Joni's Journal

Observations and

musings from the

keyboard of Joni

Portland, OR to
Kallispell, ID

go to
Southern Route / New Orleans, LA to Santa Fe, NM
Farmington, NM to Las Vegas, NV
Kingman, AZ to Scottsdale, AZ / Palm Springs, CA to McKenzie Bridge, OR
Portland, OR to Kallispell, ID / Glacier NP to Fargo, ND
Bloomington, MN to Toronto Canada / SEPT / OCT


June 2nd to June 7th


Rhododendron, OR

My Observations:

Monday, June 2 - McKenzie Bridge, OR to Rhododendron, OR

In the morning, we walked across the bridge to get coffee and hung out on the bridge enjoying the river. The small breakfast nook in the cabin had two large windows with a view of the river. This is where we had breakfast. Before packing up, I grabbed my coffee and went down to the river to take a walk. We hated to leave it was so perfect there at Cabin #5.

But, on to the next adventure, our first home exchange. We wanted to take the back way to the town of Sandy but several of the roads were still closed due to snow. We decided to go thru Salem, the capital of Oregon but first we stopped along the McKenzie River to hike to the Sahahlie Falls. Fred had his sandals on and little did he know that we would be walking through snow-hard packed and covering the path. We were making fun of the falls because they were only 120 feet high but when we saw them we were impressed with the power the water exuded as it crashed into the river.

Continuing on our scenic drive up Route 126, we drove through a pine forest. We commented that we could be in PA except that these pine trees were bigger than any we have seen in PA. Further along, the landscape changed and the banks were littered with little pieces of black rock fused together into large chunks of black rock. The rocks were strewn everywhere; it looked like there was a major upheaval event. And, the dirt was a chocolate brown. It was the strangest thing.

Salem, the capital, is located between Portland and Eugene-these are the three largest cities in Oregon. The notable feature on the outside of the capital is a gold statue of a pioneer located on top of the building. Inside it had the basic capital accoutrements--the state seal on the floor, a rotunda, and murals painted on the walls. The outside had a park area with a fountain and a circle of flags from every state arranged in the order they came into the United States. PA only missed being the 1st state by 12 days.

Back on the road again, we jumped on Hwy 5 to save some time and arrived at the Cabin on the Sandy around 4:00. Our home for the next week is beautiful. When we walked in the front door we saw floor to ceiling windows looking out onto trees and the rapidly flowing Sandy River. The open kitchen and great room had hard wood floors, granite countertops, and natural wood framing every windows. Gorgeous is all I can say. We are taking care of the two kitties for the week and O.G. immediately came meowing to greet us. Molly took a little longer to show her face. They are both adorable.

Guest writer Judy:

The flight from Miami was way too long. Being cramped in the seat for 2-1/2 hours for the first flight and 4 hours for the second, it was great getting off the plane and meeting up with Jackie and Barry for our hour ride to meet Joni and Fred. Joni was so excited to see us especially being alone with Fred for the past 6 weeks (her words). We met up with Joni and Fred at the Whistle Stop Inn just past Sandy in Rhododendron. How nice to have our drinks already waiting for us. It was only 10pm but for us it was really like 1am. We drank up and went back to the "cabin". What a gorgeous place. It was dark but we could hear the raging water and it sounded very nice and I was looking forward to seeing it in the morning.

Tuesday June 3 - Rhododendron, OR

By Guest Writer Judy

I got up early and walked out of my room. There is a huge window at the stair landing which has a breathtaking view of the flowing river and the trees. It’s raining and Barry and Jackie made a great breakfast.

We decided to get out and go to the visitor's center to see what was available to do. We continued on to the Timberline lodge. It was a beautiful lodge hand made with a post and beam structure. The stairway newel posts are made of recycled cedar utility poles. On each post there were carvings of native animals and a later addition to the lodge is the carving of pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail.

The main lobby which serves as the living room of the hotel is a hexagon shape with a 92 foot high fireplace in the center with openings on 3 sides. There are carved and inlaid mountain lions and coyotes in and around the lobby and along with oak floors, massive timbers and giant windows. This hotel was built back in 1936 in just 18 months.

As we walked around the hotel, visions of the movie "The Shining" were visible along with an ax in the door of room 237 with the saying on the ax handle "Here’s Johnnie". This was the hotel that was used in the movie and for any of you that think that this wasn’t a remote hotel can think again. The road leading up to the peak was very windy and with feet of snow covering it there would be little chance of anyone coming or going during winter. Since it was foggy and rainy, visibility was limited.

I was hungry but the menu was very pricy so we decided to go back to the Ice Axe Microbrewery at the Mt Hood Brewing Company. The food was good and the prices even better. Joni and Fred had the 8 beer sampler.

We headed back to the "cabin" so we could split up and Jackie and Barry went to the grocery store for food Joni and I decided to take a walk. We walked up the lane and Joni wanted to climb the "mountain" asking me "didn’t I want to see what was up there?" Not really Joni since we were off the beaten path and I wasn’t really thrilled about getting lost on the mountain. We could only go so far because of the thickness of the brush (thank goodness) so we went back down and stopped by the house to get the camera and went the opposite way – towards the main road. We went off on another path that was gated with no trespassing signs but Joni said that is where the owners of the house take their dog for a walk.

It was muddy but we continued on. We came to another gate, went around it, came to a road, went the wrong way and came to another gate. We turned around, turned right onto another road, right onto another road and finally found our way back to the gate for our road. This turned into about a 2 hour walk. We met up with Fred on the way back. Jackie and Barry returned a few minutes later and we just hung out for the rest of the evening. Barry cooked us an awesome dinner of angel hair pasta with scallops, and Fred cooked delicious steaks on the grill.

Wednesday June 4

Judy still guest writing

Wednesday we woke to more rainy weather. Joni, Fred and I did an exercise video for about an hour. It was very hard and we were fussing the entire time (ok so it was just me fussing) but we did feel good afterwards. (guest blurb by Jackie - Joni said she was between the whiner (Judy) and the wino – Fred using two wine bottles as weights). Barry made us a great breakfast of French toast and we started our day.

Jackie and Barry took off first to go to see a guy about a bow….she will have to tell you that. (Jackie – Barry wanted to see Wes Wallace, a custom bowyer – makes custom bows for hunting. His work is beautiful and Barry is going to order one when we get home).. We got ready for our trek into the airport to pick up Jeanne and Albert. We were a little early so we stopped at a small outlet center and Jeanne called Fred saying they were at the airport waiting. Seems their plane came in early. We picked them up right where they said they would be and Sophia led us to their condo. On the way we saw that there was a festival along the river that was set up and that the Rose Festival was happening this week,

Their condo was very nice. It was also along the river with a great backyard view up and down the river.

We walked up the river hoping to see a tall ship coming into port but not on our walk. There were some Coast Guard ships along the docks. We watched as the bright lights of the rides flashed an invitation to us. No takers in our group.

We headed up town to meet Jackie and Barry at a place called McFaddens. It was a great place that had cheap food and it was delicious. Jeanne heard a rumor that the talls ships were approaching and ran down to see them. Fred joined her with the camera but it was a false alarm. They ran into Barry and Jackie there and brought them back to meet us and get something to eat.

Joni wanted to stop at a brewery that she was at on her last trip. Jeanne thought it was only a short walk across the bridge so we headed out. On the way my sisters and I saw a group crossing the street dressed as astronauts. They were giving away free samples. Since none of us can resist a bargain we ran out into the street to meet them. They seemed a little startled. Free juice packets! Oh boy!

We continued our journey to the Lucky Labradour Brewery. After crossing a busy bridge and walking 3 blocks under an elevated highway we eyed our destination. This bar was very "rustic" and allowed dogs on the patio but not inside. As we were enjoying our drinks on the patio we noticed a dog running from the door to a window and back. He was obviously looking for his owner who went inside. We left there and walked around town and stopped at a place called Lotus bar and card room. It was a small place where we had drinks. We had a good time singing, Fab and the Four J’s (Fred, Albert Barry) Ok so it was just us girls singing – ok just Jackie, me and Joni. We also made up my man list and had a few laughs about my perfect man!! It seemed like it could be fun later on in the evening but we decided to head back towards our car. Joni and I wanted to stop in at a few other places but they weren’t appropriate for the guys.

On the way back Sophia programmed to take us home the fastest way. Fred however wanted to go his own way and it took us longer. (Fred disagreed, of course.) She kept adding minutes every time Fred didn’t make the turn she wanted us to make. That’s what he gets messing with a woman!

Driving through Sandy it seems that Fred was speeding (52 in a 40) and a police officer pulled us over. I had a little fun with Fred but he didn’t think it was as funny until we got let off with a warning and we laughed all the way back. (Because Judy kept joking that the officer did not see her and that she should have put down her window and said hello) Joni said that if he wouldn’t have gotten pulled over we could have beat Sophia’s time back to the cabin. I said that if he had taken the route Sophia told us to go he wouldn’t have gotten pulled over because we would have been back to the house by then. When will he ever learn!

Thursday June 5

Judy still writing.

We woke up to more rain. Oh well, we were going to the coast anyway. Jackie, Barry and I loaded up into the car and headed towards Portland to pick up Jeanne and Albert. We ate breakfast at the Byway Café. Jackie heard about it while watching the Food network on the show called Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. It was a very small place but the food was delicious.

We ran back to the car avoiding the raindrops as much as possible. We headed off to the coast. We were determined not to let the rain ruin our plans. Our first stop was a cute little town called Cannon Beach. The wind was whipping around and we stopped in the little store to get rain ponchos and Albert got an umbrella and a pair of white garden gloves. This town would have been great to walk around and visit the many shops. We got great directions on where to park to walk to the beach to see the 235 foot high Haystack Rock. The origin of this rock began with a serious of eruptions some 17 million years go that poured molten rock over the plateau. The eruptions continued for more than 10 million years spreading lava over 78000 square miles. Some of these lava flows reached the ocean which was 25 miles inland from its present day location,. When the lava invaded the soft marine sediments of the coast different knobs, sheets and fingers of rock began to form. As the rock cooled, it turned into basalt. Over millions of years these basalt formations have eroded to form the rock cliffs and headlands that are seen today along the coast of Oregon.

We parked and walked about a half mile in the torrential rain and wind, down the stairs and on to the beach. We had to get there to say that we were on the pacific coast. We got back into the car and headed for the Oswald West State park where we parked and then began our walk under the road through the trees and down the path to the beach. It was raining still but we did get some nice pictures. Everything is so green and lush. The moss hangs on the trees and makes different shapes such as the monkey we saw hanging from the tree.

A tidbit of information about Cannon beach: Lewis and Clark traveled to the Cannon Beach area in January of 1806 when the native Americans told them about a whale that had washed up on the beach. The whale was found at the mouth of a creek which Clark named "Ecola" a local native American term for whale.

On the way back I met up with a guy carrying a surf board. I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he was there camping with a bunch of kids and that they were all stir crazy from the rain so he said come on and lets have some fun. What better way to enjoy the rain than to go surfing. They all had their wet suits on so they could brave the cold water. Not sure if we think they were crazy or if we were impressed with their determination to have fun no matter what the weather.

From there we traveled south and stopped at a small grill for lunch. It was a good place to stop and the food was good, except for Albert’s wings which were not cooked enough. He took them with him to cook later and shared Jeanne’s sandwich. We all picked a number for the lottery game and asked the waiter what we should do if we win and he told us to mail him the ticket and he will cash it in for us. Of course there was no mention of him actually sending us the money back home.

We stopped at Cape Meares to see the lighthouse. It was built in 1890 and is 40 feet tall. In 1886 the us army corps of engineers sent a representative to survey both the Cape Meares sight and the Cape Lookout sight, located south of Cape Mears, to see which would be more suitable for a lighthouse. After several days of surveying, the engineers picked the Cape Meares site because of it lower elevation, which would allow light to travel further in foggy weather. Additionally Cape Mears had a spring nearby that could provide fresh water and was more accessible than the Cape Lookout location. In 1887 congress passed a bill that provided funding to begin construction. A road was built to the site and the construction of the lighthouse finally commenced in the spring of 1889. The interior walls were built with bricks made at the construction site, the exterior walls fro sheet iron shipped in from Portland. When the lighthouse was finished in November 1889, its light consisted of a five wick oil lamp turned by a 200 pound lead weight. Today’s Fresnel lens was shipped from Paris via Cape Horn and up the West Coast to Cape Meares. The lens has eight sides, four primary lenses and four bull’s-eye lenses covered with red panels.

Barry and Albert stayed in the car as us girls braved the weather again to go down to the lighthouse and then we walked up to see the octopus tree. Jackie told us (she was reading the information) that it was made from the Indians bending the branches to hold canoes that held the dead for rituals, but the sign by the tree said it’s odd shape was from the coastal winds. We will have to research it more to get the real story. We couldn’t believe that it was the only tree in the forest to suffer from the winds.

We stopped at another spot within the park to see the largest spruce tree. We had to walk about a half mile up hill to see it and it was big but not as exciting as we anticipated!

Joni writing.

Fred and I had plans for hiking etc. but when we woke up to the weather we decided to try and have a "do nothing" day. Hanging out at this house doing nothing is not such a bad idea. It is really something. The view of the river is great and the view of the house from the river is just as nice.

We spent the morning catching up on the journal, going through the mail that Jackie brought us, and letting O.G. in and out of the back door. The cat loves to go out side but isn't pushy about it. He will just sit at the door quietly until you let him out and sit quietly again outside until left in. It's a hoot to look outside and se him patiently sitting there.

We watched a 3 hour movie (Exodus with Paul Newman) on TV in the afternoon but afterwards we had to get outside. We braved the rain and took a 3 mile walk around the area. It's a shame the hiking trails are mostly closed but it hasn't exactly been hiking weather anyway.

Judy writing.

Back into the car for the long drive back to the city to drop off Albert and Jeanne and then back to the cabin. Joni called and told us to meet her at the Rondevous which was the funky looking building on the left. We passed the Skyway bar and grill but continued on looking for the Rondevous. Luckily before we got too far up the road she called us with the correct name – Skyview. We turned around and joined them for a light dinner. They got great seats right by the fire. It was cozy sitting around two tables on the sofa and two overstuffed chairs. We stayed to hear the band a little. I think that this place could really be a lot of fun. The owner and her family were very friendly.

Friday June 6, 2008

Judy still writing.

Happy Birthday Joni - 52 glorious years Oh my, this is the last full day here. Again we woke to rainy weather. And yet again we are not letting it get to us. Ok – maybe a little. We have a full day of travel and sightseeing planned.

We picked up Albert and Jeanne at Grishem’s train station. We stopped at K-Mart for some cold weather supplies and now on our way to the scenic route. Our first stop was at the Crown Point Vista House. It was a stone round building with great views of different areas. It was kinda like an information center. It was a little cloudy but still it was scenic. Albert was allowed to purchase a scarf after some begging and he also picked up a phoenix rock that a volcano spit out many years ago. We got back into our cars and headed off to see the falls.

Our first stop was the Latourell Falls. You could see it a little from the road but we hiked down a short trail to see the powerful water plunging down into the pool below. We started to hike into the woods trying to find an alternate route back to the cars but the rain convinced us not to.

Back at the car. Yep, still raining.

Our next falls stop was the Bridal Veil Falls. Still a sight to behold. This falls also required a half mile hike down to the bottom for a view. We all chose our own way to discover it's wonders. Albert was the most daring of us (yes, Albert the city dweller) climbing out on the rocks into the flowing river. One wet foot and ankle, he returned to dry land. After a few pictures from the well placed overlook, we headed back. Before returning to the car we took a short nature hike to an overlook of the river. Again, the rain convinced us not to linger.

Back into the car, still raining.

Next stop: Multnomah Falls. This one had a lot more people at it. There was a snack bar and a hiking trail up to the bridge. Try as we might, we could not get Albert up there to the viewpoint. So he voluntereed to stay down and take a picture of us up on the bridge. This was the highest falls in the gorge. It was a great view from up there.

On to the Horsetail Falls. The bottom part of the falls was near the road. We heard about a path that could take us behind the falls. As we were looking at the path structure at the bottom of the hill, a hiker told us that we would not regret going up. He said that it was only .4 of a mile and only steep at the beginning and then it leveled out. I don’t know where he came from but the climb was a lot steeper and a lot longer than he alluded to. Switchback after switchback, climb higher, huff, puff, switchback, climb, rest, watch the field trip kids come down, climb higher, switchback, hunch over to catch my breath, huff puff, climb, switchback and finally it leveled off.

When we got to the top it was a beautiful sight of the falls and a large rock overhang that we could walk into that put us right under and behind the falls. It was a spectacular view of the raging water coming down the rocks. We took lots of pictures and headed down. Albert said that if the guy was at the bottom he was going to punch him in the face for lying to us! He almost stopped halfway up but we all convinced him to continue and we are all glad we did because it was so worth it. The guy was at the bottom and we laughed because he asked us that if he had told us how steep it was would we still have gone? I would have but I can’t speak for the rest of them. Jackie and Barry decided to sit this one out. Jeanne and Albert asked the hiker about some plants and we got back into the car. Yep, still raining.

We stopped at the Gorge white house that had a fruit stand and wine tasting. We all tasted some wine and Barry and Albert bought some bottles to take home. Joni got some fruit and back in the car again.

Up the hill to see the Timberline Lodge again for Jeanne and Albert. Going up the hill it started snowing, then more snow, then more snow. It was getting treacherous and when we got to the top it was coming down. Joni and Fred could keep going because they had four wheel drive but we turned down and very slowly got to the bottom. Joni writing We headed up to Timberline through the snowstorm because it was a must see for Jeanne. There were guys with shovels to help people with their cars. The sparking lot was a mess. I was thirsty for a screwdriver (Birthday drink) so Fred and I went to the bar while Jeanne and Albert looked around. I think Albert took about a thousand pictures. It was very cozy, especially with the snow coming down which we could see through the windows.

We didn't hang long because the snow was not letting up. Leaving the parking lot Fred lost the road for a moment. Very scary. The snow continued for about three miles down until it finally turned back to rain. What a weird June adventure.

We decided to show Albert and Jeanne the Skywway bar because it was so unique. I really love it there. It is so unusual inside and out. The mural over the fire place gets more interesting every time I look at it. We had a drink and sat by the fire. Jeanne tried a ginger martini and the combination of empty stomach and walking through a rainstorm all day caught up to her. She was loopy on the one drink. We decided to head back to see what the others were up for.

Back to Judy Since it was Joni’s birthday we stopped to get her a small cake for when she got home. (actually 2 - A carrot cake and a chocolate cake.)

We hung out at the house for a few minutes and then headed into Gresham to stop and get a bite to eat and drop off Jeanne and Albert. The place we stopped at had the biggest meals for the best value. We all enjoyed the huge portions of food and Joni and Fred and Jeanne and Albert took doggie bags. Back to the house and off to bed.

Saturday, June 7th

Off to the airport and one final time – yep, it’s still raining.

Bye bye Joni and Fred.

End of Judy as guest writer.

Fred and I were sad to see our family leave. We had a lot of laughs this week. I was especially disappointed for them that it had rained all week. We made the best of things and still did stuff including hiking but it sure would have been much nicer in sun. Goodbye Family. See you soon.

We just adore the Cabin on the Sandy and the cats who came with it so we hung out at the "Cabin" all morning and finally around 3 motivated ourselves to drive into the city to meet up with Jeanne and Albert. Albert was resting since he was not feeling well so Jeanne, Fred, and I set off to explore he city. I read about a restaurant/bar on the 30th floor of some bank building. We went up and the drinks were expensive but the views were tremendous. We sat at the bar and through the immense windows, we could see three of the bridges of Portland. I wished I was hungry because they had awesome prices for happy hour appetizers. We each had a drink and then walked around the city. We stopped in the Deschuttes Brewery where Fred and I had the beer sampler and Fred had the soft pretzel with beer cheese and beer mustard and Jeanne had the fries.

We walked around some more and then we called Albert and he came to join us. We were looking for the Thirsty Lion but Jeanne and Albert had differing opinions on where it was. First we went one way on Jeanne’s direction and then Albert took us another way, and then Jeanne was sure it was just down this street, but Albert said no it was this way. Jeanne had to go to the bathroom so we stopped in a Sports Bar and found out that Big Brown had come in last in his quest for the triple crown. Then we went in search of the Thirsty Lion again and we finally found it. It was a nightclub with pounding music and a line of hip young people waiting in line to get in. Not our style so we walked around some more looking in shop windows and at old buildings. We found the Bridgeport Brewery which was in a neat building. Fred and I had the sampler so I could add 7 more beers to my list. Albert liked the clock on the wall but Jeanne said forget it, it is not for sale. After that we found a sidewalk café where we all got carded. We each had a drink (except Fred who had diet coke) and it was time to call it a night. Fred and I still had an hour drive back to the "cabin".


June 8th to June 13th


Bremerton, WA

My Observations:

Sunday, June 08 - Rhododendron, Oregon to Bremerton, Washington

What is this? We awoke this morning to SUNSHINE! After washing the sheets, remaking the beds, and running the vacuum, Fred and I reluctantly said goodbye to O.G. and Molly. Molly was a lump under the covers in the guest bedroom upstairs and O.G. was sitting on a chair watching us as we cleaned and packed to leave. He reminds us of our cat Scruffy, only since O.G. is an outside/inside cat, he is tougher. Dennis told me that O.G. is 15 years old and he once saw him stare down a fox. You go O.G. He is a sweetheart and since we miss Scruffy (yes even Fred misses Scruffy), it has been a pleasure having the cats around this week.

Since it was not raining and there was actually sun, before we left we just had to go sit on the deck. This is something we have wanted to do all week but the weather did not cooperate. We sat for awhile, enjoying the view and sound of the river, and then finally tore ourselves away from the deck and house and hit the road. We were not more than 10 miles up the road when right there in our face was Mount Hood. You just could not miss this giant glacier covered mountain. I wish Barry would have still been here. We did several U-turns and stopped many times so Fred could get pictures of the big Hood. As we continued along we saw another huge mountain off to our right. After perusing the map, I realized it was Mt. Adams at over 12,000 feet located in Wahington.

Our route today was to go to the town of Hood River and then cross the bridge over the Columbia River and drive along the Washington side. It was about 50 miles to Hood River and when we got there and discovered what a charming town it was, we stopped and had lunch. If we could have taken the time and did not have so far to drive, we would have been parked on bar stools at the Full Sail Brewing Company, a micro brew located here in Hood River. We would have liked to sample their beers.

We crossed the bridge over to the Washington side of the Columbia River. It was a gorgeous drive with wind surfers on the river and Mt. Hood in the background. Olympia is the capital of Washington so we stopped to get a picture for our "capital collection". This Capital’s distinction was a huge concrete dome on top, one of the largest in the world. The Capital Campus was beautiful with several buildings having large Greek looking columns. We could see a linear park along a lake several hundred feet down the hill from the Capital Complex. Many people were walking with their dogs down the switchbacks to the trail alongside the lake.

After leaving the capital area, I talked with Jamie, Barry, and heard Darla, Roger, and Tara in the background. It sounded like they were having a good time. While we saw snow this week, they were dealing with 105 degree humidity and were hanging out on Darla’s new boat. They were planning to sleep on the boat tonight which is a good thing because it did not sound like anyone should drive.

We arrived in Bremerton before dark to find our next home exchange for the week. Jerry built this home himself and it is located on Rocky Point at the Port Washington Narrows entrance to Dyes Inlet. The view from every window in the house is gorgeous.

We had happy hour with some wine, crackers, and cheese out on the deck. It was so peaceful looking out over the water. We made dinner and brought it out onto the deck to eat. By now it was 9:00 but it was still light enough to see. The trees and houses from the other side of the inlet were reflected in the water. The reflections reached almost half way across the water. When it got dark we turned on the spotlight illuminating the landscaping which was highlighted by two copper/metal horse sculptures reaching over 7 feet tall.

Monday, June 9 - Rocky Point, Bremerton, Washington

We had breakfast at the house and just hung around relaxing. Then we drove into Bremerton to check out the ferry schedule. We were going to take the ferry to Port Orchard but decided to drive instead. By the time we got to Port Orchard it was pouring down raining so we decided it would be more fun to hang at the house than to walk around in the rain.

Fred called his niece Lauren who lives in Seattle and we took the 4:15 ferry from Bremerton to Seattle to meet her and her fiancé Ethan for drinks. The ferry is a great way to go to Seattle, especially without a car. The seating is comfortable and you get great views of the city. We met at an Irish bar and then went to Contour for appetizers. Fred got a cheeseburger and fries for $1.95 and it was good. I had the pumpkin ravioli and tomato basil soup. Yumm. Lauren and Ethan each had food and our bill was only $50.

It was great seeing Lauren and Ethan. We got caught up on their wedding plans and heard stories about their house.

We took the 9:05 ferry back to Bremerton and were back at the house by 10:30. I started reading Oregon by Clive Cussler.

Tuesday, June 10 - Gold Mountain Golf Course

Hung out at the house this morning since it was raining. Left at 2:00 to go to the golf course and by the time we got to the Gold Mountain course, it had stopped raining. We had a tee time for after 3 to get the twilight rate but the guy told us to go off early. We were ready to tee off when he asked us if we would mind playing with another couple. He said that they had requested to play with another couple. Christine and Paul lived about 20 minutes away but had not played this course in the past year. We found out the pro had told them that we wanted to play with another couple. I don’t know why he didn’t just let us go out as two-somes since there was no one in front or behind us. Anyway, we had a good time with them.

Gold Mountain is one of the best we have played for the value. It was less money than Overlook at home and was in awesome shape. The course is owned by the city of Bremerton so there are no houses on the course. It is cut out of a forest of evergreen trees. The greens were fast but tricky. Holes #16, 17 and 18 are three of the finest finishing holes on any course we have played. #18 was a short par 4 which taunted a go for the green approach from the elevated tee but beware of the water to the right and 5 sand bunkers guarding the green.

Everyone at the course was friendly. After our round, we enjoyed beers and fish and chips outside on the patio sitting by a fire while looking out over the golf course. Vann the assistant pro came out to talk with us and wanted to know how we liked the course. He told us about Trophy Lake which he thought was one of the finest best value courses in the area.

We passed a drive-in theatre On the way out of the golf course, we took a wrong turn and ended up traveling toward Belfar. that was advertising Indiana Jones and Kung Fu Panda. We may just have to come back to the Drive-In some night this week. Further along, the road and hillside was covered with the yellow bushes we have been seeing everywhere. It was actually a little freaky, there were so many of them just growing everywhere. We went back to the house and soaked in the hot tub while enjoying the view of the water. This is the life.

Wednesday, June 11 - Olympic National Park

Got an early start for our day of driving to Olympic Park. Our idea to eat breakfast at a romantic waterfront café was cast aside after driving for an hour and no such place materialized. Hunger forced us into a dingy restaurant with no view of anything and a happy waitress who called everyone Honey Bun. The blueberry pancake was delicious. (no, that is not the only thing we had – are you kidding-we each had eggs and hash browns also).

As we were driving along we discussed how cheerful the waitress was and wondered why we can’t be that way all the time. We did not come up with an answer but the next thing we did was complain about the weather. Oh well, so much for perpetual cheerfulness. Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating. There is a low cloud cover that just will not lift.

I wanted to stop in Sequim, the lavender capital of the world. Fred was just thrilled with that idea (not exactly) but accommodated me. I was three weeks too early to see the lavender actually blooming at The Purple Haze, the first lavender farm we stopped at. Outside the gift shop windows were bird feeders with yellow chickadees flitting about. Beyond the feeders I could see acres of lavender plants, not yet in bloom. The girl working there said it is beautiful in July when the yellow chickadees contrast with the blooming purple lavender plants. Sequim has a lavender festival in July and over 15 farms open up for tours.

Traveling along Route 101 on the Hood Canal, a long narrow arm of the Puget Sound, the water was rippling in a perfect zig zag pattern.

As we were driving along the water in Sequim (pronounced Squim rhymes with Swim) we passed an area where Dungenese Crabs come from and saw the Dungenese lighthouse way off in the distance.

At the Olympic Park, we drove first to Lake Crescent for a hike to the Marymere waterfalls. As we were driving along, Fred said I don’t like the looks of this hike. The lake was on one side and the other side was straight up. The ranger station here was not open nor were there any trail maps in the boxes. Is there a money issue here at this National Park? Considering that we never passed through a gate to pay admission, I have to wonder

At the beginning of the Marymere Falls hike we walked along a forested path that was liberally covered with airy stems of pale blue wildflowers with yellow centers. These flowers reminded me of some flowers that my grandmother grew beside her barn in Conestoga.

We continued along the easy trail over a log bridge and then another log bridge and then started to climb up to the falls. Marymere Falls is a 90 foot waterfall that comes out in a small stream and about a third of the way down spills out horizontally over a rock face and then tumbles the rest of the way down.

As we were standing admiring the small but picturesque falls, Fred came up with this ditty. All falls great and small, sit and look you'll be in awe. Which is true – I love all waterfalls.

For lunch we wanted to get away from all the other carbon units, so we veered off to the Burns Creek path. It was only a short while until we discovered our own moss covered portal which led into a private spot along the creek where the water was flowing over rocks. We had lunch while listening to the music of the creek.

Walking back we realized that these little sojourns into the wilderness feed our soul.

Back to the car at 4:30 but the fog still had not lifted. I still had hope that somehow by the time we got to the top of Hurricane Ridge we would be able to see the mountain views. On our way up the 17 mile drive to the top of Hurricane Ridge, we had to stop for a flag person due to construction. We watched as a truck pulled up, a girl got out and came to take over the flag. Then the women who had been on the flag went over to the truck, opened the door, and took a pee. Fred thought it was hysterical that she did it right there and did not go off into the dense woods. She finished her business, came back to her flag, and then we followed the pilot truck up the hill. We did not get more than ½ way up when we realized that there would be no view today. We drove all day to get to the park and really did not get to see much.

Driving back home I had this thought. I feel like time is slipping away. We talked about this trip for years, Fred spent months planning, and now it is 2/3 of the way over. Sort of like our lives.

Thursday, June 13 - Golf at White Horse, Kingston, WA

After hearing some different opinions about White Horse, we almost cancelled our tee time. We were wondering as we drove in the road and saw houses-this is a golf course community-does that mean houses on the course?. The club house looked like a shed There was a great practice area which we took advantage of (for all the good it did). However once we started playing, Fred said the course reminded him of Toftrees. The course was in perfect shape. Pine Trees lined the holes and ringed the green. There are 5 set of tee boxes with native grasses growing in between them. The course is rated at a 133 slope so we know it will be difficult.

On hole #3, a par 3, the foursome in front of us let us go through. We both nailed our tee shots which was quite a feat considering we had an audience and the hole was 197 for Fred and 174 for me.

Walking down the cart path to hole #6 there was a snake that slithered off into the tall grass. The path from Hole #7 to Hole #8 is a pretty walk across a wooden bridge through woodsy wetlands. Hole #8 is the first time we heard traffic and we still have not seen any houses. The back nine was a different story. We did see some houses but they were not obtrusive due to the abundance of trees. The back nine was definitely harder requiring target shots. I was in the sand more than once after what I thought was a good shot. We had moved along on the front nine but all of a sudden on the back we had a 5-some in front of us that were painfully slow. They would clap and cheer everytime someone hit a good shot. They parked their cart right beside the green so Fred determined that they really didn’t know what they were doing. On hole 15 we teamed up with Richard and Scott who had been playing behind us. Overall, we liked this course.

On the way back we stopped in Poulsbo and had a drink along the harbor. Scandanavian store fronts lined the old town main street. One block away was a newer planned community with sidewalks and clapboard houses in a seaside palettes of color.

There is a drive-in movie theatre only 20 minutes from the house that has three different screens. We packed a cooler and went to see a double feature of Kung Fu Panda and Iron Man. We munched on cheeseburgers and fries from the concession stand and the whole experience brought back memories of the Columbia Drive-In.

Friday, June 13 - Bremerton, WA

Hung out in the morning. Did laundry. I did a P90X stretching routine, caught up on the journal. Fred took the car to vacuum out the inside and get a car wash. Then he sat outside on the patio reading the newspaper and enjoying the view of the lake until he got too chilly. No rain, but no sun either. I love this house. There is an awesome view from every single window. It is a one story house and looking out the front window the landscaping is gorgeous with green bushes and large colorful planters. Out the back windows we see more gorgeous landscaping, the metal horse sculptures, and the water.

We took a walk around the neighborhood on Circle Drive and then Fred went back because his knee was hurting because he had tweaked it yesterday on the golf course. I continued around the circle and turned up a road that wound way down toward the water. The houses ranged from simple cottages to lavish homes.

Early evening we opened a bottle of our Oregon wine and sat down by the dock enjoying the serenity of the water and dimming light. The water glimmered with the silhouettes of the trees from the distant shore. Every so often a boat would go through and then the water would circle out with small waves lapping the shore. Fred got a fire going in the large cast iron tub located on the end of the dock without using the blow torch. The owner had told me over the phone to use the propane blow torch to start the fire but Fred thought that might not be such a good idea. We would hate to burn Jerry’s house down. We sat enjoying the waning light and the fire for a couple of hours. We ate our dinner out by the fire, finished the wine, and then topped the evening off with a soak in the hot tub. All in all a perfect day.


June 14th


Ellensburg, WA

My Observations:

Saturday, June 14 - Bremerton, WA to Ellensburg, WA

Oops. We got up much later than we anticipated and had to rush through cleaning and changing the bed to catch the 12:35 ferry. Getting across to Seattle on the ferry is a breeze. We pulled the car on the ferry and then went upstairs to read the paper and watch for the Seattle skyline as the ferry docked.

We decided to skip the Underground tour and just walk around town and go to the Pike Market. Being a Saturday, the market was crowded – really crowded – wall to wall people shuffling along. Fred described the Pike Market as Central Market on steroids. Stand after stand of produce, cheeses, vegetables, and seafood. The flower stands were especially beautiful. I remember this from last time. Multiple stand holders showed off purple, white, and pink bouquets of flowers. They were so gorgeous that I had to buy some. On the way back to the car we happened upon the UPS park. We saw this last time we were here also. A huge waterfall, flowers, and tables are a welcome place to stop and sit in the city.

After playing phone tag with Lauren, we finally connected and got directions to her house. They are located only 5 minutes from downtown Seattle but have a single house with a yard. We walked to Georgetown, their closest neighborhood, and browsed some of the shops. Georgetown has potential and right now is a mix of blue collar and artist types. The former Rainer Brewery building takes up 3 blocks of the downtown. It was purchased and the new owner intends to make it into mixed use while preserving the façade. I hope so because it is an awesome building.

Back at Lauren and Ethan’s house we watched the final hour of the US Open at Torrey Pines and saw Tiger make two terrific shots. A chip in on 17 for Birdie and a putt on 18 for eagle to tie with Rocco Mediate.

Fred and I took off for our drive to Ellensburg where we plan to spend the night. We were starving so we stopped for Pesto Chicken Subs. Wow. There was lots of pesto on them. Going over the pass, we turned the radio to the info channel and thought we heard that the pass was closed. There was no other traffic on the road going the same way we were so we really started to wonder. Looking on the map, there was no other way to get across except to take a long detour so we kept going. We finally saw some other cars and figured it had to be open or there would have been big warning signs. It was open. Due to the low cloud cover, we could not see any large mountains.


June 15th


Moscow, ID

My Observations:

Sunday, June 15 - Moscow, ID

The sun was shining this morning. I said, "Good, now maybe we can see something on our drive". Fred said, "it’s too late, there is nothing left to see". We are driving across the state of Washington and on the map there are very few cities and lots of white space. The drive is mostly cattle grazing land and some farmland. We stop to take a picture of a field of yellow topped crops. (We later found out it was a Canola plant). We had breakfast in Othello in a Mexican Restaurant. Othello is named for the Shakespeare play. In the town of Pullman, we walked around the campus of Washington State University. There were a lot of tall brick buildings and the campus was built on a hill. We walked into the Art Museum but it was not open. The stadium is being revamped. We never did find Old Main until we were driving away when we saw a tower.

We checked into our hotel, a LaQuinta, and watched the first 5 holes of the open before heading out to The Corner Club bar,#21 on our list. It was a short drive to the town of Moscow, Idaho and walked to 202 Main. There was a real estate office there. Oh no not another bar on the list that is not open. Then Fred had the bright idea that maybe it was 202 South Main. As we approached The Corner it looked like a dump from the outside. There were only two cars there and I hesitated not sure I wanted to go in. Fred pointed out that usually the places we don’t want to go in end up being the most fun. Not so sure about that when we first walked in. The bartender seemed gruff and the other 5 patrons knew each other. Fortunately the Open was on TV with sound so we grabbed two seats at the bar and each ordered a beer. It was not long before we were all talking about the Open. Turns out Eric, the guy sitting next to me, and J.D. the bartender are in a golf league that plays every Tuesday, match play. The format sounds fun. They also have another league on Thursday’s. They were into the tournament because they have a pool where they pick a player for the majors. Eric happened to have Tiger Woods. We had them write down the rules they use because it would be fun to do that with our golf group back home.

The town of Moscow has 40,000 population when The University of Idaho is in session. During the school term, the locals hang out at the bar until about 7:30 and then it turns into a college student hangout. We could not believe how cheap the beer was. $2.00 for the 16 ounce glass. We ended up having a great time. I had samples of Kokanee. Kokanee is from Columbia Brewing Co in Vancouver (Creston) BC and is quite popular here. The shots were flowing. From a two page shot list, Eric bought us a Copper Camel and then we bought him a Caribbean Cripple. (Tara we will have to try these when I get home – it is a rum and juice shot).

Later the owner and his wife stopped in and Mike (the owner for 1 year) gave Fred a tour of the bar and showed him outside where the building used to be. Half the bar had to be town down to make room for the freeway. Lore has it that there was a nail in the ceiling to mark where some basketball player had jumped. Others tried to reach the nail but no one ever could. Mike had located the nail and was going to bring it back.

We had not eaten all day because there were only snacks at the Corner. We lucked upon a Chinese restaurant and had delicious meals.


June 16th


Spokane, WA

My Observations:

Monday, June 16 - Spokane, WA

Had breakfast at the hotel and asked for a late check-out so we could watch the US Open play-off. The coverage started on ESPN and then switched over to NBC at 11:00. All of a sudden the NBC feed started breaking up and after 10 minutes of a lousy feed the TV went blank. Unbelievable. We waited for about ½ hour and then we packed up the car and went to the Corner Club and they had the golf tournament on because they have a satellite feed. We saw Mike, a guy we had met yesterday, pull up at the same time as us. Evidently the local cable was the issue because it went off of his TV also. We each had a soda and as soon as the tourney was over we hopped in the car for our drive to Spokane.

The Red Lion Inn at the River, one of Fred’s priceline deals, is located by the Spokane River and right next door to Gonzaga University. Since we had sat on our butts all day yesterday in the bar watching the US Open, we went for a run thru campus. Then, after showering, we walked to Jack and Dan’s, one of the bars on the SI Top 25 list. This is another bar that we cannot quite figure out why Sports Illustrated put it on the list. Perhaps because it has been around since prohibition. Fortunately we had a sporting event to watch-the Phillies vs Boston was on ESPN-because not much else was going on in the bar except for two drunks who wanted to eat my meatloaf. As Fred said, they didn’t know the danger they were putting themselves in trying to steal my food.

As soon as the game was over we left and walked around Gonzaga’s campus. It was a nice campus with green space and a lot of old buildings with latin inscriptions and we wonder if it is a religious college due to the number of cathedrals and saint statues.

We walked the long way back to the hotel because we wanted to buy a shirt and hat for some friends, but could not find anywhere open. Back at the hotel we sat down by the river for awhile and then called it a night.


June 17th


Kalispell, MT

My Observations:

Tuesday, June 17 - Kalispell, MT

Happy Anniversary Freddie. 19 wonderful years together.

We drove by the Park in Spokane to see the big red wagon. There were statutes of runners around the park that looked really cool.

We passed through Coeur d’Alene, an area that has a resort golf course that Fred heard about. The golf course has a floating green that they actually move. We were thinking about playing here until we found out the greens fees are over $200. We drove by the Coeur d’ Alene lake, a large body of water ringed by a pine tree forest that reaches from the sky right down to the shore of the lake. I am constantly amazed at the different ways that nature has to create varied and beautiful landscapes. It seems like the more we see, the more we feel like there is to see in this gorgeous country.

We stopped for breakfast at the town of Kellogg, Idaho. This town, population 2,500 was split in two when the freeway went through. Our breakfast was awesome-the ham omelets and hash brown potatoes were especially tasty and my biscuit was as big as a small plate.

Back on the road we headed into Montana and the vastness of this state was immediately apparent. The landscape was filled with mountains of pine trees in all shades of green. The highway follows a creek and we saw many striking landscape pictures but we could not stop due to road construction. Everywhere we looked we saw a postcard perfect picture of trees, flowing streams, still lakes, and tall mountains. This is a magnificent looking state.

After we came out of the National Forest land, the landscape changed to mile after mile of either cattle or horse ranches. We saw fences but nary a horse or steer.

We had a tee time in Kalispell and thought we had given ourselves plenty of time until we realized that we had forgotten about the time change. Washington State where we just left is in Pacific time and Montana is in Mountain Time so we were going to be late. Our drive today took 4-1/2 hours.

Big Mountain Golf Course was somewhat of a disappointment compared to the other courses on the Top 50 under 50 list. First off it was $64.00. There were no yardage books so we had difficulty on a few of the holes knowing where to hit our tee shots but most of the holes were fairly easy. To be fair, without comparing it to the other courses we have played, some of which were spectacular, Big Mountain was a nice golf course. They had everyone starting off on hole 10 and the fairway was a little ragged. The best holes were 14 thru 16 which went along a stream. The good news was we were able to walk and they had drinking water readily available on the course. The greens were fast and rolled true. There were some nice views of the mountains. Other things that happened on the golf course will be our secret.

After golf we were going to stop for food before going to the B&B Fred had booked. I really wanted to eat on a deck because the last thing I wanted tonight was to sit in a dark bar (the last two days were enough-believe it or not!). We didn’t see anything on our drive back to town so decided to go to the B&B to check in first. I had this fantasy that there would be a perfect restaurant next door with a deck and a view.

When you don’t know exactly where you are going and have to hunt for road signs the drive seems long. Even though the Garrison Inn was only 12 miles outside of town, part of the road was gravel and I was regretting the decision to not eat before we came out. Of course, there was no deck eatery next door because there was nothing next door. Garrison Inn is a beautiful log cabin on top of a mountain (hill to a Montanite). The house itself was built by Gene and Ann Marie, the owners, and sat on 24 acres of pineland. A huge open area containing the kitchen, dining room, and family room had windows in the back that included a view of the snow capped mountains in Glacier Park. Looking right we could see the city of Kalispell. We met Gray, their 11 year old son, and Sitka, a gangly puppy dog plus Blackie, the black lab. Gene and Ann Marie do it all. They built most of the house themselves, make their own wine, make their own beer, make their own jams, Gene sells real estate, and Ann Marie has a full time job. Whew.

They gave us a tour of the house and I thought one of the coolest things was Gene’s work room and wine cellar in the basement. The Daylight basement contained a pool table, family room, and bar. In the back was a doorway that led to an underground room. A huge stone wall dominated one side. It is the original stone they had to blast through and they left some of it there and built a room around it. It stays around 55 degrees all year. We continued to compliment them on their house and asked them lots of questions. Then it got a little awkward as we were all just kind of standing around. Finally we asked them for a restaurant recommendation and took off to Kalispell. As we were driving along, I saw a cat cross the road and said to Fred, "I wish we would see some wildlife". He replied, "Well you won’t have to wait very long". Crossing the road in front of us was a deer.

We ate at the North Bay Grill and it was delicious. We didn’t eat on the deck but it was definitely not a dingy bar. The bartender made us Carribean Passion drinks in honor of our anniversary. Our server, a young girl from Montana, asked us lots of questions about our trip and we talked to her about Montana. When we got back to the house, Gene and Ann Marie came up to the living room, we asked them a few more questions, we stood around for a little while, and then went out on the deck to enjoy the view.

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