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Day 208 - Willapa Bay and a Carriage Museum (Photo's Added)

We drove all the way around Willapa Bay and visited a Carriage Museum in Raymond.

storm 45 °F

The snow stopped last night, but it was cold, windy and rainy off and on all day today (intermittent thundershowers I think they call it on the weather channels?)

We tried to visit the Cranberry Museum, but they were closed. The sign said they'd be open from 10 - 3, but they were closed at 10:20 when we got there - no sign as to why or how long they'd be closed, so we pretty much gave up on that for this trip.

We did stop at Long Beach briefly before heading north. I've lived in Western Washington almost 20 years now and had no idea "Long Beach" is the longest beach in the world? At least that's what the town proclaims:


Because of the storm runoff, the waves were unusually brown (the low ones in the foreground anyway). I thought this was a little unusual.


Willapa Bay has a nice NWR and is lovely to drive around, but it takes a couple of hours. Along the way, we stopped at the ranger station and picked up some information. They had a very interesting picnic table outside - based on a crab (notice the legs?) - or is it a butterfly?


The tree's were all covered in a very soft looking moss. It was too icy to walk along the path very far, but I couldn't resist a few pictures. The robins didn't seem to mind the snow & ice as much as we did.


Across from the ranger station was "Long Island" (not NY, but Willapa Bay). This is part of the NWR and has a limited amount of camping on it. It is also a very popular area for boating, there were several canoes & kayaks in the area even in this weather.


At the head of Willapa Bay are the twin towns of South Bend and Raymond. South Bend is the county seat, the result of a very interesting story in that the county seat (records) was actually, sort of, kidnapped in 1893. They built a fancy Courthouse with a 'glass art' dome in the early 1900's to help cement South Bend's status as the County Seat.


Outside the Courthouse was this interesting scene where the spring blossems seemed somewhat out of sync with the light dusting of snow from yesterdays storm.


Just north of South Bend is the city of Raymond, home to the Northwest Carriage Museum.


There was a display outside as well, an old horse drawn 'Tankwagon'.


Unlike other's we've seen on this trip, it's carriages are beautifully restored - they each look like showroom quality, maybe better. They also have lots of interpretive signs and displays, including one on how carriage wheels are made. Here are some of my better photo's - due to the large numbers however, I'll post them all as "Thumbnails". If you click on them, there is a better description attached to each one (from those lovely interpretive signs!)


While most of the Carriage Museum is taken up with carriages, there are also display's about how carriages are built, about life in the 1800's, and also some exhibits about clothing and travelling in the 1800's such as this trunk.


After taking about 5,000 pictures of carriages (just kidding), we drove on through Tokeland, on the north end of Willapa Bay. This is the home to the historic Tokeland Hotel, which unfortunately was closed when we stopped by.


Tokeland is quite small and is home to a small fishing fleet. At the marina we encountered a very large flock of godwits. Of course, I took pictures (also of a couple of sanderlings pretending they were godwits).


One of the problems the State has had with this area is erosion. Portions of Hwy 105 have fallen off into the Pacific and had to be rebuilt. You can clearly see some of the affects of erosion along the shoreline. This area is where the highway turns north up the coastline.


We followed Hwy 105 into Westport. Westport is on the south side of the entrance to Grays Harbor and home to the Grays Harbor Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Washington - which unfortunately had closed about 15 minutes before we got there. At 107 feet, this is the third tallest lighthouse on the west coast.


Westport is a pretty small town in the winter (or late spring), the main business seems to be taking folks out on deep sea fishing charters. They also have a maritime museum, but it was closed by the time we got there (by now, after 5 PM).


It was so late by the time we left Westport, we just drove through Aberdeen and Hoquiam and bypassed Oceanshores. There are nice things to see and do in these towns also, but it was getting late and I wanted to get to the campground in Ocean City before dark. (This area is also fairly close to where I live, so I can go back there again someday to see things I had to miss on this trip.)

So we're safely encamped at a membership campground out here at Ocean Shores. Mom doesn't like the rain and snow much and was hinting maybe we should just skip the rest of the trip (less than a week now) and head straight home. I'd prefer to stay with the plan but may compromise and maybe not take as long to drive around the Olympic Loop (Cape Flattery is the last of the four 'corners' we plan to visit in the circumnavigation). Stay posted, we'll see (if the weather changes for the better, she'll probably want to just keep on driving indefinitely!)


Miles Driven - 144, Cumulative - 19,584
Camped at TT Ocean City RV Campground

Provisions - Gas $36.71 for 10.2 gallons

Posted by jl98584 23:23 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Ha! Tell her you want to turn around and head back to Texas. No snow here! We had a great time in Big Bend last week. Highs in the 80's. (Cool for there). The wildflowers are out in all their spring glory.

by TexasRTJ

Be careful what you wish for! I think Mom has decided to become a 'Snow Bird'.

Big Bend was great and we probably should have spent some more time there. Good excuse to go back someday. Presuming you saw a lot of birds?

by jl98584

Snowbird--not a bad way to live, if you ask me!
We did see a few birds (besides snowbirds!) in Big Bend, but I wasn't really looking for them. With a large group (there were 8 of us), they tend to flit away. I enjoy more just the overall experience--going for a long hike and feeling exhausted while seeing great scenery. The birds are just a small part of it. If I focused on them, I'd have to haul along binoculars and a bird book and everytime I saw a bird, stop and figure it out. I find that interferes with my enjoyment of the overall scene. It's OK once and awhile when specifically doing a birding trip with my mom or someone like that, but it's not my preference in Big Bend and other great scenic and wilderness areas.

by TexasRTJ

I don't think I'd like that approach to birding either. What I've been doing on this trip is kind of fun though, just take pictures during the day, then try to pull out the book and identify them later. Of course, to do that you need a very easy and fun camera to use. Couldn't do it without the 12x zoom and image stabilization - it would just take too long to set up a tripod & big camera, aim, focus, etc. - although some pictures would come out better. Most of the time, the birds would fly the coop before you could capture them. High end, prosumer type camera's are just faster to use and more fun (Perhaps, I'll have to wait until I get a DSLR to really compare - not this year though).

by jl98584

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