After spending two months in the south Tacoma (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) area we decided for a change of scenery and traveled to Westport on the Pacific coast. What a change in temperature! We went from hot to generally cool temperatures. Depending on the winds, it got downright cold for short periods.We stayed at the American Sunset RV Park and Campground. Our daughter, Elisabeth, and our daughter-in-law, Sandra, and our granddaughters, Katrina, Clarissa, and Sierra, joined us. Sunset is a nice park, right in the town of Westport, making it very convenient for a number of reasons. The twins, Clarissa and Sierra, are doing summer workouts for fall cross-country; Pat and I like to ride our bikes in the morning; and it is a short drive to shops and dining.
We started out walking along the shore at the entrance to Half-Moon Bay. This wall of boulders is a big line of defense against storm winds and erosion. To say it was fun traversing the boulders was an understatement; our granddaughters love to climb on rocks!
There was an unloaded freighter riding at anchor in the bay, but the big attraction was a kite-boarder. We watched him preparing his rig on the beach and then heading downwind. Even though he was wearing a wetsuit, he still looked COLD!
Sandra and Katrina (oldest granddaughter) had to go back home after a few days. The next day we took the twins kayaking on the John’s River, east of town. It was a great day for kayaking. The current was light enough that we could paddle up and down stream with little effort. On our way back to the boat ramp, we turned off the main channel and wandered through some side channels for a little adventure.
One afternoon, Pat, Elisabeth, granddaughter Sierra, and I hiked some of the trails at Twin Harbors State Park. There is a good-sized network of trails in the park. They pass by some of the campground, the inner dune zone, and onto the beach. The beaches in Washington are busy places. You can expect to see picnickers, clammers (people digging for clams), vehicles driving on the beach, and surfers. Making makeshift shelters from driftwood is also a popular activity.
One afternoon I rode my bike to the Westport Maritime Museum. I am the big museum person in the group and visited this one on my own while the rest relaxed at the RV park. The museum occupies the old Coast Guard Station. This building provided the office and living spaces for the Coast Guardsmen who operated the station. The displays described the life of the Coast Guard and the fishing community in Westport. For me the highlight of the visit was in the building that used to house the lifeboats – it now holds a display of the Destruction Island Lighthouse lens. The Fresnel (pronounced Fruh-nel) Lens was a revolutionary improvement to lighthouses. This unique lens focused a relatively small light so it could be seen for miles. A First Order Lens is the largest and used to mark hazards to ships. The smallest is a Sixth Order Lens and is used to mark docks and other structures in a harbor. The museum has a First Order Lens that has been fully restored. This is the only First Order Lens I have ever seen up close and personal. The docent on duty did an excellent job of explaining the lenses and their uses. For a lighthouse fanatic like me, it was an excellent visit.
That afternoon our son, Scott, joined us and the next day we drove south to Willapa Bay to kayak on Smith Creek. The paddling was great. We paddled upstream until we ran into a logjam that we couldn’t cross. If the tide had been in, we might have been able to explore farther upstream. We paddled downstream until we found a tributary and turned into that. We eventually ran into a dead end and headed back to our launch site. Overall, it was a good time.
On Saturday, we went to the beach at the Westport Light State Park. Going to the beach in Washington is not like going to the beach in Florida. There weren’t many sunbathers as there wasn’t much sun and it was a cool day. There were many surfers as a lot of the local shops offer surfing classes on the weekends. There were strong winds and we brought our kites along to fly. After our time at the beach, we went to the downtown area for ice cream cones. A fitting end to a good day.
Sunday, we packed up and drove to the Holiday Park FAMCAMP at McChord AFB. While at McChord, we reorganized and repacked some of our gear that we used at Westport and relaxed. We had a mobile RV repair come out to work on our air conditioner and, fortunately, it was an easy fix and they were able to repair it onsite.
A week later, we were back at Camp Murray. Our next move will start our journey to Michigan.