Oregon and California

After leaving our friends in Washington, we were off to Oregon.  Our destination this evening was to be The Chateau at the Oregon Caves.  As mentioned before, we had reservations at the wonderful 1930’s era chateau.  However, with the stop at Mt St Helana, we arrived too late.  But this did not stop up from enjoying the chateau. It did take us some time to find the it in the dark and while traveling twisty, windy roads up the mountain, but again, I did it!  There was a guestbook in our room, which had wonderful stories of visitors coming to see where their parents met, or where they honeymooned. We had reservations to explore the cave the next morning after breakfast in the chateau’s quirky diner, but I bailed out at 110.  This was a stop along the 500+ steps (thus at 110 steps) after an arduous twisty, low-ceilinged trek so far. Oh, did I mention it was uphill?  (See diagram of cave pictured.) I bought a view master that took me the rest of the way 😏

Then it was time to head to California and the redwoods of Jedidiah State Park.  We stayed at the Curly Redwood Lodge, which I thought was the owner’s nickname, but was actually the type of redwood used in building. Supposedly, the lodge (motel) was built with one redwood tree!  Here in Crescent City we hit the Pacific Ocean and it was time to turn around and head east……

The water craft pictured was at the Jedidiah visitor center and was made from the redwood tree.  We passed some interesting sites along the way to Wyoming back in Oregon: a group of Buddhists in the middle of nowhere, a man training for cross-country on wheeled skies, another “walking across America. There was also other interesting sites such as the salty lake with lots of evaporation showing the salt and another town with wonderful murals on its public buildings.  Oh, and another wonderful sunset!





We are back home and uploading the pics is immensely quicker!  So here we go with Washington!

After leaving Canada we were very quickly back in the ole US of A. Here we met up with two of Tim’s buddies,from his time in Viet Nam.  Ray and Machi live on Spaokane.  She made a lovely chicken stew for dinner with homemade candies.  Ray tells me she was stressing over what to fix for meals.  She is a wonderful cook and a gracious hostess.

The next morning, a beautiful day welcomed after the chill of Banff!, our first stop was to a park very near their home.  It had formal gardens, a Japanese garden, and a rose garden with all kinds of varieties with wonderful names.  It had a little area of the most gorgeous zinnias! Ray and Machi actually were married in the Japanese garden (she is from Japan).  The large lantern had the symbols of the Chinese astrological symbols (I guess they are Japanese, too).  Oh, and if you need cannabis/marijuana, just look for a billboard to help you find a place to buy it.  Recreational marijuana is legal in Washington.

Next, we went apple-picking after a short drive out of the city.  Fall had arrived here!  And huckleberries were the fruit of the northwest, so we finished off apple-picking with some huckleberry ice cream!

Afterwards, it was back to an area in the city that used to be a railroad yard and had been transformed to a city park.  Annoyingly, the park was closed up for a Chinese lantern festival.  It was a nighttime thing so everything was locked up tight, but I managed to get some pics of some amazing “lanterns”! A little relaxing on the deck was nice before dinner.

We had a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant  (quite a variety of nationalities today!) and the next morning it was a breakfast of homemade granola, scones and fruit. Who said Machi had to worry about what to serve! Afterwards, it was time to leave for the Seattle area.

The countryside changed dramatically as we headed west. I like how they tell you what crop is growing along the highway……

Tom and Sheila live in Bremerton, a western suburb of Seattle, which means it is in the mountains/hills(?) and near the ocean. They are in a black sky area, which means astronomy buffs can come to the area for the best viewing of the night-time skies.  We had great views from their deck.

After Tom’s homemade dinner of clam chowder (another great man-cook😉) and garlic bread, we made plans for the next day.  First, was a scenic drive to a state park nearby and then to a town called Port Townsend, which reminded me of our Charlevoix area. Sheila gave the guys sitbits and they displayed them proudly!

Then we headed to Olympia National Park and Hurricane Ridge.  It was somewhat a white knuckle ride up the mountain, but I got everyone there safely.  Love my 7-passenger Explorer!  We were rewarded with more spectacular views.  Carrie, there is a glacier named after you!

That night it was Thai for dinner and talk of future get-togethers.  After breakfast at Tom’s favorite place (I found Sanders candy there!), Tim and I headed out.  We had dinner reservations at our next destination which we missed, but we passed the Mt St Helen’s visitors center so I had to stop and take pictures.  The informational film was quite enlightening.

Now it’s on to Oregon and California!

Between Banff and Spokane

There was a pretty little lake we were told to take a look at by Keith. The bridge across was an adventure.


Happened  upon the settlement of Bankhead on our trip out of the Banff area.   There is a train left from the time.  A sad story….


We had to get gas before we got too far and found this quaint gas pump  and it worked!   We later realized that there were a lot of  hot springs around the area when we stopped to see why so many cars were stopping at this place.  It was a place to swim in the hot spring water.  It was 53*!!

We stopped along the road to take pictures of curiosities.  I see a picture I need to paint in the future.  Then it was time for lunch at a little roadside park.  And then more curiosities.

Then we had our own hot spring experience.  Temp of the outside pool was in the 90’s and inside the cave it got up to 110 or more!  I didn’t last long in there! That’s Tim in the second pool pic and you can just make him out in the cave.


Breakfast at the Dragonfly fly was delicious.  The last leg of the trip was along a scenic drive.

Lake Louise and Beyond



Internet has been spotty, but we are back! And this a long post!

It was finally a pretty nice day for our trek to Lake Louise.  That hill/tunnel over the road is actually a wildlife crossing.  There were several along the way.

The Lake Louise Ski area was our destination for a ride up the “hill”!  We chose the open chair vs. the enclosed gondola, despite the chilly day.  We also had some wildlife company where we dismounted.

There was a wildlife interpretive center a downhill walk from the lift.  I knew we had to walk back up, so we indulged in a little appetizer for strengthening with our “hot toddy with a view”!  We saw this little snowman on our walk back and Tim decided it needed a mouth.


The  it was time for the ride down.  Can you see Lake Louise in one of the last pics? It’s a white spot in the center……

Then it was on to the actual Lake Louise which was behind a chateau.


A few more pics along the road, then dinner with our nephew.  I tried some Canadian poutine.






Around town:

Bow Falls:

Cave and Basin Historic Site: the discovery of the hot springs initiated the push to designate this area as a national park.  As you can see, a pool was created with the springs and I’ve taken a picture of the area now and how it looked in the ’70’s. In the late nineteenth century, the cave and basin were used in a more natural state.  The outside basin was enlarged to fit more swimmers.


North Dakota/Montana

Thursday was primarily a travel day. Before we left and before the rain started, we went to Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Like Tim, Joe does rituals. But, unlike Tim, Joe spends the whole day once a week at the national cemetery.

Friday started out rainy , but cleared eventually and we really felt like we began our vacation.
We found that they grow wildlife big in North Dakota with our first sighting!




We finally saw the real thing, too.


Happened upon Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The wildlife was up close and personal at the visitors center! And the scenic overlook featured a beautiful vista.

Haven’t had a buffalo burger, yet…..
And, yes, Montana IS Big Sky Country!







True to form we made our usual late start Monday: this one a little worse than others: 5 pm! It was a fidgety drive to Carrie’s for me. I wanted to see Jack, but also knew it was a  travel night to the real beginning of our trip west.

Decided to get a pedicure before leaving for Chris’s on Tuesday.  Always feel so much better when the toes are done 😚,  so another late start.  Have to get better at leaving early!

Tim just can’t resist a coin pusher game, found at our lunch stop!


Did you know that they grow cranberries in Wisconsin? I didn’t either until we saw the cranberry bogs. They even have a Cranberry Festival.

Today was a beautiful weather day, sunshine and a little cool with no humidity, and we took advantage and went into downtown Minneapolis and St Paul.
Visited the Guthrie Theatre with wonderful views of Ole Miss and the arched bridges from its upper floors. The theatre was in the mill district with the grain mills of the last century (Mill City Museum).

We went for a retro for lunch at Mickey’s Diner!

Afterwards, it was a self-directed tour of the Cathedral of St Paul.

All in all, a pleasant visit with our friends, Chris and Joe!