Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Washington

State 42:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Washington

Washington became the 42nd state on November 11, 1889. The Capital is Olympia.

Our first journey through the state of Washington began when we crossed the state line from Idaho heading west. After a quick night in Spokane we drove across the plains of south east and central Washington. On both sides of the highway were fields of sweet corn, alfalfa, potatoes and spearmint. Later in the day the flat land changed to rolling hills.  We stopped at the Columbia River Gorge for a look before crossing the river.

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Columbia River Gorge
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Columbia River Gorge

After another quick stay at a campground outside of Seattle, we drove through Olympia and began our journey on Hwy 101 to the Olympic Peninsula. For many miles we traveled along the Hood Canal before arriving in Port Angeles to explore Olympic National Park.

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Hood Canal beside Hwy 101

A drive to the top of Hurricane Ridge was the first thing on our agenda. It was sunny when we started the ascent up the winding road but it wasn’t long before the snow started coming down. When we arrived at the top the snow was deep and there were snow boarders and cross country skiiers enjoying the snow. The view of the mountains was spectacular.

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Driving through snow on the road to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park
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Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park
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Deer beside the road on the way to Hurricane Ridge
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On the way back down we stopped for a view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca with Canada on the other side

Another day we drove by Crescent Lake on the way to the Hoh Rain Forest. When we arrived at the National Park entrance we were disappointed to find it closed. After making a few purchases at a small store a few miles from the entrance we found out there was a trail head just outside the park so off we went to explore the trail. There had been a big storm the previous year and there were many trees down.

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Crescent Lake
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Hiking in the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington
Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park, Washington

After our hike, we passed by a field with Roosevelt Elk on the drive back to the campground.

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Roosevelt Elk in Olympic National Park
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Roosevelt Elk in Olympic National Park

Dungeness Harbor was nearby so one night we went for dinner at the Three Crabs (the restaurant is now closed). There was a great view of the New Dungeness Lighthouse and were able to watch the sun go down.

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New Dungeness Lighthouse
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Sunset at Dungeness Harbor

Leaving Port Angeles in our rear view mirror we continued our journey through Washington on Hwy 101. As we drove south along the coast we caught our first glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. Hoping to find a parking space big enough for our truck and fifth wheel, we turned off the highway into a parking area at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park. Success! It was a little tight but there was space to park and turn around to get back to the highway. After going down a short path to the beach we enjoyed our first walk beside the Pacific Ocean.

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Our first view of the Pacific Ocean was Ruby Beach
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Ruby Beach
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Ruby Beach

We continued down the coast to our next stop, Cape Disappointment Sate Park on the Long Beach Peninsula. It quickly became one of our all time favorite state park campgrounds. Our site was spacious with with a path behind the site. Inside the state park there were trails to explore, beautiful beaches, two lighthouses, magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean from high atop cliffs, and a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The first order of business to walk down the path and we were thrilled to step out onto a beautiful beach with a view of the North Head Lighthouse.

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I loved this view of the North Head Lighthouse as we walked out on the beach from the trail behind our campsite
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A short trail behind our campsite at Cape Disappointment State Park led us to this beautiful beach
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Sunset at Cape Disappointment State Park
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High above the Pacific Ocean at Cape Disappointment State Park
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Boat washed up on the beach at Cape Disappointment State Park

Lewis and Clark first spotted the Pacific Ocean while in the area and there is evidence of the their presence in and around the state park. We learned a lot about their journey at the excellent Interpretive Center in the state park.

We explored some of the nearby towns and beaches on the Long Beach Peninsula. We ate our fill of local seafood at some of the restaurants in the area. Blondie loved running on the dog friendly beaches.

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Blondie loved the dog friendly beach at Long Beach

We loved the two lighthouses at Cape Disappointment State Park.

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North Head Light
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Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Our first Washington adventure ended when we crossed the Columbia River into Oregon. Several years later we returned to Washington on our return trip from Alaska. After a couple of nights in Orroville just south of the border from British Columbia our route took us past more beautiful scenery and the Grand Coulee Dam.

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Driving along in northern Washington after our trip to Alaska in 2013
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Near the Grand Coulee Dam
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Grand Coulee Dam

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania    South Carolina     South Dakota     Tennessee     Texas     Utah     Virginia

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – South Carolina

State 36:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. We have never been to Rhode Island so the next state in my series is

South Carolina

South Carolina became the 8th state on May 23, 1788. The capital is Columbia.

For most of my life I have lived about 30 minutes from the Georgia/South Carolina state line. We’ve crossed the Talmadge bridge from Savannah into South Carolina many times to travel the beautiful lowcountry roads for day trips to Hilton Head, Bluffton or Beaufort. We’ve also enjoyed may boat ride in the waters around Daufuskie Island and Hilton Head Island.

Before we started our RV travels we made a couple of weekend trips to Charleston. When we weren’t browsing the booths at City Market or enjoying one of the many great restaurants we wandered the streets admiring the antebellum homes with their beautiful gardens.   Our walks would usually end up at the Battery where we strolled along the promenade by the seawall and explored the waterfront park.

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Rainbow Row in Charleston
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Charleston Battery
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Pineapple Fountain in Charleston’s Waterfront Park, The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality.
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Charleston Battery

Henry and I have fond memories of the days we took our children tent camping in Hunting Island State Park so we planned a trip there in our fifth wheel. The Hunting Island Lighthouse is located in the park and the beach is just a short walk from the campground.

One year the mountains of the South Carolina Upcountry were a great place for a getaway from the August heat of coastal Georgia. Our home for a few days was Oconee State Park, located about 30 minutes from the Georgia state line in one direction and the North Carolina state line in another direction. Scenic drives near the campground took us to waterfalls, unfinished tunnels and swimming holes.

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and the home of the University of South Carolina. We’ve been there for concerts, football games, and to see our grandson play in a soccer tournament. On RV trips it is sometimes a convenient place to spend the night when traveling to another destination.

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Georgia fans in red and South Carolina fans in garnet at Williams-Bryce Stadium

On one of our RV trips we enjoyed stopping at Little Cedar Creek Campground. The park is a nice county park in Ridgeway, South Carolina and we had a great meal at the Old Town Hall Restaurant.

Old Town Hall in Ridgeway, South Carolina
Old Town Hall in Ridgeway, South Carolina

Lake Wateree State Park was another enjoyable place to spend a couple of nights. The park is a popular destination for families and boaters.

And how could we resist stopping at South of the Border on Interstate 95 just south of the North Carolina state line?

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South of the Border

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Oregon

State 34:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

Oregon

Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. The capital is Salem.

Our visit to Oregon was entirely along the spectacular Pacific coast along Highway 101. In order to have easy access to the scenic overlooks we traveled south from Washington. After crossing the Columbia River bridge our Oregon journey began.

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Crossing the Columbia River into Oregon

We were towing our fifth wheel as we drove south. Lucky for us the overlooks were big enough that we didn’t have any trouble finding parking places.

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Tillimook Rock Lighthouse
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Northern Oregon Coast
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Northern Oregon Coast

We enjoy camping in state parks so before we left home I called the Oregon State Parks to find out if I needed campground reservations. We were traveling in late April and the ranger assured me we would not have a problem finding a campsite that time of year (this was ten years ago and campsites may be harder to get now). Our first two night stay was at Beverly Beach State Park in Newport. With the fifth wheel parked in our campsite we were able to take the truck on several scenic drives.

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Devil’s Punchbowl
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Surfer’s on the beach looking for the right waves
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Bridge at Depoe Bay
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Bridge on Otter Crest Drive

We visited two lighthouses near Newport.

After climbing to the top of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse we walked down a series of stairs for a stroll along the beach. We came upon Harbor Seals sunning themselves on the rocks.

I love the Oregon bridges and this one we saw from the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was one of my favorites.

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Bridge near Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Our Oregon adventure continued as we continued south from Newport on Hwy 101. The first stop of the day was at the Sea Lion Caves near Florence. The caves are 250 feet below the visitors center. After a long elevator ride we were down in the caves for a close up view of the Stellar Sea Lions. The waves crashed into the cave while the seals held on to the rocks and barked at each other.

As we continued south we passed the huge Oregon sand dunes and stopped for lunch at the Umqua Lighthouse State Park.

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Umpqua Lighthouse

We settled into our campsite at Humbug Mountain State Park near Port Orford for our next two night stay. Our campsite was a short walk from the beach.

The campground was just a short drive to the Port Orford Heads State Park and Lifeboat Stations. The ocean views were breathtaking as we hiked along the trails on top of the cliffs. At the museum we learned the Coast Guardsmen used to go down over 500 steps to launch their lifeboats.

When we weren’t enjoying the rugged coast, lighthouses, dog friendly beaches, bridges, seals and lifeboat stations in Oregon we took time out to enjoy some amazing fresh seafood in Newport and Port Orford. Our time there was short and we didn’t waste a minute of it.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – North Carolina

State 30:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is

North Carolina

North Carolina became the 12th state on November 21, 1789. The capital is Raleigh.

From the Great Smokey Mountains to the Outer Banks, there is a lot to explore in North Carolina. Waterfalls and beaches, hikes and scenic drives, mountains and racetracks, wildlife and wildflowers  –  these are just a few of the things that make North Carolina memorable.

Back before our RVing days we wandered around the Outer Banks seeing the lighthouses and beaches, visiting the Wright Brothers Monument where they took their first flight, and taking the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke.  Another ferry took us from Ocracoke back to the mainland where we visited Bath where the pirate Blackbeard once lived.

If you love waterfalls, you won’t be disappointed in North Carolina.

It doesn’t get any better than a campsite with a beautiful view. Our campsite at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville was perfect for hanging out after hiking or touring the fabulous Biltmore Estate.

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Blondie taking a break at our campsite at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville
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Biltmore Estate in Asheville
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Sunset at Campfire Lodgings in Asheville

I felt as if I had gone back in time to Mayberry as we wandered around Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy.

We ended our tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the winner’s circle.

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In the Winner’s Circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway

One of the hikes we made was on Whiteside Mountain in the Nantahala National Forest.

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Whiteside Mountain in Nantahala National Forest

Whether it’s the leaves showing their fall colors or the flowers showing their brilliant blooms, the vibrant colors of the North Carolina mountains change with the seasons.

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Fall Colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway

We explored Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mingus Mill in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park near Cherokee.

And if it’s wildlife you’re looking for, try visiting in the fall where you might see the bugling elk in Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York