Saturday, June 23, 2007


Vancouver, WA was a stopping point for Lewis & Clark in 1806 heading west to the Pacific. Later the Hudson Bay Company from England settled in that area. Later the US laid claim to the area. Eventual settlements gave the land to the U.S. Today Ft Vancouver continues.

We have visited now the beginning and the end of the Oregon Trail -- almost 2000 miles of plains, mountains, and numerous water crossings. The determination, stamina and dreams of the pioneers always amaze us. Oregon City, OR is the End of the Oregon Trail. They left Independence, MO early April (as soon as grass was growing enough to feed the animals along the way) traveling 6 months to arrive in Oregon before winter began. Time 1840's. Glad we are modern day travelers.......

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mt St. Helens

Surprise -- Washington does have sunshine --- and it is fabulous! We enjoyed a whole day of sunshine as we drove to, viewed and enjoyed ranger talks at Mt St. Helen.

We visited Mt St. Helen a few years after it erupted and saw the devastation. In more than 20 years -- Mother Nature is mending. Trees replanted are growing tall. Even the areas left to come back naturally are making great progress. Animals, aquatic life, insects are all coming back and flourishing -- more than every anticipated.

Some interesting statistics: area of destruction was 223 sq miles (the size of Chicago land). The blast spewed rock, pumice, dust, debrie at a force the speed of sound (more than 800 miles / hr). The force of the plum into the air was like an atomic blast every 1.5 seconds for a total of ~10 minutes. The flow of debride was often more than 600' deep.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lewis & Clark

We now know that the state of Washington does have mountains and even some sunshine now and then. The sun did peek thru the clouds today. And yes, Washington is very green!

Cape Disappointment is the western most trek for Lewis & Clark. The mouth of the Columbia River is one of the most difficult river entrances from the Pacific with frequently changing sand bars and frequent storms.

For Lewis & Clark it was a rough and treacherous trip from St Louis, MO to the Pacific. They wintered at Fort Clapsop, OR. In that time, they had 12 none raining days and only 6 days of sun. A rough winter resupplying for their trek east.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Olympic Rain Forest

Why is the Olympic Peninsula so Green?
Because if is a Rain Forest!
The coastal range can have 240" of rain per year!
The skies are grey - dark grey or lightening now and then.
No wonder they are so happy when the sun does shine.

The Washington coast is not as accessible as the Oregon Coast.
We saw large flat grayish sandy beaches at Ocean Shores. We even drove the car on the beach -- Kite flying is also very popular.
This picture is at Ruby Beach - note the "stacks" (rock) out in the water.

The Hoh Rain Forest is old growth Sitka Spruce, Hemlock, Cedar and Douglas Fir reaching 240' forming the top canopy, with Red Alder, Large leafed Maple a part of the understory, and the ground covered with berries, ferns, mosses and a myriad of low plants and wild flowers. The trees are draped with a variety of air plants -- living on the trees, but getting nutrients from the air and moisture laden breezes. A pretty Spectacular walk thru time --- some trees more than 1000 years old.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mt Rainer

Today we were off to see a mountain -- Mt Rainer -- up close! Washington is GREEN with lots of large trees and green shrubs. Remember last winter with weather reports of more storms in northwest? Well Mt Rainer received too much rain resulting in major flooding and lots of destruction as the creeks and rivers raged overflowing their banks.

Well it was a delightful drive, even with heavy clouds and a national park bus ride from Longmire to Paradise, but nary a mountain to be seen in the fog! And wouldn't you know it -- once we left the mountain, the sun broke thru the clouds and we could see the mountain from afar in Lacey, WA.

Olympia, WA

Time for some touring ----- No this isn't Washington, DC - but Olympia, WA - the state capital. A beautiful building - recently refurbished. The design is a slightly smaller version of the Capital in D.C. The main area is grey to black Alaskan marble. With Italian, French and German marble in the Senate, House and Governor's area.

The rotunda is especially beautiful. The chandelier throughout the building are all Tiffany originals. This chandelier weighs 5 tons, the chain is an additional 1.5 tons. A VW beetle car could fit inside lengthwise - as the oblong area is 8.5' x 13'. Originally all of the ceilings were painted white and with the refurbishing it was decided to paint them -- absolutely beautiful!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tacoma, WA

There is always something new to do at Escapees Chapter Rallies. Today Columbia River SKPs toured the Museum of Glass (art) in Tacoma, WA. Glass has been a stable item for thousands of years. Recently (more than 30 yrs ago) artists transformed glass into spectacular works of art.

“The bridge is the gateway that welcomes people to Tacoma. We wanted something unique in the world, something that is full of color and offers a joyous experience to passersby both night and day.”—Dale Chihuly -- The ceiling is a spectacular display of an underwater sea - made all of glass. For more information:

At the Hot Shop we saw a team of glass artists create a glass watering can. With a variety of furnaces (2000 F), tables and tools......

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rose Parade

Saturday was rainy, but that didn't stop the Rose Parade - Portland

Enjoyed visitng Kathie Moran -- a friend from long ago!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Silver Falls State Park

A few enjoyable days in Salem, OR -- visiting friends, Gabby & Janice Lasko -- Thanks for dinner. Larry & Marie Emerson and Art & Caroline Fennell -- Thank You for joining us at the Elks for dinner. Of course some sight seeing was in order. It was a trip to Silver Falls State Park -- well known for it's many beautiful water falls.

Denny at the Upper North Falls - can you see Mr. Yellow? Yes, there I am on the bridge below South Falls. South Falls plunges 165'.
Hugs to all -- Susie & Denny Orr

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Tillicum Beach

Tillicum Beach has been enjoyable -- but down right chilly! Warm weather in the valley pulls in the marine layer of cold and fog at the beach. Every once in a while there is a break in the clouds. A minus low tide = very low tide

Courtney and Laney Erikson enjoy the waves at the beach

Tugger enjoys walking the beach too!