Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Washington State Trip—1995—Part 2

Remember this statement—“Wherever you go along the coast, always carry a tide table and know how to use it! *”

After a fun few days at Yellowstone we headed north via U. S. 89 to I-90 in Montana. 

We didn’t plan to stop at any points of interest along this stretch.  Our goal was to make it to Spokane, WA (about 500 miles) for the night.  We were a little younger then and could drive longer stretches.  Today we would need to take two days to travel that distance.

Somewhere in the mountains along I-90 we got a big scare as we were chugging up some pretty steep grades.  Suddenly the engine began to race.  Now all this happened as Joe climbed down from the cab-over bunk. These events didn’t clock up in our little minds instantly. Right away Tom thought something was wrong with the transmission and to say he was excited would be an understatement.  We soon discovered, though, that on his way down from the bunk, Joe somehow kicked the shift lever into neutral.  Crisis averted.  When you are driving a 17-year old unit you always expect the worst.

We took a slight detour north to the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.  After five years, construction on the Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1942.  The Grand Coulee Dam produce more hydropower than any dam in the U. S. We took the tour and walked along the top.  Looking down the spillway should make anyone dizzy. 

Gr Coulee Dam spillway

And of course we had to find a spot for Sadie to swim.  After all, it was her vacation too.

joe watching sadie swim in columbia river 2

Another stop we did make was was Roslyn, WA. Why? The Northern Exposure TV Series which aired from 1990 to 1995.  We were big fans. The opening credits and exterior scenes were filmed in and around Roslyn (fictional Cicely, AK).  The interior scenes were filmed in Redmond, WA.  It was the “fish-out-of-water” story of Dr. Joel Fleishman, from New York City, who is sent to Cicley to practice.

Roslyn WA was the site where Northern Exposure was filmed

Roslyn(‘s) Café, Roslyn, WA, featured in Northern Exposure scenes.

We arrived the following day at the home of Tom’s brother and his family near Olympia, WA.  And . . .

at wayne-kittys house in washington

. . . more repairs. 

repairs 2

The plan was for all of us to drive in the RV to the Olympic National Park and Tom, Joe and I would sleep in the RV while Wayne, Kitty and their son, Steve would sleep in their tent.

“Olympic National Park is a land of beauty and variety.  A day's exploration can take you from breathtaking mountain vistas with meadows of wildflowers to colorful ocean tide pools.  Nestled in the valleys are some of the largest remnants of ancient forests left in the country.  Olympic is like three magical parks in one.” –National Park Service brochure.

The Olympic National Park was definitely one of the most memorable places we’ve been.  Etched in our memory you might say.

The first day there we took a nature hike through the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. and one of the most spectacular examples of a temperate rainforest in the world. The giant conifers that dominate Hoh are a product of the mild winters and cool summers with up to 12 ft. of yearly precipitation.

joe and sadie on nature walk oly nat park lg doug fir

Joe and Sadie on nature trail next to a giant spruce tree.

nature walk oly nat park trail across ravine on downed doug fir

The trail took us across a ravine on a downed spruce tree.

Tom Sue and Joe on nature walk oly nat pk

Tom on left, with Joe and Sue standing in a giant spruce tree.

Next, we headed to Olympic National Park’s coastline. It’s difficult to remember exactly where we were along the coast but, it seems that Rialto Beach is the likely place. The six of us went to the beach and began hiking and exploring along the rocky beach with it’s giant driftwood logs and islands known as ‘seastacks'.

It wasn’t hard to get distracted by all the interesting things we found and saw. Sea creatures, alive and dead; Oddly shaped driftwood and soon to be driftwood; and strange rock formations and islands that are not islands at low tide.

2 beach exploring oly nat park

The six of us and the two dogs, Sadie and Barney, exploring Rialto Beach.

beach exploring oly nat park

Joe and Wayne exploring coastline rocks.

3 beach exploring oly nat park

Joe, Steve and Sadie wading out to one of the “seastacks.”

4 beach exploring oly nat park

Joe and Sadie on the beach.

Elephant driftwood on beach Oly Nat Park

Giant “elephant” driftwood.

Wayne Steve and Sadie exploring rocks Tom watching Olympic Nat Pk

Tom looking on as Joe, Wayne and Sadie climb coastline rocks.

striations on the ocean front olympic national park

Striations in the bedrock.

anenome and starfish in water oly nat pk

Sea anemone and a starfish in a tidal pool

Wayne and Tom 1995 or 96

Wayne and Tom

near campground tree clinging to cliff by its toes

Tree clinging by its toes to the cliff.

As you can see there was a lot to see.  It is so easy to loose track of time . . . and you know what they say—“time and tide wait for no man.”  What happened to these “landlubbers” next could have been foreseen by the more experienced beachcomber.

After hours on the beach we noticed the tide had risen. Oh, no!  Now what?  Joe and Steve were actually smart and headed back right away.  Not the adults.  I can’t remember our reason for waiting.  Maybe we thought the tide would recede.  How silly.  It kept rising.  Now what. 

We didn’t know if or how long the beach we were on would remain safe. Unfortunately our way was blocked by a huge rock formation that extended into the water.  We had the two dogs and our camera equipment. Kitty could carry little Barney but there was no way to carry 60 lb. Sadie.

So we made the decision to turn Sadie loose and hope she could swim in the surf.  It was a hard decision to make. To leave her on the leash and risk the leash somehow getting caught in the rocks was was not an option.  We clung to the slippery rock and made our way across with the surf hitting us at waist-level, encouraging Sadie as we went along.  We didn’t have too far to go but it seemed to take forever, but we all made it.

When we got back to the RV we found our sons sitting on the step eating snacks that people had given them.

Lesson learned—“Wherever you go along the coast, always carry a tide table and know how to use it!*”

*From the Olympic National Park brochure.

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