Monday, September 16, 2013

Washington Apples, Mount Rainier, "Mount St. Helens

Please note that due to the world's worst internet service (and I use the word "service" very loosely here....) (It was Innflux internet, in case you want the name...they apparently don't understand the "flux" part.....) I am publishing at least one day late.  This is about Sunday, September 15's "adventures.

We left Yakima Sunday morning on Rt. 12 going west. Our initial “plan” was to drive close enough to Mount Rainier to see it from a distance, and then go back to Yakima and head north. Since we could not see Mount Rainier from any place along the way, we just kept on going along on Rt. 12, and we were glad that we did!

Washington apples, which we eat aplenty in Ohio, are growing in orchards all over this area. It was interesting to see that the “apple trees” don't always look like trees, but almost like grape vines, with supports to hold them up. We saw apple trees that had small trunks and we no taller than ten feet high, and they were laden down with hundreds of apples. I pulled off and drove into an orchard to get this photo, because I was incredulous that one small tree could produce so much fruit.  

A gushing river ran alongside of our road, and for many miles we watched Sunday adventurers river rafting on this roaring water. The scenery became mountainous and the road went up into the mountains. We are not yet “over” the nerve-wracking ride up to see Heaven's Gate in Glacier National Park, so we got a tad worried about where we might be going.
  Even though we were as high as 4500 feet near White Pass, it was nothing compared to Glacier, and we just enjoyed the ups and downs of the highway. We got off to let faster moving vehicles go past us, to take some pictures, and at a place called the Palisades we stopped for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and plums. We had the area to ourselves except for a croaking frog that sang to us while we ate. The Palisades is an area created by a volcanic eruption. When the lava flowed, something, perhaps a glacier, stopped it right there.  You can see that it looks as though something was flowing. ( Or not.)

  At a scenic overlook, we were finally able to see Mt. Rainier! Almost.

When we were in Maine, we never saw the moose I wanted to see. When we were in South Dakota last year, the buffalo herd did not show up. At Chincoteague, the wild ponies were in hiding. At Pike's Peak, the peak was in a cloud, and guess what? The top of Mount Rainier was doing the same thing today!

Nevertheless, what we did see was beautiful, and we took a million pictures and congratulated all the other people at the scenic overlook for getting that far and seeing so much. We swapped cameras and took pictures of each other until we were all new best friends with the whole lot, then we all got into our cars and went on with our drives, whichever way we were going.

The next plan was to get off the main road and drive forty miles south to see Mount St. Helen's, a volcano which erupted on my birthday when it made its presence known some years ago. I recall that as being the biggest thrill of my birthday whatever year it was, and even bought a rock somewhere from Mt. St. Helens in honor of that momentous event.

Today, when the turnoff came for the forty mile trip south and then the forty mile return trip to our main route, did we take it? We did not. Instead, we took this photo of the sign to Mt. St. Helen's. Then I closed my eyes and envisioned that volcanic mountain, and when I saw it in my head, guess what? It had a giant cloud right over the top of it, and I couldn't see it anyway!!! We're pretty certain that we made the right decision.

Somewhere about this point I left Randy and the car at a gas station to cross the road to mail a post card. When I returned to the car, there was a 6 point buck head, newly murdered and heavily cloaked, strapped to the truck bed next to our car, and Randy had made friends with the savage killers of said buck.  I was appalled, muttered, "Poor thing!" a few times, and took a picture to document the murder.  No.  You won't see it. I wish I hadn't.

In fact, the "wildlife experience" that we had hoped for here has not occurred.  We did see two wolves that had been hit by cars alongside the road today.  Randy thinks he saw an elk, but is not sure. We see signs telling us to be careful of sheep, goats or deer, but frankly, we have a better wildlife show going on in our own back yard on any given day than we've seen here!  I keep saying I want to see a bear, but only while I am IN the car.  So far, guess what?  Remember the horses of Chincoteague and the moose of Maine?
We drove west to Interstate 5, and headed north towards Seattle. We stopped in Olympia to do our “must see” tour of the State Capitol Building of the State of Washington. It was open to the public even though it was Sunday afternoon. Washington has a dome! Once inside, we were met with an overwhelming amount of marble. We were told that the marble came from Alaska. All the lighting fixtures in the capitol building are Tiffany lights, and they were pretty awesome to see, lighting up all that marble.

We walked all three floors of the building. My photo of the inside of the dome was not shot lying down. Instead, I had to lean over a restraining belt that protects a picture of George Washington that is on the floor, hold my camera out with one hand as far as I could over George, and snap it. I noticed that two light bulbs up there need to be replaced.....................make that three.

                                                 Only one Tiffany, but check out the detail
We came out of the capitol building and noticed again how lovely the grounds around it are. We decided to take my thirty minute walk around the grounds, thereby killing the proverbial two birds with one stone. For the next thirty minutes we walked at break-neck speed all around the parking lots, the walkways, the statues and the fountains.

We noticed that very old trees whose trunks are covered with moss have many of their limbs held up with support beams. We liked that. It's sort of like supporting an old relative, I thought: keep it up and living as long as you can.

By 6 PM we were in Tacoma in a motel that has the world's worst internet service, called Innflux. I've done my writing, but this "server" keeps disconnecting me while I add the pictures. I may have to finish this in the morning. In 15 days on the road I have not had one problem getting on the internet servers until this one. I am not a happy camper, but I do have a novel I am trying to get into, so tonight I may just have to sit and quietly read. 

  There's the lemonade in the lemon!

Copyright: KP Gillenwater 2013