September 23, 2004

Camping Along the Columbia River Gorge

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 3:37 pm by diandy2004

On Saturday we headed to the Columbia River Gorge and spent the next five days slowly heading west along it towards Portland.

Our first stop was in Maryhill, WA. We stayed at the state park (Maryhill State Park) right next door to Peach Beach RV Park (Jim and Chris’ old stomping grounds – watch out guys we are hot on your trail!). From this base camp we visited Stonehenge and the Maryhill Museum, and we relaxed on the riverbank and watched the huge barges going by. Even though we’re in a desert, this is a big area for wineries and fruit orchards which create interesting patterns of green on the brown slopes.

At Stonehenge

At Stonehenge

We also took a nice bike ride along Deschutes River at the State Recreation Area on the Oregon side.  The mostly flat, gravel trail was an old railroad bed that ran along the river in a desert canyon.  The hills were mostly gold grass and volcanic rocks.  Some of the rocks had interesting sunburst patterns.  While we took our lunch break at an abandoned rail car, we examined all the miscellaneous iron parts and wondered what Dan Klennert would’ve seen in them.  We weren’t as creative as he is!

Biking Deschutes River

Biking Deschutes River

Biking Deschutes River

Biking Deschutes River

Sometimes changing locations requires some time to adjust.  It was a dramatic change to be back in an area with small bushes, brown grass and tiny flowers after coming out of such big, bold parks such as Grand Teton and Rainier.

Heading west to our next stop near Hood River we started to notice a change in the scenery. More trees! Our new base camp was the Bridge RV Park in White Salmon, WA. The biggest drawback in the Gorge is the fact that there are highways and rail lines on both sides of the river. So you can’t avoid the noise. Unfortunately this pretty little RV Park was so close to the tracks that the train almost blew us out of bed at night. Losing one night of sleep was the most we could sacrifice to be in this nice area of the Gorge. We did pay extra for a late check-out, though, in order to see more before heading further west.

Our first afternoon we took a scenic drive up to Rowena Crest and did a short hike out onto the Tom McCall’s Nature Preserve. The 25-35 mph winds made it a little hairy to be close to the cliffs, but the views up and down the gorge were pretty.  I was also surprised to find, what I would call, two oasis on the plateau – with lakes, trees, and birds – plopped in the middle of a desert.

The Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge

In order to keep the Old Columbia River Highway at a 5% grade, they built in lots of curves. It was a lovely drive.

Old Columbia River Road

Old Columbia River Hwy

We checked out downtown Hood River visiting shops and taking a detour to Big Horse Microbrewery with a nice view of the river and windsurfers and kite surfers.

The next day we took a bike ride along the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. We biked the portion closed to vehicles between Hood River and Mosier. The old highway is halfway up the cliffs with great views, it is paved and hilly, it is shaded with trees, and this portion has the Twin Tunnels – all of which make this a great ride.  The biggest challenge on this ride?  The changing temperatures.  Riding from the sun into the shade felt like a 20-degree temperature difference.

Biking the Historic Columbia River Trail

Biking the Historic Columbia River Trail

After leaving Hood River we headed to our next base camp, Ainsworth State Park in Oregon. We finally get to put an Oregon sticker on our map! From here we visited the Bonneville Dam’s fish ladders. In order for salmon, sturgeon, and other spawning fish to navigate the dammed Columbia River, they’ve built fish ladders to help the fish get up and over the dams. Interesting. But I think salmon are ugly fish, and sturgeons are even uglier! Salt-water fish are so much more appealing to look at – makes me miss scuba diving.

Viewing Port at Fish Ladders

Viewing Window at Fish Ladders

The Fish Ladders

The Fish Ladders

The next day Jennifer came to visit us and spend the day touring waterfalls. The old Columbia River Highway between exits 35 and 22 is lined with waterfalls. We’ve never seen so many in one small area. We started at Horsetails Falls with a short hike to the top…then we continued to Oneonta Falls…then a couple said that Triple Falls was just up ahead on this other trail…needless to say two hours later we finally found the right trail to get back to the highway for another short walk to the correct parking area where our car was parked.

Here’s the problem though…it was the first time ever we did not have water, or snacks, or anything with us besides one camera. For those of you who know Andy and/or Jen you can imagine how quickly the whining started when the lunch hour came and went. Hell, even I was hungry, thirsty, and grumpy. Ha!

Jen and Diane

Jen and Diane

Oneonta Falls

Oneonta Falls

After chowing down lunch at Multnomah Falls Lodge, we hiked that area. We hiked to the top (we have a picture for you Gail) and further up to several other falls. It’s a beautiful area which must be even more beautiful in winter when the falls become iced over.

Multonomha Falls

Multnomah Falls

View from top of Multnomah

View from top of Multnomah

After Jen left for home, Andy and I decided to finish touring all the falls along Route 30. But since our hikes with Jen totaled around 8 miles, the rest of the afternoon were short hikes.  We also stopped at Vista House on the drive home.  This was an old way station built in 1917 – resplendent with stained glass windows and tile roof.

Vista House

Vista House

We made it into Portland this morning and we’re looking forward to seeing Jen, Rene, Jen B and all significant others at dinner tonight.

Advertisements

September 18, 2004

Yakima, WA – Biking and Kayaking

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:25 pm by diandy2004

We experienced a little culture shock coming back into civilization after spending the last few weeks in Olympic and Rainier. Cars, city noises, tighter camp spaces. But, we have WIFI, a heated swimming pool to do laps in, cable TV to watch Hurricane Ivan, and the other conveniences of city life.  We also had SUN –  glorious, glorious SUNSHINE!

After doing our laps and soaking in the jacuzzi we got on our bikes and rode the Yakima Greenway. The Greenway is a nice paved path that follows the Yakima River and connects 3 different parks in the city. It felt great to get in some exercise (other than walking/hiking).  We biked from the RV park to the southern end & Popoff Nature Trail.

We had expected a little more from the city of Yakima itself. For some reason we expected “Durango” or “Coeur d’Alene” type of a feel in the city. Probably because wineries and microbreweries usually create an eclectic, touristy feel. But the feel of the city we have (after a whopping 12 hours) is that it is purely agriculture, lower-income. Maybe we’re missing something, but we did drive around last night seeking a good place to eat out and saw quite a bit of the city.

Today we were going to try to get in a paddle – if we can find some more information on paddling the Yakima River near Roza Dam quickly. As of right now, we still plan on leaving tomorrow and heading towards the Columbia River Gorge.

|||Two Days Later|||

Well, we didn’t leave Yakima yesterday as expected. Apparently Willie Nelson was having a concert down on the Columbia River Gorge in the area we were heading and all the campgrounds were booked.

Oh well, at least we were able to go kayaking on the Yakima River because of the delay. We drove into the Yakima Canyon area to check out the river. We had learned that there were lots of places to put in and take out. Most people do it as a one-way float trip and set up a shuttle system. Instead of us setting up a bike-shuttle, though, we decided to do it as an out-and-back trip figuring it would be more convenient. (Partly because the apple-crate semi-tractor trailers use this road.  We weren’t comfortable sharing the road on our bikes.)  The river looked doable. Since there was less current closer to the dam we put in at Roza Recreational Site and paddled towards the dam. It started out easy enough, but quickly became a workout. The current got stronger the further north we paddled. We did have a couple of eddies that we were able to duck into in order to take a breather and enjoy our surroundings.  Did we mention that eastern Washington is a desert? Well it is and it’s been a shock to be back in brown-grass and sage bushes after coming out of the rainforests of the NW. So we’d sit in the eddies and look out at the brown slopes of the canyon. We saw several deer, birds, and baby fish.

Of course our competitive sides kicked in when we hit this one riffle (small rapids). Both of us tried feverishly to paddle up and over it, but to no avail. We’d get about three-quarters of the way through and then get stopped as if we hit a brick wall. We both finally quit and portaged over it. After that, though, the river just became harder and harder to paddle and make any headway. Diane was the first to cry “uncle”. It’s just no fun when there is no visible progress. But it was a good thing we turned around when we did. Big, black rain clouds came in from every direction and the rain started minutes after we loaded the kayaks on our car.

September 15, 2004

Mt Rainier National Park

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:35 pm by diandy2004

We could see her from Seattle. We could see her from Victoria. We could see her from most of the Olympic peninsula. But she hid herself under blankets of clouds when we got up alongside her and reached Mt. Rainier National Park. She’d periodically play peek-a-boo and show a little of herself through holes in the clouds, but mostly the mountain stayed hidden. For three solid days we saw mostly clouds, and the forecast wasn’t going to get any better. So much for the mountain views and hiking to Camp Muir, the 10,000 foot high base camp for climbers continuing to the summit. We decided that it just wasn’t our time to experience Mt. Rainier.

Our timing was great regarding the crowds (the park empties out after Labor Day), but poor regarding the weather gods. We did have some nice hikes through the inland rainforest, and this time it was raining. We also got to see great waterfalls – some were gentle trickles over moss-covered rocks, some were long narrow falls falling hundreds of feet, some were powerful falls cascading over rocks. We took a short hike to the foot bridge at Cougar Rock.  We had heard that the creek was flooded, and we just wanted to check it out.  The water was flowing over the bridge.  The poor rangers were desperately trying to rebuild a bridge nearby so that hikers wouldn’t get trapped on the other side.  We also enjoyed the effects the clouds themselves created – swirling up from the valleys below, racing across the sky in the game of peek-a-boo with the mountain (now you see her, now you don’t), and clouds laying on the road in front of you, creating a very mystical place.

peek-a-boo!

peek-a-boo!

Narada Falls

Narada Falls

Christine Falls

Christine Falls

This was one destination where we were very happy to have waterproof pants – and not just our waterproof coats.  Any hikes had us in our full gear for protection from the elements.

One morning we toured Spirits of Iron. Dan Klennert, the artist, displays his sculptures around his property for people to come and enjoy. He asks for donations to help continue his dream, but he will sell his pieces if the price is right. This was worth the detour to drive back into Elbe. We spent about 45 minutes wandering around and speaking with Dan. He even took us into his workshop to show us the current projects he was working on. For someone self-trained in art and welding, his pieces were very detailed and well put-together. The textures he created intrigued me the most. We had fun just trying to identify the ‘parts’ he used to create his pieces. We found: large wrenches, saw blades, horseshoes, wire brush bristles, shovels, and even fishing line to name just a few. But he also creates pieces from driftwood, too. As he says, he doesn’t shape his pieces, he creates them from the shapes he finds. Most of his supplies are found in ravines in eastern Washington, so he is also helping to clean up America as well. If you find yourself in Elbe, do stop and spend time with his work. Slowing down and viewing from your car is not enough to appreciate his creations.

DanKlennert

Dan Klennert

Iron Horse by Dan Klennert

Iron Horse by Dan Klennert

Sea Horse by Dan Klennert

Sea Horse by Dan Klennert

We stayed on both sides of Mt. Rainier. Near Nisqually we stayed at a great little campground (Mounthaven Cabins and RV Resort) which was just a half-mile from the park entrance. The owners were so friendly and eager to please and the setting was wooded and homey.

Mounthaven Resort

Mounthaven Resort

On the east side we spent one night in the Ohanapecosh Campground within the park. Our site was right on the river and beautiful as well. We could imagine ourselves enjoying a campfire and the view…but we chose to stay warm and dry inside instead. We’d highly recommend both of these campgrounds.  The east side is supposed to be in the rain shadow of Mt Rainier, but we found it almost as rainy as the west side.

We did a six-mile hike on the Silver Falls Trail and through the Grove of Patriarchs.  More big trees and forest mushrooms, and I was able to check off more birds on my birding list.  That always makes me happy.  Most times I see a new bird but can’t absolutely identify it!

Grove of the Patriarchs

Grove of the Patriarchs

The cloud-shrouded park was beautiful in its own way, but we started to crave some sunshine since we couldn’t do the bigger hikes (like Skyline Trail or Camp Muir). We’ll just have to come back to tackle Rainier another time. So, off we go to Yakima and Washington’s sunny wine country…

September 10, 2004

Olympic National Park – Kalaloch

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:34 pm by diandy2004

We spent two nights on the pacific coast at the Kalaloch (“clay-lock”) Campground. The campground sits on a bluff just above the beach.  Wonderful.  Our site was just across the driveway from the oceanside sites. We could hear the ocean, but only see it through the windows of the RV in front of us.

Kalaloch Campground

Kalaloch Campground

The sunsets were beautiful and we walked the beaches to enjoy the colors. The beaches here were wide and sandy, unlike the others we’ve seen so far.  We enjoyed climbing on the driftwood, exploring the creeks that flow across the beach to their final destination, and looking for crabs and seashells.  There was one tree we came across that was trying to survive suspended over a great big hole that was formed from erosion in the bluff.

Andy Stands Under a Suspended Tree

Andy Stands Under a Suspended Tree

Strolling the Beaches at Sunset

Strolling the Beaches at Sunset

We hiked several trails in the Hoh Rain Forest. We first did the Spruce Trail and the Hall of Mosses.  The moss, ferns, lichens, and funghi were so beautiful carpeting the trees, rocks and the ground.  Everything stays wet here, I presume, considering how the moss and ferns grew on absolutely everything….

Moss and Fern Roof Outhouse

Moss and Fern Roof Outhouse

Then we hiked only a short distance on the Hoh River Trail.  This trail is actually 18.1 miles long.  We’ll have to tackle the entire distance another trip.  Several trees were estimated at 200 feet long and others with diameters over 6 feet.  One downed tree was so long we couldn’t see the tip when standing at the roots.

It was interesting to learn that young trees have such a hard time taking root on the crowded forest floor that they tend to grow on top of downed trees. This also creates interesting root designs when the new tree grows large and the old tree disintegrates over time. You’ll find that many of the trees are in lines because of this.  It stays so wet in the forest (do note it was sunny the day we visited the rainforest) that dew stays on the mushrooms throughout the day.

Trees Grow on a Nurse Log

Trees Grow on a Nurse Log

Big Trees grow on a Nurse Log

Big Trees grow on a Nurse Log

Diane in Hoh Rain Forest

Diane in Hoh Rain Forest

Andy Inside a Tree

Andy Inside a Tree


Everything seems so much bigger here….including the leaves:
A Big Maple Leaf

A Big Maple Leaf


On our drive back to camp we stopped at Ruby Beach to try and find garnet-colored stones. We were forewarned that there aren’t many left. What we found instead were sea stacks, caves, and other beautiful things.

September 8, 2004

Olympic National Park – Clallam Bay

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 5:41 pm by diandy2004

Our next campground wasn’t quite as nice (Coho RV Resort & Marina).  It was a grass and gravel parking lot with spaces so small you couldn’t open your slide-outs and awnings at the same time.  But the view of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca was stunning. We ended up moving our RV to another location of the RV Resort in order to have some elbow space. We waited to after check-out and got a space in the front row.  This meant no sewer hook-ups, but it was worth it to not have neighbors on both sides.

From this new base camp we drove to Cape Flattery to see puffins. We’ve been trying to see puffins for years (in Alaska and in Maine), but the puffins weren’t there when we were. Foiled again! Cape Flattery is the most north-western point in the contiguous states. Beautiful views from a bluff overlooking sea caves, sea stacks, and arches. But no puffins…

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery

On the drive home we decided to stop at one of the beaches and accidentally came across a sign for Shi Shi Beach.  Hhmmm.  It’s 3:30 pm, it’s a 1.5 mile hike each way….decided to do it so we could see this world-famous beach even though we wouldn’t have too much time to hang out.  From the beach we saw sea stacks, 2 arches, birds, and a handful of surfers and campers.  We looked for agates on the beach and also the glass floats from Japanese fishermen nets, but no luck.

The next day we went to Lake Ozette to do a 9.1 mile loop hike. The hike starts in a forest and goes out to the beach.  It’s a 3.1 mile boardwalk hike to Cape Alava.  Then you hike 3 miles on the rocky beach to another trailhead (Sandpoint) that takes you back to your starting point. A great day. The sections in the forest were easy boardwalk trails. The section along the beach was a little more challenging terrain: soft sand or rocks, slippery moss rocks in the intertidal zone, and stinky kelp and seaweed washed up on shore. We thought the beach hike felt more like 6 miles than just the three.  But we saw gulls, pelicans, harlequin ducks, black oystercatchers, sea lions, black-tailed deer and more. Unfortunately no whales (had hoped to see from our lunch spot on top of a sea stack), black bears (thought we’d see them in the berry patches) or Roosevelt elk (hoped to see in the meadows) were seen on the trip though. And, no puffins…

Exploring Tide Pools

Exploring Tide Pools

Indian Carvings

Indian Carvings

Low Tide - Pacific Style

Low Tide - Pacific Style

Now we’re on our way to Kalaloch. Stopped in Forks for lunch and found the library to update the blog and check/send emails. Keep an eye on Ivan for us!

September 6, 2004

Olympic National Park – Lake Crescent

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 3:33 pm by diandy2004

We found out recently that our house in Boca is fine. Special thanks to Gail and Merle for securing the place and reporting to us as soon as they could. We’d also like to thank all of those (Mom and Ace, Melissa, Rick H) who helped keep us informed regarding the storm conditions until we could hear from Gail and Merle.

Over Labor Day weekend, we camped at Lake Crescent which is on the north side of the Olympic peninsula.  The Fairholm Campground and nearby trails are in a temperate rainforest.  Large firs, cedars, and hemlocks towered above us.

Hiking in the Forest

Hiking in the Forest

I found that many mushrooms can be as colorful and ornate as wildflowers.

Orange Shelf Funghi

Orange Shelf Funghi

Petite Mushrooms

Petite Mushrooms

And the forest creatures, here, were unique to us – like this large Banana Slug.

Banana Slug

Banana Slug

From there we spent one day in the Sol Duc area walking through rain forests, looking at waterfalls, and soaking in the hot springs.  The waterfalls were only a 1.8 mile roundtrip hike, but we wandered about and enjoyed the earthy smells and hushed surroundings.  The hot springs was a man-made pool of hot mineral water.  The hot pools ranged from 100 – 104 degrees, whereas the large lap swimming pool was kept at a freezing (for us!) 75 degrees.  While in the Sol Duc area we explored an old cabin, Ancient Groves Trail, and the Salmon Cascades.

Sol-Duc Falls

Sol-Duc Falls

After Sol Duc, we went to the Storm King Information Center and then walked to Marymere Falls.  This required several creek crossings with bridges tht were made from trees laid across the creek.  The falls themselves reminded me of Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon.  Along the trail we saw several large Douglas Firs, with the biggest aged at 700 yrs old.

Another day we took a great bike ride on the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent. The official trail is only 4 miles long (one-way), but we rode from our campsite so that tacked on another 5 miles to reach the trailhead.  Normally railroad trails are level and as wide as a railroad track, so we were surprised to find this trail more technical. Most of the trail was a naturally mulched trail high above the lake with some areas that washed out creating narrow crossings. Several rock slides created some challenging hills to bike over. And a couple inclines were steep with rock steps that were best to walk over. The trail wasn’t what we expected…it was better.

Biking Lake Crescent Trail

Biking Spruce Railroad Trail on Lake Crescent

Biking Lake Crescent Trail

Biking Spruce Railroad Trail

On our third day, Andy went kayaking on Lake Crescent as Diane did some yoga on shore. Amazingly, the weather on shore was about 30 degrees warmer than at our site which was under a thick canopy of trees.

Fairholm campground is probably one of the prettiest campgrounds we have been in. It’s like living in a rainforest.

Our Site in Fairholm Campground

Our Site in Fairholm Campground

Just Hanging Around

Just Hanging Around

Added note: there was a thirteen mile loop trail we considered doing (but too late of a start).  It is USFS near the Klahowya Campground.   Also, we checked into kayaking on the Sol Duc River in that area as well, but the water level was too low at that time.  Perhaps next visit?

September 2, 2004

Port Townsend, WA

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 2:28 pm by diandy2004

We returned from Canada on Monday, but the parts for the RV still aren’t here yet, so we drove to Port Townsend to spend a couple of days. A neat little seaport built in the 1880’s. Most of the buildings were built at the same time with hopes that the railroad would come through (which it didn’t). The brick buildings have lots of details on the exterior and some still have the original tin ceilings on the inside. We walked the main street, drove through the Victorian neighborhoods, enjoyed the beaches, watched sea otters playing, and biked around Fort Worden.

Port Townsend

Port Townsend

Life Under the Pier

Life Under the Pier

Our RV was camped near the beach in Fort Worden State Park. What a view! The fort itself is probably one of the largest and most intact forts we’ve seen. The old officer’s quarters, etc are still in use as rental lodgings now, or offices. The batteries still have doors on working hinges and iron ladders that were strong enough to climb. There were dark tunnels that you could walk through to go from one side of a battery to another. All areas were accessible. It was very refreshing.

Battery at Fort Worden

Battery at Fort Worden

View from our Campsite

View from our Campsite

From the State Park we could see Mt. Rainier (to the southeast), Mt Baker (to the northeast), and Mt Olympus (to the southwest).

Here’s the lighthouse at Fort Worden:

Lighthouse at Fort Worden

Lighthouse at Fort Worden

And then I decided to ‘alter’ the picture of the Lighthouse somewhat. What do you think?

Lighthouse at Fort Worden

Lighthouse at Fort Worden

Port Townsend sits in the “rain shadow” of Mt Olympus, meaning it doesn’t get as much rain as other areas.  For example, Port Townsend gets 14-18″ per year, while Seattle gets 30″ and Hoh Rain Forest (in the National Park) gets 140″ of rain.  But, of course, it rained in Port Townsend while we were there.

We do enjoy these small towns.  There are just some special moments that make us smile.  Like at the Rosebud Cinema, they have a live person go on stage to welcome the viewers and highlight upcoming movies.  Human previews – we like that.  Or in places where the person who sold you the ticket, also sells you the popcorn, and then has to race upstairs to start the movie.

We should be heading into Olympic National Park today. The RV is back at the dealer for final touches now that the parts are in. We’re hoping that we will actually get to enjoy the NP – considering we are trying to watch Hurricane Frances as well. We are also hoping that we won’t have to cut our trip short and head home for repairs there. Our thoughts are with all of our family and friends scattered throughout Florida – from Ft Lauderdale/Boca to Melbourne to Orlando to Jacksonville.

August 25, 2004

PA-FL-WA-CA-WA

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 3:30 pm by diandy2004

Pennsylvania – Florida – Washington – Canada – Washington

That’s what those code letters mean.   What a whirlwind trip in the past three weeks…three states and two countries within a twenty-four hour period…

Washington…We left Spirit at an RV service center to have some warranty work done while we were on our trip.  They agreed to hold her for the two weeks we’d be gone.  Whew!

Philadelphia…Spent 6 days visiting with family and friends and had a great time as always.

Boca…Then flew directly to Boca for another 6 days.  Not enough time to do what had to be done. Weeding, trimming, cleaning, repairs, visiting with friends and family, soaking in 85 degree ocean, etc. Wished we could’ve seen everyone, but there just wasn’t enough hours in the day.  This is the price we pay for keeping our house while we are on our Trek.  Eventhough we’ve hired people to maintain the yard and pool, and check on the inside of the house, we just felt more comfortable coming home to check on things and complete tasks that weren’t on anyone else’s ‘to-do’ list.

Seattle…Had another hellish travel day, but all went as well as it could have, I guess. Flew from Ft Lauderdale to Phila to Salt Lake City to Seattle. Only took 12 hours this time. Surprisingly, on almost each leg of our trip our planes pushed back from the terminals early! We stayed at a hotel near the airport that first night back. Since our RV parts hadn’t been delivered yet, we decided our first touristy adventure would be to head over to Victoria….

I’ll put our Victoria visit and more on our Washington explorations in separate posts…

August 14, 2004

Seattle and Sequim

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 3:27 pm by diandy2004

Driving through eastern Washington I was surprised to learn it was desert-like.  I guess I just never thought of it being on the ‘other side’ of the mountain range and that it wouldn’t be wet like we’re expecting Seattle to be.  We had one overnight stop along the way to Seattle.

Seattle
Our first impressions of the northwest coast were some of the simple things: large starfish, cold waters, and city streets like San Francisco. Seattle is a pretty city, but I had to quit my job as navigator – there were just too many one-way streets, and no left turns allowed, that had us constantly going the wrong way. It’s more fun to walk the city than try and drive it.

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

Flowers at Pike's Place

Flowers at Pike's Place

Shopping Pike's Place

Shopping Pike's Place

We rode 21 miles on our road bikes on the Burke-Gilman Trail.  Outside of the fact that there were a lot of driveway crossings and the path was cracked and raised from tree roots, it was a pretty ride.  Our views were of the houses that are on the edge of Lake Washington and the boats and docks in the lake.  There were trees and berry bushes lining the path.  The berries were ripe and people were out picking them, but we didn’t know what kind.

Burke Gilman Trail

Burke Gilman Trail

Biking around Lake Washington

Biking around Lake Washington

On the only rainy day we had in Seattle, we visited the Boeing factory. The largest building in the world by volume. I wasn’t sure if seeing the factory where airplanes were made was a wise thing to do days before taking a flight…but it was fascinating, and I didn’t see anything too scary. Regarding its size, it is almost too big to fathom. But they gave us a comparison to consider: you can put Disneyland inside the space, and still have 12 acres extra.  The doors are as large as a football field.

The Boeing Factory

The Boeing Factory

Sequim (“skwim”)
The ferry to Sequim was great (the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry). They are efficient, fast, and its a beautiful ride across the waterways. It was cheaper for us to take both vehicles on separately, versus towing, so Andy drove the RV and I took the Element. Andy had to park within inches of the wall on one side, and other vehicles inches away on the other side.

We took our RV to Eric’s RV performance shop in Sequim.  After attending Life On Wheels, we decided to upgrade to the Bilstein shocks and to a larger sway bar.  While we waited for him to do the work on the RV, we walked along the Dungeness Spit – a 5.5 mile long sandbar.  It was a great place to see birds, seals, and otters.  And the sound of the water was different – it popped and fizzed as it rolled over the rocky beach.  I also enjoyed the sounds of the small rocks as they clinked when they rolled with the gentle waves.  Much different than the sounds on our sandy beaches.

Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit

We haven’t seen much of Olympic National Park yet. Plan to do it upon our return, but we did spend a day at the Hurricane Ridge section of the park. Beautiful views of the mountains…we could see Blue Glacier on top of Mt Olympus and Carrie Glacier on Mt Carrie. Went for a hike, but some “killer bees” took the enjoyment away and we turned around sooner than we would’ve liked.

Hurricane Ridge - Mt Olympus

Hurricane Ridge - Mt Olympus

We’ve read about some great scuba diving sites in the vicinity – with seals, otters, large octopus, shipwrecks, etc – but with water temperatures averaging a “warm” 45-55 degrees, we think we’ll have to pass (we don’t think a dry suit would be enough for Andy).

Here are two other pictures I took in the area that I wanted to share:

LadyBug

LadyBug

Solar Circle

Solar Circle

Can’t wait to see many of you soon during our travels back East.

Philadelphia
Well we made it safely from WA to PA. It only took several car rides, one ferry, two planes, and a train but 24 hours later, we finally made it! Two days later, and our bodies are still trying to recover. We have more sympathy now for our west-coast friends & family who travel east frequently. The fun part of the trip was seeing meteors Wednesday night from the plane.