Friday, July 19, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 20

Who knows what Day 20 of a No Reservations Road Trip means? The answer is that it's time to start a new memo pad. Linda keeps a log where starts and stops and oddities of the day are recorded in the hopes that they will be enough to jog her memory in the evenings when heavenly shades of night are falling and it's blogging time. Out of the mists John's voice is calling, “Have you sent it to me yet?”  Meanwhile, John is also processing photos and captioning them.

The buzzards had a record getaway time this morning and were on the road into Randle by 7:31. The  friendly motel host was on his way to help at the local food bank. What a nice guy! Stops were made for gas and air (tires) and breakfast. Gas cost the most, then breakfast and not even air is free at gas stations anymore ($1.00).  At Mt Adams Cafe Linda had whole wheat French toast with local blueberries and marianberry jam. John had a bacon, ham and sausage omelet with hash browns and a biscuit. Coffee for both goes without saying – oops! There was a sort of buzzard-like sign on the wall of the cafe that said “I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I wound up where I intended to be.” That fits some of the roads taken on this trip, and in a positive way, at least almost 99%.

It was a very scenic drive to Mount St Helens from Randle. The Forest Roads were well maintained despite the inclement winter weather they have. The traffic was minimal and there was NO road construction. Mount St Helens is a part of the Cascade Range and was not declared a National Volcanic Monument until after the 1980 eruption. There has been great recovery from the devastation of 33 years ago but it is easy to see how vast an area it encompassed because of all the very tall dead trees that are still upright and the others that are laying down with their roots exposed. As we got nearer to the crater, the wildflowers grew in ever greater profusion. The foxgloves were the most impressive with their tall waving purple fairy cup blooms. There were also occasional white foxgloves. Linda avows that it was the most foxgloves than she has ever seen before. And she had never seen them growing in the wild, so that was a special thrill. The roads were lined with so many wildflowers that it looked almost commercially landscaped, only better. There was so little traffic that we sometimes stopped right on the road to take photos and no vehicles made an appearance during our pauses. Around one bend, there was a helicopter and several forest trucks by the side of the road on a pullout. That was a BIG surprise. While interested to know what the situation was, the old buzzards were hesitant to be pesky and stop and ask. Besides, there was no sign of humans around. Good thing we don't know how to fly one of those!
There were plenty of vista points and many had interesting information about the Mount St Helens area. There had been increased rumblings and activity starting in March of 1980 and the big explosion was in May. Many had evacuated to what was supposed to be a safe zone. Of the 57 people who died 50 were in the safe zone and the other 7 were in the danger zone. They were not expecting such a huge explosion. One of the startling exhibits on the road to the Mount St Helens crater is the actual car of Donald and Natalie Parker who died in their car with their nephew on that day. John thinks he read that it was a 1974 Chrysler Belvedere. It was squashed and rusty and full of debris from the explosion. To fresh or refresh your memory about Mount St Helens, you can go to Wikipedia where there are several before and after photos and lots of information. The old buzzards had been in California for one year by 1980 and can remember seeing the ash residue in the atmosphere above Morgan Hill.

Meta Lake was covered with 8 feet of snow when the large eruption came. The snow protected the lake and a lot of the creatures there enough that the area was able to recover faster than it would have been otherwise. At Spirit Lake, so much debris was thrown into the lake that it rose 200 feet and many cabins and lodges around the former shoreline were destroyed.

The Wind Road took the old buzzards higher and closer to the crater than they had expected to be which was a great treat. There was a viewpoint where you could see Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helen  and Mount Adams all at the same time. It was just hard to photo them all at the same time. One of those times where you almost “just had to be here”.

As thoughts of food came around, the old buzzards were looking for a shady spot to pull off on their way out of the Mount St Helens area. Soon one appeared which had the bonus of having a moss-covered stump that seemed to have moss covering the moss on top of more moss. John was in moss heaven. After his peanut butter sandwich and a cheese stick, he took some possibly award-winning  moss-terpieces. Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang and a cheese stick for lunch.

An old decaying stump with lots of moss, lots of plants
and tons of character!

The destination for the evening took us out of Washington and to The Dalles, Oregon. To accomplish that, the buzzards followed alongside the Columbia River for a while and crossed over into Oregon on the toll bridge ($1) at Hood River. There were lots of wind surfers enjoying a very gusty day. Some fell down but were able to pop right up.

Arrival the our sumptuous Motel 6 suite was at 4:47. Whee! It has a bathtub, a microwave and a fridge, not to mention wi-fi!

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Are You Havin' Any Fun?” by Jack Yellen and Sammy Fain (1939) which is on page 26 in The Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition by Jim Beloff. Here's a little bit of how it goes: “Are you havin' any fun? What y' getting' out of livin'? What good is what you've got, if you're not havin' any fun? Are you havin' any laughs? . . .If other people do, so can you; have a little fun. . .Better have a little fun. You ain't gonna live forever; before you're old and gray, still okay. Have your little fun, son! Have your little fun!”

Dinner was going to be at Spooky's, a place John noticed on our way into The Dalles. It had good reviews online which is often a positive sign. However, when we went inside it was clear that it would be a long wait, in two different lines. So the old buzzards mosied down the road to Cousins' Restaurant. It was real countrified with a cow and sheep statues out front. Inside they had buttermilk. Can't get more country than that. John had a turkey Cobb salad. Linda had a green salad and buttermilk. Both had navy bean with ham soup and homemade bread. Everything was larripin' good.

The photo gallery today contains 81 images which you can view by clicking here.

Happy trails and don't forget to have some fun today and tomorrow too. . .

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I was in the Mount St. Helen's area during the second eruption a week or so after the big first one. I never saw the things in these photos! All I saw was a gray-out. Similar to a white-out snow blizzard but all gray. The air, the roads, the concrete dividers, our clothes, our cars... I didn't know it was so gorgeous up there. Thank you for the photo journey. G6k