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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

Time To Slow Down Again

We are done visiting friends and family for a bit. It's been a bit of a rush since we left Texas, with set dates for family events. Now, we need to take 2 1/2 months to reach Michigan for the next scheduled event. It's nice being back to staying a couple nights in one place if we want to. I'm finding I need to balance the drive to keep moving and exploring with the need for the security that comes with simply knowing where I am before I open my eyes in the morning.

We left Lincoln City and spent a few days working our way up Highway 101, stopping near beaches at night.

The drive took us through the town of Tillamook, and we were excited to go on a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory. On the way, we passed the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. I don't know many French cheeses, but I know and love brie, so we made the impulsive decision to pull in. Outside, old farm equipment was parked, slowly rusting away, a testament to times gone by. We spent some time looking around and taking pictures before going inside.

The cheese company gift shop was definitely designed with tourists in mind. Small jars of jam and preserves, syrups, bars of chocolate, and all sorts of other goodies lined the shelves, alongside shirts and other souvenirs. We bought small containers of pea salad, tuna pasta salad, and cheese curds to share for lunch, and we each got a truffle for dessert - possibly the best truffle either of us has ever had. Chocolate for Abe and white chocolate lemon for me. After we finished our lunch, we went to the small petting area with a bag of grain we'd purchased with our lunch. A couple goats came running, begging for treats. We gave them small handfuls at a time until we got the attention of one of the pot-bellied pigs and he waddled over. We fed it...until one of the goats, quick a lightening, snatched the bag out of my hand, eating the entire thing before I could stop it, and we pet the pig...until he laid down out of our reach. Highway 101 is a beautiful drive. We alternated between overlooking the Pacific, and being swallowed by dense, dark forest. Right about the spot where Highway 101 turns east, we stayed in a boat ramp parking lot just outside the small town of Forks, WA. In the evening, we walked down the remains of the old ramp made of concrete slabs that were beginning to crumble with age, where Abe teeter tottered on the bottom slab using a rock as its fulcrum, and we soaked up the serenity of the small river running through the trees. The only sound besides a few birds was the occasional car driving over the old steel bridge that crossed the river.

The next morning, we visited John's Beachcomber's Museum, the largest beachcombing collection in the world, where we saw buoys, bins of glass floats, messages he found in bottles, a window from a space shuttle, debris that washed up on the Washington beach years after the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and more. John has been beachcombing since the 1970s, and when he retired several years ago, some friends convinced him to share his collection with the world. He had stories galore about the things he had found, and clearly took pride in it. John's Beachcomber's Museum made my ever-growing list of favorite things from our trip.

Sunday evening, we pulled into the 7 Cedars Casino parking lot. This one had free water and electricity, so I was able to work on laundry. We pulled the bikes out Monday and hit the ODT trail that runs through and around Sequim, WA. It was a lovely 80 degrees outside, and thanks to the electricity we were able to run the air conditioner for the dogs to keep them cool and comfortable while we put nearly 25 miles on our bikes. The trails took us down to the bay, over old railroad track bridges that crossed deep canyons, and through forest. That afternoon, Abe went into the casino for a bit. When he came out, he told me about the most wonderful thing he'd witnessed. The staff was informed that at four o'clock they would be able to remove their masks, so at four o'clock on the nose, there was a celebration as they were able to uncover their faces and breath in the cool air of the casino unimpeded for the first time in thirteen months! I wish so much that I had been there, but I was at least able to go in afterward and talk to some very excited employees. We stayed at the casino one more night. A couple weeks ago, we met a man who was also living in his motorhome, and he strongly suggested we stop at Leavenworth, WA. After talking to a few people about going there, I got the impression that Abe and I were the only people on Earth who hadn't heard of Leavenworth, WA. The German style town is set against tall mountains, and really is beautiful. It is a town that I'd recommend for those who like tourist areas. If you like souvenirs, brats, and beer, there are plenty to be found. One of the things I've learned about myself is that I don't enjoy collecting souvenirs. Abe and I both just see them as one more thing to take up space that will require cleaning. Especially in the motorhome. If we save something, it will more than likely be something found, like my bags of seashells, rather than something we buy. I don't have anything bad to say against Leavenworth, but it just isn't our cup of tea.

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