|Firs inside and out added to the season's ambiance.|
Our time in Corvallis was filled with fun, family time. It was my first Christmas outside of Minnesota in my entire life of 63 years. I had a hard time believing it, but it was true. Both our kids and my brothers two kids, who are close to each other in ages and temperaments were there along with my neice's husband. My brother's house was large enough to accommodate everyone in a bed (or couch). The house was decorated for Christmas and we really felt right at home.
The first order of business was the traditional crab dinner on Christmas Eve. My brother and I went to pick up his crab order at the local seafood supplier. On walking in the door- bad news! No crab! The season would not start this year until December 31 and the shop had not been able to get any California crab. After a few minutes of panic and what to do scenarios, the solution was uncovered. My nephew was still in Portland, travelling down to Corvallis that day. Could fresh live crab be found in Portland? Yes it could- tragedy averted.
|Fresh Dungeness Crab cooking in the pot.|
|A feast for the season.|
|Delicious with lemon and butter.|
On Christmas day, the tradition was a walk on Nye Beach at Newport followed by hot chowder at the nearby chowder house.
|Rocky loves the beach.|
|Looking one way- peaceful...|
|looking the other way- drama.|
|Land meets sea...|
We had rented a house in the coast town of Yachats for a few days. The kids stayed a couple of nights before jobs took them back to their home towns. It was a fun time of family meals, walks and games. It was really fun to experience my brother's family Christmas traditions. All in all a great family Christmas.
|The view in front of the house.|
|My favorite house in Yachats.|
|The view from Cape Perpetua|
|Looking for migrating whales.|
|We took a walk on the 804 Trail- the original coast highway.|
|The moon setting on our last morning in Yachats.|
After Yachats, our next stop was Seattle to see our daughter's stomping grounds these days. We had some good times sampling local eateries and hanging out before saying goodbye and heading out for the long drive home.
We spent New Year's Eve camped at Frenchman Coulee near the town of Vantage in central Washington. The Columbia River flows nearby. The area topography is very dramatic resulting from massive floods eons ago. We were again all by ourselves and had a very quiet New Year's celebration.
|The Columbia River.|
|Old Vantage Highway.|
|Cooking has gotten much more efficient since our first camp in the Rockies.|
The morning of New Year's Day, we took time for a short hike around the area to check out the interesting rock formations and the views.
Eventually, we hit the road again. Driving conditions were generally good but the weather was not conducive to camping. Temps below zero, high winds and blowing snow convinced us to find motels in Bozeman and Bizmarck for our final two nights on the road.
|I don't think so.|
|Visibility was variable...|
|North Dakota in winter- 'nuff said.|
We finished the trip, having covered nearly 5000 miles, visited 14 states, and used 345 gallons of gas. We saw so many places that we would like to return to one day and we are already wondering about what's next just over the horizon. Many thanks to all who gave us advice and hospitality along the way.