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Published: September 10th 2011
I the previous three years our road trips took us to the Florida via the East Coast, Texas via the Southeastern States, California via all the Midwest and Western states, so we thought it was time to see the Northwest, broadly defined as everything northwest of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons of Wyoming, to include the westernmost Canadian provinces. We would be join by our good friends buz and Kathy.
24 June 1999 Thursday. The alarm went off at 3:45 am. Amazingly, we were all ready to catch the cab by 4:45 am, and made it to Dulles airport in plenty of time to catch the 6:30 am flight to St. Louis and on to Seattle, Washington. The only glitch was that our daughter Rosanna didn’t have a ticket. We explained to the TWA agent that TWA had told us that they only send out tickets two to an envelope, so with five people one would not get a ticket. But not to worry; her name was in the computer. The agent filled out some paper work to let Rosanna on the plane. (I am transcribing this from my travel diary in 2011. Isn’t it great that we no longer
have to worry about misplacing tickets with everything being electronic!).
In St. Louis we were joined by Buz and Kathy who flew in from Pittsburgh. We all flew on to Seattle on the same flight, arriving about 11:15 am. We proceeded to the rental car desk. The usual glitches…the intermediate car I reserved was supposed to be a Stratus, but the intermediate they had was too small for five people (Buz and Kathy rented their own car and usually one of our kids would ride with them if they were good. We communicate via walky talky). I would have to pay $40 to upgrade to a larger car. Then they wanted me to initial the contract promising that I would only drive in Washington and Oregon, a condition not explained when reserving the car. As I was planning to visit British Columbia and Alberta in Canada, and Montana, Wyomingh, Idaho and California, in addition oto Washington and Oregon, this was not acceptable. I cancelled my reservation. The adjacent rental car company was great…they gave me a large car for less that the price of the intermediate car from the first company. They were even going to give me an
SUV for the same price, but I didn’t want to pay for the extra gas.
So we were off to the Olympic Peninsula. The drive to Kalaloch Lodge was very scenic. Our first visit there was in 1990 during one of our home leaves from Belgium. Our kids were 1, 3 and 5 at the time...I believe in getting them addicted to travel at an early age.
We arrived about 5:15 pm and checked into our cabin on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The tide was just coming in so we went for a walk on the beach before it was enveloped. By 6:30 we were ready for supper – salmon, of course. After dinner, the sun was setting so we returned to the beach. Some people had built a bonfire, so we joined them. They were also from northern Virginia…small world. We stayed until dark, which was 10:30 pm – time for bed.
25 June 1999 Friday. We woke up at 6 am to cold drizzle outside, but the weather looked like it was going to break. So we gradually got ready except for daughter Tamara who slept in until 8 am. For the rest
of us, we were down to the beach by 6:15 am – the tide was out so we were able to go to a group of rocks that had been covered the previous evening to look for sea creatures. My son Will was the first to find a star fish, orange in color. I found the second – purple. We found a lot of sea urchins, and started to collect driftwood, but decided the pieces would be too large to carry in our baggage. By 7 am the tide started to come in, so we moved to the lodge for breakfast. Then we had to wake Tamara up, which she refused to do. Will used his water pistol to wake her up, which resulted in tears.
Once underway, our first stop was the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park, where we hiked for an hour or so in the dense rain forest. Moisture was either dripping off the trees or it was raining. So we decided to proceed to Port Angeles. As the weather was still overcast, we decided to skip Hurricane Ridge, having been there previously in 1990. We had a seafood lunch of Dungeness crabs
Lots of driftwood
Linda, Kathy, Rosanna, Tamara, Will and Buz
We then drove to Port Townsend to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island. The sun was finally out so it was a nice crossing. Whidbey Island is also very scenic. We continued on to Bellingham for the night, arriving about 7 pm. Linda and the three kids went right to bed, but it was too early for me. I tried to call Tom and Wendy, our neighbors in Falls Church, VA who were taking care of our cats. We would watch their two cats when they traveled so it was a nice arrangement. We also enjoyed monthly visits with them to various ethnic restaurants in the DC area. There was no answer, so Linda was worried.
Interestingly, eight years later Tom and Wendy moved to Bellingham, where we visited Tom in May 2008, following our Alaska Inside Passage cruise. Wendy was not there as she was General Consul in Wuhan, China. We talked to her on Skype, however.
26 June 1999 Saturday. The day was solid overcast with constant rain for most of the morning. We left about 7:15 am and arrived at my cousin Jenny’s home in Richmond, BC, Canada about 8 am. She
Will with his pile of driftwood
He had to leave it there as it was too much to fit in his suitcase.
welcomed us with open arms. Jenny had prepared a pancake and bacon breakfast for us, which we ate quickly as she had to leave for work at 8:50 am. It was still great to see her again.
As it was still raining cats and dogs we drove around Vancouver and arrived at the Museum of Anthropology about 10:15 am. This museum has a wonderful collection of Northwest Indian totem poles, carvings, and other art works. We took the guided tour from 11 – 12:15 pm and learned many interesting things. The kids didn’t find too much interesting. We bought them some T-shirts as compensation.
We decided to eat out of town, and as Vancouver is a long way across, we didn’t have fast food for lunch until 2 pm. We arrived in Kamloops about 5 pm and checked into our hotel. After a quick stop at Wal-Mart, we ate at a very nice restaurant looking out over the city. The adults, Buz, Kathy, Linda and myself ate at one table and the kids ate at another table and behaved perfectly. After dinner we decided to use the hotel’s indoor pool, which the kids loved, before turning in.
27 June 1999 Sunday. Breakfast was at McD’s so that we could get a quick start for the trip to Jasper National Park. The weather was improving, with widely scattered thundershowers, so the scenery was great. We stopped along the way; once to observe a mother bear and her three cubs on the side of the road.
We arrived at our hotel in Jasper about 1 pm, which was 2 pm due to going from Pacific to Mountain time. Our rooms weren’t ready so we had lunch. After lunch we hiked around Annette Lake, with its azure blue water reflecting the surrounding white capped mountains. We then drove to the stables to reserve rides for the flowing morning, but they were closed. So we did some souvenir shopping and ate at Pizza Hut. Linda, Buz and Kathy went for another hike, this time to spot wildlife at Pyramid Lake, while I took the kids to the hotel’s indoor pool.
28 June 1999 Monday. We met at 7:30 am for the breakfast buffet, and then called the stable to see if we could take the 9 am trail ride. They said to come right away. The kids liked their
dog and black cat, and the horses were fine too. I rode Apple Jack. We wore our ponchos, but it didn’t really rain. The one hour ride took us through forests, along ridge lines, and by lakes…very beautiful. We saw a bear, a coyote, and many beaver dams, but no beavers. Linda's horse didn't even try to buck her off, although it loved to eat so would stop along the way despite urgings from her to keep up with the rest.
After loading our cars at the hotel, we proceeded to Lake Louise, stopping at many scenic spots along the way; Athabasca Falls being one. We had lunch at the Ice fields Center, where we then hiked up to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier, and then on to it. The kids had a snowball fight and slid down the face of the glacier.
We continued on to Lake Louise without stopping much, arriving about 4:30 pm. We checked into our very nice rooms at the Deer Lodge, and then walked to Lake Louise and the Chateau. The lake was azure blue from melting glaciers. We shopped a bit, and Tamara got a nice Mounties red jacket and
a ring. The restaurants at the lake were very expensive so we drove into town for dinner. We saw our first sun that day, but by the end of dinner it was gone. We visited the Chateau one more time before returning to the adjacent Deer Lodge for the night. The girls repacked their suitcase to determine how many clean clothes they have left. Will was being a pest. Linda just wants to crash. And I wrote in my journal.
29 June 1999 Tuesday. The weather is better today; occasional squalls but mostly sun. We had breakfast at a bakery in the town of Lake Louise, and then took one more walk to the lake in sunshine.
We headed for Banff, which is about 30 minutes south of Lake Louise. We toured the Banff Springs Hotel which was amazing…another chateau hotel built by the Canadian National railroad. Then we went into town to shop. I got a nice brown polar tech jacket.
We ate lunch at McD’s, then headed to Glacier National Park in Montana. The drive along the Rocky Mountain Range was very scenic. We arrived at our cabin in the park about 5:30 pm. After
Breakfast at Kalalock Lodge
Buz, Kathy, Rosanna, Linda and Will. Tamara was still in bed. I was taking the picture.
dinner we attended the ranger campfire program, and learned about the people who came to the park. Afterwards we went spotting and saw some elk. We went to bed just as a thunderstorm arrived. Rosanna was scared that a bear was shaking the trees outside the room. I didn’t help by telling bear stories.
30 June 1999 Wednesday. It rained hard the entire day we were at Glacier. We took the road over Logan Pass and couldn’t see much due to heavy fog. We stopped a few times to see rivers, lakes, and falls, but we couldn’t see the best of Glacier.
We had lunch in Kalispell, and continued south. The drive to Missoula was also beautiful with the rain behind us. We checked into our motel and then went into town for dinner. The kids rode the carrousel; its real wooden horses were featured on a U.S. stamp. We ate at a Thai restaurant which really was more Chinese. We returned to the motel to play Dutch Blitz with Buz and Kathy for the rest of the evening, as this would be our last night together.
1 July 1999 Thursday. We had some donuts for breakfast,
and then said farewell to Buz and Kathy who were returning to Seattle via Mt Rainier and then home. We headed south. Our first stop was Deer Lodge, the second oldest town in Montana with the site of an old jail. We also spent an hour at a laundromat where we washed clothes and talked to some interesting locals. One family was from Tennessee, but had a ranch nearby that they visited every summer. We continued on to Butte, where we saw the huge open pit copper mine, and bought a chunk of raw copper.
Next was Virginia City, an old ghost town, where we visited a garnet mine. The old miner showed us how to scoop the sand from the stream and sift it in a screen to get rid of the sand leaving only rocks. Then we sifted the screen back and forth so that the heavier garnets would settle on the bottom. We place a sponge on the screen so that when we turned it over the garnets were on top. Each of the kids collected a bag of garnets. We then toured the town, which was mostly antique stores, and Linda bought a silver bracelet
made from antique silverware.
Following lunch we headed to Yellowstone National Park. We debated the pros and cons of buying land and settling in Montana for our retirement. We agreed that the summers would be beautiful, but that the winters would be unbearably cold. But better cold winters than hot humid summers in the east and south.
We arrived at the Canyon area of Yellowstone about 5:30 pm. After checking into our cabin we ate at the lodge cafeteria and then drove down to Hayden Valley to spot animals. We saw many elk and buffalo. One buffalo almost put its head into Will’s window, which he didn’t appreciate. We also saw a grizzly bear in the distance…not much more than a speck on the horizon.
Upon our return to our cabin, we were prevented from entering by a moose. It eventually walked into the deep woods. Will and I attended the ranger campfire program to hear about the geology of Yellowstone. We learned all about tectonic plates, and what happens when they come together, or drift apart, or slide against each other. Yellowstone is similar to the Hawaiian Island, in that both were formed when the tectonic
plate passed over a molten hot spot. We learned about the volcanic nature of the area. We also learned that meals and souvenirs at the park were expensive. The girls, including Linda, played Dutch Blitz while we were at the program. We turned in about 11 pm.
2 July 1999 Friday. We slept in and were awoken by sunshine and blue sky. We checked out and ate at the cafeteria before joining a ranger walk to the Upper Yellowstone Falls. We dropped out early to continue to the Lower Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, all of which were awesome.
We then continued north to the Tower area and then west to Mammoth Hot Springs, where I drove to the top of the multilevel springs. Linda and the kids walked down while I drove down to get them. We had lunch there. We then headed south to the Norris Geyser Basin, where we saw geysers and many elk.
Next it was to Grant Village on Lake Yellowstone, where we checked in. Our room wouldn’t be ready for several hours, so we back tracked a bit to the Old Faithful Geyser Basin, with its historic
lodge and famous geysers. We toured the lodge, shopped a bit, had dinner in the cafeteria, and watched Old Faithful erupt. We walked through the geyser field and saw other geysers erupt. Chipmunk and marmots hid under the boardwalk, and kept the kids entertained. They were especially delighted when a bird dive bombed me, leaving white evidence of the attack on my jacket. We then returned to our room at Grant Village.
3 July 1999 Saturday. Another sleep in day. Linda and I awoke first. Will was next at 8 am, awakening in a good mood. We finally had to wake Tamara and Rosanna at 9 am. There are reasonable limits which they were exceeding.
We decided to have brunch to save some money on food, so we drove back to the Yellowstone Lodge where we bought a picnic brunch. Will was not cooperating so we decided to use an Amish approach to discipline; the silent treatment where none of us talked to him. By the time we finished our picnic he was repentant and apologized just so someone would talk to him.
The weather was perfect the whole day…cool and clear. There were still pockets of
snow in the woods and the mountain peaks. We decided to do the southern loop of the park, stopping at mud pots and geysers along the way. We saw many more buffalo, but no bears. The rangers have provided them with GPS collars so that when they get near roads, the rangers are waiting to move them away. This really decreases the odds of seeing a bear.
We shopped at the Canyon gift shop for T-shirts and hats. We stopped at the Lake Hotel and marina. We tried to rent a boat, but the wind was kicking up so that was out.
We returned to Grant Village about 4 pm. Linda took a siesta while the girls played Dutch Blitz again. Will and I took a walk along the lake. We returned to collect the girls for dinner at the lodge, but Linda was out cold, so it was me and the three kids. We were considerate enough to bring her our leftovers!
We get her up about 7 pm and then headed out to see the Old Faithful geyser fields and more eruptions. Old Faithful erupted at 9:15 pm just as the sun was setting. Dusk
and night is our favorite time there. In the dark you can see the Milky Way and shooting stars, and listen to the gurgling geysers. The it was back to Grant for the night.
4 July 1999 Sunday. Happy Independence Day! We slept in and then attended an outdoor worship service at the amphitheater. The service was lead by five college students who worked at Grant Village. It was nice worshiping in nature. There was a birds nest above the podium, and they made quite a racket during the service. I wasn’t feeling very well; stomach issues. The kids all sang a song together.
After the service we returned to the Old Faithful Lodge for brunch. I also bought medicine for my stomach which started to help. We walked all around the Upper Geyser Basin at a slow pace, enjoying each sight. We finished with huge scoops of ice cream and for one final time watched Old Faithful erupt. We saw a movie about wildlife in Yellowstone. Then the kids wanted to return to Grant Village, but I made them hike around the Middle Geyser Basin and the Prismatic Pool, before returning to our room at 4:30 pm.
The three girls siesta’d while Will and I played. Dinner was at 6 pm followed by a drive in the immediate area to spot animals…no bears.
5 July 1999 Monday. Time to move on to Grand Tetons National Park. We slept in a bit, checked out, and drove to Coulter Bay for brunch. We then drove to Signal Mountain Lodge, arriving at 11:30 am, and checked into our cabin which looked out over the lake with the Grand Tetons on the other side…magnificent!
Our cabin wouldn’t be ready for a few hours so we decided to take a hike around String Lake…not too far to hike, pretty flat, forested and meadows, scenic, and just right. Tamara decided to wear her sandals rather than her hiking shoes so it wasn’t too long before she started complaining. She cried for most of the hike…which because of her distracting us resulted in us taking the wrong trail which led up the mountains and alpine meadows, and was about 4 miles longer that the original plan. Linda and I thought it was the perfect hike, but the kids thought otherwise. They basically swore off any future hikes.
When we returned to
our cabin, it was ready. Linda took a siesta while the kids rode bikes and then waded in the lake. As the afternoon wore on we had an early dinner and then the evening ride to look for animals. We saw a moose and her baby from a distance, and a coyote catching a ground squirrel. It would creep up on its prey like a cat or lion, and then jump high in the air onto the unfortunate target. She did this many times over the 20 minutes we watched. She also played with her catch just like a cat does.
Then we drove to the old ranch at Antelope Flats where the movie “Shane” was filmed. There must have been over a hundred buffalo grazing around the ranch house. I took some great pictures of the herd, the ranch, with the Grand Tetons in the distance, as the sun was setting. Unfortunately, the drug store that developed the film upon our return home lost the pictures…ugh! We returned to our cabin after sunset. Linda and the girls played while Will and I went to the lounge in the lodge to see what they had going…not much.
July 1999 Tuesday. While most of the country was excessively hot according to the news, our temperature only got into the lower 80’s later in the day. Since hiking was out, and out float trip on the Snake River wasn’t until 5:30 pm, we decided to spend the day in Jackson Hole. Our first stop was the laundromat…the nicest cleanest one we ever went to. We had a steak lunch; the best steaks I’ve tasted in a long time! We walked around town and shopped. Linda bought a bear wood carving. We also got T-shirts. We drove around the residential areas, and Linda got the idea that this might be a good place to retire until she saw the prices of real estate! We returned to our cabin.
While Linda had a siesta, I watch the kids play on the beach with 4 other children. We almost didn’t get ready for our float trip on time. The float trip lasted from 5:30 pm until about 8:30 pm and was very peaceful and scenic. Will didn’t want to get into the raft. We saw beaver and a moose along the river, and 3 bald eagles in trees along the shoreline.
There were only a couple patches of white water, which was enough to excite the kids. Even Will wanted more white water after the initial panic. The guide let him take the oars and steer the raft. The kids learned from the guide that “tetons” is the French word for breasts; something that sets them into fits of giggles and provides them with the basis for many poor jokes. On the way back we saw many buffalo and several moose. We ate a late dinner at the Signal Mountain Lodge, and then turned in for the night.
7 July 1999 Wednesday. I woke up with the sound of thunder echoing from the Grand Teton Mountains across the lake. I grabbed my camera and got some good shots of the approaching thunderstorm. I returned to bed, and we all woke up about 8:30 am to the sound of rain. That meant we had to skip the motor boat that was planned for the morning.
We checked out and headed for Moose, where we had a hearty breakfast…a great meal for a fair price. As we left we passed a young moose running down the side of the road. We
continued past Teton Village and then over the pass to Idaho Falls. On the way we passed a perfectly situated ranch. After we passed it, I told Linda it had a For Sale sign. She didn’t want to turn around to find out the price in case it was affordable, thus giving us a difficult decision.
In Idaho Falls, Idaho we checked into our hotel and then hurried to see the movie “Tarzan.” Afterwards we shopped for some essentials at Wal-Mart. We returned to the hotel to swim and watch TV before turning in.
8 July 1999 Thursday. Our first stop was Craters of the Moon National Monument which is a lava field. The kids weren’t too impressed until we climbed into the lava tubes that were formed by flowing lava. The surface would cool and harden, so that a cave would form underneath. The Boy Scout Cave was very tight, but the Beauty Cave was just right. Linda and Tamara didn’t want to go very far, so I took Rosanna and Will through the entire length. Mid way I turned off our small flashlight so they could see how dark absolute darkness could be. When I turned
the flashlight back on, it appeared that the walls were moving. That was enough to scare the kids into leaving quickly.
We continued on to Hagerman Fossil Monument and the Three Islands Crossing of the Oregon Trail. We saw the tracks made over 150 years ago by the many wagons heading to Oregon. We arrived at our very nice hotel in Boise, Idaho about 5:30 pm. I took the girls to a local mall to buy Tamara a new swimsuit so that she could use the hotel pool. I’m not sure what was wrong with the one she had. Anyway, when we got back to the hotel they decide not to swim. Will and I went by ourselves. We returned to the room at 9:30 pm to join the others watching TV.
9 July 1999 Friday. The weather was hot and sunny as we headed west across Oregon. We had originally planned to go to Bend, but there wasn’t a hotel room available within 50 miles. So we decided to take the southern route across Oregon to Klamath Falls. Eastern Oregon is desert so the drive was the supreme test of a boring drive, which the kids failed
miserably. To make it worse, my Visa card stopped working. I called the bank, who informed me that my card had been replaced with an American Express card which they mailed to me (obviously sitting in my mailbox at home). They acknowledged that they had deactivated my Visa card prematurely, and would reactivate it.
Three hours later when we stopped for lunch in Burns, the card still didn’t work. After another phone call to my bank, they immediately activated my Visa card. It was nice to have money again…first I had to pay Linda and Rosanna the $50 they loaned me.
The drive beyond Burns was boring. Linda tried to find some interesting sights in our AAA guidebook, but failed. We did pass the highest escarpment in North America, but that failed to impress. We finally got to our hotel in Klamath Falls after our longest drive without any interesting stop. We had dinner at a Chinese restaurant, then TV and sleep.
10 July 1999 Saturday. The day was hot and hazy as we left Klamath Falls on our way to Crater Lake National Park. As we climbed to the crater edge the temperature dropped. The ranger
at the entrance station informed us that only the west rim road was open; the other still had snow. Even on the west rim the snow along the side of the road was deep. The lake in the crater was deep blue…very beautiful. We stopped at the recently renovated lodge on the rim. We stopped along the way for picture and met people from Northern Ireland and Germany. My family thinks that I talk too much to strangers, but I like to find out where people are from and how they enjoy my country.
We left Crater Lake and had lunch at a roadside restaurant. It was a typical meal for our family. Ten year old Will ordered a very expensive top sirloin steak…no kids menu for him. Linda ordered the blue cheese burger. Rosanna decided before the waitress took the order that she would share a salad with Tamara, but then changed her mind and ordered a cheeseburger although she is a vegetarian. I didn’t order anything, knowing that there would be plenty of leftovers. Sure enough, the first thing I got was Will’s soup. Next I had the meat from Rosanna’s cheeseburger. Then she wanted to give
me the bun and cheese after I had already eaten the meat. I declined until Will said I could have most of his steak which I used to make a steak sandwich. I finished with Tamara’s salad which she had dissembled. All of this was enough to put Linda off food for the rest of the day.
As for riding in the car, we have tried to resolve the battles in the back seat by putting Rosanna, who has the mildest personality, between Tamara and Will, which works for a while. Linda and I have resolved that this will be our last road trip vacation. How soon we forget...see subsequent blogs for our subsequent road trips to the Canadian Maritime provinces and New England in 2000; to the northern Midwest states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota in 2001; and Alaska in 2002, after which we pretty much vacationed in one spot after the kids wanted to take their friends along; with the exception of our raod trip through England, France and Belgium in 2004. They promised to be good under threat that they would be banned from seeing their friends for the rest of the summer.
We drove through Medford and finally arrived at our hotel in Grants Pass, Oregon about 3 pm…one of the shortest driving days of the trip. The kids used the hotel pool, and I went in search of a barbershop. None were open so I got McD’s for Will and Tamara and Thai fried rice for Rosanna, Linda, and myself. Then it was TV to watch the Disney Backstreet Boys concert, as if listening to their tapes all across Canada, Montana, Idaho and Oregon wasn’t enough.
11 July 1999 Sunday. The good weather continued as we headed to Redwoods National Park in northern California. We bought a dozen donuts at Safeway to make the trip more bearable. It wasn't that far to the park information center where the ranger laid out a good itinerary for our visit. We drove through groves of giant redwoods and got out at a particularly interesting grove for a short nature walk (the word “hike” having been banned). The Big Redwood was 21 feet in diameter.
After the park we headed south to Eureka, a town with many Victorian homes. I though the 150 mile detour which would require us to retrace our steps
north to Oregon would be worth seeing Eureka. Wrong! The only Victoria house worth seeing was the Carter House which was not open to the public. The historic district was being restored, but it was mostly falling down. We had dinner is a nice family restaurant. Afterwards the kids swam at the hotel pool while I supervised by reading “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson.
12 July 1999 Monday. While the weather was good, driving north along the Pacific Coast introduces another phenomenon. When the cold ocean air meets the warm interior air, the result is sea mist or fog and strong winds. We left Eureka about 8:30 am after a stop at McD’s as the kids wouldn’t eat the free hotel breakfast…I don’t blame them.
We crossed the border into Oregon about 11:30 am. The Oregon coast drive is particularly beautiful, with ocean views and sea stacks. We stopped at Brandon for lunch at a great café...a gourmet menu at reasonable prices. I had seafood crepes. Even the kids found something to eat. Brandon is an artsy community, so we walked around town and to their beach to see if we could find agates. The wind got to
us, so we headed up the coast.
My plan was to stop about 5 pm at Lincoln City, but Linda wanted to keep going to reduce the amount of driving the next day, as the kids were sleeping. We finally stopped in Rockaway Beach about 7 pm at a hotel right on the beach. After unloading, we took a walk along the beach. It wasn’t too windy so we spent a lot of time looking for agates, and me talking to other vacationers. Will and I swam in the hotel pool while the girls watched TV and tried out the vibrating beds.
13 July 1999 Tuesday. Our first stop was Ecola State Park which is famous for the view of the Oregon Coast with sea stacks. Then it was on to Cannon Beach. We had breakfast at 10:29 at McD’s, the only restaurant the kids would accept, just before they switched to the lunch menu. We really liked Cannon Beach, and considered adding it to places we might want to retire. However, while we were walking along the beach, someone pointed out to us the bent swings of the elementary school which had previously been close to the
beach. This was the result of a tsunami, more of which could be expected.
Our next stop was Seaside, where I bought a 1948 map of Washington, DC at an antique store…I collect old maps of the DC area.
We continued up the coast to Fort Clatsop, the winter fort built by Lewis and Clark at the mouth of the Columbia River. We toured the fort and walked down to the canoe landing.
We then drove through Astoria and stopped to visit a salmon hatchery. As we were the only visitors, we got the grand tour. We saw the contents of a freezer which contained a salmon the size and weight of Will. We saw millions of baby salmon just hatched.
From there we drove to Oregon City, the end of the Oregon Trail. We visited the Interpretive Center for a multimedia presentation. Then we saw the Willamette Falls. You had to have a good imagination to see what the end of the trail must have been like since Oregon City is a miserable industrial mess. We have now seen the beginning of the Oregon Trail in Independence, Missouri, and the middle along the Platte River
in Nebraska, and at Fort Laramie, Split Rock, South Pass, and Fort Bridger in Wyoming, and the Three Island Crossing in Idaho.
To end the day, we drove past Portland to Kelso, Washington where we checked into our hotel, did some laundry, and watched TV before bed.
14 July 1999 Wednesday. The day started overcast which wasn’t ideal for our visit to Mt. St. Helen and Mt Rainier National Park. Our first stop, nevertheless, was at the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center off I-5. We saw the movie about volcanoes and the eruption in 1980. Then we drove to the Johnson Ridge Observation Center which was recently opened and is the closest point to the volcano. We saw the mud and cinder flow from the remains of the mountain, and the devastated forest with trees blown down away from the explosion for thousands of acres. We saw another movie which recreated the volcanic activity. We stopped at the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center for lunch, and to see the Forest Study Center presenting sustainable forests.
We then headed for Mount Rainier National Park, arriving at the Paradise Inn about 4:30 pm. There was deep snow (about 30 feet
deep) around the parking lot so my plan to hike the alpine meadows, as Linda and I had done at this same in 1982, was no longer feasible. Clouds swirled around the lodge so we opted for indoor activities. After dinner we played table games and then I attended the 9 pm ranger talk on nocturnal animals. When I returned to the room, the lights were out and Linda was trying to get the kids to sleep…not very successfully. The room was rustic with only a sink. Both Linda and I had to make a run in the middle of the night to the toilets down the hall.
Here is Will’s entry to my diary: “Today we went to Mt. St. Helens. We drove up the volcano. I thought it would erupt and we would die. We were so high up we were in the clouds. Me and my sisters were putting helium in our lungs. We sounded so weird. Mom and Dad were laughing so much.”
Here is Rosanna’s entry to my diary: “I had a good vacation. Some parts were boring. I think Mt St Helens was very cool. I like this lodge we are staying
at. Today me, Tammy, and Will had balloons and we put helium in our lungs. I did it first. The other two were chickens. I sounded the funniest…ha ha ha!”
15 July 1999 Thursday. It is another sunny day. Still it was difficult to get the gang moving. The kids weren’t impressed with the huge mountain looming above them. They wanted breakfast, but not at the high prices charged at the lodge. So we headed own the mountain and stopped for gas and donuts.
We drove to Olympia and across the bridge to the Olympic peninsula. We had lunch at a Thai restaurant in Poulsbo. No one wanted to walk around this quaint Norwegian town, but wanted to get to our hotel as soon as possible.
We took the ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, which was a very scenic crossing of Puget Sound. We got to our hotel near the airport about 3 pm, and after checking into our room, went to a bookstore to buy reading material for our long flight home the next day. Then I turned in our rental car. We used the hotel pool, had dinner, repacked our suitcases, and watched TV
before calling it an early night.
16 July 1999 Friday. Wake up at 6 am. Depart at 8:30 am for Dulles. Crash the rest of the weekend.
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