This is the first entry for the vacation to the Pacific NW/Yellowstone. I'm backdating them so they go in order (roughly) and give me a timeline on this page.
Grier and Carla were going to get married in Seattle and after I bought plane tickets decided they couldn't afford it (meaning they hadn't bought tickets when they told us they were going to have it in Seattle). Well I had planned on going to Seattle for the wedding and then to Yellowstone for a week so I just skipped the wedding part and had a few extra days.
The plan was to go to Seattle pick up the car, drop off Bills Mug (from Roberto's wedding). Spend a day driving around the Olympic Peninsula. The across Oregon and Idaho to Craters of the Moon. Pick up mom in Jackson. Spend a week in Yellowstone and fly out of Jackson. Then have a few days free before going back to work.
|Vacation has begun: San Jose Airport|
I'm in the San Jose airport waiting for the flight to Seattle. Its a small place and the only thing good about it is the internet access (6.95/day however should be free). It is horribly labeled no signs of worth anywhere and there are no bathrooms or food inside security (and very little of either outside). I don't reccommend ever having a long layover here.|
|Volcanos and Seattle|
The flight from San Jose to Seattle was great. It goes up the Cascade Range and if your on the right side you have a great view of a number of volcanos out the window. These things are huge. Much bigger than the surronding mountains and all snow covered. Missed Mt. Shasta since the plane flew directly over it rather than to the side.
After I got to Seattle things went worse. Rebecca wasn't there to met me and wasn't answering her phone. I hug out for about 45 min in case she was late. Still no response from her. Got the rental car. Not what I asked for. Since when is a Grand AM and economy car? Oh and it had no gas. The fuel light came on before I even got off the airport grounds.
So I spent the next 2 hours calling Rebecca every so often, looking for gas and wandering aimlessly about the Seattle highways.
Finally she called back. I took the mug to her and left town wanting to be on the other side of the bay the next day.
|Olympic NP: Day 1: Hurricane Ridge, Waterfalls|
First stop was Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Great snow covered mountains and lots of flowers (there will be a seperate entry on those later).
The geocache (GC9C5F: High on a Windy Hill) took a while I couldn't find the plaque (hint its inside).
Left there and drove around the mountains along Cresant Lake. Stopped at Marymere Falls. A nice little waterfall tucked back in the forest.
Arrived a Sol Duc in time for sunset. I was there for a geocache GC6125 Don't Duc in the Falls and luckly caught a rainbow over the falls.
Stayed the night in a little town called Forks which apparently has 2 resident trying for the X-prize.
|Olympic NP: Day 2: Rainforests, Trees!|
The Hoh Rainforest is green and alien. There is a giant Spruce Tree on the road in someone should make a virtual geocache out of it.
Less ferns than I thought for the rainforest. Once I got to the parking lot my cell phone rang, no radio reception in the valley but the stupid phone rings. Well sort of, I could only get voice mail not call out to return the call, had to use the pay phone.
Left Hoh and continued driving down US101. Stopped at Ruby Beach. It looked like it was going to rain. The drift logs were cool, you have to climb them to get to the beach. Hard to beleive the little creek carried them all.
After the beachs the road turns back inland and passes some Big Cedar Trees, the largest in the world.
Stopped breifly at Quinalt for some flowers and scenery. Actually here are all the Olympic flowers. Identifications to come later.
Drove down US101 to Aberdeen, they have a Dennys (all the ones in Tallahasse closed). Ate there while I figured out where I was going. Took 101 to US12 to I5 through Portland and then down the Columbia River Gorge.
|Columbia River Waterfalls|
Coming down I5 across the Columbia R. you get great views of Mt. Hood but its hard to take a picture in a moving car. The Interstate travels along the south wall of the Columbia Gorge, and US30 comes and goes from it. US30 was the old highway and twists and turns a lot more, climbing and decending the gorge wall. Its a good road to take if you have the time lots of waterfalls and views of the gorge, much better than the interstate.
For instance in 1 streach are: Wahkeena Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Horsetail Falls followed by Memaloose Overlook. I stopped at Hood river the next exit because it was dark and I was getting afraid I would miss something.
|Eastern Oregon, Hells Canyon|
Continuing down the Columbia River Gorge there wasn't much exciting like the waterfalls of the previous day, just impressive scenery. The the land opens up into the wide rolling hills of Eastern Oregon. Then back to the Blue Mountians for GC6CFB: Blue Mountian Crossing.
There were strawberry plants everywhere in this park, and lots of flowers.
Made a side trip
Crossed into Idaho via small mtn rods and Hells Canyon, with more flowers. Once again I got to a place that voicemail worked and calls in our out didn't. The Hells Canyon Overlook.
Stopped just outside Boise at a place that had internet access. They did, just not good. It blocked ssh after 5 minutes.
Spent an hour getting a new key made because I locked my keys in the trunk. Yes both of them. Partly because while Alamo provided 2 keys you can't take them off the key ring its fused shut. Being able to lock your keys in the car is another complaint I have with what they provided, you can't do that on a jeep.
Hagerman Fossil Beds, the best I can say is nothing to see here move along. There is a small, very small visitors center in Hagerman (not at the fossil beds) and some scenic overlooks of the snake river. Thats it. you can't really see fossils (ok 1 skeleton and a few peices in the Visitors center), no one is working out there, and frankly if they hadn't put up signs you'd never be able to distingiush them from the rest of the Snake River valley.
There is a little side show on the Oregon trail, it passed through here and the Japanesse internment camps that were nearby but they only have a corner of the Hagerman Visitors center right now (making the fossil part that much smaller).
The cliff springs were cool. Oh and more flowers.
Stopped breifly at an overlook over the Snake River just past Twin Falls.
Craters of the Moon is in one of "those" places way off the beaten path. You pass a sign in Carey about the next gas being about 40 miles. Craters is at about the halfway point on that road.
Geocache GCH0QX: Craters of the Moon National Monument required you to go all over the park and walk several trails. Pretty good.
After that you pass through the Idaho National Engineering and Environemntal Labratory, the place where they test and develop nuclear reactors oh and just happen to do air quality research in the same place no real connection however.
Drove the rest of the day, and night to Jackson, WY with mom dring to get me killed by calling me while I'm driving on small mountian roads, in the dark, dodging elk instead of listening to her voice mail which already told here when I was going to get there.
|Grand Teton (both directions)|
The pictures of Grand Teton are from both directions (to and from Yellowstone). We took the Teton Park Road north to Yellowstone. On the way back we took a raft trip from Deadmans Bar down to Menor's Ferry and then back up the highway to Jackson Lake Lodge, then back down Teton Park road. So we go to see both roads and the river. Teton Park Road is the best of the three. Lots more flowers (some might be on the Rockefeller Parkway but its the same terrain).
There are two geocaches in the park, one on each road. since we only actually were driving one road I only go to do GC85B2: Teton Stretch on the way back down.
|Yellowstone for the impatiant|
All the Yellowstone photos for the impatient.|