Road Trip with Grandma – August 2012

In August 2012 I took another road trip with Grandma Clouston, who still loves to travel even approaching 98 years old! In seven days I drove her van 1289 miles round trip from Seattle to Salem, Bend, Crater Lake, Klamath Falls, Pacific City, Astoria, and back! Before I flew home I had a couple days to see family and a couple of her long-time friends. We had a great trip & lots of fun!

(Apologies for the full photo galleries at the end of each day, but I can’t figure out how to make the cutlinks work when not on the home page…sorry!)

Click on the links to jump to a specific day, or keep reading for the full story as it unfolded day by day.

Seattle to Salem

Salem to Bend

Family Day in Bend

Crater Lake

Klamath Falls to the Oregon Coast

Up the Oregon Coast

From Astoria to Seattle

Dinner View in Bellevue

Last Day of Vacation

Seattle to Salem

15 August 2012

Sunset over the Sound at Sea-Tac

After a crazy two weeks of non-stop special events including a lot of edible art painstakingly created by yours truly, I flew to Seattle for another road trip with Grandma! Quite a lovely sunset over the sound to greet me as the plane landed…and after I arrived at 10pm, Grandma & I chatted over her favorite Scotch & water until midnight! I knew there was a reason I planned not to start the road trip until lunchtime. 😉

Lovely summer garden at Woodway



I can’t believe how hot it is up here! As we were leisurely getting our acts together to leave, she turned on her fountain to help give her gorgeous plants a good drink, since it’s supposed to be even hotter later in the week! After a trip to the post office and fillup at Costco, we were finally on I-5 south by 1:15pm.


Orange Spaceneedle?


We hit traffic through Seattle, letting me take a quick photo of the Spaceneedle as we were totally stopped…anyone know why the roof is now bright orange? I’ve never seen that before? We hit more traffic through Portland when I handed the camera to Grandma to try to get some photos there. I’ve still never stopped in Portland…maybe next time?
Historic Elsinore TheatreWe made it the 235 miles to Salem in almost exactly 4 hours, and as soon as we got settled in our room at the Grand Hotel, Grandma pulled out the Scotch she brought for a teeny tipple for each of us. We were only a Original Elsinore Theatre Photo in the Grand Hotel Lobbycouple blocks from the river, but when we found a corner map, it was only a park & carousel on the riverbank, no restaurants advertised anywhere. We did see an historic theatre only about one block the other way, so we found it, and the state capitol was down the street around the corner, so we saw that from a distance. That was the second state capitol in the same day, since I saw the Olympia dome through the trees while we were driving!

Grandma by the historic bank in Salem


I was still hoping we could slowly make it the couple blocks to the river, but holy moly it was hot in the evening sun! We decided to turn back at the next corner, and on the way we were rewarded with musical kitties stained glass, a fabulous old bank now marred by the modern neon sign of the current occupant…

Cutest City Castle Ever


…and the cutest city “castle” ever! Copper verdigris tower roof, variegated stone, I love it all! Grandma sat in the shade on her walker seat while I ran across & down the street to get a better photo, just barely between rush hour cars and a big cherry picker that would have ruined my shot the very next second! It was built in 1892 and is now Earl’s Antiques since 1977, but I need to research this building & find out how the heck it was built that way, squished so tightly between other buildings! That tower with the curving roof around it is fabulous!

Britta playing a Salem Street PianoEven though we were both fading from the heat, if we had never taken our stroll, we would never have happened across this “Play Me I’m Yours” street piano right behind our hotel! Grandma wanted me to play & sing, so I tried, but I was completely thrown by the middle G being completely dead and others so badly out of tune, so I didn’t get very far in any of the pieces I tried..but Grandma still loved it. Since we never found any other better restaurants on our stroll, we ended up at the restaurant in the hotel for decent food. We had their Tuesday Tinis $5 drink specials and shared the creme brulee that came with my dinner special…yum!

Click to view the full photo gallery below, and tomorrow we arrive in Bend…where Grandma has requested to watch a movie in their home theatre AND she wants s’mores! Good thing I brought some leftover Door S’mores & Alien S’mores, eh? 😉


Salem to Bend

15 August 2012

Inside the Cutest City CastleI slept well, got up about 9:15am, then woke Grandma up just in the nick of time to make it to our free hot breakfast before they closed at 10am. There was only enough batter left for one-fourth of a waffle, but I didn’t need a whole one anyway, and Grandma enjoyed biscuits & gravy. We checked out on time, then made it to the castle antique store by 11:15am. What a fantastic place, and articles about the history were just outside the doors, so I took photos to have all the text for reference. It has mostly been a bank, and the heavy vault door with wheel handle is even still there inside, Another cool antique hat for my collection!but there are supposed to be no photos allowed, even though I sneaked some anyway. 😉 If I could drive all the way home, I might have bought more & bigger cool stuff, but I restrained myself – even from the aqua velvet photo album! – and only bought an antique Stetson derby hat that fit me perfectly, talked down from $150 to $100 cash. Grandma spotted an opal ring that totally matches the necklace she gave me that I wear constantly, plus fits my pinky finger perfectly, so she said that will be my Christmas present. 😉 We had fun chatting with the lady employee, who was so pleased we were excited to see all the cool stuff in the shop. Stupid me forgot to take a closer photo of the outside front for details! I thought I would take it afterwards when I had more time, but by then we were running later than we thought, plus I had completely forgotten because of how much we both enjoyed ourselves AND my cool new hat! Ah well…

Britta & Grandma at Detroit Lake in Willamette National ForestWe left Salem with Dairy Queen dipped cones in hand about 12:15, and drove east through Willamette National Forest, along Detroit Lake & Dam, and Deschutes National Forest with Suttle Lake. Very pretty drive, only marred in places by smoke haze from all the fires to the north, then later the poor scarred hillsides & skeleton trees from the fire here last year. Lucky planning that the road trip last year missed those fires, and that this year missed the other fires! I realized I didn’t have any photos of Grandma & me together from the first day, so I set up the timer on the Britta & Grandma at Suttle Lake in Deschutes National Foresthood of the van to get one at a turnout by Detroit Lake, even getting out my polarizing filter to attempt to combat the haze. It was so hot outside, even always-chilled Grandma was very glad for the air conditioning during the drive! She let me take one more photo at Suttle Lake which turned out great, but after that, she refused to get out for any more photos since it was just too hot! However, she was a good sport taking out the window photos for me since I was driving . :)

Grandma & Monte in the front row with meWe made it to Bend at 3pm exactly, right at the outside of our estimate, so that was great! We chatted all afternoon with my uncle & his family, had a nice homecooked dinner and blackberry cobbler, then Grandma wanted to watch a movie in their fancy home theatre with reclining seats, so after many suggestions & scrolling through on-demand listings, we settled on Secretariat, which everyone enjoyed, especially Grandma. Great choice! Hopefully the s’mores will be tomorrow night before we leave! :)

Full photo gallery below, and an unscheduled family day to enjoy tomorrow!


Family Day in Bend

16 August 2012

Cloustons in one of Monte's new housesI was thankful we didn’t have a busy day planned, since I was able to sleep in, even though work called me before 10am. About noon we all went to see Monte’s new houses he has been building for sale. Cute little houses with good floor plans but on tiny lots, and they are all more square Some of Monte's Housesfootage for a third or less price than mine! *sigh* The market is picking up though, since he has already sold several and expects that his pricing will bring in more buyers, so that’s great.

We came back to the house and had an easy afternoon chatting. Grandma wanted to sit outside, so we tried for awhile, but it was just too darn hot an a bit muggy, so we moved back inside. I was joking that she has become a lizard & needs to sit on a hot rock in the sunshine now! 😉 The haze from the fires up north was even worse today, even making the sunlight orange and we could feel & smell the smoke. I was very glad for the air conditioning inside!

I got to ride with new driver Josh in his new Jeep while Monte drove the others, so we had a nice chat and I played him some Movits (Swedish hip-hop swing jazz music) from my iPhone on the way to dinner and back. We ate at a Mexican seafood place called Baltazar, I had a very tasty mixed seafood burrito, and the Cadillac margarita was tasty! I guess I had Margarita Thursday since I’m missing Margarita Friday this week! 😉

We got back with plenty of time to make some s’mores outside with the firepit, and I laughed so hard at the photos! Even Grandma & Brenda had marshmallow all over, and Josh made a fantastic effort but Alex won the longest marshmallow string…haha! They had their choice of Door S’mores or Alien S’mores homemade graham crackers with Hershey’s chocolate I had brought with me. Grandma says her Scotch goes very well with s’mores! 😉

S'mores Outdoors Josh's Marshmallow String...pretty long! S'mores & Scotch: a new taste sensation! ;) Josh's Alien S'more Alex Monster & his Mom Fantastic S'more Face! Go Brenda! Alex bests his big brother with the longest marshmallow string ever!

Dr Horrible must be shown!I had mentioned Dr Horrible earlier in the day and realized they hadn’t seen it, so as the “adults” went to bed, the boys & I went up to the theatre room again, where we found Batman Maybe on YouTube (they loved it but careful since it’s full of spoilers if you haven’t seen Dark Knight Rises yet!), then we found Dr Horrible on Netflix. They aren’t the rabid fans I am, but they did enjoy it, so a worthy evening, and early enough that I think I can get up earlier so driving to Crater Lake won’t be so late in the day. Here’s hoping! :)

Full photo gallery below, and we’re on our way to Crater Lake & Klamath Falls tomorrow!



Crater Lake

17 August 2012

My first view of Crater Lake!We got up in time to leave Monte’s house by 10:15am, found gas on the way out of town, which always takes longer since Oregon doesn’t let you pump your own gas, then we made it all the way to Crater Lake by 1:15pm, even them waving us through for free when Grandma couldn’t find her lifetime national parks pass in her purse. The first view of the actual lake was up a sandy hill, but for Grandma & me to get up to the edge was Grandma & Britta at the Crater Lake Lodgegreat, since we might have gotten the best photo of the day! There were still patches of snow in spots, so Grandma tried some out the window shots for me. It was much too curvy with no guardrail and a steep dropoff on Grandma’s side, and she is terrified of heights, so I drove over the center line as many times as I could to make her more comfortable.

Britta & Grandma having lunch at Crater Lake LodgeWe got to the lodge, having to wait for someone to leave for a handicap spot to open up – yes it was that busy today! – then it was a 25 minute wait for lunch. Grandma sat on the balcony & chatted to some people while I walked around taking photos of Wizard Island and the big patch of snow on the beach below. When we saw that the trolley drive around the lake was 2 hours and there were so many people around, we decided to make our own drive, seeing how much time it took & maybe take the south road out. Lunch was tasty enough, and I set up my little tripod on the water table by us to get a photo.

Crater Lake in the smoky haze with snowThe haze from all the wildfires was so heavy that the sky wasn’t even blue, and only at the beach edge closest to me could I see what the blue lake might look like on a better day. Even my polarizing filter didn’t help much, and the haze washed out most of the colors looking west & south and especially as the afternoon darkened by the minute, but I still took a lot of photos!

The Phantom Ship - spooky in the smoky hazeI wanted at least to see the Phantom Ship lava plug formation, which was another third around the lake, but it didn’t take nearly as long to drive there as expected, so we ended up driving all the way around the lake, plus overlapped to where we didn’t stop on the way to lunch, like the Watchman Trail point. I’m glad we took photos when we first arrived, since even the same spot 3 hours later was so thick with haze that it looked like the lighting during the solar eclipse a few months ago! *sigh* Looking west we couldn’t even see the lake let alone across like the sign described…I was as disappointed as my Norway in a Nutshell trip when I couldn’t even see across the skinniest Naerofjord sailing down the middle because of the rain & mist.

Lake? What lake?!?At least we saw what we could see, and Grandma has been to Crater Lake twice before, but only from the south entrance, and never all the way around the entire lake, so she really enjoyed herself. She sat in the van for most of my photo stops but she got out for the Phantom Ship, and she could see a lot staying inside the van. We saw the trolley stop at Phantom Ship, and we saw it completely pass one of the good stops I made, so we decided not only did we save $25 each, but we didn’t have to cram in with other people, we chose our own stops & pace, and we had control over our own air conditioning, which was definitely needed today again!

The Pumice Desert north of Crater LakeBy 4:45pm we were back on the north road out the way we came back to 97 South to Klamath Falls, through the Pumice Desert and more trees, much hazier than earlier. At the junction I pulled into a parking lot to get out the hotel directions, and since I finally had cellphone signal again, we were able to convince the Inn at Cape Kiwanda to let us stay only Saturday night since they require a 2-night minimum usually. It will be the most expensive place we stay the whole trip, but Monte highly recommended it, and it’s across from famous Haystack Rock with a good restaurant across the street, so hopefully we can have a nice beach sunset dinner tomorrow.

Klamath Lake? What lake?!?About 6pm as I was watching my iPhone GPS I said “We should be able to see Klamath Lake soon immediately on our right” and if I hadn’t known to look we never would have realized there was a lake! It was like the entire sky off the road had been erased. It was already looking like sunset 2 hours early. I had Grandma take a photo looking Sunset 2 hours early over Klamath Lakeback and she caught the sun trying to shine through all the smoky haze. We had to drive around the horn of Klamath Lake through town to get to our hotel, and then as I left Grandma in the cool van while I checked in, I got 3 mosquito bites on my face…yuck! That plus the muggiest weather we’ve had yet was the last straw to my disappointing day, so I gladly got ice for the scotch Grandma wanted before dinner and enjoyed one with her.

Dinner was just ok but cheap at the convenience restaurant in the hotel, but they had no desserts and Grandma spotted a mosquito, then I swatted another mosquito in our room! This might be a long night! Hope tomorrow will be a better day since it’s about 6 hours to get over to Pacific City on the coast. Full photo gallery below as always…and now that I’ve seen them on computer and edited a bit, there are at least a few decent ones of Crater Lake that might almost be acceptable to frame… :)


Klamath Falls to the Oregon Coast

18 August 2012

Klamath LakeEven after paying for breakfast at the convenience restaurant, who were behind because of a fire in the kitchen, we were checked out & on the road from Klamath Falls just after 11am, finally able to see Klamath Lake, the largest lake in the Pacific Northwest, and some blue skies with clouds, so I took some photos quick! As I was out of the car, a swarm of mosquitos landed on the windshield and we shooed a couple out…we were glad to get out of this area! We made it to Medford in an hour, found the Costco on the main drag to fill up, hit one rest stop about 3pm, then on I-5 until 4pm when we turned off for Corvallis. We drove past an A&W so since Grandma was craving ice cream for her midafternoon snack, I had a root beer float & she had a milkshake…hit the spot!

Driving west towards the coastThe haze increased as the afternoon descended, so all white skies again, and after we turned west, it was coastal clouds turning the sky white instead of smoke. We were still making good time until we got stuck behind a trailer for awhile on the curvy part of OR-22, then he finally pulled out for our long line of cars to pass him, and on OR-130 we crossed 4 single-lane bridges until we finally came out onto Hwy 101 for a tiny bit, then found Pacific City. Of course as soon as we got to the coast at 6pm, the sky was spitting on our windshield, to be expected for summer in Oregon, even though I had been hopeful, especially with this heat spell in the rest of the state. We found the Inn at Cape Kiwanda at the end right by the beach access, and I barely got one phone photo of hazy Haystack Rock before parking the car properly, then when I got back to the room after filling ice for Grandma, the rock was nowhere to be seen, let alone water!

I was glad for my light raincoat since it was actually drizzling as we walked across the street for dinner at Pelican Brewery. It was an hour wait for dinner, and the bar was totally full, but lucky us 2 guys were leaving just as we were deciding what to do next! Our bartender was on the ball, overhearing our menu choices before we told him, and the food was great. Grandma has a seafood quesadilla starter that was just the right size for her to eat the whole thing, and I had delicious linguini with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes & local clams…not razor clams though, so I think I might have to hit Pig N Pan tomorrow in Astoria for my fix! 😉


By the time we finished dinner, some haze was clearing to show Haystack Rock again, not clear enough to show a sunset, but I can hope for a morning view. We had another scotch when we got back to our room, so I took some pix while I had the view. Here you can compare the before-dinner vs. after-dinner views from our balcony:

Before dinner room view After dinner room view

Full photo gallery below…Hopefully we’ll get at least a little break in the weather on our drive up the coast to Astoria tomorrow, since I hate the rain, and even though it is cooler, it doesn’t feel like summer let alone vacation to me. Obviously I’m a California girl even though I wasn’t born there! 😉


Up the Oregon Coast

19 August 2012

No blue skies this morning, but at least we could see Haystack Rock! I didn’t realize we were that far south of Cannon Beach and there are two Oregon Haystack Rocks, so this is the junior version. I figured out a wacky setup using my bendy tripod on the back of a padded chair set on the coffeetable to get a good photo of us on our hotel balcony with the view behind us…hooray! As we pulled out of the parking lot, there were two black & brown bunnies hanging out, and I just barely caught a photo of them out the window before they hopped away.

Western Oregon CowsThis was the most expensive hotel yet but no breakfast with only a coffee shop downstairs. I was starving but Grandma claimed she wasn’t hungry yet, so she wanted to find somewhere to eat along the way. I scarfed a couple leftover Brownie Briquettes to tide me over, but I was still getting a low blood sugar headache since it was about 14 Cute Wine Glass Pedestalhours since we had eaten dinner. Hwy 101 is inland for awhile, so we saw a lot of cows, and some blue sky really trying hard to peek through, so I was hopeful for more views when we got back to the coast.

We didn’t find anywhere to eat until downtown Tillamook, where I spotted a sign on the street advertising Eggs Benedict, so we pulled right over, just minutes before they stopped serving brunch at noon. The Rendezvous Restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall, but Grandma was impressed how clean it was, they made the hash browns crispy all the way through, and they gave me a half order of Eggs Benedict, a perfect portion size. I thought the upside-down wine glass as candle pedestal was cute. :) About an hour after lunch, I found another splurge…there were signs for a winery farther north, and I was sad we had driven past so many Willamette Valley wineries the day before with no time to stop, so since today we had time, Grandma said sure. She only tasted a couple, but they had FRUIT wines – real fruit wines! When I said I’d have trouble deciding since I have to fly home, she said they’re offering free shipping, so I splurged on all 6 of their fruit wines to share with friends back home. The cranberry & peach were Rieslings re-fermented with juice, but the plum, blackberry, green concord, and red concord were all truly fermented from the actual fruit…and were VERY tasty! Too sweet for Grandma, but I won’t be sharing them with her. 😉

Impressive rock wall supporting Hwy 101 through Neahkanie MountainNorth of Tillamook is where the coastal views are spectacular along the Pacific Coast Highway, and the blue skies kept trying hard to peek out when they could, so I stopped at almost every turnout for photos while Grandma sat in the car enjoying the view without walking. The last time I had been on this stretch in summer was 1997, pre-digital camera with no exposure Northern Oregon Coast View with Wildflowersoptions or fill-in flash, so I grabbed as many snaps as I could, some perhaps worthy of framing for my travel gallery wall back home. There were also information signs that were not there in 1997, so I learned that the drive-through Neahkahnie Mountain was completely impassable without a dangerous climb until Hwy 101 was built, and it is still an impressive rock wall supporting the road. I also learned there is a lighthouse called Terrible Tilly so far out even my camera digital zoom can’t do it justice. It was replaced with a marker in 1957 but the trouble it took to build that all the way out there, plus staffing and maintaining it was quite a feat.

The Local Grill & Scoop in Cannon BeachI mentioned two Haystack Rocks, and the most famous one, featured in The Goonies movie, is at Cannon Beach, so we took the turnoff to see if I could get a photo. Grandma also thought it was time for an afternoon snack, so we were also in search of ice cream. What a busy Sunday at the beach town! We drove very carefully around town a bit, finding the beach but of course no parking, found a Haystack Rock at Cannon Beachshop with a loading zone open for me to run in to buy us excellent ice cream cones, then I got the idea to try the national park turnoff I saw to the north. The park was a fee entrance, but there was a street nearby with a turnaround by some beach homes…voila! Grandma stayed in the van eating her ice cream while I hiked over the grassy hill to the beach and got some photos of the real Haystack Rock, still no blue skies, but at least a view. I didn’t go all the way to the water since it would take too long, plus then I would have wet sandy feet for the rest of the drive! 😉

Hotel Elliott LobbyWe found the Warrenton Costco just south of Astoria exactly when the gas light turned out…seriously, we were sitting in the gas line when I heard the sign & saw the light go on…haha! It was only 4pm and I had seen a billboard for the Oregon Film Museum in Astoria, but Grandma decided we should shop for groceries instead, so we didn’t get to our hotel until 5pm, also too late for the street fair that was already packing up. C’est la vie! This hotel is quite nice Our Suite at the Hotel Elliottbut not cheap. The only online reservation I could get was a single queen bed, so we asked if there was any way we could have two beds.They had the last double suite available for $80 more, putting this almost as expensive as last-night’s hotel, but Grandma thought it was worth it. What a fancy place! Around the corner from the old Liberty Theatre (where we saw Empire Strikes Back in 1980), remodeled but with vintage art deco flavor, nicely decorated with wetbar & fireplace, we have separate rooms each with a TV, and our suite looks out onto Grandma Peterson’s church, Peace Lutheran!

Peterson HouseI didn’t let Grandma have any scotch yet since I had an agenda in our short time here in Astoria. I wanted to drive past the old Peterson house to see how it was doing, eat fried razor clams at the Pig N Pan, plus find any buildings I remembered, Razor Clams at the Pig N Pan - yum!maybe go up to the Astoria Column, and be back in time for sunset on the hotel rooftop balcony, when we would enjoy our scotch. I found the house easily enough, then we continued down the south hillside of Astoria and around the horn again to the Pig N Pan for an early dinner. Yummy fried razor clams, but I do think Grandma Peterson’s were better! 😉

We followed the signs up to the Astoria Column but it was closed for some special event. They were taking busloads of people up who wanted to see it, but we only wanted to drive up there since we’ve both been there before many many years ago. Too bad since the view should have been nice at least. My next mission was John John Jacob Astor SchoolJacob Astor School, which I found on my phone map on the other side of town. I had never driven on Irving Street before, and it’s mostly trees so that was nice to see. We found the school, no I still haven’t seen Kindergarten Cop, but I know it was filmed here. :) Since we were on that end of Astoria, I thought of trying to find the Goonies house, especially since my Grandpa Peterson’s childhood home was down the street, but no luck. When I looked it up Gorgeous Victorian Flavel Houseonline tonight, I literally was only one block away…argh! I did find other cute houses though, and the most vivid royal blue & purple hydrangeas I have ever seen. I want my hydrangeas to be that color!

I knew the most gorgeous Victorian house in Astoria, the Flavel House, was near our hotel, but I had forgotten the courthouse and jail were across the street! The jail is now the Oregon Film Museum of course, with an old Jail & Courthouseblocky black Jeep parked out front, just like the bad guys drove in the Goonies! Hahaha! Great idea for a building that had been idle for my entire lifetime, and I wish we had time to peek inside. I don’t ever remember going inside the courthouse, but Grandma Peterson worked there as far back as I remember until she retired, and one of my living room chairs is an old wooden carved jury chair from when they were being discarded.

That was the end of our Astoria tour, perfectly on time to ask for ice from the front desk, get upstairs to pour ourselves truly teeny tipples of scotch & water because the room glasses were so small, and head to the roof Scotch at sunset on the roof of Hotel Elliottfor our sunset. We couldn’t sit by the firepit since a guy was smoking a cigar, but we found a sheltered spot out of the breeze and enjoyed the view, even with the “bandaids” on the bridge from construction. Lovely sunset, so at least I got one good view from the past three days! :)

Tomorrow we head back to Seattle on a schedule, but we’ll drive up 101 over the Astoria Bridge since I have never driven that way myself. It’s been a good trip, but after driving well over 1000 miles since Tuesday, I am ready not to be driving for awhile! Full photo gallery is below, as always…enjoy!


From Astoria to Seattle

20 August 2012

Prune tart for breakfast!We had to get up early for the free continental breakfast, and I didn’t sleep well at all with too much morning light, but I was overjoyed to find the last prune tart among the pastries! These are my dad’s favorites, and I tried making them for Christmas a few years ago using my Grandma Peterson’s recipe using bourbon-butter-heavy cream puff pastry that is LOTS of work. Mine tasted just like hers, and better than this one for breakfast, but mine did not want to stay closed in the cute pinwheel shape. I’m sure Grandma’s favorite part about this breakfast was that our table partners guess she might be in her 80s…haha! The bright colors today definitely made her sparkle!

Goonies house view - attempting to duplicate the movie without a crane cameraI still can’t believe I was only one block away from the Goonies house the night before, but the morning was a better view anyway instead of looking into the evening sun. Sure it’s fun to see the Goonies house, but my grandfather’s childhood home is just down the street, even barely visible in the movie, so I wanted to take good photos of it…but I still don’t know which one it is! So I took lots of photos up & down both streets from the corner, and my dad will have to tell me later. :)

Britta & Grandma at the Astoria Column


It was still only 10:15am, so we took another chance at going up to the Astoria Column, a artistic marker commemorating the voyages of Lewis & Clark. I’ve always thought the sepia paintings in the spiral around the column were very pretty. We had both climbed to the top before, and Grandma couldn’t do that now, so I set the tripod on the hood of the van again for our photo. Another bonus that we had to wait until the morning since the blue skies with clouds made for an absolutely gorgeous view of Astoria & the ocean!
Astoria & Ocean from the Astoria Column

Astoria Bridge while stopped in trafficThat was Astoria mission accomplished, so the bridge was next. The construction on the bridge had it down to one lane so each lane had to wait for the other, but that was great for a photo that would never have been safe while moving! The Washington side also had construction with a similar wait, so while we were sitting stopped on the bridge, Grandma took a couple photos out her window looking east up into the Columbia River, and I took a couple looking out at Cape Disappointment on the ocean.

Willapa Natural Wildlife RefugeI misread my directions so we ended up on 101 N the long way through Willapa Natural Wildlife Refuge until we found the normal 101 N to Aberdeen. Right before getting on Hwy 12 to Olympia we stopped for delicious blackberry milkshakes in Montesano, then back on the freeway through construction by 1pm.

We were passing through forests with large areas cut down, but I had seen a few groves with 10-20 ft trees that looked like replanting efforts. Then we saw a bunch of wonky old growth trees that had a Weyerhaeuser Central Washington Forests with Wildflowerssign saying that grove was hit by hurricane force winds in 2007. We also saw two more Weyerhaeuser signs, one generically voicing their commitment to reforesting, an another for a grove of douglas firs planted in 1999 that were probably at least 20ft tall already. My dad worked for Weyerhaeuser for 30 years so I’ve heard plenty about how the wood & paper business has changed over the years, but I’d never seen any of their forests.

Downtown Seattle from I-5 NorthGrandma had an appointment today with a new doctor that could not be changed, so we were on a schedule to get back north of downtown Seattle before 3pm. We were making good time, but it was beginning to look tight, and the carpool lane wasn’t making much difference. Finally we made it to our exit 15 minutes before the appointment, very thankful we weren’t going south since that was a parking lot all the way south into Seattle! By the time we had left the doctor, stopped for groceries, pizza for dinner, and a necessary pie for dessert, back home in her driveway I counted 1289 miles round trip, all driven by me…whew! No wonder I’m a bit sick of driving! 😉

Full photo gallery below as always. We had a great road trip, and now I have two days left before I fly home, but I doubt I’ll be relaxing knowing Grandma’s schedule. We all think keeping so busy keeps her young! :)


Dinner View in Bellevue

21 August 2012

Teal vintage Spaceneedle glass with Blue Label scotchI slept in as long as I could, we ran some errands around Edmonds, then reviewed some old home movies I had digitized recently before heading over to my cousin’s house in Bellevue for a quick dinner between work & tennis for him. He is big into midcentury modern style, many of my grandfather’s vintage collectibles from that era are now in places of honor in his restored period house on the hill, and our dinner glasses were even collectible Seattle World’s Fair glasses. I traded my uncle for the teal Spaceneedle one. I also got to enjoy Johnny Walker Blue Label with Grandma, since he keeps a bottle at his house just for her. Tasty!

Britta, Carol, Doug, Stephen & GrandmaI thought my good camera was in my purse as usual, but no luck, so I was stuck with only iPhone with no timer and only my arm’s reach, plus the fantastic view of downtown Bellevue silhouetted us all! A little iPhoto magic after the HDR in camera and at least you can see all of us. 😉 To get the view properly, I sneaked a couple more better-aimed photos while everyone was eating. Delicious dinner with a carrot salad, green salad of lettuce & cherry tomatoes from his small garden, and fresh king salmon with chili lime & mesquite cooked on his grill.

Sunset towards Seattle



On the drive back to Edmonds, I sneaked a couple photos of the lovely sunset, then we reviewed more old home movies until we pooped out. One more full day left before I go home on Thursday!




Last Day of Vacation

22 August 2012

Buck's House
Today was more errands mixed with some quick visits to family friends. First was Buck’s house, a 5000 square foot custom home on the water with antiques collected from travels all over the world, mostly on trips with my Buck & Grandma on Buck's back patiograndparents. The house is already quite castley, and I would love to take it all the way there! 😉 A bit too far from my friends, and Buck isn’t moving anytime soon…he’s much too proud of his house & loves living there!


Dinner at Arnie's
We stayed too long at Buck’s house so were late to Grandma’s hair appointment, and I killed the 2 hours wait for her with some shopping & resting my eyes in the car. We came back home, Grandma wanted a scotch first, then we left Kingston Ferry at Sunsetfor dinner on the water, this time at Arnie’s. Great food, and I think I’ve had great seafood almost every night this whole trip! Yum!

After dinner we drove along the waterfront to the scuba diver point and the dog park for some lovely sunset views of the Kingston Ferry making its rounds.

Johnnie, Grandma & Britta at Johnnie's HouseOn our way home we decided to stop at Johnnie’s house, and he was glad to see us. In our whiskey/y discussion, I mentioned I liked Jameson, and he has an 18-year special reserve bottle, but I’m the first person who recognized its value, so he was so tickled! Johnnie can barely see – he enlarges everything to gigantic on his old iMac – and barely hear, plus his throat has been repaired after cancer surgery, but he still has a great laugh & smile, and he really gets a kick out of hearing about Grandma’s exploits. He was reading this blog on the road trip, and didn’t believe Grandma could ever pour a “teeny” scotch! hahaha!

I’ve printed my boarding pass, confirmed my shuttle pickup, and mostly repacked, including dismantling a large brass chandelier to fit in my suitcase for Halloween use. More photos of Buck’s house and the sunset are below in the photo gallery if you’d like to see. Hope you enjoyed reading about this trip as much as I enjoyed it! :)