Olympic Rain Shadow

We explored North Washington yesterday and had a great time! We educated ourselves on the Olympic rain shadow. Our family has a thirst for knowledge and here’s some really fascinating information on the subject.

 

OLYMPIC RAIN SHADOW

the climate in rain shadow areas is relatively sunny, windy, and cool.
The climate in rain shadow areas is relatively sunny, windy, and cool.

The Climate in the area

source: http://www.olympicrainshadow.com/olympicrainshadowmap.html

Spring arrives early and lasts long. We notice distinct changes in the month of February; usually we mow the lawn twice during this month, and there are significant stretches of clear weather. By the arrival of months more typically associated with spring, say April, mornings are often in the 40’s and clear, and afternoons can easily be in the mid 50’s. Sunny stretches and beautiful, partly sunny days are common, with stormy periods frequent, but usually brief, a day or two at a time. Overcast, gray weather is possible, but not common.

By early summer, for example Memorial day, the length of the day, and increased sunshine have often already started to dry out the lawns, but other vegetation is growing in full force. Often we are surprised by a cold and windy storm in late May to late June, dropping new snow on the crest of the Olympics.

High summer, which includes July, August, and September, rarely have precipitation at all. There is allot of sun during this period, but it is not hot. High temperatures average in the 70’s with some days in 60’s and some in the 80’s. Evenings and nights are cool, with temperatures in the 50’s. The maritime location has a major influence during this period. The first effect is wind. Afternoon wind is quite common, and over the offshore waters of eastern strait it is often very strong. The next maritime influence is occasional AM fog, or late AM clouds. The days seem to come in three varieties: clear all day; clear sunrise with some clouds late morning followed by sun; and maritime fog till mid morning, then clear onward.

Fall is a relatively brief transitional period in October and part of November, with variable weather. Usually there will be a brief cold storm in early to mid October, which delivers the first blanket of snow to the higher Olympic mountains, followed by a clear night or two with temperatures close to freezing.

Winter includes late November, December, and January in rain shadow areas. The sun is lower in the horizon, and storms are common, but periods of sunshine are common too.  There are frequent crisp clear periods following the storms, and sometimes sunny periods during extended periods of high pressure in January. Storms can be very strong and windy in this period. There can also be periods of gray weather which can go on for multiple days at this time of year. This seems to happen during times with multiple weaker storms with less defined fronts. Snow and cold periods also arrive, more frequently than in the greater Seattle area, perhaps once or twice a year. But as most areas are right at sea level, the sun or a warmer storm usually melts things off in a day or so.

 

We explored 3 of the 7 region that is in the rain shadow.

 

9-3 Port Townsend (14)

9-3 Port Townsend (15)

9-3 Port Townsend (16)

 

First stop: PORT TOWNSEND

9-3 Port Townsend
My good friend Taz used to live in the city and gave me her old address. The curious monkey in me had us driving into the street and taking pictures of the neighborhood.
9-3 Port Townsend (18)
We pretended we were guests. It was nice to see where my friend lived.

 

 

9-3 Port Townsend (7)
A few miles down the road, we stretched our legs and found a park via tripadvisor.
9-3 Port Townsend (4)
Chetzemonka Park overlooking Strait of Juan de Fuca. Approx 1 hr ferry-away from Victoria Canada.

 

9-3 Port Townsend (6)
The park had bench swings that made Owen want to take a nap.

9-3 Port Townsend (9)

9-3 Port Townsend (3)
This cabin was used for community events.
9-3 Port Townsend (10)
Along the edge of the park we spotted locals going down a trail. We chased after them and found this secluded beach where only locals knew about. Score! Yes, that’s Richard having quiet time.

 

Second stop: SEQUIM

We didn’t spend a lot of time here except for a quick lunch. We took notice of the weather. It’s very much like California. The sun was so strong that it was burning my ear. It was a lot warmer here.

9-3 Port Townsend (12)
I was fascinated by the traffic lights.

 

Third stop: PORT ANGELES

We decided to walk around town for an hour. We found an 80 yr-old stationery store, my favorite place in the world besides Target. It had art supplies, books, craft  and scrapbook items.

 

 Later, we found a corner bookstore inside this beautiful building.

Later, we found a corner bookstore inside this beautiful building.

A seahorse.
A seahorse. Street art scattered the town.
From 5RR
I learned that the bookstore owners had been in business since the 1980s. They talked about going through the technology-changes and the need to adapt to keep up.

 

What a wonderful day we had. Owen was so tired.
What a wonderful day we had. Owen was so tired.

 

 

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Winter Plans

We have revised our winter plans. Originally, we were going to make our way down to New Mexico and stay there during winter; however, we’ve grown to love Washington and don’t want to leave yet.

We decided to hibernate for the time being. We want to see how the rain will affect us should we decide to make this our semi-permanent home state.

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On that note: we found a house for rent here at Olympia, WA. It’s fully-furnished, 2 bdrm, 1 ba, 2-car garage and a backyard for Owen. There’s also a parking space for our travel trailer, in which Richard is very happy about.

There’s a biking trail nearby and this area we found is nothing but green. Our landlady is very kind and pleasant. We connected immediately upon meeting her. Marilynn Stephens from olympiafurnishedhomes.com owns other properties in the downtown Olympia area. She has tenants like a legislator renting out her homes within walking distance from the Capitol.

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We are confident our stay here in Olympia is a good move. We look forward to settling in for winter. It’s even better that we’re close to our friends in Tukwila and new friends we made here at our campsite.We check out of American Heritage Campground September 9 and we move into our rental the following day.  I’ll be posting our mailing address on our facebook page for friends and family. We love keeping in touch with all our friends, by the way. It truly makes a difference in our days.

Owen says he’s excited to: have a new room, explore the neighborhood, play in the rain in the backyard that has trees.

I’m looking forward to being in an open indoor space where I can stretch out my arms when I sleep; watch TV and home-educate Owen for longer sessions. But mostly, I am looking forward to having kitchen space where I can cook and bake like a top chef. Blueberry muffins, roasted root vegetables and pumpkin pies are on my top list.

It’ll also be great to have family/friends over from California. If you’re looking to experience Washington during winter and spring, let us know! We’ll welcome you with open arms, hot chai tea and fresh-baked goodies.

Driving along Alaska Coast Hwy

Our car rental agent wasn’t joking when she said there’s beautiful things to see if we drive south of Anchorage.

8-5 Alaska 018
Weather Forecast: rain and gray clouds… Just like our wedding day!
8-5 Alaska 017
The rain stopped! Hurry, everyone outside for a picture!

 

8-5 Alaska 016
The sun is playing peek-a-boo with us.

 

Owen says the rain and the view made him--- you guessed it- sleepy...
Owen says the rain and the view made him— you guessed it- sleepy…
8-5 Alaska 015
Here I am in photographer-heaven. My little digital camera saved the day. (I forgot my bigger-professional camera back in Washington.)

 TOOTHPICK FOREST

Along the Alaska Coast Hwy, we passed by the Toothpick Forest. This area used to be covered by tall trees.
Along the Alaska Coast Hwy, we passed by the Toothpick Forest. This area used to be covered by tall trees.
However, during the 1964 earthquake, the ground here flooded and dropped 4 feet killing all the trees only leaving behind toothpick-like remnants.
However, during the 1964 earthquake, the ground here flooded and dropped 4 feet killing all the trees only leaving behind toothpick-like remnants.

 

BIRD CREEK

As we moved along, we saw local folks walking along the side of the road carrying fishing poles, wearing their boots and mud suits.
As we moved along, we saw local folks walking along the side of the road carrying fishing poles, wearing their boots and mud suits.
8-5 Alaska 025
We immediately pulled over and went after them. What we discovered was fishermen’s paradise!

 

We learned that July through September, there’s a spectacular run of Silver Salmon. Fishermen from all over the world come into Alaska to cast a line here. There will be hundreds of people coming and going from Bird Creek on any given day.

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Nice big silver salmons…

 

8-5 Alaska 027

There was a sense of peace at this fishing location. It felt like we stepped inside their church. It was quiet and spiritual.

We hushed our talktative boy and stood back and just drank in the scene.
We hushed our talktative boy and stood back and just drank in the scene. Here he is making a fish-face.
We were lucky to be "let in" on the local fishing spot.
We were lucky to be “let in” on the local fishing spot.

Anchorage, Alaska welcomes us

8-5 Alaska 064

Downtown Anchorage. It's where they have one-way streets, restaurants, hotels, shops, local businesses, etc.
Downtown Anchorage. It’s where they have one-way streets, restaurants, hotels, shops, local businesses, etc.

8-5 Alaska 067

 

8-5 Alaska 068

We didn’t have an itinerary during our stay. We were only going to be here for 3 nights, 3 days and just go with the flow and see what locals had to say.

Upon picking up our car rental the next day, we asked the Enterprise agent if she had any recommendations on what to do & see on our limited days in Alaska.

We originally wanted to see the Northern Lights but because it had been raining on and off, we didn’t see any. But we were pointed in the right direction by the agent.

One and only restaurant recommendation: Snow Goose. We unintentionally ended up here for dinner the next day.
One and only restaurant recommendation: Snow Goose. We unintentionally ended up here for dinner the next day.
Here we are digging into our creme brulee dessert with milk. It was very bright out and didn't realize what time it was until I started rubbing my eyes while chewing on my dessert.
Here we are digging into our creme brulee dessert with milk. It was very bright out and didn’t realize what time it was until I started rubbing my eyes while chewing on my dessert.
This was the view from our table. Guess what time it was? 10 PM. We were having dinner during bedtime.
This was the view from our table. Guess what time it was? 10 PM. We were having dinner during bedtime.

 

 

8-5 Alaska 139

 

8-5 Alaska 140

 

8-5 Alaska 138

River Forks County Park, Roseburg

Sunday, July 21, 2014

We finally found a park within biking distance from our campsite. Added bonus: a fort, river access, large playground, endless greenery and it’s in the 70s. What more could I ask for, right? Well… It’s raining and we’re taking cover under an oak tree. Now that’s more like it!

 

Enjoying the bike ride to the park.
Enjoying the bike ride to the park.

 

7-21-14 Roseburg, OR 009

 

He he played at the playground until he saw.... the fort.
He he played at the playground until he saw…. the fort.

 

7-21-14 Roseburg, OR 012

 

Umpqua River
Umpqua River

 

 

Great Heat-Wave Escapes


How thee escape the heat? Let me count the ways….

 

Looks like we picked a (very) warm week to be in Corning, CA. In search of a cooler place to escape the 3-digit heat...
Looks like we picked a (very) warm week to be in Corning, CA. In search of a cooler place to escape the 3-digit heat…
Escape from 109 degrees Day 1: Monday June 30, 2014 Corning Branch Library, 740 Third St
Escape from 109 degrees
Day 1: Monday June 30, 2014
Corning Branch Library, 740 Third St
Escape from 107 degrees Day 2: Tuesday  July 1,  2014 North Summit Lake, Lassen NP
Escape from 107 degrees
Day 2: Tuesday July 1, 2014
North Summit Lake, Lassen NP

 

Escape from 102 degrees Day 3, July 2, 2014 Cinemark 14 Redding, CA
Escape from 102 degrees
Day 3, July 2, 2014
Cinemark 14 Redding, CA

 

Escape from 101 degrees Day 4 July 3, 2014 Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Chico, CA
Escape from 101 degrees
Day 4 July 3, 2014
Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Chico, CA

 

Escape from 100 degrees Day 5, July 4, 2014 Second visit to the movies... Cinemark, Chico California
Escape from 100 degrees
Day 5, July 4, 2014
Second visit to the movies…
Cinemark, Chico California
Escape from 99 degrees Day 6 July 5, 2014 Chico Mall, Chico California
Escape from 99 degrees
Day 6 July 5, 2014
Chico Mall, Chico California

 

Escape from 101 degrees Day 7  July 6, 2014 Stayed in our trailer, had the AC on while watching DVDs and did some paper quilling.
Escape from 101 degrees
Day 7 July 6, 2014
Stayed in our trailer, had the AC on while watching DVDs and did some paper quilling.