Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cruising Past Victoria Canada

Today we are going on a cruise to Alaska. We will leave Seattle at 4 PM - getting back next Sunday morning early. Our ship is the Norwegian Pearl. This ship must not be full because the line emailed us offering us cheap upgrades. They caught me at a weak point and we took a balcony suite. 

I was to Alaska alone about 10 years ago - long story. Lulu has wanted to go there ever since. Alaska reminded me of being back at home in Pennsylvania. I went in September the last time and temperature never got out of the 40s. Also it drizzled a lot.

Internet will be limited - but when I get on-line - I will send more pictures.

WASHINGTON STATE - Lewis and Clark Fort - Olympia Capitol

 Lewis and Clark explored the Louisiana Purchase for President Jefferson. They started at St Louis and trekked up the Missouri River - then crossed the Great Divide into the Northwest. It took them 2 years  - but they ended up at Seaside OR along the coast. They built this fort for protection for 4 months and then headed home. 

 There is a replica fort here for you to explore. Lewis and Clark conducted a well-documented scientific excursion.
 The coastal area of the Northwest is full of bays - rivers - tributaries - estuaries. They are all subject to tidal action.
 The beautiful capitol at Olympia was empty on a Saturday.

 The Capitol is on a hill overlooking the town and the water. 

The coast in the area has a large area between low and high tide. Note these boats at low tide - also see the capitol in the background.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

OREGON - Lulu on the Widow's Walk of our Seaside Hotel

Oregon - Along The Coast From Florence to Seaside

Old blimp hangar museum at Tillamook. The plane in the foreground was used to haul rocket sections to Cape Canaveral. The hangar could hold 7 blimps at once.
 Highway 101 in Oregon zigzags along the rocky coast line sharing varying views of high waves - giant rocks - pine trees - and foggy skies. It is 2 lanes most of the way which would probably make it a painful drive during tourist season - but right now it is not bad. We could keep our rental Versa at about 53 MPH most of the way.

At Florence - we woke up in our motel room with an enclosed front porch. After a hotel breakfast we headed north in the light light rain. The little tourist towns - Newport - Cannon Beach - Tillamook - provided just enough distraction. Lulu decided that Seaside has a nice ring to it and so we got an oceanside hotel - Tideriver Suites - very nice. Seaside has a great little downtown - and I was immediately attracted to Pigs N Pancakes - where a tall stack of sourdough pancakes waited. We walked the beach where the sun showed its face for a few minutes so we had proof that it does shine here sometimes. :-)

Today we plan to visit Astoria and Olympia - I am sure you are looking forward to another state capital picture.

Sunday at noon we mount our Norwegian Pearl cruise ship for a week long ride up and down the coast to Alaska.

We did not have time to visit this famous air museum in Tillamook. Seven blimps could fit into that hangar together - during World War II the blimps were used to find submarines.
High speed chargers - on the left - for the Tesla - on the right - for the Nissan Leaf.
Those blocks of cheese weigh 40 pounds each. At the cheese factory in Tillamook.
On the beach at Seaside OR - by our hotel - the sun came out just for a little bit. There were a lot of hard shell crabs on the beach.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Exploring Oregon in FSU Shirts

By Lulu

Many of our "winter clothes" consist of FSU jackets and sweatshirts. So it didn't occur to us to not pack them for our trip to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. However, walking around Oregon with FSU colors and logos is certainly a conversation starter. We had somehow erased it from our minds the drubbing we got in the playoff game against the University of Oregon just a few months ago. It helps that Oregon was the winner so the conversations are very pleasant for them. Oregon's success was short lived as they went on to lose to Ohio State in the national championship game. Our quarterbacks were picked number one and two in the NFL draft and will play against each other in the opener of the season - Jameis Winston from FSU leading Tampa and Marcus Mariota playing for the Tennessee Titans.

Oregon - Today We Are Driving Highway 101 Up the Coast

Salem Oregon's State Capitol - built in 1935 - is an Art Deco version of the Classic Greek US Capitol
Thursday we drove from Vancouver WA to Florence OR on Siuslaw River. Today we will drive north on Highway 101 along the coast to Olympia - Washington's capital
We spent the entire second day of our trip driving from Vancouver WA to Florence OR in our gray Nissan Sentra rental car. Oregon reminds me a bit of Ireland and a bit of back home in Tamaqua PA. It is very green - it does not see a whole lot of clear skies and sunshine. They have lush grass and lots of trees. The mountains are a bit more random than you find in Pennsylvania where they line up like fortress walls.

We have 2 more nights to spend vagabonding until we must board our cruise ship on Sunday around noon for Alaska. We just found out that our cruise ship has a free laundry - I wish I would have read that sooner - I brought way too many clothes. I could have gotten by with just 2 gray t-shirts - shorts - jeans. Lulu and I travel the whole world with a carry-on bag and backpack. No - I am not avoiding the check luggage fees - with our FF access we can check our bags for free. The main reason we travel so light is because they move you to the head of the line when they ask for volunteer bumps - they do not want to go digging for your luggage. 

We are looking forward to the drive up the Oregon Coast today.

The beaver symbol is everywhere even on the carousel in Salem OR
The carousel in Salem was listed as one of their top attractions
The carousel is in the park along the river in downtown Salem

We saw elks along the highway to Reedsport OR

Sand Dunes National Park near Florence. This is by our hotel.
Our Florence hotel is along the river - the is the first time I ever saw a warning sign in a hotel room for a tsunami

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WASHINGTON STATE - At 5 AM Were At Home in Tallahassee - By 4 PM We Were On The Side of Mount Saint Helens

35 years ago this month - Mount Saint Helens erupted
Usually our trips are centered around Lulu's work - this time it is just us. We had a free airline ticket that was to expire at the end of the month.
For 33 years I taught Earth Science in Lansford - Pennsylvania. That included a good dose of earthquakes and volcanoes. In 1980 - a whole new set of lesson plans was created by Mount Saint Helens exploding near Vancouver - Washington. After teaching about it so many times - today I got the chance to walk the mountain and witness the destruction. It was 35 years ago this week that this mountain blew its top - spewing ash all over the world - knocking millions of giant trees over like splinters. The local topography was changed forever - covering a beautiful fishing resort Spirit Lake with hundreds of feet of mud.

We left Tallahassee at 5 AM - had a quick stopover at Atlanta to get on a full Boeing 767 to Seattle. In Seattle - we didn't have to wait for bags - we plopped into our rented gray Nissan Versa for the 100 mile trip down I-5 to the national park. It is a long 50 mile ride from the Interstate up a zig-zaggy 2 lane road to about 4000 feet above sea level to the visitor center. In the winter it is closed to visitors. Today the views of the mountain are magnificent. 

When Mount Saint Helens erupted in 1980 - it did three main things -