Monday, July 10, 2006

Up through California: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon -- Portland, Seattle
BIG TIME CATCH-UP Happy Birthday, Anna. We had a great time with Tracy and Daniel when we finally got together. Tracy had an adventure, sleeping in her van and since the
cell phones were unusable, we were all a little anxious. Alls well, etc. Crater Lake is truly beautiful. The most gorgeous shades of blue I've ever seen. So still. Lovely terrain and we saw new animals. There were Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, very cute and fast. We saw many deer, they looked reddish but the guide says they are still mule deer. Daniel got to see them up close and he was impressed but he really liked the chipmunks best. He bought me a stuffed one for an early birthday gift. We also saw Clark's Nutcrackers, Gray Jays and discovered the small blackbirds we've seen are Brewer's Blackbirds and saw females which are gray. All around the crater, Daniel was able to play in the snow which is one of his favorite things. Tracy loves the outdoors and she is grooving on the passports. We had a nice dinner in the RV and there was key lime pie for my birthday and a dozen roses. Grand.

It was sad to say goodbye and head in opposite directions but the odyssey continues. Next, we drove to Portland seeing Mt. Shasta along the way, snow covered and kind of familiar, beautiful. Almost as soon as you can no longer see Shasta, you start seeing Mt. Hood. Beautiful country, lots of wild flowers. At traveling speed, it is hard to see enough detail to identify them. We found a nice park to stay in and went to dinner with Frank and Sue Egger. Sue is a very nice woman. Frank was raised in the Portland area (Sue too), so he was a very informative guide. We saw the Columbia Gorge and river, of course. Lovely. Went to a place called Crown Point with a great view. Saw several mountain falls, I love 'em. Lots of wild flowers and mountain azaleas and in Oregon and Washington, we have seen loads of wild berries. We also went to a fish hatchery and went to a dam where there is a fish ladder and they count the fish. There were salmon, sturgeon and several kinds of trout. One sturgeon was 65 years old and huge. The tallest falls we saw were the Multnomah Falls and Multnomah may be the name of the dam. We stopped on the way down for a fresh blackberry shake, one of my favorite stops of the day, then we went to a produce stand and bought Bings and raspberries as well as some excellent cookies. We had dinner with the Eggers and coffee, then home for cable TV which has become a rare treat this
trip. We did drive around Portland and it is a pleasant looking city, very shady. I do wish we had gone to visit The Arts museum where Sue works, but it was not on our guide's itinerary, pity. On practically every corner in Portland there is an espresso kiosk, at the parks too. We had a couple of lattes and they served a nice blend, but no bulk sale of beans. We visited a lake up the mountain which was probably Multnomah too. Very pretty, no motor boats allowed. There was a mother mallard with about a dozen ducklings out for a swim and some ducks without babies were trying to kidnap her brood. The mommy was ferocious. Very amusing to us, dead serious for mom. The weather in Portland was beautiful. A little hot at mid-day but cool and breezy morning and evening.
Next stop, Tacoma. Usual easy leg, good weather. Watching the scenery change, new mountain, St. Helena then Olympia and on to George's. It was so GOOD to see George. He is just the best and so Walker in his ways, generous and loving. Naturally Darlene and Jeff are great too. They gave us a lovely time. Their home is lovely. They have just finished a make-over and are justifiably proud. They live on the side of a hill with a view of Puget Sound, grand. There were lot of wild flowers and beautiful evergreens. I saw some wonderful poppies, all colors, delicious. We started seeing some lovely tall flowers that Betty told me today are foxglove. The ones we saw were violet and white. We arrived at George's early Sunday afternoon and talked
and visited without pause (except for some chewing) the rest of the day and evening. George had to work on Monday so Fred washed the truck and Armoraled everything that got in his way while Dar and I got our nails done. By the time some new blind were delivered and installed, George was home and we went out to dinner and talked some more. On Tuesday, we drove up the mountain and saw a lovely waterfall (I really should make notes, I can't remember place names) and great scenery. The day was warm and breezy. We stopped at a nursery to ask about a beautiful ornamental maple that George has in his yard-It wouldn't thrive in Fl. Nuts!
George and Dar did let us get them a barberry bush they liked. They'd hardly let us buy a thing.
After the nature part of the day, we drove to Seattle and went to the Spaceneedle. Impressive. The elevator ride was not scary and the view is spectacular. Seattle is a good looking city and we could see the sound and the port and islands out on the sound. I saw some ripples in the water that everyone swore were whales but I never saw hide nor fin of them. We had lunch in the
Seattle Center which seems to be a large food court with a children's museum down stairs. Good lunch, excellent elephant ears. Later, we went to Pike's Place Market, alas there was no fish throwing. There were beautiful cut flowers at great prices. I had to control myself. I did buy 2 bunches of sweet peas for George and me. I bought my first rainier cherries of the year and some roma tomatoes too. We went home and loafed and visited while George made me two batches of delicious fudge. I was teary when we pulled away from George's yesterday. He's one of my bestest cousins and as we know, he can really hug. The only thing that made the visit less than perfect was that Jigger chose Darlene's carpet for her first “mistake”. Wouldn't you just know it?
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
I wont describe the changing scenery, etc.because while I enjoy it, it is starting to sound like SOS. So, we got to Don and Betty's early yesterday afternoon. It is great to be with them again, almost like old times. They live out in the woods and it is pleasant and peaceful here. They are probably ten miles from a small town called Sandy Point. Don grew up in these parts. Betty was raised in CouerdeAlene, which may be 30 miles or so from here. Betty gave us a good dinner and we sat out and told war stories until 11. We were up and out at a reasonable time and did a drive around the old stomping grounds and around the lake we had lunch on the deck of a café overlooking the lake. Good BLT. When we got back, Fred had a rest and I started this up date. Now the boys have gone fishing and maybe Betty is still resting. Tomorrow, Jigger is going to the groomer (lucky, Betty's daughter is a groomer) and Betty and I will do breakfast, see the town and local museum while more fishing happens. Should be fun. Don't know what happens after that. The Bests asked us to stay over the 4th. There's a parade and other festivities and I think Don wants us to hear him play his Sunday gig. We'll see. I ought to write some postcards, we'll see about that too.
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30+10+n years, mother of three, wife of one, enjoying a life completely unlike, and better than, the one for which she prepared herself...

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July 2006 /

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