Hard to have a bad day with this view...

Hard to have a bad day with a backyard view like this…

When I’m close to nature I find there are few “bad” days. I’m not talking about the weather here. In fact I’m mostly weather-agnostic and enjoy just about everything out there -> fog, rain, sunshine, wind. Each has its moments (in moderation of course) and thanks to the dog we get out in all of it. No, what I’m talking about is the soul-enriching essence of nature itself. The green grass beneath your feet, the sand in your toes, the sound of birds, the thundering echo of waves and the beauty of a single sunset. That’s what regenerates me and gives me that sense of “ahhhhh” which I’m always seeking. It’s the reason we’re so picky about where we stay and why we’re almost fanatical about eschewing private RV parks & taking the beast to public areas and dog-friendly spots. We don’t just park at our RV site, we live here. Our site is our home and whatever sightseeing we do is secondary to that. We want to be able to sit outside in nature, hike right from our rig and touch the ocean without ever having to drive. Not everyone RVs this way, but that’s the definite WheelingIt preference.

How can you not be impressed with this lady?

How can you not be impressed with this lady?

That's a fine end to the day allright

That’s a fine end to the day alright

Now, I admit I don’t always get it right. Despite my near obsessive-compulsive approach to planning, I sometimes miss the ticket. There’ve been times we’ve ended up in totally the wrong place at totally the wrong time of year being eaten alive my mosquitoes in 90-degree heat, paying ridiculous amounts for sub-par RV parks or just plain stacked like sardines. But I’ve learned over the years and when I get it right baby, I totally get it right (yes, I can admit this…unashamedly). Cape D is one of those spots where just about everything is right and I can’t help but boast about it. The weather may change as wildly as the tumbling waves that crash the rocky shores, but the moments in-between are astonishing and the diverse geology of the Cape gives you so many different views to capture it.

Our day on Friday just typifies this experience.

We started the morning in cool weather and slight grey enjoying a hike with doggie and bike ride up the Cape to a scenic overlook of the beach. The day was just teasing at this point, giving us a glimpse of what was to come. As the morning progressed the sun emerged, exposing aqua skies and saturating the greens of our campsite. We whiled away our morning working on the internet with the birds chirping outside our window. After lunch we made our way to the lighthouse for our afternoon shift and by this point the day was glowing. We rounded the short 1/4 mile trail and the lighthouse rose to view shimmering white against the deep blue sea. I always savor this moment, the moment I first get to see the lighthouse each day, and can’t help but marvel at what a fine lady she is. Who else gets to have this nice a commute?

Instant bonding with Suzanne

Instant bonding with the lovely Suzanne

Our afternoon passed rapidly with great weather, stunning views and over 80 visitors, culminating with TakeToTheHighway, a vivacious fulltime RV lady whose excellent blog I’ve been following for a while. To give you an idea of how much we’ve got in common Suzanne reacts to the word “lighthouse” rather the same way Polly reacts to the word “squirrel” making her a certified lighthouse nut & thus instant buddy. We chatted away until the end of our shift inviting her over for drinks and dinner at the rig. Not only did we have a fabulous evening, but Suzanne brought along an excellent wine, fresh smoked salmon and blue cheese (all from OR, naturally). The perfect RV guest :)

Now, that's what I'm talking about...

Now, that’s what I’m talking about…

The lighthouse beams her sunset goodnight

The lighthouse beams her sunset goodnight

After dinner we parted company and left everyone behind while Polly and I took a sunset excursion to the beach. Rather than go right to the beach-parking areas I decided on a secluded 1/2 mile trail to extend my time with Mother Nature, and was instantly rewarded with a sight that made me gasp -> one of the largest and most magnificent bucks I’ve seen in a while. He appeared out of nowhere against the evening glow and just stood there eyeing us, giving us full view of his towering antlers before turning around and trotting away. WOW! Once on the beach Polly ran around in the sand while I enjoyed near-perfect solitude photographing the setting sun & the coastal waves. Thanks to our little hike we were completely alone with nothing but nature’s deepening colors and sunset theater to keep me company….”ahhhhhhhhh”!

It was just another typical day on Cape D, yet a day unlike any other. The wonder of being in nature was all it took to make it special. I know I’ll have bad days in the future. We all do. And I know I’ll make mistakes. We all do. But days like this when I get it right…oh baby…it is soooo right and worth whatever it might have taken to get us here. Great company, beautiful nature, a fine lighthouse and a glorious beach sunset. What more could you want in life?

P.S. A little Danish Culture for you -> As of today we’ve rounded Midsummer and progress towards shorter days. In Denmark we mark this turning point with Sankt Hans Aften, a night of bonfires, song and food. We may not be lighting any fires tonight, but you can be sure I’ll be communing with Mother Nature in our backyard. It’s all kinds of right.

P.P.S. All the pics in today’s post were taken on Friday. A full day in words & photos.

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72 Responses to Days Of Right And A New “Lighthouse Nut” Buddy – Cape D, WA

  1. Jenny Waters says:

    You make me want to visit Cape Disappointment. Lovely pictures, as usual. I especially like the waves and sunsets. It is a little hard to be sure from the picture, but that looks like an elk to me. Deer or elk, it must be exciting to have them visit your home.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Indeed I think you are right. Probably would make more sense to call him a stag? He wasn’t too close, so sadly that was as good a pic as I could get. Still amazing to see him on the trail!

      Nina

      • Jenny Waters says:

        It is an amazing picture, I love the almost-silhouette with the woods behind. A bull elk is more exciting than a deer anyway. :) Does Polly chase them?

        • libertatemamo says:

          Polly is VERY good about staying close if I tell her too. She will stop in her tracks mid-chase if needed. I made sure she didn’t chase this one :)

          Nina

          • Jenny Waters says:

            I forgot that you are a dog trainer. Stopping mid-chase must be tough to teach.

            I don’t know if you sell your images, but your work is definitely marketable. I always enjoy the pictures of your travels.

  2. Gunta says:

    Latvians follow much the same midsummer fest tradition, with the bonfires and singing and food (lots of beer and a special cheese)… Such similar cultures, no surprise given the proximity.

    Loving your rhapsodic description of Cape D… that’s one extremely impressive buck you captured there.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I think many of the Northern Europeans share this tradition. They even had a midsummer celebration in Astoria, but I didn’t make it over.

      Nina

  3. Oh that buck sighting is glorious! There’s nothing like nature, in all its forms, to both soothe and enliven the soul.

  4. Sanford says:

    I will have to go back to the blog and see if I can see the “Buck”.
    Sanford

  5. keepinontruckin says:

    Love the sunset photo with waves. Is that HDR? Fortunate shot of elk, also. Jenny Waters mentioned your photos being marketable. I agree. Do you have a space on Flickr? We occasionally get a purchase request from posting there.

    • libertatemamo says:

      The sunset photos are not specifically HDR, although it’s a related technique -> what I did was manipulate exposures to balance the darker front with the lighter background (basically I blend two exposures in Photoshop much the same way you’d use an old-fashioned graduated filter on a camera). The only “real” HDR photo in today’s post was the one of the lighthouse.

      No Flickr account. I used to have one, but I can only keep up with so many media outlets so I let it go. I would LOVE to put together a place to sell my photos, but just never seem to have the TIME to do so LOL. Maybe one day!

      Nina

      • Another great tool is http://www.smugmug.com
        You choose which albums to share or keep private. You put a link in your blog story. The also have a feature for folks to buy pictures (framed or unframed). We have ordered and sold from smugmug. The prints are very high quality. We have even used them for our photos shown in local gallery exhibitions.

        • libertatemamo says:

          Nice tip! And especially nice to know you’ve used them for gallery exhibitions too. That’s an impressive recommendation.

          Nina

      • Walt says:

        When you say you blend two exposures, does that mean you take two different images and then somehow merge the two together? Or does Photoshop allow you to manipulate individual aspects of an image? Either way, roughly how long do you spend in post-processing for any given image?

        • libertatemamo says:

          Both actually. Sometimes I’ll take 2 exposures -> one for the foreground and one for the background. Then I’ll merge them together (usually along the horizon for beach shots) to create one shot. Alternatively I’ll just use a single image exposed for the background and lighten the foreground in Photoshop using the gradient tool (similar to a graduated filter). So, I do both. The first method gives more detail, but takes more effort. The second method is easier, but the result is not as detailed.

          How much time I spend processing is a good question. Some pics I don’t do much (if anything) to. The sunset shots I’ll probably spend a few minutes on each. I’m pretty fast in Photoshop and have many of my processes automated.

          Nina

  6. hobopals says:

    Whenever I’ve come across such a beautiful creatures, I make such a racket getting my camera up and ready that it’s gone before I can snap. People who take bird pictures amaze me–they never sit still for me! :) I loved Cape Disappointment…well, you know, I love the whole coast. I love your RVing style, and if I live long enough, your blog will be a handbook for me when I head west, again. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’m terrible at bird shots too. Just never seem to be ready for them, plus I don’t have a long enough lens. I got lucky with this shot. I had my camera hanging from my neck at the ready and the elk stood still for me while I snapped 2-3 shots before he walked off.

      Nina

  7. Sanford says:

    Found the pictures very nice. Sanford

  8. Corinne Janstrom says:

    Great story; we met Suzanne at the Canyonville rally. My husband, Tom, helped her with her awning.

    One small criticism, a pet peeve of mine: RV plural is RVs, not RV’s, which would mean you were referring to something belonging to an RV. This error is often seen on State parks signs; you have company. But, please…

    • libertatemamo says:

      Nice that you’ve met Suzanne too. That girl’s been traveling and meeting quite a lot of folks on the road.

      Error corrected on the RV.

      Nina

  9. Bill & Ann says:

    Eloquent post. Perfect.

  10. Rowanova says:

    Great photos of the Cape D area, and a nice write up. I’ve always loved seeing and watching elk in all my hiking and backpacking adventures, so I guess I gotta have that as my favorite shot. But they are all great.
    I foresee a little problem on the Wheelingit horizon…you’re not going to be ready to leave yet! Lol! Continue enjoying.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I know! We could easily spend several months here. But I know we’re going to enjoy the OP too. Always so many places to see.

      Nina

  11. Suzanne says:

    “Un Bel Di” for me as well! One I will long remember as a highlight of my lighthouse tour. I cannot imagine a better finale than to be hosted by you two! Thank you again so much for your kind and memorable hospitality…

  12. Tonja says:

    We must have just missed you at the lighthouse as we were there Friday, early afternoon(All 9 of us). Bummed we didn’t run into you. I too took about 150 photos on Friday alone it was such a beautiful day. Will have to make time to get them up on our blog soon though I am not as good as taking photos as you are. Enjoy the rest of your time here in Washington.

  13. Janna says:

    Such gorgeous photos you do take Ms. Nina–simply gorgeous! And the cowboy says, “that’s one huge buck!!”

  14. Pam says:

    Nina,
    Thanks for the lovely photos and also for the info on RV sites in Cape D. I managed to snag campsite 126 for 5 days in Aug. No power but fine just the same. It is a 50′ site; we have a 45’+tow, so hopefully all will fit. Is there a nearby dump station on site?
    Looking forward to staying here after reading your blog! Pam

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, there’s a dump station at the park right before you get to the campground loops. Enjoy the area!

      Nina

  15. Love the blog and I’m following it.
    Coincidentally, my husband and I will be at Cape Disappointment for 4 nights starting tomorrow. Hope we can meet at some point. We have a dog, too.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Cool. We’re off for next 3 days, but will be back on shift at the lighthouse AM on Thurs. Weather is great right now, so hope it holds out. This is a gorgeous area!

      Nina

  16. Wow, what a day! Truly outstanding shot of the buck (of course the sea and lighthouse shots are always great as well). Also glad you guys were able to cross paths and enjoy some time with Suzanne (and hopefully encourage her to start lighthouse hosting someday soon!).

    Happy Sankt Hans Aften!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh Suzanne is already SOLD on lighthouse hosting. It’s just the pesky little matter of her day job getting in the way. One day, hopefully :)

      Nina

  17. Jil says:

    Pretty cool….pretty cool…

  18. LuAnn says:

    I know I have been whining much lately about missing the west and after reading this I think it is as much a physical as well as emotional need to immerse ourselves in Mother Nature’s beauty. Your posts take me back to our wonderful time in Oregon, if only for a few minutes. Stunning photos Nina!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Physical time in nature is essential, I feel. I notice when I don’t do it. Affects me both physically and emotionally. Hope you manage some forest time out east.

      Nina

  19. mnwool says:

    I have never had Lighthouses on my must see list. However the more I read your post the more I have changed and now need to add them.
    Thanks

  20. Just the thought of smoked salmon and blue cheese made me drool. Yum We are having salmon withdrawal since we’ve been here in the East.

  21. Dear Walden West…Well said.
    Savor life, love, and friends, for they are, in the end, transient.
    Box Canyon Mark

  22. Bruce Pirtle says:

    Continued Thanks! and mucho appreciation for your insights, observations, wisdoms and images of your surrounding, ever-changing world. You and Paul continue to help us keep our eyes on our eventual goal of tasting the nomadic life one day, as we struggle with aging parents.

    We share similar passions of exploration and needing to know what’s around the next corner. I, too, have had a lifelong love affair with seeing the world thru my camera and, to a lesser degree, thru my pen.

    Watching and sharing your adventures keeps us going. Don’t stop anytime soon!

    Detained-nomads-in-Tennessee, Bruce, Yvonne

    • libertatemamo says:

      Aging parents are tough. I wish you very best through that process. Cheers for following our journey. Hopefully I can continue to give you some light and dreams for the future.

      Nina

  23. Doug says:

    Amazing that all those pix were taken on a single day. Of all the blogs I read daily, your beautiful photos always shine above the rest.

    You also have great mastery of English, better than a lot of native speakers. The only rare glitch is your use of it’s when it should be its. The easy rule is: it’s always means “it is”. Otherwise it’s its :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Awwww…thanks Doug! I thought it was fun to do a post of just one day (pics and words). It helps to show how diverse this place is.

      Can’t promise I’ll be able to fully implement the it vs. it’s rule. With my mild dyslexia I don’t even “see” it half the time. Without auto-spellcheck I’d be a complete disaster :)

      Nina

  24. Amanda says:

    I completely agree with your sentiments about finding the perfect spot to call home! We have the same philosophy. Where we park our rig is our home, and we want it to be a beautiful space where we enjoy spending time. Not an ugly parking lot RV park that we need to drive away from everyday to go sightseeing. That’s probably why we end up at so many of the places where you have already been. Because if Wheeling It gives it the stamp of approval, it must be good!

    Can’t wait to make it Cape D. someday :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      We definitely have similar tastes in that respect. We don’t do much sightseeing (compared to most RVers) and since you guys work fulltime during the week, I know you’re the same that way. Most of the time were just hanging at our site.

      Nina

  25. Jodee Gravel says:

    Beautifully said and pictured, thank you for sharing such a glorious day. BFF and hubby are at Long Beach now as well and between the two of you I’m emerald with envy!! A Midsummer stag….portents of a wonderful summer in the PNW. Enjoy.

  26. How nice that you got to meet Suzanne. We enjoyed our time with her and hope to meet up again sometime this summer.
    If the state park is full, do you know of any other good options for staying near Cape D?
    Gayle (trying to do a little planning if Bend ever lets us escape:-)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Fort Stevens State Park (across the way in OR) is just south of Astoria and quite nice. It gets really busy with kids out of school in summer, but that’s true of just about anywhere on the coast. There are also a bunch of private parks both near Astoria, OR and Long Beach, WA (just north of Cape D), but we haven’t stayed at any of them so couldn’t give you more info.

      Nina

  27. Caryl Kirk says:

    ohhhhhhh THE PAIN!! Reading all these wonderful posts has become somewhat painful as we await take off. Every word is like a stab in the soul to one who desires the caress of nature, the bonding experience of a sunset, or the tickle of a lapping wave. BUT, FEAR NOT…we are heading down this path with determination and stalwart desire to be where you are psychologically, physically and spiritually…even if we have to make do with our own little piece of paradise where we live now….which is NWfla…where the humidity [except for yesterday] abounds, sunshine is intermittent [sooo we can enjoy more humidity], and the sand is omly an hours drive!!! O(hhh poor me…but I WILL SURVIVE, DAMNIT!! So, enjoy Nina & Paul, hopefully we will meet up in the near future.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Sorry to add to the PAIN….I sure know we had it before we started on the road. It’s humid here too today, if that’s any consolation..around 88%…of course the beach is still nice.

      Nina

  28. Tom from Colorado says:

    My wife and I have been following your blog for sometime now and I’m really impressed with your photography. I’m an amateur photographer and would like to know what camera and lens’ you are currently using to take these photos.

    I’ve just recently retired from my job and as soon as we sell our house and all of our “stuff”, we are going to hit the road in our motor home. Great blog Nina. You inspire us!

    Thanks.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I have two cameras which I’ve used for years. The first is a pocket camera, a Cannon S100 which actually takes the majority of my shots just ‘coz I can keep it with me all the time. The second is my “big” camera a Nikon D7000 with 18-200mm lens. Most of the shots in today’s blog were taken with that one (apart from the HDR lighthouse).

      Nina

    • Tom from Colorado says:

      Thank you Nina for answering my question. I also shoot with a Nikon D7000 and I really like it. It is the only camera that I use. It has nice features and takes great pictures.

  29. Isn’t this lifestyle just perfect in so many ways! There are living option for all of us as we travel and explore this amazing country. We can as many or as few people around as we want.

    Glad you are enjoying your new home. Your photos certainly so share the beauty surrounding you. That is one gorgeous buck!!

  30. I feel the same way about my “site.” I live in my rig, it’s home and whatever is outside my windows is my yard. I seldom sightsee, but I love having something pretty outside my door, trees, fields, flowers, lakes, rivers, horses, birds, etc. I enjoy every bit of it. And we don’t get that kind of view at private parks, or the room to enjoy. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yup, completely with you on the site. We were SO thankful we discovered public parks in our first year of RV travel. Don’t think we would have lasted this long on the road without them.

      Nina

  31. In one of your posts you asked for ideas while travelling through the Olympic Peninsula. My son, Eric, lives in Port Townsend and knows quite a bit about the area. I asked him for ideas. Here’s his reply…

    Hey Dad,

    I’m not sure about which places are best for RV’s, but I’ll give you a couple of ideas to pass along.

    1.) The Hoh Rainforest. I’m not sure about the RV accommodations, but the rainforest is really an amazing spot with some great hikes.
    2.) Lake Ozette – Cape Alava. Lake Ozette has a small campground and a great three mile hike out to the coast. One of the cool things about the coast in this area is that it is only accessible on foot, so it is relatively unspoiled.
    3.) Hobuck Beach on the Makah reservation. A very relaxed camping area on a beautiful beach; very popular with surfers. There are some great hikes in this area including a very short walk to Cape Flattery, the Northwestern most point in the contiguous US. Also, I’ve heard the hike to Shi Shi beach is really cool. If you come out to the reservation, a visit to the Makah museum is a must. It’s really small and admission is inexpensive, but it is great!
    4.) Salt Creek campground is a favorite during low tides, some of the best tide pools I’ve ever seen, but the campground is pretty crowded and their reservation system is antiquated; you have to send in a letter 14 days in advance.
    5.) If they want to explore the high country there are some good hikes out of the Sol Duc area; also the hot springs are there.
    6.) A drive up to Hurricane ridge is cool if the RV can make it up there.
    7.) Not private, but good beach RV spots are available out at Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island.

    That’s all I have for right now.

    Talk to you later,

    Eric

    Also, my son is in a band and plays around town and I’ve asked him to provide tips on best places to see, eat, drink and just hang out to listen to some good music. I’ll forward that when received.

    As many have said, you and Paul ARE an inspiration, and if not for the arduous task of detaching from a house, business, and so many other things, we’d be rolling down the road right now!

    Hope you enjoy our beautiful State, and maybe we’ll look you up on Orcas. We fly up there and to the other Islands often.

    • libertatemamo says:

      OUTSTANDING tips! What a great set of recommendations. We will definitely be taking some of these up! Thanks so much and thanks to your son too.

      Nina

  32. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    There is an old black & white movie “Portrait of Jenny” starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten that you need to see if you haven’t already. There is a great part in it about a lighthouse called Lands End and may actually exist, that I know you would love watching. The special effects are so good and exciting. It might be fun to invite Suzanne over too.

  33. Bill Garmire says:

    I believe you recently recommended a site/business for the best LEDs for RVs. I’m looking for the name of that site, and can’t find it now. Am I Dreaming??
    If you, in fact, did make such a recommendation, could you refresh my memory?
    Thanks, and I enjoy your site immensely – met Paul and Polly December ’13 at Borrego Springs. Enjoyed them greatly!

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