Ruby is quite the attraction in the US, with numerous people approaching us to ask about her, admire her etc. The people have been brilliant-very friendly and curious. We met a lovely lady called Jo (Patti) who was hiking past our camp spot with a friend, we have since received such a kind email from her wishing us well on our trip and sharing some of her own history with us. One man kept walking past for a look at Ruby and when we stopped to talk, he said (in a deep southern drawl, imagine Forest Gump`s accent) " that`s about the sweetest car I ever did see"! Well I could swear that Ruby batted her headlamps at him in delight!
From Rainier, we made our way to Mount St Helens, another active volcano which erupted violently in 1980, with its north side collapsing and triggering a lateral blast that devastated 150 square miles and sent up an eruption column that reached the stratosphere. It also caused the largest landslide ever. We visited the Mount St Helen`s Forest learning centre, which showed a short film about the eruption and had some excellent displays about its impact and the regeneration work that has gone on since. We also visited Johnston ridge observatory, which had spectacular views of the volcano and surrounding area. It was so interesting to see how the once conical volcano, had a gaping space on the side where it blew and how the valleys have been shaped by the eruption.
We decided to head to Portland, the capital of the State of Oregon, as we had read about a land rover mechanics there and Ruby (the sweet thing!) was in need of some TLC, in particular we were leaking oil out of the rear wheel hub. We had met the great family in Alaska (Stacey, Ryun, Paton and Heath) on the cruise who lived in Oregon, so we messaged them and they immediately invited us to stay with them. We had such a great 2 nights with them, playing pool, listening to music and chatting away to them. Whilst we were there they told us about the Tillamook county fair, on the coast, which was due the following weekend. When Gav heard that there was a race at the fair that involved people racing Ford model T cars whilst holding a piglet under their arm, we were destined to go there!
We took Ruby into the wonderful PDX British garage and met Francis, the owner and his wife, Elsa. They showed us such tremendous kindness, taking us out for lunch, having such an interest in our trip and ultimately not charging us for the 4 or so hours of work they did on Ruby. We loved meeting such kind, interesting people and hope to see them some day on the road.
Off we went again, arranging to meet our Oregon family at the weekend. We headed for the Oregon coast and highway 101, one of the most scenic coastal roads in the US. We started out at Cannon beach, where we camped overnight next to the beach, earning us a telling off at 7am the following morning when a ranger pulled up and told us we should not have camped there! Cannon beach was a beautiful sandy beach, with dramatic shoreline rock formations, such as Haystacks, which is home to puffins and other birds. We visited it early in the morning at low tide, where you can walk right up to it and see the birds and the marine life in the rockpools. It was beautiful. We visited Ecola park, which had wonderful views of the beaches and rock formations and hiked into the forest which hugs the coastline. We drove the coastline on the way to the Tillamook cheese factory, stopping at the numerous viewpoints to see the sandy beaches, the forests, and the caves. At the cheese factory we tasted some of the lovely cheese (the best we have tasted this trip!) and their glorious ice cream!
We stopped by at Astoria, visiting the tower and the County jail, where part of the Goonies was filmed. It is now a film museum and we spent a great hour in here, as you can act our short scenes from films that have been filmed in the area. We threw ourselves into this with gusto, earning a few looks from other customers, none who wanted to join in! We did scenes from The Shining, Point Break, Twilight and Kindergarten Cop. The best was Twilight where Gav had a long wig and crown and I thought I was wearing a unicorn hat, which was actually a broken Viking hat!
We met some characters whilst camping in the RV park at Cannon beach. Bob was a lovely gentleman in his mid seventies, who would come and chat a few times a day and give us good advice on places to visit in the US. He made me smile when he asked me what I did for a living. When I told him I worked with people who got into trouble-he made a firing gun gesture and said "I'd shoot them all"."So you`re a liberal then Bob?! I teased him. He was a super gentleman in spite of our differences of opinion on certain matters, with a genuine curiosity in our trip.
The weekend dawned and it was time to reunite with our Oregon family to go to the Tillamook fair. We met them at their beach house (amazing terrace with sea views) and we headed off. We had a great day there, looking at the livestock, eating the best fried food (corn dogs and chips) and betting a couple of dollars on the horse racing. The highlight was undoubtedly the Pig n Ford world championship finals, which are world famous. It involved the driver collecting a piglet from a pen, cranking up their ford model T car and driving it around the arena, swapping piglets each lap! The commentator said it is one of the most redneck things you will ever see! There was also a demolition derby which was equally as entertaining.
We spent the following day with the family, crabbing in their small boat and chilling out together on their wonderful balcony. In the evening, we played poker and had a fire with s`mores! We really hope to meet these guys again one day.
Saying goodbye on the Monday, we headed off again down the coast and spotted numerous grey whales close to the shore along the way. We camped at a casino overnight which offered free RV camping. We had a little flutter in the casino and made use of the free sodas and coffees, and the immaculate toilets! We stayed for one night in Sutherlin in an RV park and met a wonderful lady in her 70s who asked me where I was from. When I replied "England" she came over and, in all seriousness, asked me "what does the Queen think of Trump?!" she followed it up by saying "because I think he`s a Motherfuc...."! (you can guess the rest!). "I think that`s probably what the Queen thinks too" I spluttered! The RV park was originally the location of a drive in movie theatre and it still has its huge screen. The owners have invested in a huge projector and a sound system. we asked whether they were showing a film that night and they told us we could choose one! Gav chose the Goonies, as we had just passed through where it was filmed and we spent the evening on the grass, watching it on the big screen. It was brilliant!
Our next stop is the beautiful Crater Lake National Park, where we will spend a few days before heading towards Utah and our next workaway placement!