks but we weren't scheduled to arrive until the end of the month.  There were winter work campers at the museum and they weren't leaving until Tuesday or Wednesday (4/25 or 4/26).  Since we had a few days left we decided to visit Hoquiam, WA which has a museum we've driven by (with the rig) many times but had never stopped at.  There is an Elks Lodge in Hoquiam with hook-ups so we parked there.  The parking was a grass field and since we've had lots of rain it was pretty muddy but we parked and settled in for a few days.
On Monday, 4/23 we drove about 60 miles to Olympia, Washington to Best Buy which we needed to visit since, once again, the cord on our GPS broke and needed to be replaced.  Cannot travel without our GPS! 

The Polson Museum was not open on Mondays or Tuesdays so we finally got to see it on Wednesday morning. It was worth the wait, it's an old mansion and has many interesting exhibits plus its fun to wander around all the rooms and imagine what it was like to live in it.

After leaving the museum it was finally time to finish our travels and drive the 85 miles north along Highway 101 to our summer home of Forks! It's so nice to be back. We weren't able to park behind the museum right away because it's been raining (pretty much non-stop for months) and the gravel was a muddy mess.  We parked at the end of the parking lot for 4 nights and then were able to back into our regular spot - YAY.!  We are now all settled in and back to work (and play) at the Forks Timber Museum - Double YAY!! 

New trail to explore - up the hill behind us