Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vancouver is Hot

Rick & Denise
Vancouver City Scenes
Lord Stanley celebrates the Pens winning his cup.
Scenes around Stanley Park
Chinatown
Museum of Anthropology
Looking at the ships and city from the Lions Gate Bridge.

We are now at the Capilano RV Park in North Vancouver, BC. It is a nice urban park and is very convenient to the Lions Gate Bridge which takes you into Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver. There is a bicycle path by the park that will take you to the bridge and into the city. Like most urban parks it is expensive (we won't really know how much until we get the Visa bill) and there is traffic noise but the sites are fine. Crossing into a foreign country with the motorhome for the first time was quite an experience. We had been told by someone(?) that we should use the truck lane and that looked like the thing to do since there was a 25 minute wait in the car line and only one truck. When we got to the booth and shutdown the engine the first question was; “Are you bringing this motorhome into Canada to sell?” When we told him it was our home he told us we were in the wrong line, that this one was for commercial traffic only and then he asked us the license number and for our passports. After a minute or so at the computer he told us to proceed. Sometimes it pays to be stupid as we zipped right passed the long line waiting to be checked.

We went downtown the first day to meet up with my brother Rick and his wife Denise who flew in a few days early for their Alaskan cruise so we could spend some time together. It was great seeing them for the first time since we were in Wash, PA in the fall. We strolled the streets around their hotel in the Gastown area. It is one of those neat little neighbourhoods with a mix of little shops and restaurants. We had a great meal at the Water St. Cafe, a sidewalk cafe where we watched the hustle and bustle of the city as we caught up on the last few months. As we have said many times it sure is neat being able to spend time with family and friends on the road. One of the attractions in Gastown is the steam powered clock that whistles and toots every 15 minutes. It is a real crowd-pleaser as every quarter hour a group of people gathers to watch and then moves on. The on the hour the toots are the best as it whistles out the hour of the day with the number of blasts.

We spent an entire afternoon taking a five hour stroll through Stanley Park while catching up and reminiscing with Rick and Denise. This wonderful park is named for Lord Stanley who in Pittsburgh is most famous for his cup that is now in the hands of the Penguins. This has to be one of the best city parks in the world with fabulous views of the harbour, city and mountains in a natural setting of lawns, gardens and tall forest. There are miles of walking and biking trails and we walked along the Seawall Walk and then returned to the car through the woods. The park offers something for everyone with beaches, rowing club, marina, picnicking, cricket fields, carriage rides, a water park and much much more. Even with the thousands of people who were in the park on this hot sunny day it did not feel crowded. There is a wonderful display of native totem poles celebrating the First Nations culture of the British Columbian and Alaskan coastal natives who are the only people who carved these symbols as a coat of arms. Each animal, such as the eagle, whale, wolf and frog represents the different kingdoms of their world. We had dinner on Granville Island, a hip little enclave of shops, restaurants, artists' studios and a huge public market.

On day three with Rick and Denise we checked out several art galleries along Granville Street and visited Chinatown. The Chinatown area was pretty seedy with many homeless people on the streets and in the surrounding neighbourhoods, but we did check out a couple of markets that had us thinking we would never eat Chinese Canadian food again. We walked through the Sun Yat-Sen Garden, a small enclosed oasis in the middle of the city. The garden honors Vancouver's Chinese immigrants and is named for the founder of China's first republic. We topped of the day with a meal at Tojo's, a Japanese restaurant we learned about in the book, 1000 Places to See Before You Die, and we had a sushi meal that was to die for.

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia has an excellent exhibit of First Nations cultural artifacts. There are several ancient totem poles that were used as interior and exterior supports for homes, memorials for leaders, and mortuary poles for the dead. While we had seen poles in Stanley Park it was interesting having a docent explain the significance of the different poles and symbols. The museum also had canoes, some of which where older artifacts and one that was built more recently by artisans using the native techniques and tools to help maintain the culture. The display included bent wood boxes that where used for everything from food storage, to cooking, and also as coffins. These boxes with four sides made from one piece of wood that was notched, then steamed, then bent, was made so watertight that this culture never invented pottery because they could cook stews by placing hot rocks in the box to cook the food. Other artifacts were the large wooden bowls that were used for potlatches, large gatherings where a family would invite many people so that the family's history and ownership of property could be confirmed in the culture that had no written language. On the grounds outside the museum are two full size lodges – one a mortuary lodge and the other a family home. Even though these early people were hunters and gatherers there was such an abundance of food they were not nomads and were able to build and live in these more permanent structures. Unfortunately, much of this culture has been lost as the government banned many of their practices in an attempt to Europeanize them. From the late 1800's until the 1950's potlatches had to be held secretly and in the schools children were punished for using their native language. The museum had a display of the work of Haida artist Bill Reid which included jewelry and carvings such as his large sculpture of the Raven and the First Man that depicts the First Nations creation story. Another temporary exhibit, Tatau: Samoan Tattooing and Global Culture, had photos of full body tattoos. Even though I have a tattoo, just looking at some of the body parts they tattooed was painful. This is a rite of passage in this culture and it takes a really brave person to go through this very painful process. The museum building itself is quite unique in design with huge post and beam concrete supports, like those used in native homes and the incorporation of old WW II artillery bunkers.

On Wednesday we had lunch with Rick and Denise and saw them to their ship with the plan to watch them sail out to sea under the Lions Gate Bridge. They had been told the ship would sail at 4:00 and we were in position but we could see the ship sitting at the dock. After two hours of standing on the bridge on the hottest day in Vancouver's history we gave up. We did get to see a couple other ships pass directly under us and it was really neat. It is a good thing we didn't wait any longer as we found out later their ship did not set sail until 5:45 AM the next morning. There was a mechanical problem but all was well. We had a grand time enjoying the city with Rick and Denise. This is the most time we have spent together since we had Thanksgiving at their place on Lake Norman in 2007. Even the times we have had extended stays in Wash, PA they have been working and we did not get to see much of them. Once again being able to have extended visits with family and friends while we are on the road is one of the best things about this fulltiming lifestyle.

Vancouver is a wonderful cosmopolitan city with great restaurants, interesting shops and galleries and people from around the world. Unlike Pittsburgh, it is a place were a lot of people live in the downtown neighbourhoods and people are on the streets day and night. This may be the most bicycle friendly town we have ever been in with many bike paths and special lanes on the downtown streets. On one bridge we crossed they have even turned a car lane into a bike lane. You see many people taking advantage of this for recreation and commuting. On our last day here we took the opportunity to use the bicycle paths and rode 22 miles. We rode from the RV park, across the Lions Gate Bridge, through Stanley Park and into several city neighbourhoods. We only had to ride in traffic on a couple back streets for about a half mile during the entire ride. We went through the area where new housing is being built for the athletes participating in the 2010 Olympics. It was great seeing the city from a different perspective. Overall, there are great views of the snow capped mountains and constant activity of ships, boats and seaplanes in the harbour. Weather wise, we did not have a true Vancouver experience because the temps have been at all time highs reaching into the 90's. Many places, including the buses, do not have air conditioning and people are really suffering from the heat. (I guess in our quest to find the 70's, things are balancing out from the cooler temps we had along the Oregon coast.) Another fascinating thing was traffic control on the Lions Gate Bridge which we crossed several time. The bridge has only three lanes and they change the flow of the middle lane from inbound to outbound on the fly as traffic builds at one end or the other so you don't often sit and wait for extended periods. In Pittsburgh it takes closing the HOV lane for two hours to change traffic direction and there have still been accidents. Our time in Vancouver, BC has come to an end and we have certainly enjoyed this very cosmopolitan city.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Watching the Navy Practice





We are at the Skagit County Fairgrounds RV Park in Mt. Vernon, Washington. For only the second time in our two years on the road for the first two nights we were the only people in the park. But being a fairgrounds there was a lot of activity with people riding horses every day in the arena. We meet some 07 mates for lunch in Coupeville (earlier post) and checked out the ferry we will be using when we return from Canada to travel to the Olympic Peninsula. When we were at the ferry we could see three Navy fighters practicing "touch and go" landing at a nearby airstrip. We stopped a couple of places to get pictures then found a spot were they were flying low and directly overhead. The short video gives a pretty good look. By the time we got into position to take the video there was only one plane flying and as we watched it go over our heads we realized that it was probably still there because the pilot needed the practice and we were standing right in the flight path:)

The last day here we just chilled. We will be in Canada for week and will not have access to our Verizon air card so this may be the last post until we return unless we can find a good convenient wi-fi spot.

video

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Second Anniversary

Today marks two years that we have been on the road. Just a few stats on the years:


YEAR ONE......... YEAR TWO
Motorhome Miles..........................10,666............8,481
Average Miles Per Day........................29.14..............23.23
Average Trip.......................................142.21............160
Gallons of Diesel Fuel.......................1375.21..........1083.27
Average Cost Per Gallon........................3.80..............2.79
CRV Miles.......................................11,792..........12,834
Bicycle Miles.......................................405.................91
Camp Sites............................................75.................53
Average Nights in Each.........................4.9................6.9
Number of Frosty Nights......................5.........too many
Number of Windy Days.........................?................120++
Number of States................................23...................19
National Parks & Monuments...........30+................23+
Blog Posts............................................105.................77
Days of Exercise (Jim).......................200..............195
Days of Exercise (Nanc).....................243..............261
Number of haircuts (Jim).................0......................0
Old & New Friends & Family..........Priceless

As we finish our second year on the road this lifestyle continues to exceed all our expectations. We have seen so many fantastic things that it sometimes defies the imagination. We have been from the mountains, to the desert and along the coast. We have slowed down a bit this year, staying in 53 parks in 52 weeks so we can spend more time exploring each location. The longer stays have lowered our daily cost for campgrounds by over $3.00 per day. People often ask what has been the best thing and seeing so many places makes it hard to pick the best, but that said, walking among the redwoods, hiking in the Grand Canyon and seeing Mt. St. Helens has to rank near the top. It does seem that the natural beauty trumps the man made when it comes to spectacular sights even though Vegas was glitzy beyond belief and Taliesin awe inspiring. We have met old friends and family several times while on the road and stayed in Wash, PA for a month last fall. We have made new friends who, like us, are vagabonds and we have crossed paths often. This was the first time we did not spend the holidays with old friends and family but having Thanksgiving at Betty's in Abbeville, LA was great. For Christmas and New Years we had a grand time with all the people who made us feel right at home at the Watersedge RV Park in Rockport, TX. Tom and Georgie Ridge, friends who do our mail for us, came to South Texas for a week in February and Mike and Sherri Sharp stayed with us for five days in Las Vegas. We just got to spend a week with Nanc's brother Dave and his family in Lacey, WA and we are meeting my brother Rick and his wife Denise in Vancouver, BC this weekend. We also visited former colleagues in Austin, TX and Mesa, AZ. We got together with members of the Class of 07 at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, OH, for lunch in the Rio Grande Valley, at the class reunion in Boerne, TX and just yesterday we had lunch and spent the afternoon with six 07 mates who are summering in the Pacific Northwest. These extended visits with friends and family are another bonus of this traveling lifestyle.

The biggest thing that happened in year two was selling the stix and brix and paying off the motorhome. This relieved us of a major burden and the worry of having the house sit empty. Another big deal was turning 62 and starting to get Social Security. It is sure nice having my Uncle Sam put money in the bank each month. Being 62 also means I get a Senior Pass that gets us into all federal parks for FREE (which we have used often) and gets us half price camping at most federal campgrounds. We were very glad to see the price of fuel come down on average just over a dollar a gallon. We actually paid less than two dollars a gallon a couple of times this winter.

As we start year three we will be meeting Rick and Denise in Vancouver, BC which will be the first time taking the motorhome into a foreign country. We intend to stay in the Northwest into September and will be heading to the Olympic Peninsula after we return from Canada. We will stop to see Dave and Kazuko on the return trip and then travel down the interior of Oregon with plans to stop at Crater Lake. We may hook up with Allan & Sharon Frey and Mark & Renita Brackin at Mono Lake. We want to return to California wine country and stop in San Francisco to see Erin Jones who biked with us in Europe 25 years ago when he was thirteen. Then we will explore more of California with the only definite plan to be at the Rose Parade Escapees HOP over Christmas and New Years with Richard and Valerie Frayer. It looks like winter will be in Arizona with a stop at Quartzite and Yuma. In the spring we will go East and intend to be in Wash, PA then and in the fall. Next summer we hope to do New England and the Canadian Maritimes, including Newfoundland. We want to revisit the Outer Banks and then winter 10/11 in Florida. Another goal is to do more cycling. As I am writing this, I really can't believe we can accomplish it all but the great part is we can change plans any time we like since none are written in stone and the other great part is there is always next year. What a wonderful life we have living on the road.

Class of 07 Pacific Northwest Gathering

The two pics we took outside both blocked someone so this is a composite with all eight 07 mates who met in Coupeville. Notice how sunny it is!!
Lora & John
Trisha
Steve & Sandy
Nancy & Marty
Class of 07 PNW gathering

Yesterday we met up with several Class of 07 mates who are in Northwest Washington and we had an afternoon of good food, good conversation and good companionship. We got to meet Steve and Sandy Allgire whom we had not met previously. Also there was Trisha Schmidt, Marty Cassidy, with his friend Nancy, and John and Lora Newby whom we had hooked up with in the past at the class reunion in Boerne, TX, in the Rio Grande Valley and/or at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, OH. The meal at the Knead and Feed in historic Coupeville was wonderful and everyone was served in a timely manner. After lunch we went to Fort Ebey State Park overlooking the sound with a view of the Olympic Mountains and did what fulltimers do so well, lolled away the afternoon chatting about the places we have been and the experiences we have had. It is great getting together with like-minded people who understand it is not strange to live in a house on wheels. We all agreed the Northwest is a great place to spend the summer.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunny in Seattle

Kazuko, Dave, Braeden & Allan
Nanc mastering the left handed chopsticks.
Mt. Rainier from 60 miles away.
The Tatoosh Range from Mt. Rainier.
It was spring and the flowers were blooming
Christine Falls
Up close on glacial covered Mt. Rainier.
From the bridge looking up the Nisqually River at the debris in the glacially carved valley.
Looking down the same valley as the picture above. In 1840 the glacier extended to the bridge you can see in the distance. What is climate change?

We are not really in Seattle but at the American Heritage Campground in Olympia, Washington for a week visiting Nanc's brother Dave and his family. What a difference a year makes. Last June when we visited the headline in the Seattle paper read, "Colder than Siberia" and it was true. Since arriving, it has been nothing but blue skies and sunshine with temperatures getting to levels where we are expecting to read a headline, "Hotter than Florida". With the clear skies the mountain (Rainier) is out and at over 14,000 feet it just dominates the Eastern horizon. You get so many glimpses of it, all you can say is WOW!!!

We have had a grand time visiting with Dave and Kazuko and had them over to our place for a cookout on Saturday along with their son, Allan, his girlfriend Stephanie and Allan's son Braedon. On Sunday we went to their place for one of Kazuko's wonderful Japanese meals. She is a great cook and she made us sukiyaki. Delicious!!! We have seen more of them in the two years we have been on the road than we did in the last thirty years. They were overseas or stationed far from PA for most of Dave's army career. Dave is retired military but is working at Ft. Lewis handling the logistics of moving equipment from place to place. We've spent our evenings during the week with Dave while Kazuko works at the base hospital. Even though they both could retire, neither one is ready and both love what they are doing. We suggested they retire and travel but they said they did enough traveling during Dave's army career, moving nineteen times. They love living here and are very content. Nanc was happy to see Dave because he had some health issues earlier in the year and it was good to see he is doing well. Again, one of the neat things about this lifestyle is to be able to meet up with friends and family along the way.

We have also taken advantage of being in a large population center to do a few tasks. Nanc picked up new contacts at the same store she went to last year for her eye exam. We found a specialized running shoe store and bought new shoes since we have both worn ours out. We upgraded our Verizon Internet and extended our cell phone contract. The plans we have are working well so it was just a matter of signing new paperwork. After two years we have found a good place in the motorhome to set up the PC we have been carrying and not using. We had purchased a desk in Santa Rosa that would fit in the bedroom, but we had to get rid of the recliner we have been using as a clothes rack. Allan took it off our hands and we put the desk together and are in the process of hooking up the computer. We had a router delivered here so we will be able to use both the PC and laptop on line. I spent ALL day Tuesday getting the PC hooked up, the router working and updating the Internet security on the PC. The first two jobs were easily done with only one short and very helpful tech support call to the 3G Store, but the security update took hours of frustration to convince Norton that we had a current subscription that was valid for the PC. After chatting and then turning the computer over to Mohammad we are now secure and Nanc and I each have our own computer.

We made a trek to Mount Rainier National Park to get a closer view of the monster of the Northwest. It is so different from the Rockies because it is a volcano and it soars impressively above all the surrounding mountains. The volcano is still active though it is only evident to those few who climb the 14,410 feet to the summit where you can smell the sulfur gases being vented. We took a hike that was only about two miles each way, but climbed over 1100 feet in elevation. The views were just spectacular with many spring flowers, waterfalls, snowfields, glaciers and distant peaks. This is the nearest we have been to a glacier and the blue green color of the ice was beautiful. The power of glaciers is shown by the Nisqually Glacier that carved out a valley as it pushed debris down the mountain and, as it melted, has left behind a rubble filled valley with a river that is still reshaping the land. The river water is a chalky white with glacial flour, fine particles of rock in the melting ice. In the winter when the mountain is getting its 600 + inches of snow and the glacier is frozen the water in the river is blue and clear. We are so glad the weather has been sunny and we are able to see this great mountain.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blown Away by Mt. St. Helens

Fort Vancouver
Top - Garden, Bastion & Palisade
Middle - Fur Warehouse
Bottom - Chief Factor's House
Vancouver Clock tower & Pearson Field
Mt. St. Helens with regrown trees on the mountainside and debris still visible in the river valley 29 years later.
What we saw this year compared to what we saw last year.
Memorial to the 57 people killed in the blast and trees still laying on the ground with flowers growing among them.
Mt. Adams and Spirit Lake with debris.
Looking into the crater!!!!!

We are now in Ridgefield, Washington at the Big Fir RV Park. Our primary goal while here is to see Mt. St. Helens which was covered by clouds last summer when we were in the area. Our first day here we could see the bottom of the mountain but the top was cloud covered. On day two there were clouds hanging over the campground so we did not even think about heading to the top. Later that day we talked to Nanc's brother in Lacey and he said it was clear and sunny. We went on line and found a live video shot of the top and sure enough it was clear and we had missed it since it was too late in the day. That day was followed by three cloudy days and as I am writing we are still hoping for it to clear. For most of our stay we have just chilled.

We did go into Vancouver on Saturday and did some shopping at the farmers market and enjoyed the park along the Columbia River. We also visited the Vancouver National Historic Preserve, a national park that includes a replica of a fort, an airfield with a museum and a restored officers row with homes built from 1849 to 1906. The area served as a US Army base until 2000 and some parts still house Army Reserve and National Guard units. The original Fort Vancouver was constructed by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1824 as a supply depot for its Pacific Northwest fur trade. The replica includes several buildings such as the bakehouse, blacksmiths shop, fur warehouse, carpenter shop, counting house, and the Chief Factor's house. It is surrounded by a palisade and has a bastion that was more to prevent theft of there products than to protect them from attack. The elegance of the Chief Factor's House is most interesting when you realize it shows how well the leader was living just a few years after Lewis and Clark passed through the area in 1805. The fur warehouse has a very good display of the variety of furs taken at that time with the beaver being the most important for its use in making hats in the United States and Europe. The Pearson Air Museum is an old Army Air Corp field that has been in use for over 100 years and is the site of the first dirigible landing in Vancouver and the landing spot for the first trans-polar flight in 1937. The runway is still used for small planes. There was a private event being held at the museum so we did not get inside.

Well, as you can see from the pictures, we did get to see Mt. St. Helens and it was spectacular. The clouds cleared and we had fabulous views of the volcano and Mt. Adams in the distance. I have been fascinated be this volcano since its eruption on May 18, 1980 and the viewing was great. We had a piece of rock from the explosion that someone we meet in Washington on our 1982 cross country bicycle trip had given us. I used it to teach about the effects of the eruption for years and, like me, most students were in awe at the power of nature. Here are a few fact about that power:
* 230 square miles of forest was leveled in 10 minutes
* 1300 feet of the mountain's height was blown away
* 14 miles of river valley was buried in 150 feet of avalanche debris
* ash rose 15 miles into the air
But seeing it in person not only gives you a whole new appreciation of this power as you can still see visible scares on the land, it also gives you a better understanding of how the Earth is recovering with much of the forest replanted and growing.

We took advantage of the beautiful day and hiked through the ash field to a viewpoint overlooking Spirit Lake with a closer and more direct look into the crater. The drive to the Johnson Ridge Observatory offers many changing views of the mountain and surrounding land that were cloud covered last summer. We did not spend time in any of the three visitor centers since we had done that and wrote about them in last year's blog. Getting to see this was very high on my list of things to do when we went on the road and it far exceeded expectation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Sun Sets on Our Stay Along the Oregon Coast

The campground's Independence Day parade.
Enjoying Tillimook and Blue Heron.
The Cape Meares Lighthouse
The trail, beach and Octopus Tree at Cape Meares.
In the background is cloudy Cape Lookout as seen from Cape Kiwanda then hiking through those clouds.
Cape Kiwanda
Munson Creek Falls
Watching the sunset over Three Arch Rocks.

We spent our last week on the Oregon coast at Netarts Bay Marina and RV Park near Tillimook. The park is on the bay which is known for its clean waters. This is because the tide almost completely empties then refills the bay twice a day. We had one of our quietest 4th of Julys ever as we just stayed in the park that day. Our highlight was the parade pictured in its entirety above. We did not even hear or see any fireworks. The weather was dreary, overcast and foggy so we just chilled. We learned later this was not a bad decision since the fireworks were hard to see because of the fog.

The surrounding area is known for its dairy farms and cheese processing and we enjoyed visiting the Blue Heron French Cheese Company and Tillimook Cheese. The Blue Heron has a country store atmosphere with a wonderful selection of products and offers meals, wine tasting, clothing and, of course, their famous brie. We took advantage and indulged ourselves. At Tillimook Cheese they have all the above and offer tours of the factory. Being dairy country, they also have great ice cream which we both really enjoyed.

The RV park is on the Three Capes Scenic Drive and each cape is unique. At Cape Meares there is a lighthouse that is, at 38 feet, the shortest on the coast. As with most Oregon lights, it sits 217 feet above the sea on a cliff so it can be seen for 20 miles out to sea. This light is no longer operating but the Fresnel lens is still in place and allows for a really up close view. When it was in operation the light flashed red and white. It is strange to walk down the hill to the lighthouse and be able to look directly into the lantern room. Just off shore is the Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge that, like all of Oregon's sea coast rocks, are protected habitat for birds and other wildlife. In the same area is a very unusual Sitka spruce known as the Octopus Tree. Rather than having one central trunk, it has several growing out of a large base. From the cape we hiked through the forest down to a secluded rocky beach. Even though it was the holiday weekend we had the trail and the beach to ourselves.

The second cape on the drive is Cape Lookout which includes the forest covered headland of the cape and a long sandy spit that separates Netarts Bay from the Pacific. We hiked five miles to the tip of the cape through the forest where low hanging clouds were clinging to the trees. It was windy and eerie as the trail meandered for one side of the cape to the other. We went from the calm quiet on the lee side into fierce winds which blow up the sides of the cliffs that plunged into the ocean below. At different spots along the trail we could see Cape Mears and Three Arch Rocks to the north but Cape Kiwanda was hidden by the clouds.

At Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City the overcast skies were not nearly as bad as at Cape Lookout. This cape is very different from the other two with a mix of solid rock and a huge sand dune with only a few trees growing on top but no forest and a huge haystack rock just off shore. Climbing the dune seemed to be the thing to do as it was covered with people walking up and then sliding, running or rolling down so, of course, we had to join the fun. We did not get out to the tip of this cape because a wedding, which we did not want to disturb, was being held along the trail. Another wonderful thing in Pacific City is the Pelican Brew Pub where we enjoyed a great meal and a couple of their beverages.

On Tuesday we drove to the Tillimook Forest Center and discovered it was open Wednesday to Sunday. Oh well, we always say we can't do it all and need a reason to return to places in the future. We did go to Munson Creek Falls, which at 319 feet, is the highest on the Oregon coast. It was a small but impressive falls at the end of a box canyon. We also realized our stay along the coast was coming to an end and we had not seen a sunset. With a favorable mix of clouds and sun we drove to Oceanside and were rewarded with the spectacular view of the sun going down behind the Three Arch Rocks. AWESOME!!!!!