Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beach Time with a Friend

It has been a great week hanging out with friends on the Long Beach Peninsula. 

We have been friends for forty years and when we get is like time stood still and you take up where you left off.  We met when our children were little and we have shared all the highs and lows of parenthood and life.

So many times friends come and go in the different seasons of your life.  But some blend from one season to the next and become a permanent part of your heart.  Marge has long been such a friend.
                 During our time together, we visited several of the local beaches                 


We watched birds doing what birds do....

And fed a gull or two.....

A neighbor of my friend provided salmon and crab they caught.
We ate a wonderful dinner....3 hours out out of the water.
Marge made them a fresh blackberry pie.

After much prodding I actually tried something I had never done before.  I actually sewed on a sewing machine!  Not a big deal for some people, but I last used a machine in junior high.

With Marge guiding me, I finished a small little quilt from start to finish.

It rained some, we celebrated when the sun peaked through the clouds...
and we chased elusive sunsets....

Truly, every day spent with a good friend is a day well spent...

`~ Happy Trails ~

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Oregon Detour

I admit it.....I lied.  Our all-around Washington tour has had a little detour.  We slipped away when the morning light was still shining and crossed the long, long bridge to Astoria Oregon.
One of my favorite little Northwest towns.

 Now I have been there several times but my Granddaughter has not been introduced to her charms.  So off we went to hang out in Museums and Victorian Charm of Astoria.  The tow is full of turn of the century houses full of beach charm and many colorful Victorian painted ladies.

One of a the museums that I have always wanted to visit was the Flavel House.   A Queen Anne Victorian House built for Captain George Flavel, a ships captain and one of the most influential residents of Astoria.  It was completed in 1886 as his retirement home.


I eyed the turret atop the house and hoped that the tour would include the river viewing room but it was not open the day we visited.

It is said Captain Flavel watched the river traffic from the view room often.

Most museums of mansions and homes do not allow pictures of the indoor rooms.  I was thrilled that pictures with flashes were allowed in this museum, so I was able to include some in this post.

Since the house was constructed in the 1886, the indoor plumbing was of particular interest.

 The stain glass transom hung over the front door.

 No trip to Astoria is complete without a visit to the Astoria Column. 

While 10,000 people live in Astoria, 300,000 visit the column every year.

The Astoria Column was designed to celebrate three historic events: the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Robert Gray; the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; and the arrival of the ship Tonquin. Each of these events contributed to the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and Wyoming becoming part of the United States.

Scenes depicting these events are displayed on the Astoria Column, spiraling from its base to just beneath its viewing platform, 125 feet in the air.   The painting of the artwork took three months and was completed in 1923.

164 steps to the top of the column then provide spectacular 360 degree views.  Balsa wood airplanes purchased at the gift shop can be flown from the viewing platform to sail far off into the distance.

 It was a perfect place for a picnic lunch on this beautiful sunny day.

Another perfect stop is the Maritime Museum. 

Ships, History and the High Seas - Something for everyone! 

A trail along the waterfront is a wonderful outing for the afternoon.
If you are too tired and need a little rest there is a trolley that runs the full length of the waterfront that you can hop on and off for a small fee.

By far my favorite part of the day, was the drive we did around Astoria looking at the Historic houses.


  Some of them on the Historic Register others just quaint and lovely painted ladies.

And lots of B & B's

Of course our game of "we could live right here" had plenty of choices......
Yes, we could see ourselves living here as I'm sure many have before us.

A stop at a locally Brewery for dinner that not only brews and serves 16 different brews made on the premises but they cater to families and pets as well.  It was as interesting place to say the least!! 


It was a long and wonderful day, as the sun fades into the do we!

And after our Astoria detour, we return back to our 7 week tour of Washington.

~Happy Trails~

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Farewell Mountains, Hello Seashore

Farewell Mountains,  Hello Seashore

We're continuing on our Washington state tour, but with our beautiful mountains in the rear view mirror.

We're off to the peninsula, going as far south as you can go in Washington and as far west at the same time.  Along the way I see a sign for the only covered bridge in Grays County.  (For those of you that have followed along on this blog, you know of course that I turned down that road in a flash).

I of course, need to fit the truck and trailer through the little opening on the other end of of the bridge.  There was no where to turn before crossing the bridge so we inched through the eye of the bridge.  It was built in 1905 by the Ahlberg family who owned the land on both sides of the Grays River.  The bridge was covered in 1906 because the wooden bridge was to slick for livestock to cross safely.

We fit through the covered bridge and there was a small parking lot to turn around on the other side.

On we drove on to Ocean Park to visit a long time friend who lives on the Peninsula north of Long Beach.  We have been friends for forty years and it is always wonderful to spend some time with her.  The weather as been on again off again but we certainly fill in the rainy moments with lots of chatter and beach walks.

This is the first year we have been here for Sandsations, a sand carving contest..  The day of the contest a beautiful blue irridecent shell washed up on shore .

We braved the crowds and made a visit to Long Beach the day of the contest to watch the progress. 

 There were some expert carvers

 There were some expert carvers and some novices just out for a fun day at the beach.


The blue shells made there way into a few of the sand creations as water.

Dug out pools made great places for the kiddos to splash and swim.


Yummy ice cream at the best place on the Peninsula

make it a perfect day,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mt St Helen - Memories, Destruction and Renewal

There is another story to tell of a mighty sister who stood nearly as tall and majestic as Mt Adams and Mt Rainier. The youngest of the three sisters, she had her own story to tell and did so in our lifetime.

This is the cone that I remember existing till my mid thirties.

Borrowed from the internet, this picture was taken before Mount St Helen's awoke from her long, long nap and changed her skyline. 

The Story of Mt St Helen's Eruption

Most people of our generation have a story to tell of the Day that Mt St Helen's Erupted. 

 I know I do. 

Living more than 250 miles away from the mountain......we felt safe from the effects of the impending eruption.  For weeks we watched the news and speculated what would happen when the mountain blew.  Yet when the sky turned dark and the sun disappeared from the sky....we felt confused and had trouble connecting the dots that the sky and our experience were connected to an eruption that we did not yet know was occurring.

A picture of the sky we saw that day...

For days ash that rained down from the sky coated our landscape like snow.  Travel was impossible as the ash clogged automobiles air filters and cars died.  A massive cleanup of the ash was ordered and citizens were required to clean it from their property.  Yet the impact was really for just a matter of days....unlike the area directly in the blast zone.

I was anxious to see the recovery of the area in Mt St Helen's. 

I had seen the area years ago, when the timber lay as fallen toothpicks on the barren moonscape all covered in an eery ash.   Much of the landscape today has been replanted into baby trees that have grown into towering monuments to where the toothpick appearing logs once laid.  The odd looking forests have a symmetry that is not found naturally in nature which clearly defines it as human planted.  But the green has returned in most places.  The farther from the blast zone the more natural the forest appear.

In my impatience, we arrived at the East side of the mountain in the mid afternoon.  The harsh light made the mountain a difficult photo opportunity but we still had much to experience.

 Looking to the East on the edge of the blast zone.

To the south looking through the blast zone as we wind through the mountains to the Windy Point Observation Point.


At Windy Point we climb 374 steps on a ridge line to get a closer viewpoint of the volcanic crater and surrounding area. 

 Green is slowly returning to the area most effected by the May, 1980 blast.  From this point you can nearly look down into the hollowed out cone from the 1980 eruption and see the bulge building that has happened since that point. 

Spirit Lake after 34 years is still littered with fallen logs moved about in the water by the winds.

          Mt Adams can be seen to the East from this point. 

Looking to the north, Mt Rainier is barely seen in the distance.  But it is amazing to stand on this point and see all three mountains.

Flowers have also been returning.  


    Destruction and new growth
          share the same space.

The mountain tells the stories of tragedy and destruction, and growth and renewal. 

After leaving our little home in North Fork we headed south towards the coast.  I wanted one more look at Mt St Helen's and to see the new State Visitors Center.
As we arrived near the visitors center, it was overcast and hazy so I didn't know if I would drive in and instead took care of business.  We had lunch and gassed the truck and behold..... the clouds began to break up.  So off we went to first one visitors center than another.  There are several centers accessible from a short drive off of the I-5 interstate. We visited several.

  The replanting of the trees on the mountains has restored much of the terrain on the nearby mountains. But the destruction and scars from the huge land slide and mud flows is still visible along the Touttle River.  Melting snow and ice still moves mud and ash changing the landscape in the river valley.
Be sure to stop at the Forest Restoration Visitor Center.  It is free and well worth the time.

 We drove on up to the next view point for one last look at the mountain.

I experienced the Mt St. Helen's eruption in a limited way in 1980. 
The Mt St. Helen's story is still being written today.