April 15, 2024


The drive to Washington took us straight up Interstate 5 (303 miles). We were routed off the interstate two times to take surface roads to avoid traffic issues. We drove past another small brush fire that was being worked by 2 trucks. Once in the Portland area we were amazed by the number of homeless camps along the interstate and how much trash there was all over.

We arrived at our campsite (aka home for the next 6 nights) in Mt. St Helens before the sun went down and were able to get set up and enjoy a salmon dinner in MandDy and turned in early as Tuesday was going to be a long day! We hit the road toward Tillamook via Warrenton, Oregon (131 miles) which is along the Pacific coast. We made it back to 101 South and it did not disappoint. We saw a Steam Engine train tour in one of the small cities. As we pulled up to Tillamook Creamery we realized that we were not the only ones who wanted some yummy, cheesy, creamy treats. Though we had reviewed the food menu and had a good idea of what we wanted for lunch we decided to pass because the line was ridiculous. We decided to do the self-guided tour, shop in the store, and then reassess the situation. Once we learned about the process and bought what we could fit in our cooler we decided to divide and conquer. Rob checked out with our loot and I got in the ice cream line. Rob beat me to the car about 10 minutes before I arrived with my ice cream flight (Oregon Strawberry, Oregon Dark Cherry, and Mountain Huckleberry) and his birthday cake milkshake. Though we did not get mac n cheese or burgers smothered in cheese, we got to have our dessert for lunch.

We then drove through Oregon on St Rt 6 toward Portland (110 miles). We passed multiple logging trucks and a couple of lumber yards. Let’s just say, there isn’t a lumber shortage in this part of the US. We made it safely to meet my friend from when I taught kindergarten at Orange Ridge, Heather, and her hubby, Jeremy, at McMenamins Pub at Kalama Harbor Lodge. They live outside of Portland. I knew that if we got to their neck of the woods that we would have to meet up and we did. Dinner was delicious and I enjoyed a local craft beer flight.

Wednesday we headed to Seattle so that Rob could experience the Pike Street Market (119 miles). On our drive, we passed Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord and had a large airplane head straight for us on the interstate. We were also baffled by the different speed limit signs for different interstate lanes. Once we arrived it was very crowded but luckily we were able to see the market, eat some chowder for lunch, get a sticker for the fridge, buy some pasta, fresh fruit and fresh seafood (scallops, shrimp and salmon) and get out of these unscathed. The drive home was treacherous with evening traffic but we made it safely.

Thursday was a stay-at-home morning so that I could get work done and have a few meetings. In the afternoon we headed to Mt. St. Helens. Wow, just wow. To think that she blew her lid less than 3 months before I was born is crazy. I am so glad that we made the trek up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory (50 miles) because the view was humbling. The power of mother nature and the impact of the eruption and lava flow is still evident. We were able to get a sticker for the refrigerator, take a few pictures, head home for our scallops and lemon garlic pasta dinner…and do laundry.

Friday we headed to Olympic National Park (175 miles). We drove over the Hood Canal floating bridge, which according to some google photos you can see submarines from, No such luck for us. As we drove on the 101 we could see Canada across the Strait of Juan De Fuca. We went to the visitor center and decided to make the drive to the Hoh Rainforest (88 miles) via the 101. While on the 101 we drove past Crescent Lake and through Forks, WA. I mention Forks because it is the furthest west point that we could go. In Forks, we were 2900 miles from our home in GA. There was a wait to get to the Rainforests but luckily we found a parking spot and were able to enjoy the visitor center and walk a short trail before heading home (195 miles). On the way home, we got Little Caesar’s pizza so that we could eat on the road. The dogs were very happy to see us when we got home just before dark. Friday was a long day but I am glad we could visit another National Park.

Saturday we headed to Mt. Rainier (82 miles). We entered at the Nisqually entrance off the 706. We did have to wait 20 minutes to get through the entrance booth. Once inside the park, we stopped at the Narada Falls and did the slippery walk (should have changed out of my flip-flops) down to the beautiful view of the falls and the rainbow. We were headed to the Paradise Visitor Center but we had the same idea as everyone else! There were so many people there so we drove through the parking area and headed to the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center to get our passport canceled and hopefully find a sticker for the refrigerator. Well, we were able to get the stamp in the passport but no sticker. This visitor center did not have a gift shop so we attempted to locate a sticker in the next town, Packwood, and we were unsuccessful. Well, we have the passport stamp and the pictures and I know I can find a sticker on Amazon. On our way back to the campground we stopped at Walgreens to pick up our prescriptions and did a Walmart run for some groceries. Once back at the campground we celebrated our last night in WA, last night on the Pacific with surf (shrimp from the Pike Street Market) and turf (from Walmart), and then enjoyed a campfire and the sunset at 10 pm.

Sunday we are off to Cour d’Alene, Idaho (399 miles)

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