Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mount St. Helens, Washington

In 1980 Mt. St. Helen's started to expand.  In April 1980 it was noticed by the National Geographic Survey that the north side was bulging by 5 to 9 feet a day.  Roads were closed, people were evacuated and on June 20, 1980 it exploded.  Fifty -six people were killed and the landscape was changed forever.  Trees were knocked over or broken for 17 miles.  Some lakes disappeared and some new lakes were formed.  32 years later the devastation is still there.  The wide path of the mud flow still remains.  One-third of the mountain blew away.  Since then, a dome has been building and as of today, has grown about 1000 feet.
We visited on a day when the clouds rolled in just as we were arriving.  By the time we got out of the truck, the mountain was covered in clouds and it was misting.

Trees ripped apart in seconds
17 miles of trees on their sides
Trees knocked over and covered by a mudslide
The path of the hot mud is still here 32 years later
Lakes disappeared and only a stream, mud and ash remain
This is Bigfoot country!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Welcome to Washington

We have crossed into Washington and are at Seaquest State Park.  We will be heading to Mt. St. Helens tomorrow.  Once we crossed the river, this is the first sign that we saw!   We'll update you again soon.
Our campsite at Seaquest State Park in Washington

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Columbia River Gorge

We are at Lepage Corp of Engineers Park (COE) in Rufus, Oregon and have been keeping very busy.  In the past few days we have gone on a two hour sternwheeler cruise up the magnificent Columbia River, gone to see an evening presentation at the Goldendale Observatory across the river in Goldendale, Washington, got up close with Mt. Hood, and visited the towns of Hood River and The Dalles, Oregon as well as White Salmon and Goldendale, Washington. We have viewed many wonderful waterfalls, a Veteran's Memorial in the form of a replica of Stonehenge and another Veterans Memorial in The Dalles.  At the observatory we got to see Saturn, our moon, and a double star.  We also got to listen to one of the greatest radio stations we've ever heard, KLCK-1400 AM.  Great oldies and fantastic programming and D.J.s.  For example: This morning they played 90 minutes of songs with the word "Angel" in the title.  Very creative.

Question: Think of the river that is near your home, or where you grew up.  Now, how many dams where on that river, producing electricity for your state?  Most of you will say, "none."  But, on the Columbia River there are 14 dams providing electricity.  That might tell you of the power and importance of the Columbia River to the Northwest.

Amazing Fact: This is the spawning area for six species of Salmon and some of them have to climb past 9 dams to get to their spawning grounds.  No wonder most die from exhaustion after the trip and spawning!

Our campsite at LePage COE park in Rufus, Oregon

Majestic Multnomah Falls (620 ft)
Mt. Hood
The Stonehenge Memorial has the plaques honoring all the local men who died in WWI
Inside the Goldendale Observatory
The Sternwheeler "Columbia Gorge"
A fish ladder at Bonneville Dam-during the current Sockeye Salmon run, 42,000 or more  a day can climb this ladder.
After climbing the fish ladder, every fish is guided past this narrow glass opening and counted and categorized by species.  We watched them being counted and entered into the computer.  How boring is that job?                 
Debbie at Vista House, above the Columbia Gorge
Can you see Vista House sitting atop the gorge in the center of the picture?
                                      Click on the video to see Debbie enjoying the cruise.                        

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Portland's Japanese Gardens

Antique 5 tiered stone pagoda given to Portland by its sister city Sapporo Japan. 
The Cranes symbolize longevity
Debbie on the Moon Bridge
The Sand and Stone Garden features the stark simplicity of weathered stones rising from a bed of sand raked to suggest the sea.  This garden is typically found in Zen Monasteries.
The Poetry Stone is inscribed with Haiku ( traditional Japanese poem) and it reads, "Here, miles from Japan, I stand as if warmed by the spring sunshine of home."

Portland is known as "The City of Roses" and after our visit to the Japanese garden, we went next door to the Portland Rose Garden.  They have several hundred varieties of roses.
Finally, for those TV fans of "Little People, Big World," we stopped by Roloff Farms sign.  We did not take the $300.00 tour, just stood Debbie by the sign. :-)                                                                                 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Rainy Oregon

We started out yesterday by getting up at 4 a.m. to get to the Tigard Balloon Festival for the morning flights, starting at 5:45 a.m.  It was cool and overcast.  They inflated several balloons but they did not lift off due to impending rain.  So, we took off for the Columbia Gorge.  We visited Vista House which overlooks the gorge, with views of Washington to the north and Oregon.  The Columbia River is huge, wider than any river we've ever seen.  We took a tour of Bonneville Dam, one of 14 dams on the Columbia River and took a two hour trip on a the sternwheeler "Columbia Gorge" while at the Sternwheeler Festival in Cascade Locks, Oregon.  We visited several area waterfalls, including the giant Multnomah Falls, towering 620 feet high.  The upper falls is 512 feet and the lower falls are 108 feet high.  At the end of the day we headed back to the balloon festival for the "evening glow", when they fill and light up the night with the propane flame....but alas, the rain never stopped, so we went out for dinner and home to dry off.

Panda Hot Air Balloon
Filling the balloon
Debbie leaving Vista House
One of the views from Vista House
Fantastic Multnomah Falls
The Spillway at Bonneville Dam
Generating electricity for the Northwest
The fish ladder, so the salmon and other fish can go home to spawn
Believe it or not, every fish heading home is counted and catagorized
Horsetail Falls
The Sternwheeler "Columbia Gorge" preparing for us to depart
Debbie enjoying the trip up the Columbia River
                                                  Please click to enjoy this short video                                                          

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Oregon

Today we visited the State of Oregon Capitol Building in Salem.  We had a private guided tour of the Capitol building.  Afterwards, we drove over to Mr. Angel and had lunch at the Glockenspiel Restaurant.  I picked this place for two reasons.  First, Debbie loves a good fondue, hard to find in a restaurant today and secondly, they have a glockenspiel.  Our starters included a salad for me and mushroom-sun dried tomato soup for Debbie.  Then we shared the fondue with bread cubes and sliced apples.  It was good!  We finished with Yager Chicken for Debbie and the Brat Sampler for me, along with sauerkraut and spaetzle.  Then went outside to see the Glockenspiel in action.  I tried to download the Glockenspiel video, but at 13:04, it must be too long to download.

Oregon State Capitol Building
The Rotunda
Sacajawea leading Lewis & Clark into Oregon
The Glockenspiel
Debbie loves her cheese fondue

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tillamook Cheese Factory and the ride home

After setting up camp at our new location, Lincoln City, we headed north to Tillamook Cheese in Tillamook, Oregon.  The tour was self guided and not very informative.  No cheese was being made on the factory side, just packaging being done on that side.  They have cheese tasting, and sell gifts, dairy products and lots of ice cream.  The highlight of the trip was the ride back to camp.  We stopped by the town of Oceanside to see Cape Mears Lighthouse and some view of the beach there.  We also stopped a few times on the way back for the great Pacific views.

Debbie at Mearse Lighthouse
Pacific Views
The Three Arches near Oceanside beach
Oceanside Beach
Oceanside, built along the coastal hills
                                                           Click to see video