Saturday, June 30, 2012

About That Seattle (June 24 - July 1)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Seattle! We left Portland on Sunday and arrived in Bothell, Washington, in the early afternoon. We are staying at Lake Pleasant RV Resort which is about thirty minutes (depending on the traffic) from downtown Seattle.

Monday found us heading into Seattle in the morning. We were thrilled to arrive at Pike's Market in only thirty minutes. Not bad for an area (tri-cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett) that contains more than 3.5 million people. Our goal today was to see Pike's Market and go up in the Space Needle.

 The first Starbucks


 One of the flower stalls in the market.

 Gorgeous Peonies

 Yummy looking crab

After spending time at Pike's Market, we hiked several blocks to the Space Needle. It was constructed fifty years ago for the Seattle World's Fair. Roger stands in front of the Space Needle.

We waited in line for about thirty minutes before we got our tickets and then had to wait about ten more minutes before we could go to the top in one of the elevators. The views were spectacular.

Tuesday was a rainy return to downtown Seattle. Roger and I found a parking space at the Pacific Science Center. What a great museum with lots of exhibits. It was here that we toured a beautifully done Butterfly Museum.

 Owl Butterflies feeding on bananas.

 Rice Paper Butterfly

 Common Bluemorpho

 Heliconius Melpomene

The Pacific Science Center

The King Tut Exhibit is currently making it's final stop in NorthAmerica before heading back to Egypt. We were able to get tickets and tour this magnificent exhibit. 

Our final stop on Tuesday was at the EMP museum which houses music, science-fiction and pop culture. Highlights were the Jimi Hendrix collection (he was from Seattle) and costumes and props from different science fiction movies.

We awoke to a beautifully blue, cloudless day on Wednesday. We drove back into Seattle to see the Seattle Aquarium, do a harbor cruise and take an underground Seattle tour. What an incredible day!

The Seattle Aquarium
 The Seattle Aquarium is one of the best that I have seen. Lots of docents are available to answer questions. In this picture the fish are being fed by a scuba diver.

A cute little boy is pointing to the eel in this picture.

 Starfish and Anemones are in a "touching" tank.

 Huge Seahorses

 A Sea Otter preens.

Leaving the pier for a harbor tour.

 The Seattle skyline with the new ferris wheel that opens this weekend.

 A great view of the Space Needle from the boat.

How lucky we were to see Mt. Rainier in the background of this shot.

 Cranes that remind us that Seattle is a working harbor.

 The Coast Guard owns the largest ice breaker in the US.

The Seattle Underground Tour

This tour is designed to take visitors underneath the original part of downtown Seattle, when the main street was much lower than it is now. Constant flooding necessitated the need for a higher city.
 Hanging Baskets in Pioneer Square where we began our tour.

Actual walls and sidewalk of the original city are underneath the streets of the modern city.

The rest of the week was spent enjoying our lives in the Pacific Northwest. We will be ready to leave on Sunday, for Warden, Washington. Warden is located near Moses Lake, closer to the eastern border of Washington. We look forward to sunny skies and warmer temperatures.

Thank you for your interest in our travels. See you in a week!

Friday, June 22, 2012

About That Portland, Oregon (June 16 - 23)

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our adventures in Eugene, from a dog's perspective. Thank you, Bear, for your insights. Both Roger and I agree that we are so lucky to have you in our lives.

We left Eugene, for the short trip to Portland, on Friday morning. Our trip up I - 5, took us through heavily forested areas, finally crossing the Willamette River and arriving in Portland.

We are staying at the Portland Fairview RV Park. The pictures below show our new location in this gorgeous area of Oregon.

 Our new front window view. It really is that green.

Bear is enjoying the green grass in our new spot.

Saturday was our first full day in the Portland area. With beautiful weather predicted, we decided to do a road trip in the Terrain, to explore the Colombia Gorge and Mt. Hood.

The Colombia Gorge was created by the Colombia River and is an area, roughly 80 miles long, that separates Oregon and Washington. Our drive took us on Interstate 84, east to Oregon 35 (the Mt. Hood scenic highway). The portion of the Colombia Gorge that we saw was beautiful with lots of trees and hills on one side and the river on the other side. Our first stop was at Rooster Rock State Park. In 1806, Lewis and Clark camped here on their way back East.

 The Colombia River at Rooster Rock State Park, with the State of Washington on the left side, was the sight of a Lewis and Clark stop.

 Rooster Rock was mentioned by Lewis and Clark in their diaries.

Continuing on I-84, we stopped at Multnonah Fall. We were treated to a pretty waterfall.

Our next stop was at the Bonneville Lock and Dam. This dam was built and is still operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Construction began in 1933 and took four years. It was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. Additional power was needed in the Northwest, so an additional hydroelectric powerhouse was built between 1974 through 1981. The Army Corps of Engineers operates a visitor center at Bradford Island. It was here that we learned about the dam and the conservation of salmon that swim up and down the Colombia River. Overfishing became a problem in the late 1880's. Diversion systems, including fish ladders were built at the dam to allow the salmon easier and protected access to the river.

 At the visitor center, we were able to watch salmon swimming up the "stairs,"  through a specially designed window.

Mt. Hood is Oregon's tallest mountain at over 11,000 feet. It is covered in snow and is easy to see along the Mt. Hood Scenic Highway (Oregon 35). Our drive took us through wine and pear (Bosc, Red Anjou) country.

There are many trailheads along the way around Mt. Hood. We decided to hike Tamanawas Falls trail and Bear could not have been happier.

 We had several river crossings to make.

 Bear is waiting for Roger to catch up. 
He has to have both of us in sight at all times.

 Our trek was rewarded by the falls.

After the hike and a late lunch, we returned to the RV resort. What a great day!

Sunday was a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden, that is rated as the number one place to visit in the city. It is located in downtown Portland near all of the main attractions (rose test garden, zoo, Holocaust  Museum, Washington Park). The Garden did not disappoint and lived up to it's reputation as being the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. Below are the pictures from our trip.

 Roger is standing in front of the antique pagoda donated by Sapporo, Japan.

 We learned that Koi can live up to 70 years.

 Absolutely beautiful! Maintained by 7 gardeners and 200 volunteers.

 The three elements of a Japanese garden are water, rock and plant life. In the Zen garden, sand takes the place of water and there is moss on the rocks.

Japanese Maple

Tuesday was a return visit to the Oregon coast, only this time to the northern part, in search of Lewis and Clark's winter quarters of 1806. We left the RV resort on a very overcast day that promised lots of rain. The beauty of that rain results in the greenest country that I have ever seen.

 Our first stop was at Seaside. This was the final stop on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

 Looking out at the Pacific Ocean at Seaside.

 Ft. Clatsop was the 1806 winter headquarters for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, before they headed East for the return trip.

 Sacajawea was a member of the Expedition.

 Huge Cypress trees in the densely forested area around Ft. Clatsop.

 Ft. Clatsop (rebuilt)

We continued on our trip to Astoria, Oregon. It is at this point where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean. After lunch in the town, we drove to the Astoria Column, where we climbed to the top of the column to get a great view of the Pacific, Colombia, and the State of Washington.
 At the base of the Column

 Astoria Column

 When we got to the top, the sun came out and we had a beautiful view of the town of Astoria, the Astoria Bridge that goes over the Colombia River to Washington, and the Pacific Ocean.

Wednesday was a great bicycle ride along the Colombia River with a return trip facing Mt. Hood! It was one of the most beautiful bike rides that I have seen. Portland has done a great job with this walking/bike path.

Thursday was our trip to Oregon's capitol, Salem. Along the way we stopped in McMinnville to see an incredible private air museum that the owner of Evergreen International built in memory of his son. The show piece is Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose. This plane was an experiment that was flown one time. If you saw Leonardo DiCaprio's movie about Howard Hughes, then you will remember that scene when the plane lifted of the water for about 18 seconds.

 The Spruce Goose

 Howard Hughes sat in this pilot's seat.

The capital building at Salem

Thank you for taking the time to read the blog. As you can tell this has been a very busy week. We leave on Sunday morning for Seattle.