Onward to Washington State

We left the Portland Area and headed north into Washington. We stayed first in Gig Harbor about an hour outside of Seattle. We avoided the major city in favor of quieter adventures. We drove around the area and found the most amazing Ymca camp. I would have loved to spend a few weeks of my youth there. After a few days we moved on to Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The strait is the water border between the US and Victoria, BC, Canada.

Victoria Island, BC
We drove along the coast to get out to Cape Flattery, the farthest NW point in the continental US. This is part of the 1/2 mile hike through the forest to get to the Cape.
First Views from the trail of the Pacific Ocean.
Toward the end of the trail, they refer to this area as sea caves as the waves continue to work deeper into the rock here.
Directly in front of the cape is Tatoosh Island. If I had my telephoto lens, you would be able to see the lighthouse on it more clearly.
Same island without any magnification. The weather has been ideal for getting to where we would like to go.
More views of the Pacific Ocean as we make our way down the coast toward Oregon again.

We are making our way down the coast. Staying a few nights in Lincoln City near Devil’s Lake, and then will head down to North Bend just north of Coo’s Bay to spend 5 nights. There are Dunes there to play on and explore the area over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We are thankful for your support of our adventures and wish everyone the warmth of family and friends, as well as a safe and grateful holiday!

Mt. Shasta, Crater Lake and a few other places

We’ve been out of decent internet service for a bit. According to Verizon Unlimited, after you use 25 GB it slows to a snails pace and is no fun to use whatsoever. Lots of big volcanic rocks out west, most of them pretty stunning. I will show you some of the more famous and a few not so famous but still good views nonetheless.

At 14,000+ ft in elevation we first saw Mt. Shasta from about 85 miles away rolling down Hwy 89 toward I-5. This photo is much closer, from the park road leading up to trails all around.
I am finding that the road leading up to your destination can be just as beautiful as the destination. Not a huge fan of looking backwards, but sometimes it’s good to remind you how enjoyable it was on the way there, and how far you’ve come.
Many of the trees in this area have a light green moss, or lichen that grows on the branches and trunks. The nerd in me will have to look it up sometime and figure out which type of plant it is…
From our campground in Weed, CA. It was the perfect time of day as the sun was still up and the moon rising.
Just thought I’d look up one of the big pines and see what I could see.
From Weed, Ca we moved on to Prospect, Oregon. The first day we took a little side trip onto some Fire Service roads up 6 miles or so where people with Jeeps and other 4 wheel drive vehicles go. We met a small caravan of folks coming back down the mtn. This is one piece of an out cropping they call Rabbit Ears.
Both Ears
From as high up as we could drive. Our little Honda has been a trooper! The two tracks got too steep and a precarious from here and we’ve got too far to go to tear up the car.
Once we hit the main road back to our campsite, we followed a sign to this area of the Rogue River, a gorge formed by collapsed volcanic tubes.
Crater Lake, The water is so deep and blue. We have had the best weather we could ask for at this time of year.
Our views of the lake this time of year are very limited. They only keep a small section of the roads around the lake open. They close November first and re-open in June or July dependent on weather.
There is a tour boat that will take you to that island, in the summer.
The cloud above almost looked fake.
One of the few times my husband has ever looked small, at least since I’ve known him.
On the way back we stopped at the natural bridge on the Rogue River.
I took a video, but this platform doesn’t like them. The water flows through and sometimes over the collapsed volcanic tube. The bridge is 250 feet long the water source is melted from atop crater lake.
From Prospect, OR we spent the night near Eugene, OR and moved on near Portland to spend a few days and visit this beauty. Mt. Hood. This is taken near one of the ski slope areas.
As you can see they are getting ready with all the equipment . They have only had one snow so far this season and are eagerly awaiting the full season to start. I hope to be long gone by the time the snow flies.
Looking back on the road, we were above some clouds and were glad that we would be able to see Mt. Hood above them. Later I will show you a better picture of Mt. Jefferson. In this photo it almost blends in but if you look just left of the trees on the middle right hand side of the photo you will see a peak with some snow on it.
The poles on the road, give you an indication of how high the snow gets during any one winter.
The lodge is open to the public and has several rooms to stay as well as restaurants, bars, and lounges. We had lunch in the Cascade dining room. It was a more elegant meal than we anticipated, but we were only going to be there once!
One of the sitting areas where folks can gather around this massive fireplace.
quite a door and latch.
Even the stairways are huge, and ornate. The newel posts had animals carved on top of them.
I found the weather and this view a little more appealing than Mt. Hood. As promised this is Mt. Jefferson.

We drove into Portland today. I didn’t take any photos. I realized that I am definitely not a true city girl. Some beautiful old churches along side new style architecture, the hustle and bustle of traffic with packed parking lots. There are more homeless tent sites here than I expected. We saw many in Las Vegas as well, but these looked a little more permanent along the side of the highway leading into the city as well as on some of the city streets. I can’t put the words together to describe how seeing them made me feel, other than sad. I understand we all make choices, and some poor choices lead us to places we never imagined for ourselves. I’m sure some would choose differently if they felt they had a choice and some aren’t even aware what choices exist. I don’t know what the answers are, or the how or whys some have ended up where they are. Another reminder to count your blessings and be kind to one another.

Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe

We stayed in Mammoth lakes, CA and had the chance to visit friends there. It was a 2 hour ride into Yosemite from there but a lovely ride across Tioga Pass and into the park. The roads have been very kind to us and the journey itself is so beautiful, there just aren’t enough superlatives to describe it all. I found Yosemite less striking than Bryce Canyon or Arches National Park; but still I am extremely grateful the land has been set aside for all to see. We didn’t see any bears, but there are signs everywhere reminding you that you are in active bear country and need to be smart with your food, and any ‘pretty’ smelling items. I was borderline paranoid, which Jeff enjoyed thoroughly.

Half dome from the road at least an hour before entering the park.
The trees are as spectacular as the granite rock formations.
Most of the waterfalls are dry in the park this time of year. Was very happy to catch this one.
I apologize for not knowing exactly where we are in the park or the names of the rock formations, on this day, I just took pictures.
I normally feel short, so I’m used to it, but check out the picnic table bottom left.
actual car door opened by a bear, again Jeff enjoying the opportunity to tease me.
El Capitan
There were several climbers on the mountain. I have a few close ups next.
on the road back from the park
One of the most beautiful lakes I’ve seen. And being from the Great Lake State, I think that says something.
Emerald bay, looking out to the East side of the lake
We have had fantastic weather and wished we could have just stayed on this dock with a cold beverage. Cheers to all of you who are following along. We are now headed even farther north and west hoping to be in Oregon in a few days.

Since leaving Las Vegas

We had to head south, we wanted to head into California and into Death Valley, but Mother Nature had other plans, Santa Anna Winds running 30-40 mph with gusts as high as 70 mph. Winds of that speed don’t mix well with our RV. We were also concerned about winds carrying sparks into other areas we had no idea where and wanted no part in trying to outrun disaster.

We headed to Lake Havasu City, AZ spent a night there and then headed into California via Newberry Springs, CA. near Barstow. I saw more trains moving than I had in my entire life. Every 30 minutes or so, one would go west and then another east. Barstow is a huge train hub apparently, who knew? There is also a huge USMC logistics base there. They must dispatch most of their equipment from that location, I sure saw enough to make anyone say oooorah! From there we headed up 395 to Lone Pine, CA , a gorgeous place with plenty to see. The following pictures are from 2 days of exploring the area, Whitney Portal road, Horseshoe meadow road, and movie road.

some roads seem to head nowhere…
wait for the closeup
nice spot for your cabin eh?
when you get out into some of the mountain roads, a photo like this helps hansel and gretel get back to their campground.
Horseshoe meadow road was lined by these high desert flowers and were covered with insects, some bees .
This was once Owens Lake. The Owens River flows now into the LA Aqueduct. Water rights were purchased in approx. 1919 up river just north of Independence. CA. By 1933 the lake was dry. The story of this lake was the inspiration for the Movie, China Town.
They have started to let some water back into the lake as part of a reclamation project which has been considered a success, insects and birds have returned to the area. Time will tell what else may happen.
The road back to our campground view. It is a huge valley on the less populated side of things here in CA.
A side road off of Whitney Portal road is this sand road with many offshoots with many different looks. Being 2 or so hours outside of LA it was a perfect spot for filming. The following pictures are all from that area and we had a blast imagining ourselves in the wild west.
Happy Trails to you, until I post again…coming up Yosemite and Lake Tahoe!

Las Vegas

We visited with friends and family for a week in Vegas. As you well know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! I have a few photos of the Hoover Dam as I took the tour, but the rest of the fun isn’t my story to tell. I will share that there were plenty of sights to see and a few I wish I could un-see. I know I am getting older because I was confused by quite a bit that I saw, thinking, why? more often than why not?

The giant Turbines I think there are several more , but one generates enough power to charge 130,000 cell phones for a year. Where the flag is hanging is a crane that they use should any of the turbines need repair or maintenance, 300 ton crane on top and sometimes they move the 2nd one down to help lift parts.
From the observation deck you can see the water leaving the power plant and heading downstream as well as the new bridge. Years ago the only way was to drive over the dam. Post 9/11 most traffic is sent over the bridge and your car is searched prior to driving over the dam.
The water at the dam is about 195 ft low as you can see by the exposed rock. It only has so many more feet before it can no longer produce power. This area of the country hasn’t seen much rain since May, Hence why the wildfires in CA are out of control right now as well as all the watches and warnings in this area.
The back side of the dam shows the depth of the canyon along with all the individual blocks of concrete it took to make this monument to ingenuity happen. They were in the middle of the depression when this was built. Workers made $4.00 per day and had two days off a year. built from 1931 to 1936. Spillways were tested in ’41 or ’42. and hadn’t been used again until 1983, thank goodness they worked like a charm. They ran the spillways in ’83 for 63 days straight and had no issues. If they hadn’t worked, the flooding and devastation downstream would have been catastrophic.

So it’s been a little bit.

The last group of big photos I took sat in the camera for awhile. I was feeling like the blog was becoming more like a job, than simply sharing our views and excitement. Below you will see a small place and wide open spaces outside of Washington, Utah called Little Black Mountain and then Zion National Park. We may be going back to Zion after Thanksgiving. Most of the year, you can only see part of the park in a private car. 20 years ago, you could see all of it in a private car all year long. Now, the park is so popular, they take people on giant tour buses and you hop off and on at different spots.

More Petroglyphs, one of our friends suggested that the indigenous teens weren’t much different from the youth of today, that this was their brand of graffiti. The Bureau of Land Management has their work cut out for them, there is plenty of land in this part of the country.
This was so linear in nature it seemed like a map to where the best hunting was at the time or just a way to pass time, no one really knows.
On the drive into the southern entrance of Zion National park.
The road in is a series of switchbacks offering different views, each as stunning as the next.
How’s that for some fall colors???
This guy, rooted in rock at an interesting angle and the colors behind him…I had to take his picture.
Makes me wish I were in better shape so I could hike wherever my eyes want to go.
every so often the rock washes away and leaves these eyes, my term, wonder if they will eventually, another 10, 000 years, become an arch.
This is checkerboard mtn in the park. You really don’t see defined marks like these on any other mountains here, so why here?
Taken out of the sunroof of the car. Safely seat buckled in, nothing to worry about.
Drink plenty of water on your adventures. The guys in this jeep were visiting from the US Virgin Islands.
We’ve turned around at the east entrance and are almost back to the beginning, the light changes and so do the photos, a little bit.
That’s one of the tour buses I wrote of earlier and they call the rest of the road we didn’t travel the scenic route. Views haven’t been subpar so far can only imagine at this point what we missed. I’ll let you know if we make it back to find out.
by the visitor center
Outside of Zion and back into the wide open spaces. This place is horribly ugly said no one ever!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Fair warning, I took 252 pictures in this park, I know some of them will look very similar to everyone by the time I am done posting. I was here once before about 20 years ago. The memory is a funny thing. I remember that I liked other areas better, but the first time I was here, I was also in charge of a 6 year old. I may have more appreciation this time around as well as more of a singular focus.

I’m not captioning many because, some you just need to look at the open space and breathe.
Usually I feel like pictures miss the color of the moment, but this one is pretty close. It felt like the rock was glowing like flames in a fire.
Every pull off, different angles of the canyon, the light changes and all of it wondrous.
Loner and a rebel.
There was a fire here about 10 years ago. Some areas have recovered better than others, but in no way do these burnt tress detract from the beauty of the place. In fact, it reminds us of all the seasons of life and how precious our moments are here.
Look at all the colors in this photo. I have a greater appreciation for those that purchase the glasses in order to see color for the first time. This is as close as I can get to imagining that moment for them.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the views. I will post again soon.

Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah

Let me start by saying our pictures and travel of Salt Lake City are very limited. There is quite a bit to see here and wish we were staying another, we got ahead of ourselves and booked another campsite near Zion National park for tomorrow night.

Inside the Tabernacle, the acoustics in this building are world renowned. We had an issue with our washer/dryer unit in the RV and missed the organ rehearsal by about a half hour.
This is the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Those that are not current members of the LDS community are not allowed in the Temple. There is a building adjacent to the Temple that has a model that is an exact replica that the public can view. The dome behind is the Tabernacle.
This view and the previous are taken from the 10th floor of the Hotel Utah, built in 1909 and opened in 1911, by the richest families in the area, from LDS, Catholic, and Jewish faiths. Salt Lake City was a Silver mining town and many of the families made their first fortunes here, like William Randolph Hurst. The tower mid shot is the air traffic control tower at SLC airport.
Facing East, from the Utah Hotel.
The Hotel Utah is now owned by the Church of LDS there are two of these fountains on the 10th floor. One in the south west corner and one in the southeast. note the carpet around this one.
This is the carpet around the south eastern fountain. Pretty ornate for something you walk on.
The foyer of the Hotel Utah, all original from 1911, the columns were done in a certain art style that no one knows exactly how to do anymore. They brought artisans from all over Europe, to create this hotel. It is famed to be the Grandest hotel west of the Mississippi, and was extremely formal, until the 1950’s women wore ball gowns and men in white tie to dinner here. We had a host at the hotel give us all the information I am passing on, I didn’t research any of this myself so, I wouldn’t quote me. He claimed, Will Rogers was refused service for not meeting dress code.
The main dining room, all original except the 4 chandeliers that used to be in the main foyer, they were moved here because they were to hard to clean in the main foyer.
One of the paintings on Burlap, in the main dining room. The room is surrounded by scenes like this.
Olympic Venue
Part of the luge or bobsled track.
Start house and more of the track. Lift to the top of ski jump too.
They even have a school up here now for ski jumping.
Imagine, you fly off the jump and if you look just to the left this is your view, with snow everywhere of course.

Again, Park City is a quaint ski town with coffee shops, eateries, and a very good distillery. Worth the time to see for yourself, about 35 minutes outside of Salt Lake City.

Crystal Geyser and Sego Canyon

We went a little off the beaten path today and saw some things. There is a geyser that isn’t predictable, one of the owners of the campground we are in, says he has seen it go off 3 times. Today it made a little noise, but was still interesting to me to see.

When we first arrived on scene, it looked to me like a toxic spill.
Beyond the geyser spray pattern, Jeff checking out this section of the Green River.
I found the ground patterns intriguing and it was wet, but almost crunchy, not slick at all.
The geyser is well protected on one side by the landscape.
The lighter colors almost mid photo looked more green to the naked eye.
Standing here is where I could hear it gurgling.
Don’t worry, we turned around in time.
On the way to Sego canyon is some Indian Art.
Thankfully this guy was patient with me and fortunately I had my giant telephoto lens on the camera magnification 210. We have seen very little wildlife so far, a few deer at Capitol Reef yesterday, and the western version of chipmunk, Marmot. So this guy was a fairly spectacular find.
If anyone is enjoying the trip more than Jeff and I, it’s this furry beast.
It’s a long way up from the canyon floor.
Every now and then you would swear the walls have faces.
Lots of washes, where rain water runs, and ATV’s go in good weather.
An old mine shaft
This one was closed by mother nature, see the boulder that crashed through?

That’s all for today, we will be heading up toward Salt Lake City in the morning so we need to straighten up the RV for another drive. Looking forward to what’s next!

Today, Capitol Reef National Park

I have taken about 99 pictures a day, more than I have in the last few years combined I bet. I love it, I see something I like and I take a shot. Some turn out, some don’t but I think it gives you an idea of this area of our country.

On the way to the park
The color variations fascinate me, the layers of rock as they are exposed by erosion.

Entrance to a slot canyon, named the Grand Wash.
Inside the wash where they let you drive to about here, only when weather is good.
Even photos through the windshield don’t look half bad.
This is on the way in or out of the area, it is a bureau of land management site that allows people to ride motorcycles, dune buggies on the mounds. With the erosion of other rocks in the area it looks like a bunch of sand waiting to be used in a concrete plant.