Thursday, July 31, 2008 – VanDusen Botanical Garden

         


VanDusen Botanical Garden
 Originally uploaded by marymompics

 

John has said that we seem to have themes to different segments of our trip. First there was the lighthouse section, then the bridge section,  then the Olympic Peninsula section and now the garden section. The VanDusen Botanical Garden is very different from the Butchart Gardens. It’s not all perfect flowers but runs the gamut of everything botanical. Some things are in bloom and some have gone to seed. There are vegetables. Things are labeled (they are not labeled at Butchart Gardens and that is very frustrating.) But it is just as beautiful if not in the same tidy way.
Van Dusen rose

Tonight we are going to dinner at the Connor Butler Restaurant. It specializes in cuisine from the Northwest. We will, of course, mention that we are celebrating our anniversary. You never know what tasty freebies you might get.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 – Vancouver


Vancouver

Originally uploaded by marymompics

For some reason I didn’t take any pictures today. So even though it looks like I went to some nearby mountain or boarded a helicopter to take this picture, it’s actually just one off the internet. Anyway, that’s Vancouver. The setting is fabulous, the architecture not so much. I also enjoy the blue sky. It’s certainly not blue today.

Once again we arrived by ferry. It must be hard to live on an island and have to pay almost $70 when you and your spouse and your car want to go somewhere else.

We really didn’t do much today except make the trip here and check into the hotel. We ordered some food in and watched So You Think You Can Dance. Another exciting day!

Monday, July 28, 2008 – On to Victoria

    


Port Angeles ferryOriginally uploaded by marymompics

Today we caught the ferry from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC. We had made a reservation and I am glad we did. There are only three crossings a day and a lot of people had to wait until the next ferry. The trip was pretty uneventful although out in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca the ship rolled a lot.

Since it was too early to check into our B & B, we followed a sign which read, “Centre of the Universe, 1500 m” with an arrow pointing to the right. Well, how can you pass up a sign like that? Especially since I know we are visiting another center of the universe in Idaho. Unfortunately this particular Center of the Universe is closed on Mondays. So we only have a picture of what we know is the real center of our universe.

Center of the Universe

We checked into our inn, the Gazebo Bed and Breakfast. It is run by a very nice Canadian/British couple who were very helpful with things to do, places to go and where to eat. The room is very nice and the gardens around the house are lovely. The downside is that the internet connection is functioning only occasionally which is strange. John hacked into their system but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Ergo, this post and the ones to follow are being written from Vancouver.

Gazebo Bed and Breakfast

 

Sunday, July 27, 2008 – Forks, WA SPECIAL EDITION

    


Mary Clark Rd.Originally uploaded by marymompics

We are riding along on a fairly deserted road near the Olympic National Park when what do we see? A road named Mary Clark Road! Wow! A road named after me. So, of course ,we took it for a short ways. My road had trees and bushes lining it. Also a couple of dirt roads came off of it. Someone had littered. But I am immortalized. How many people have a road. I wonder who she actually is (was).
 

Mary Clark Rd. 2

Sunday, July 27, 2008 – Olympic National Park


Hoh Rain Forest

Originally uploaded by marymompics

Just a quick post to say that the Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park is amazing. We took a short hike on the Moss Trail and the scenery was spectacular. There was moss hanging everywhere. It was abundantly green. And everything is gigantic. Trees here grow way bigger because of the conditions. There are spruces that are 300 feet high! And because it is a rain forest, it rained on cue. But the leafy canopy is so thick that few raindrops reach the ground. At Passover John always tells the story of Rabbi Akiba who walked between the rain drops to fool the Romans. In the rain forest it was actually possible!

Saturday, July 26, 2008 – Port Angeles, WA

I’ve been playing catch-up with my blogging as our cottage doesn’t have internet.  If there is one thing I’ve learned on this trip, it’s don’t book a place that doesn’t have internet and always get a king-sized bed.  Our charming cottage has neither but it is clean and cute.  It is also quite isolated and we haven’t had to interact with the other guests  or the hosts much.  We see this as a plus.  Here’s a picture of our cottage, the Morning Dove.

Morning Dove

Today we went to the Olympic National Park and hiked up to the Marymere Falls.  How could we not?  Marymom does Marymere.  Anyway, I have discovered how incredibly out of hiking shape I am.  It was only about 2 miles.  Only the last part was really steep and only a couple hours later I am hurting quite a bit.  I guess tennis muscles don’t help hiking.  Below is a picture of the falls.  The park is enormous with Mount Olympus at the center.  Tomorrow we will go to the Hoh Rain Forest.  It should be fairly dripping with moss and verdant growth.

Marymere waterfall

Lastly, we went to the Arts in Motion fair in downtown Port Angeles.  Two fairs in one week, it has to be a record for us.  There were the usual crafty things to buy, local talent on the stage and fair food but, there was also a sand sculpture contest!  It was great.  We saw these really large sand sculptures made in the shapes of cavemen, babies, musicians and the one that we voted for which was entitled “Jazz,” and was kind of cubist representation of the theme.

Cubist sand art, Port Angeles

We also found out today that there is WiFi in the main lodge of the B & B so we are all set! (except for the queen size bed.)

Friday, July 25, 2008 – Astoria, OR to Port Angeles, WA


EEK! Astoria Bridge

Originally uploaded by marymompics

So to give John a break, I took the wheel for the first part of our journey today. First, I drove up a really steep ramp with a curve in it, then I drove to the really high top of the two lane bridge and then coasted down and across. Yeah, sure I did. John drove and it made me feel sick just to be a passenger.

Most of today was spent getting to Port Angeles, WA. It wasn’t as long a trip as the GPS said it would be but it still took the better part of the day. We broke up the trip by a short stop to look at the Pacific County Courthouse in South Bend, WA, an old locomotive in McCleary, WA and lunch at Gwennie’s in Sequim. There, with what seemed to be the entire senior population of Sequim, we had a fresh Dungeness crab melt with avocado sandwich. It was quite good.

We got to our Hidden Haven B & B at 3PM but our instructions told us that there would be no checking in until 4 PM so we did some wine tasting at the Black Diamond Winery. The wine was mostly forgettable although we did buy a rhubarb wine. Then we stopped at the store to pick up something to cook for dinner, checked in, watched tennis and collapsed.

Thursday, July 24, 2008 – Astoria, Oregon

After checking out of the Rosebriar Inn, we started our tour of Astoria.  There are many Victorian houses and a large column, the Astoria Column, at the highest point in town.  It shows the founding of Astoria and honors Clark and Lewis.  (Lewis gets way too much credit and I’m a Clark.)

Astoria column

Then we went to Fort Clatsop where Clark and Lewis wintered in 1805.  They really don’t know the exact site but it was an interesting little National Park.  From there we went to Fort Stevens State Park to see the wreck of the Peter Iredale, a  British ship that ran into trouble in 1905.  The picture is the hulk of the ship on the sand looking from one end to the other.

Peter Iredale shipwreck

We then went out and looked at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, had fish and chips (meh) for lunch and checked into our new hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, where it’s “a good thing to sleep under a bridge.”  This is a picture taken out of the window in our room.  Yay! for clean. Yay! for big, comfortable king bed. And yay! for no ants!

Under the bridge

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 – Oregon Coast


Alsea Interpretive Center

Originally uploaded by marymompics

When we looked at our GPS, the demonic “Missy” told us that we had about 250 miles to go today and it would take over 6 hours. Huh, that seemed like a long time. But by the time we stopped and had breakfast and lunch and looked at the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center and Tillamook Cheese Factory, it took us over 8 hours to get from Bandon to Astoria, Oregon.

John was really great about doing all the driving. Between the cliffs and the high bridges, there was no way I was going to participate.

First we stopped at the Kountry Kitchen for an awful breakfast. Will I never learn? Never eat at a restaurant called “Kitchen” and never, never eat at a place that thinks it’s cute to misspell things.

Our next stop was at the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center. Conde McCullough was the architect for most of the bridges along US 101 in Oregon. In fact, we had seen a program about him and his bridges on Modern Marvels. They are art deco masterpieces. The Center explained the history of the bridges and the building of the Alsea replacement bridge. The McCullough bridge had been built with the wrong mix of concrete and had begun to fail. Anyway, really interesting.

The Oregon coast is really beautiful and very wild. The road is windy with lots of grade and the little towns really slow you down. A speeding tourist is a real revenue opportunity.

We also stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory . There was a self-guided tour and lots of people. We didn’t spend too much time here.

Finally we got to Astoria with its looming bridge across the Columbia River. We checked into the Rosebriar Inn. I had booked the Carriage House. Not clean, not comfortable and with giant carpenter ants. No way we are spending two nights here.