The Pacific Northwest - Washington & Oregon

Trip Start Apr 17, 2011
Trip End Jul 20, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Max: We met acquaintances of Kathy's for lunch on arrival at Port Angeles back in Washington State, went to a mountain lookout called Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park (magnificent views of a majestic, snowy mountain range), had more rain, and have written most of this in an insignificant town & motel at a place called Forks. However for some people it has become an exciting destination, as the town is the location for the 'Twilight' vampire movies, because it is so wet, damp, dull and gray!

The following day we started by going back into the Olympic National Park to the Hoh Valley Rainforest section. This was a delight and we took 2 walks into the forest which has developed in part because of it's isolation, and in part because of the 12 feet of rainfall that they average every year, as well as it's proximity to both high mountains and the sea which all have their influence on its character..

We had our lunch at a beautiful beach on the Pacific called Kalaloch, (pronounced Klaylock). We have now moved on to just south of Seattle and on the way in experienced the worst traffic of our trip. Was it anything to do with coming in at peak hour on a Friday afternoon? I guess time will tell - tomorrow when we go in to explore Seattle.  

It was Max's idea to go to Seattle because we seemed so close even though we had to back track about 60 miles or so. Even getting in to Seattle on a Saturday morning was bit of a hassle but we got in to what is called Seattle Center that was developed for the World Fair in 1962. There are several areas including the Seattle Space Needle, a high tower with a revolving restaurant, cultural buildings, a food mall, and outdoor spaces. (Seen in the opening scenes of "Grey's Anatomy", if you watch that TV show).
We took the monorail from there into the commercial part of the city & followed the signs to the waterfront. It turned out that we were at the famous Pike Market that are similar to Adelaide's Central Market, but on this Saturday seemed even more vibrant. The fish stalls are particularly well known and had some wonderful fish on them. From that area we could also see some of the cruise ships which had come in that morning from their Alaska cruising with passengers having departed and a new lot to be taken on ready for the evening departure. We also could see the competitors in their city marathon as they passed the 32 km point at the markets on the highway, (which had been closed), below. We also accidentally came a cross the original Starbucks store so along with many others got some photos. It is actually quite small & insignificant really, but was the start of something that has become very big.  Back on the monorail and a walk around Seattle Center we came across the wonderful International Water Fountain. It has been set in a big dish shaped area and has a range of fairly unpredictable ways that it sprays. Kids play around it and have a lot of fun tempting it and getting wet. Even though it was a dull day (again) there were plenty of wet kids about and parents relaxed about it. Kathy has put a link to the fountain and it is worth a look.(Watch it at least until the water shoots high into the sky).  It makes the Glenelg fountain look weak, as much fun as that is! We left there at about 2.00pm and headed south, the beginning of our trip back to California.

Another must see as we headed south was Mount Saint Helens. Most of us remember when it erupted violently in May 1980, although I must confess that I had not remembered when but got the info off the information boards. We arrived at a Visitor Centre, (everything has Visitor Centres, especially National Parks which this now is,) which was well over an hour from the main lookout. We decided to go part way, and then all the way, to the Johnston Lookout, and arrived just as it was closing at 6.00pm. The sun was still high in the sky and we enjoyed the time spent there. It is interesting to still be able to see the trees fallen away from the mountain blast as many still lie there decaying. Large areas have not re-vegetated due to the volcanic contents that still lie from the side of the mountain and along some valleys. Other hillside areas have been replanted as they were part of a local Forest company which lost so much at the time, including equipment & staff. It was a worthwhile diversion which took over 3 hours in all.
Another perfectly symmetrical volcanic mountain nearby is called Mt Hood and that has a National Park as well. it was totally snow covered and very tempting but some things have to be missed.
We had been trying to contact friends who write to us several times each year from the Vancouver Washington State area. We had not been able to successfully email or phone them so we landed on their doorstep on a sunny evening at about 8.45pm. (Remember we were still well North and had daylight until after 9.30pm) They were both surprised and delighted that we had called so we made arrangements to go to church with them the next morning and went to our accommodation and had a late tea.

Marilyn is an avid letter writer and encourager and had supported Kathy for the 10 years that she was with Youth with a Mission, and has continued to write to her, (and me) over the years. Her health has meant that she has to slow up a bit now but we still get several hand written cards per year from her and had not seen her and John for 14 years. It was lovely to join them at church and to be their guests at lunch later. After a necessary goodbye to the last friends that we would see on this trip, we headed further south taking their advice on routes and destination.

As bad luck would have it we were in stop go traffic (on the freeway) for possibly half an hour and eventually came across a mangled caravan (trailer) near the junction where 105 met 5, causing the delay. However we continued as planned and arrived at a lovely beach/fishing port resort called Newport, in Oregon where we spent the night.

On the advice of the receptionist at our motel we decided to go to a particular seafood restaurant simply called Local Seafood. We arrived late, close to 8.30, and had to join others waiting. We were told it could be a 45 minute wait but it was only about 25 minutes and we were seated. I think Kathy felt a bit disappointed with her choice, but not for taste, but because she was being careful about the amount she ate, but I was very happy with mine. After a bit more of a drive around the town before leaving we headed south yet again.

Today we travel led down the coastal road of Oregon, and then into California where we spent the night. The days travel was very scenic along the coast and through heavily timbered country. So there were frequent scenic stops in spite of the rain, and plenty of wood trucks and timber mills.

Another thing of interest over the last day or two has been the signs indicating that we were entering tsunami risk country and also showing tsunami evacuation routes in both Washington State, Oregon & northern California, in these coastal towns. Kathy googled information that they have been affected by over 30 tsunamis in this town, (Crescent City) in about 50 years, and that in the big Alaskan earthquake in the 60's there was more damage here on a comparative basis than in Alaska where the earthquake actually occurred. Apparently the towns' aspect leaves it very vulnerable to pacific tsunamis. Many fishing boats and lives were lost in Newport. Any low lying area had the warnings.

We expect to be back in Pleasanton in about a day and a half now, arriving a little earlier than originally planned.

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