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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Ok…what now Newman???? Yeesh, we need a break!

This morning we were going to explore Astoria, Oregon, the cute little town that we had staying in last night. Our drive today, was only about 1.5 hours, so that meant we could take our time to explore Astoria.

Before we went exploring though, we needed to get our Winegard system for our wifi set up to use in the U.S. We have a Roger’s SIM card in the Winegard that Richard needed to swap out, and exchange with a AT&T SIM card, that had originally come with the Winegard system. The issue was to do the swap, he had to crawl up onto the roof and exchange the SIM cards. With the rain we had yesterday, the last thing we needed Richard to do was get up on a wet roof, so we endured very bad wifi last evening at Lewis & Clark RV park in Astoria, knowing that once we had our own AT&T data, we could have our own wifi through the Winegard system. After Richard swapped out the SIM card, he then had to call Winegard and purchase a monthly data plan for the SIM card. Once that was all done, it was time to get Newman ready to leave the RV park for the very short journey to downtown Astoria.

Look how much roof Richard (who hates heights) has to walk over to get to the Winegard system?

The Winegard wifi booster!

While Richard was dealing with the Winegard, I decided to use 3 large rolls of paper towel to try and mop up some more water out of our bedroom carpet.

Three large Kirkland brand rolls of paper towels were used on this small section of the bedroom floor this morning.…and the floor is still damp.

While Richard was outside unplugging Newman and storing our hoses and electrical cables, I was on Google Earth trying to figure out where to park Newman downtown Astoria, that would be within walking distance of downtown. I discovered that the Columbia River Maritime Museum had RV parking! I could tell from the size of the white lines in their parking lot, when I looked on Google Earth. What a great tool Google Earth is for helping with parking Newman!

Richard came in after unplugging us and we were ready to go to Astoria for the morning!

Or were we?

All of these lights started flashing randomly on the dash. Voltage, Fuel, Rear and Front Airbags.

Oh, Oh, that’s not good!

What do we do now? If its anything like our computers when they act up, we turn them off and turn them back on again…only that didn’t work with Newman. Richard went and checked outside in the compartment where all of the fuses are and he used some WD40 on the fuses in case they were wet. That didn’t help. He checked the air bags and they were full because they had inflated. Now what? We decided that there must be something that was wet after all the rain we drove through yesterday, so we should just get going and try and have a nice day in Astoria. Newman seemed to be working fine - so we drove to Astoria and parked in the RV parking at the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

Newman holding court in downtown Astoria. By the time we got out of Newman downtown Astoria, it had started to rain. I went back to change coats to get my goretex jacket. Will we ever get some sunshine?

He’s smiling but he wasn’t really in the mood to smile. I told him to just try to forget about Newman’s issues while we looked around Astoria today.

Astoria we found out today, was where they filmed the movie ‘Free Willy’ and the town is sometimes called ‘Little San Francisco’ because of the steep hillside streets with Victorian homes perched above the wide mouth of the Columbia River.

Nice Victorian homes overlooking the Columbia River, in Astoria, Oregon.

Look how high that street goes with homes perched very high above the main shopping street in Astoria.

The town of Astoria has invested heavily in being able to host large ocean going cruise ships and today a river boat cruise ship happened to be in town! We saw the tour bus picking up the river boat’s passengers to show them around this historic town.

The Astoria- Megler bridge is barely visible in the background with all the fog we had this morning. You couldn’t see across the river to Washington State.

Now we could see the bridge, but not all of it, because of the fog.

We walked around the historic downtown area of Astoria, which was a very quaint downtown. In December 1922 a fire began downtown Astoria which destroyed up to 30 blocks. Approximately 2500 residents lost their homes, and the damages exceeded 100’s of millions of dollars. The fire is considered to be one of the worst in Oregon’s history. When the City was rebuilt after the fire, the architecture at the time was Art Deco/Art Nouveau. It was interesting to note that most of the buildings had the year that they were built on them and most were after 1922.

The John Jacob Astor Hotel built in 1922, in downtown Astoria.

Examples of Art Deco architecture in the buildings in Astoria.

The Hotel Elliott claims they have ‘Wonderful Beds!’

Colombian Theater.

Liberty Theatre downtown Astoria. This building was so ornate!

We wandered around for a few hours downtown, and then we headed back to Newman who was waiting for us!

Newman was patiently waiting for us in Astoria. I wonder if he’s fixed his warning lights by now?

I didn’t leave Astoria empty handed though! I bought a cute nautical Christmas ornament and a Rain Chain for our home in Florida. I had seen rain chains on the homes on Vancouver Island and always thought they looked neat, so I bought a bell rain chain to hang once we get there.

New rain chain for Florida.

Richard had his leftover seafood chowder for lunch before we left Astoria, and I had an apple, as I wasn’t that hungry yet.

We drove through lots of small towns down Hwy 101, on the Oregon coast today.

The temperature was +12C and pretty foggy for most of the day, which meant we couldn’t see much of the coastline unfortunately. Notice the Christmas amaryllis we are growing in our front window. Trader Joe’s sells them, so hopefully the flower will make it to Florida!

There is some pretty rugged coastline in Oregon.

This small town of NEHALEM, Oregon looked like it had Western false fronts on all of the buildings.

Oregon Haystack Rock, which originated from volcanic eruptions some 16-25 million years ago that took place in Eastern Oregon. When I went to take photos of the rock, Richard stayed in Newman because he wanted to try and google what was the issue with the warning lights on the dash. Richard saw me go over the small guardrail, but he didn’t see me come back to walk further down the road for a better view. As I was calmly walking back to Newman after taking this photo, Richard was searching for me down the embankment! The poor guy…how stressed out can one person get in a day!

Another view of the haystack rock.

We finally started to see the sun trying to break through the clouds, the further south we went along the coast in Oregon.

The sun was shining on one specific spot of the Pacific Ocean. Not a great picture, but it was a neat phenomenon.

And then we finally made it to the town we were staying at for the night!

Tillamook, Oregon, the home of the Tillamook Creamery!

Tilamook is Richard’s favorite cheese whenever we are in the U.S. so it was very appropriate that we take some time to visit the Tillamook Creamery today.

The Tillamook creamery was re-built in its same location, in 2018, adding an extra 10,000 square feet to the facility.

We had to do the self guided tour as neither one of us had ever been to a cheese factory before.

Looking at the history of the cheese factory, before we headed upstairs to see the production facility.

Tillamook has been owned by a farmer’s co-op since the production began in 1909, and is still owned by the farmer’s co-op today.

40 pound blocks of cheese coming off the assembly line after having just been formed. These will now go for ageing.

The cheese was being cut and then weighed. Anything which was not the correct weight after being cut was either being made into individual cheese slices, or it went for grating. Nothing was being wasted.

We had to visit the gift shop of course!

There were so many different cheese to choose from, it was difficult to decide what to purchase today!

My saying ‘go big or go home’ applied today. When in Tillamook why not get the oldest cheese they sell (2012) even if its $31.50 for a block? Jim from Fernie, says this cheese pairs very well with a fine red wine, so we’ll have to try it out!

After visiting the gift store at the Tillamook creamery, we decided we needed to try their ice cream, which has 30% more cream than FDA standards and less air.

Oh what should we have? So many flavours to choose from!

I can’t decide between Oregon dark cherry, or Oregon hazelnut salted caramel!

This is how they served the cones. Upside down in a bowl. Brilliant!

I went with the Oregon hazelnut, salted caramel, and Richard had the buttered pecan. Both were delicious!

We ate our cones outside as there was no proof of double vaccination required inside, so we preferred to eat on the sunny benches outside the creamery.

I think we have enough cheese to last us for awhile now!

And the good news was after visiting the Tillamook creamery, we only had 2 miles to go down the road until we reached our Harvest Host location for the evening. Not having to pay for an RV site tonight meant that I needed to visit their gift shop too. The suggested purchase was $20.

Our Harvest Host location this evening.

This really is a working farm. They also produce wine here too, so I bought a bottle of their Pinot Gris to try.

After we arrived at Blue Heron French Cheese Company, Richard decided to call the Good Sam tech hotline. We have Good Sam RV support for Newman instead of CAA, as Good Sam specializes in RV support. After much discussion with tech support, the tech was still stumped and said he would take it away overnight to do some research to see what we could do to fix the problem with Newman. Richard is going to look under Newman’s hood as well in the morning, once there is daylight, and then perhaps get back on the phone with the Good Sam tech support person. Newman is driving fine, but Richard doesn’t like looking at flashing dash lights. Maybe we just need to get some duct tape for the dash to cover up the warning lights!

I wonder when we will get a day without something going wrong? We definitely need a break from bad luck. We had a good day today though, exploring Oregon. I’m kind of liking this state. It has a great vibe! And with the weather improving the further south we get, hopefully we’ll get some more better breaks, the weather will improve and Newman will stop acting up!

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