Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fort Clatsop to Yakima Valley

In 1804 following the Louisiana Purchase,  President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark to explore the Northwest Territory from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.

Jefferson had 3 main goals in mind...
To establish a water route to the Pacific Ocean;
To declare sovereignty over the land occupied by many of the Indian Tribes occupying the land;
and To get an accurate sense of the resources acquired through the Louisiana Purchase.

Well, I can tell you, the first resource they found by the time they reached the Pacific Ocean was rain!  Lots and lots of rain.

The expedition lasted for two years and four months and was comprised of 33 men plus a Shoshone Indian named Sacagawea along with her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau who was hired as a translator

Many stories surround Sacagawea's role within the group but she served mainly as a symbol of peace with the tribes they encountered along the way. She may also have cast the very first 'female vote' in the new country....

When the expedition reached the coast a decision was required as to where to build the fort to protect themselves from the rain.  Both Sacagawea as well as York, Wm Clark's personal slave, were allowed to vote. 

"Here, at the end of their westward journey, Merriweather Lewis, William Clark and the 33 members of 'The Corps of Discovery' spent four rainy months preparing for their return to St. Louis, Missouri.  The men built huts to protect themselves and their supplies. They named it Fort Clatsop after the local Clatsop Indians."

"Nothing remains of the original fort.  This 2006 replica is based on William Clark's journal descriptions and floor plan."

"They didn't even have a TV!'

Well, the cabins were definitely waterproof.

In the end there was only one death, due to a fatal appendicitis attack.

It was finally time to leave the coast, the rain and the incredible rain forests.

We turned East along the Columbia River and the ride is quite beautiful.  This is Multnomah Falls just outside of Portland.  Dillon and his brother actually climbed to the top of the falls at one time.

The road followed the river the entire way ....

and it was easy to see why USA Today just this week cited this road as one of the top ten drives in the country.    

The rain began to slack off and the sun started to peek out.  

We stopped for an amazing breakfast at this appropriately named restaurant.  They served sweet rolls the size of dinner plates as SAMPLES!

Finally, we turned north toward the Yakima Valley and I was surprised to see such arid country.
The crops were either hops or vineyards and required lots of irrigation.

The dryness felt good and the terrain made me think of high desert. What diversity there is in this country.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Newport and its wall art

I am making a list of my favorite towns, those that have charm, individuality, a sense of history or style or just because they feel good...

There is Breaux Bridge in Louisiana; Monterey and Bolinas in California; Bend in Oregon; and now Newport.  There are others that come close to 'favorites' but these stand out in my mind.

Newport is very much a working town, geared to fishing with a fleet of commercial fishing boats and some very large seafood companies.  Also, a thriving and very noisy family of sea lions.  If you check the rocks in the picture above you will see a few of them lazing the day away.

We went looking for breakfast and found an outstanding tiny little restaurant on the edge of town that had a wait-line out the door. I wish I could remember the name because it is worth passing on.

Then we went for a stroll to walk off the Spinach and wild mushroom omelets. About then these guys looked like I felt.

The first thing that catches your eye as you walk the waterfront are the wall murals....

They are everywhere...and huge.

Some even wrap completely around the buildings.
How did they even get up there to paint that one?  


I thought this one looked like those boats were going right down the street.

These constant reminders of bad seas were starting to make me seasick.

And they sure weren't enticing me to go deep sea fishing.

Maybe whale watching.
  No, these two were not on the sides of buildings...

but painted on the walls in the ladies bathroom where we stopped for lunch.  I just couldn't resist taking the pictures.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Camping trip--101

The trip from Salem to Bend was lovely with lots of snowcapped peaks along the way.

There was evidence of a major forest fire that covered a vast amount of the forest...always sad to see the effects.

I was not expecting to see so many lovely mountains on the approach to Bend.  The town was also very interesting but I was there such a short time I failed to explore it or get any pictures.  It is one town I would like to get back to someday.

Cousin Cherie, her husband, Jerry, their grandson, Dillon, and their two dogs, Peppermint and Gus drove in their RV from their home in Yakima, Washington to join up with me for a week of camping.
We met up with their son, Patrick and his girlfriend, Tammy, and headed out for a long trip down this dusty, bumpy dirt road.... this beautiful and very isolated campsite on Lake Wickiup.

It was perfect, but cold.  The clouds were threatening but I was assured that Patrick was famous for keeping the campfires going.

I had last seen Patrick when he was about 3 years old so this was a time to get reacquainted. This is his girlfriend, Tammy, who was an all-time good sport on this trip.

And then there was Patrick's son, Dillon, who also got very sick with a sore throat.  (Thankfully I managed to avoid any of the illnesses that were around me over several weeks) But Dillon toughed it out and remained cheerful the entire time.

Jerry kept us entertained with campfire stories...

...and when we weren't listening he still had an audience.

The weather kept getting colder but Patrick lived up to his reputation and kept the fire blazing.

The next morning Sigh Me refused to get out of bed--even when I opened her can of food.  And I couldn't blame her--it was sooooo cold.

How cold was it?  Well, this was what greeted us when I raised the back curtain...

And it didn't look like the day was going to clear up.

Cherie admired the moss on a stick...covered with snow...hmmm.    

Patrick's fire felt really good.   

And when the weather began to clear it was beautiful.

Cherie and Peppermint explored...

Gus showed Jerry how much he appreciated the stories.

It was a perfect camping trip.

Jerry, Cherie, the dogs, Sigh Me and I left Lake Wickiup after 4 days and headed (once again) to the coast.  We drove first from Bend to Eugene where I had dropped sister, Mary, off two weeks earlier.  I couldn't resist so I called Mary and said, "Guess where I am."
"Washington? Canada?" she guessed.
"Nope.  Eugene!"
"You're not moving very fast.  Next you are going to tell me you are going to the coast."
"Yep! I may never get out of Oregon."