We started our day very early today in order to beat the crowds to Mt. St. Helens and make it to Seattle before 1pm. We were out of our hotel at 7am, when we noticed one of the rental car tires was low. We stopped at the gas station in Castle Rock to fill up the tire, and I ended up closing the door on my finger. OUCH!!!!! Once the tire was filled, we were on our way up the moutain. We were literally one of the first people up the road. We stopped at the Forest Learning Center about half way up, and I got some great photos while there was still fog in the valley. We took off up the road, and around the corner we met a small herd of Elk in the road. I quickly pulled over and got out my camera. I got out of the car and the elk just starred me down. They were looking at me and probably thinking, "Why are these people up here so early?". I got a few shots of them, before they moved along. We continued up the moutain and stop at the other lookouts and viewpoint along
the way. At the top, we stopped at the Johnson Observatory. This was a spectacular view of the volcano. It was still before 10am, when the visitors center opened, so we decided to start back down the hill and stop at one of the other center's. The Forest Learning Center was interesting, but we only spent a few minutes wandering thru and checking out the movie. Then we headed down. We were on our way to pick up my cousin Amy at the Seattle airport, as she joined our adventure today. Amy is a great traveler and has already provided us with lots of laughs. After we collected her from the baggage claim, we headed south to Olympia and had a late lunch at the FishBowl Brew Pub. This pub was cool and the food was great. After lunch, we came out and found a parking ticket on the car.... I guess I was so hungry I forget to put money in the meter...oh well! Olympia's claim to fame is that the creator of the Simpson's, Matt Groening., attended Evergreen College here. We quickly toured downtown Olympia and then headed west to the Washington Coast. Our first stop was Ocean
Shores. We toured the town(2 mins), walked on the beach, and then visited a local Irish Store/Pub, which had some great gifts in it. We came out empty handed, but it was worth the visit. Our next stop was the Quinault Resort and Casino. We each put up a few dollars, and played the penny slots for about 1/2 hour. We all lost, but had a good time playing. We then headed North, up the coast to Pacific Beach. The town is very small and we had to do 2 tours of it, in order to find our hotel. The hotel is small and nice, but I think we are the only guests here. Although I did note that they put up the "No Vacancy" sign with only one car in the parking lot. We walked down the street to the Windjammer for a late dinner and caught a little of the sunset on the walk back.
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