Friday, October 17, 2014


Maggie when we visited the Seattle Space Needle in 1997
We've covered a lot of ground since I last blogged three weeks ago. As you know we were headed for Seattle to visit Maggie. We found a quiet campground in the cute little town of Carnation about 40 minutes from where she was living. Dick was not a happy camper driving into Seattle. At one point he made the remark, "Why couldn't my daughter have chosen a career as a National Park ranger!"

The first day we went to find her apartment in Fremont, we had to park a block away. We couldn't believe the parking situation on her street! We had three large boxes of her sh.., I mean stuff that we hauled from Michigan. Dick had the job of carrying the boxes from a block away and then up to her third floor apartment, but he was just happy to have the backseat of our car back.

It was great seeing where she lives, and visiting with her roommates. She showed us around the Fremont area and the Atlas Vintage Clothing store where she works.

We visited the Fremont troll and had lunch by the statue of Lenin.

The second day we drove into Seattle and celebrated Dick's and Maggie's birthdays by taking the bus to the Space Needle and having lunch at the Sky City Restaurant.

We stayed seven days hoping to see Maggie at least four of those days but she was busy working, pet/house sitting and taking a graphic arts class at Pratt Institute. We took whatever time we could get and ended up with two days. It's better than none.

From there we headed for Mt. Ranier National Park and stayed just long enough to see this magnificent mountain and do a couple hikes.

Grove of the Patriarchs among thousand year old Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedar

Mt. Ranier
We didn't get gas before heading into Mt. Ranier National Park. A big mistake. We looked for a gas station when we exited the park but there was nothing!  So we hoped for a downhill grade but ended up climbing all morning. When we finally reached the pass and started down, our LOW FUEL light was already on. We were hoping for gas at the little burg of Rimrock. As we pulled into town we were happy to see three pumps but the closer we came we saw they were old and rusty with "Out of Order" signs. So Dick went inside the cafe/store and said, "I hope one of those pumps is working because I'm running on my reputation and it's not that good". The guy behind the counter said, "Sorry, those pumps haven't worked in 20 years, but it's all downhill for the next 16 miles and with a tailwind you should make it to Naches." When we coasted into Naches we filled half full hoping to find gas for less down the road. Well we sure did!! The next town in the Yakima Nation was $3.17/gal. We haven't seen those prices in many years.

It was a long stretch of road between Yakima and the Oregon border when Dick saw "ST JOHN'S BAKERY."  All of a sudden he was feeling spiritual. This was an extension of a Greek Orthodox monastery and the nuns rise early for prayer before preparing the bakery items.

We looked at the weather over the next few days and saw a window of opportunity for Dick to hike the Three Sister's Wilderness area. He'd always heard it's the most spectacular part of the Pacific Crest Trail. We found a campground in the little town of Sisters where I would stay while Dick was on his three day hike. It was the perfect place. I rode my bike everywhere. I never moved the car until I had to go pick him up at McKenzie Pass.

Dick loved the three days of hiking in the Sister's Wilderness. This is a photo he took of a lady he met on the trail. She enjoys backpacking but could no longer carry the weight of a heavy pack so she hikes with her three goats. When she moved off to the side of the trail to let Dick pass, all three well-trained goats lined up right behind her.

Our next stop would be Westfir, Oregon where Traverse City friends had been house and dog sitting for a couple of weeks for a friend who was in Hawaii. They invited us to visit, luring us with free camping and dinner. We couldn't pass it up. We have a standing joke between us. They say we're "CHEAP."  It may have started when Dick told them that he refills an expensive wine bottle with his cheap box wine. Or because we like to find free or almost free camping etc...

As we approached the driveway we knew we were in the right place when we saw this sign.
Hiking with our friends, Dean and Diane Tobias (and Maggie)
 Not only was it free but beautiful and peaceful acreage along the Willamette River. We stayed another day so we could meet the owner, Gail, when she returned from her trip. Plus, we were invited for shrimp chowder - another free meal!!

Cocktail hour down by the Willamette River
We said our goodbyes and headed for Lava Beds National Monument in California. On the way we passed through Chemult, Oregon and couldn't figure out what the town was all about. It looked like a tent city or shanty-town. Tents everywhere.  Homeless people? So I Googled it and found it was Matsutake Mushroom hunters. They actually do live there for two months. The town booms from during this time from about 150 - to over 1,000. It's big business in this part of the state.

The sunrise reflection on a cloud above our campground at Lava Beds.
We took an early morning drive through the Tule Wildlife Refuge located just outside of Lava Beds

We heard from Dean and Diane again. They were headed for Lassen National Park and we were going to be there at the same time. We spent a couple days together visiting that area.

We hiked around Burney Falls. One of the most beautiful falls I've ever seen.
Then we spent the day touring and hiking at Lassen Volcanic National Park
The geothermal region of Bumpass Hell

Again we said goodbye to Dean and Diane and now we're on our way to visit my sister and brother and their families in Foresthill, CA. 

While we were camped near Seattle, Chuck Woodbury visited us. He has the on-line newspaper Dick writes a column every week for him as the RV Shrink. 

We couldn't believe it!! A flying RV!