Ft. Stevens State Park-2017

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Ft. Stevens State Park is up at the tip of Oregon, by the ocean.  We love to camp there because there’s so much to do in the surrounding area.  The park has a lake, Coffinbury Lake, where we like to fish.  Even on a “bad” fishing trip, we usually catch something.   On this trip, we went fishing 3-4 times, and caught a total of 5 trout.

For the first 1/2 of our stay, Rob and I only had 1 child with us, Patsy.  That is such a difference from our “norm” that I did nothing but sleep and fish for the first day!  During the second half of our stay, our nephew, Jake joined us, giving us a little more excitement:)  By then, we were rested up, and enjoyed doing things with both kids.

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Rob helped Jake catch a little bass, but we did not keep it.

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One day, we went crabbing off a bridge in nearby Seaside.  We got 2 keepers!  A kind man who was cleaning his freezer drove by the bridge where we were crabbing and offered us some old clams and some clam guts.  We gratefully accepted and that’s what we got the 2 keepers on.  We pulled up lots of females and too-small crabs on our usual chicken, but there were so many traps in the water that the larger, male crabs must have been in the mood for a change.

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We were disappointed because we were not able to catch razor clams this year.  Last summer, we had so much fun and got a lot.  We brought all of our equipment, but were informed that razor clamming was closed due to some kind of toxicity in the clams.   Sad as we were, we did not want to take any chances eating unsafe clams, so we did not follow any (bad) advice we were given by several older men to “just do it anyway” because they ate them and were still alive.  No thank you.  It may open again in October, we will see.

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Instead, we visited nearby Battery Russell, and the Ft. Stevens military museum and the site where the actual fort had been.  Most of the information dealt with defending the coastline during World War II.  Jake especially loved the guns, tanks and other military items.  It was his first time there.

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We saw deer, squirrels, birds of all sorts, and elk!  Several elk were meandering through the nearby town of Hammond one day while we were driving through.  I’m glad I don’t have to contend with those coming near my garden!!

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Of course, no beach trip is complete without digging in the sand, for the kids, at least!

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We went down by the wreck of the Peter Iredale, which is the carcass of a ship that’s been down on the beach near our campsite for as long as I can remember.

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We went to the mouth of the Columbia River and the kids fed the seagulls the old pancakes that were leftover from breakfast.  We got to see several boats, some of which were going out (maybe fishing) and some coming in (probably bringing in cargo).

We drove over the 4-mile bridge that separates the state of Oregon from the state of Washington.  We always enjoy doing that and the kids love it, too!  Between all of those activities, the kids built Legos, watched movies, and read books.  They listened to stories on c.d. from the library while we drove.

On Friday morning, we packed up early and headed back home.  It was a fun, busy, educational week, packed with lots of outdoor activities.  It was especially satisfying because we had wanted to give Jake experiences he did not usually engage in, and boy, did we succeed.  He wants to go camping some more, and that’s just how we wanted it to turn out!

Crabbing on a Pole at the Oregon Coast

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Too bad it is a female!  Rob and Patsy spent some time trying to catch both fish and crab off the jetty at Newport, Oregon.  They have tried twice in the past few days, but so far, no keepers.  Here’s hoping……

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Everything that was caught went back into the bay.

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There was lots to look at, though, as there always is at the beach.  We were marveling at the size of the rocks the jetty was built with.  The kids wanted to know where they came from and how in the world anyone moved them here to build the jetty.  We don’t know.  Maybe the mountains.  Maybe a big truck.   All we know is that they are huge!

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The waves were really crashing.  It was beautiful.

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In the midst of it all, the wild strawberries are bravely blooming.

We had fish from the grocery store for dinner last night.  Some fishing and crabbing trips are like that.  We didn’t catch anything edible, but instead, added many more fun memories to those we already made.  This summer is not going to be the same as last year’s “Summer of Adventure,” but I have a feeling that although it’s not summer yet, new adventures are already beginning.

Rolling Logs and Crashing Waves

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We spent Saturday night down at the beach.  The waves were majestic and extremely powerful. There were huge waves and they were picking up a lot of debris from the beach.  I enjoyed watching this log being tossed and thrown around by the waves like a toothpick.  It did remind me of why there are so many signs warning of danger from logs in the waves though, as I watched the waves effortlessly move it back and forth, and when I saw how many logs and other items were in the surf.

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This time, we stayed in a beach house in Lincoln City, Oregon.  We were with my sister and her family, and had a great time.  Since our time was so short, we spent most of our time there watching waves from the large, glass windows instead of taking trips to sight-see.  The view was amazing!

We stopped on the way there for a picnic.  That’s where I enjoyed watching the logs get tossed around from the safety and comfort of my van.  I couldn’t resist getting out for a closer look, and some photo opportunities.  Of course, the sea gulls were out in full force, and wanted our picnic badly.

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At one point, while we were in the van, one gull kept trying to come through the window for tasty tidbits he was interested in.  We had my niece, nephew and 2 daughters with us.  They all got a laugh as Rob turned on the windshield wipers to scare the bird away before it could leave any presents on the window of the van.  Other people were feeding them, so they quickly moved on to greener pastures, leaving our kids to eat in peace!

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Clams

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Last week while we were at Ft. Stevens State Park, we took the girls clamming.  Rob and I had not been clamming for many years, and the girls never had.  We had one clam gun and one shovel.  The clam gun worked the best, but we did get a few with the shovel.  It only took Rob and I a little while to remember what to look for–a little bump on the sand where the clam was getting its air from.  Sometimes, it was a little hole with no bump.

When one of these tell-tale circles was spotted, the person holding the clam gun quickly twisted, pushed and dug down with the plastic tube.  Then, her finger was placed on the hole at the top to create suction, and the tube of sand was pulled up.  When the finger was removed, the sand fell out of the tube.  Hopefully there was a clam inside.  Truthfully, more times than not, it took several digs to get one, and sometimes they escaped.

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Sometimes they didn’t!

We got a total of 39 clams.  We could have had more, but it started pouring rain on our heads, and after all, there was only one clam gun and we had to take turns.  We were so soaked when we finally did stop that we had to go to the laundromat and wash our coats and clothing that afternoon.  We were having that much fun!!!

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We followed the instructions on U-Tube and dipped the clams briefly in boiling water to easily remove the shells.  Then, we (mostly Rob) cleaned them out.  Frankly, we were not great at that.  We ended up with a lot of pieces, not the large, whole clams on the video, but still, we were satisfied.

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The rules said that you had to take them all, broken or not, so we did.  The broken ones were especially sandy.  I washed them many times and finally trimmed off any parts that were so sandy I couldn’t get them clean.  I froze 2/3 of the clam pieces and saved out 1/3 to experiment with.

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I made a gluten-free tempura batter from Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 flour (about 1 cup), 1 egg, some milk and a little seltzer water.  I dipped them, and then fried them in a shallow pan with oil in it.  I could have used more oil, but made do.

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We then sprinkled them with Lowrie’s Seasoning Salt.  They were good, but were on the tough side.  I think I cooked them too long.  I thought I’d make bigger clam strips than what you get in restaurants, but I guess there’s a reason they are small.  I think it takes too long to get the larger amount of tempura to cook all the way through.  I also could have cooked them more quickly if I had owned more oil.  I want to try it again.  I also plan to make clam chowder with some of the frozen ones.

We will go clamming again.  Everyone had a good time.  We now have our shellfish licenses, so can use them all year.  It was very rewarding to catch so many.  The tide was very low, so we will try to find another day with a low tide and try it again the next time we are down at the beach.  We might even want to invest in another clam gun or two.  Then there won’t be so many discussions about whose turn it is……

Memorial Day Weekend-2016-Day 1

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We had an easy drive down to Ft. Stevens State Park, near Astoria on Thursday.  After setting up camp, we decided to go fishing in the mouth of the Columbia River.  Actually, Rob wanted to go fishing, the rest of us went along for the ride.

We drove down the road, and turned into the place where Rob had fished years ago.  Our “Summer of Adventure” got off to a great start when the road was no longer there, and it turned quickly into a sand path.  Obviously, others had traveled down that way, so we tried to as well.  We quickly changed our minds and turned around.  Much to our dismay, our van was not up to the task, and the wheels began to hopelessly spin in the sand.  Oops!  After fruitlessly spinning for a while, going a bit, then getting stuck again, I declared I needed OUT!  NOW!  So, I jumped out while Rob, with a determined look on his face, gunned the engine, got going and blasted his way out of that predicament!  Whew.  To get out of the sand, he was going pretty fast, and got a little ways down the road, while I trotted behind.  He stopped.  I got back in and we both started giggling hopelessly.  “Summer of Adventure” we chorused in unison!

The next place we tried was better.  There was a parking lot.  Nice and firm.  We parked and got out, and went down the path.  Sadly, that one led to a drop-off and we knew that we could get down, but probably not back up–so it was a no-go.  We hiked first one way, and then another, and Ja’Ana found a way.  This was through quite a few bushes, I will say, which was interesting with the fishing poles, but we made it.

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Rob has a 2-pole license, so he set up the 2 poles, and the rest of us read, sat on chairs, or roamed the beach at will.  He got 1 bite, but had fun.

We were treated to the sight of the lumber ship, pictured above, leaving the mouth of the Columbia, heading out for unknown ports.  It was a majestic sight, weaving between the markers that led it through the channel.

It started raining, so we packed it up and headed back to the camper.  Day 1 was a success.

Beverly Beach State Park Camping Trip

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We recently had a great trip to Beverly Beach State Park.  We took the camper, which was a very good thing as the weather ranged from torrential rain, to extreme wind, to cold, clear and sunny.

One morning, between rain showers, we were able to go down to the beach.  It was a short, easy hike from where we were camped to the trail that went under the bridge for Hwy. 101.  Once we followed the trail under the bridge, we were able to pick our way through the debris from recent storms down to the sand.

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We love the beach, rain or shine, so we were not disappointed.  We went down on the sand for a short time and enjoyed watching the seagulls and other birds on the shore.  We took a short walk, and then were chased back to the camper by the cold wind and threatening skies.  We were so glad we were able to steal even a few minutes on the beach–a real treat in December.

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Seagulls

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On our recent trip to the Oregon Coast, we were taking a scenic drive  in-between rain showers and pulled into a view point to just sit and watch the majesty of the Pacific Ocean.   Rob was able to capture this photograph of a seagull perched on this sign.  We thought it was rather funny as seagulls are always trying to get people to feed them old bread and it seemed like he was warning us to not leave any unattended!  Unfortunately for him, we had not come prepared this time with any scraps for the birds.

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Later, when the rain cleared for a few hours, we were able to get down onto the beach and enjoy seeing more gulls.  Even though they are one of the most common birds at the beach, we never get tired of watching them.

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When we got too close, they took flight, heading off away from us intruders who had dared to invade their patch of the sand!

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