Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

After leaving Jenny’s we headed for the Redwood National Park. Once we got past the vineyards and slaughterhouses, northern California reminded me a lot of Oregon. A very natural coastal region. With LOTS of hippies and drifters. This is around the time the word about our trip must have really gotten out, because more and more frequently we passed people on the side of the road giving us the thumbs up. News travels fast, I’m really impressed!
By this time I’ve cut back on how much water I drink and have replaced it with coffee. I need loads of it to keep the road straight in front of me. Luckily, the trend that really took hold in Seattle has oozed it’s way across the nation. But this is something I never see back east and hadn’t seen anywhere else across the country until we got here. It’s like a post-Seattle drip. The roadside drive-through espresso stand.

And Mycol is still asking me why I can’t hold my water any longer than I do, which is about as long as half an hour on a seriously caffeinated morning. I pulled over in a very small town to use the restroom. The only one’s available were at the dock. They pull oysters from these waters. I spoke to a local woman while I admired the beauty and serenity of the Pacific on an early morning. She said we could get the freshest oysters on the half shell just about anywhere in that area. I don’t like oysters on the half shell. Oh, well. But I love this shot.

And this one.

Before this trip I’d been to a lot of places on the west coast. I’d been from San Diego to the Napa Valley, along the northwestern coast of Oregon and along the Columbia River, camped in Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington, as well as Seattle and through central Washington as far east as Moses Lake, in the center of the state. I’d always said that Oregon and Washington were some of the most beautiful places I’d been. After this trip I’ll have a stronger opinion about what geographical locations of the United States I’m most attracted to, but for now I will tell you that the final word on Oregon and Washington is that I like Oregon much better, but more on that next time. The other thing is, there is a definite feeling I get about being in California. There is an energy there that I pick up on and it exhilerates me. It definitely has to do with all the John Steinbeck I’ve read and Hollywood’s glorification of California, but nevertheless it is there. I even love the sound of the name “California”. So, as we traveled north into areas I’d not seen before I started to love it even more. Only I realized that it reminded me so much of Oregon at this point, which, I supposed helped Oregon to edge out Washington in my state ranking. It’s big nature out here. It’s the diversity of the blue ocean along the rocky shore that disappears into piney forests and mountains all in one view.

As we got closer to the Redwoods we passed a lot of roadside attractions with americana themes. They did not detract from the natural beauty of the area.

We made it to the Redwood National Park in good time that day. The impression on the way in was that it was remote and that we should stop at the last place possible to get gas, which was a single old-fashioned gas pump on the side of the road between a small convenience store and a place that sold wood-carved bears, lighthouses, windmills, etc. We did stop for gas there and then drove in on a road that was suddenly out of the bright wide open and into the depths of the forest, with sky-high trees on either side, everything shady green and brown with little dapples of sunlight dropping down from above. We entered the park, got our map, and chose a short hike on the Lady Bird Johnson trail, the “jewel” of the park where you could find examples of everything the Redwoods has to offer. Here is the first tree that everyone gets to see up close. It stands in the parking lot at the trailhead and greets them.

I know I haven’t posted basically since I’ve been home. I promise to continue with a little more dedication from now on. Before hitting the road I was a little scared. I was worried about how much it would cost, about what we would do if the car broke down, about whether or not all my “stuff” at home would be alright, and most of all about the safety of my family and how I felt most responsible because it was my idea and I was the driver and obviously Mycol’s safety is my responsibility anyhow. Now that I’m back I feel like I should have been more scared to return! Life seems rather ho-hum here, and it should scare the shit out of me! I wanted to come home and share my experiences with everyone, but like any big adventure you can’t really share it, not like you can with the people you went with. And besides, while you are still on some kind of high from it all, at home no one has moved an inch, they are all still exactly as you left them, like chess pieces on the board waiting for someone to start a game. And this static atmosphere will suck you right back in, until you feel almost like you never went anywhere and you’re back to worrying about all the same old things. So, maybe I haven’t posted because I’ve been trying to figure out how not to get dragged back down by the ever-churning cycle of school days, work days, and chores. Ah, well, I wish I was in Montana. See you back here next post, where I’ll take you on a tour of the Redwoods where we camped the night before heading up to Oregon.


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We left Bryce Canyon and moved on towards Zion National Park, which is virtually around the bend. Just when you think you’ve really seen the most beautiful thing, Utah gives you Zion and you can’t decide which is better. Bryce is delicate and more detailed, like lace. Zion is bigger, the palette is softer, and the rock formations look like tufts of flakey pastries, while Bryce’s “hoodoos” are more like a million red-orange candles dripping with wax. These pictures don’t really show what I’m talking about. You could see all the thin layers of rock formed one on top of the other, like a phylo dough.

Here’s the tunnel we drove through on the way in:

So, guess where I am? You’ll never guess. Not ever. I was in Moses Lake, Washington yesterday, which is in central Washington. That’s where we went from Seattle to see the rodeo. That is the little town where Mycol’s great grandfather lives and hosts a family reunion every year in conjunction with the local fair and “Rodeo Round-up”. I am still, obviously, trying to catch up on my blog. Dammit. I think today is Sunday, right? And we had planned on being in Montana tonight. But for reasons that I will not get into just yet my mother and I left Moses Lake and headed BACK WEST again!!!! An hour and a half WEST, AGAIN. For Mycol, so that he could spend an extra day with his dad and his aunt. She and her husband and mother-in-law have a “cabin” near Roslyn, Washington. Get out your maps and figure it out. It’s right off of I-90, the highway that runs from one end of Washington to the other through the middle. I’ll posts pictures and stories later, but for now let’s talk about what came after Zion.
From Pittsburgh to Zion was a wonderfully paced trip. Beautiful country. Lots of fun. After Zion, well, things changed. It didn’t happen all at once. First, we had to travel through miles and miles and miles of this:

It wasn’t the first time I’d thought it (I thought it back in Nebraska), but I thought, “What if we were space travelers, and this car was our space exploring vehicle, and this planet was unknown prior to our exploration, and this is what we’d see and report on.” The desert is one of several places that make you notice that the earth is a planet. Catch my drift?
And then, suddenly, the space explorers come upon a crossroads where there is still nothing for miles and miles other than the three buildings on three of the four corners of the crossroads. Two gas stations, one bigger than the other, each with a gift shop and port-o-johns, and some other building. You’d think we’d find out what the other building was, but we were taken aback by the aliens. This one rolled up on us out of nowhere and started trying to mate. He said he was from Illinois where he grows corn and soy and he pulled this tiny alien over to show us and called it his “boy” and said he was looking for a new mommy and maybe a new baby brother soon after. He asked us if we was “Latino” and said he’s got a BRICK house back home with plenty of room for us and if’n we’d like to come for a visit just give him a holler and he’ll send a plane ticket promptly. He was the spittin’ image of my hen-pecked uncle Chuck, so we figured we’d better report on him. ‘Specially when he give us his business card and it read Charles Hunt. Coincidence? I think not.

We parted ways with Charles and headed for Vegas. Here is a sign that Las Vegas lies ahead:

Those things are used to power these things:

And here’s my lucky lady trying her hand with lady luck:

She couldn’t resist, but she didn’t win anything other than 3 extra plays, or something like that. She still finds money on the ground everywhere we go, though.
Stay tuned

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Day 6

Just to let you know, I am posting this post from Seattle. Here I sit in Erica’s back yard on an early (not so early) Seattle Saturday morning. She has a lovely place to stay here and Mummy and I are very comfortable. The house she is sitting looks so much like something out of Domino magazine I had to take pictures of every square foot of it. I’ll use the pictures to inspire my own remodeling project back east.
Day 6 on the road…..well, my notebook is in the car, but that was the day we visited the national parks in Utah. Bryce and Zion. On the way there, we stopped at Big Rock Candy Mountain, which I’m sure was one of the songs from O Brother, Where Art Thou, and we stopped to purchase some things. Now, when my brother Rock, and his wife Luvy, went on his honeymoon in California he made friends with some bears. He’s so good at making friends. When I saw this bear at Big Rock Candy Mountain, I asked him if he knew my brother. He said he’d heard of him and asked if he could have his picture taken with me so that he could say he’d met Rock’s sister. How could I say no?

So, let me tell you, Great Sand Dunes seemed like a protected jewel. There were hardly any other cars on the road to the entrance of that park and when we got there, although there were other people, tourists and campers, comparatively there were very few.
As you approach Bryce and Zion the fanfare surrounding them was a bit unsettling. I wondered if I was entering an amusement park rather than a national park. Billboards advertising gift shops, museums, trail-riding horse camps, RV camp sites, hotels and motels and resorts, ATV adventure companies, etc., lined the entrance road to Bryce. We drove on in, parked in the lot for Sunrise Point, and walked out a short distance through the pines to the ridge. And then…….and then……..and then tears came to my eyes as this emerged before me

Words can’t describe it.
On the other hand, there ARE words to describe people who walk around with bright yellow plastic bags on their heads.

Remember that bold little birdie that tried to beat my car across the road? Well, at a gas station before Bryce while checking my oil I noticed that it’s carcass had fallen from the place where it was wedged below my hood down into a space in front of the radiator. I was concerned that it’s body would rot there, creating an odor that would be somewhat unpleasant. So I wanted it out of my car. So in the lot at Sunrise Point, Bryce Canyon, I decided we’d better find a good stick to knock the dead birdie out of there. Mummy said, “I’m your man.” And she was.

Well, folks. That’s it for now. Stay tuned for a continuation of Day 6 on the road with “The Three Santooches”.

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