Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fabulous Falls, Magical Mountain, and Rusty Railroad

July 22-27, 2017
Issaquah - Carnation, Washington

In addition to returning to the Seattle area to see Jeff (my youngest, our number four, son), we want to see a couple highlights from our previous visit. Jeff came to spend Friday night with us so we get to share them with him!

Our first stop is Saturday-busy, but we luck out and grab a parking spot at Snoqualmie Falls on Hwy 18. With all the rain in the last year, we're surprised to see the beautiful 269' falls are as "thin" as they were during the drought two years ago. 

It is still a stunning sight.

Snoqualmie Falls

East of the falls is a mountain that watches over the little town of North Bend. Although named for Josiah "Uncle Si" Merritt, a local homesteader in the 1800's, Mount Si figures in the original stories of the Snoqualmie Tribe, and is sacred to the local people.

Some places really speak to us, and this mountain is one of them. We drive around the base, catching glimpses of it's rock formations from different angles. The homes here are huge, obviously very expensive. I hope they appreciate how blessed they are to live at the foot of this magical mountain.

Mount Si
Made famous in the TV series, Twin Peaks, the little diner in North Bend is very popular. We have lunch at Twede's Cafe, but have neither coffee nor cherry pie :-)))

Where their "damn fine cup of coffee" is still as bad as it was in the TV show :-)

The new version of Twin Peaks is more violent that the original, but the little cafe still has a major role.
Just out the front door is that wonderful mountain.
Jeff works Sunday so sadly we take him back to the city - our time together just goes too fast every time! 

Sunday we load up and make a short 15 mile relocation to the little town of Carnation, Washington. Fortunately Linda told me about the closed (to vehicles over 6 ton) bridge, because the signs are worthless and our GPS doesn't know about it. We take an alternate route and arrive about noon at Tolt-MacDonald Park.

50 amp and water at large green sites, but getting level in site 15 is challenging. Later we find the single large tree next to us blocks the satellite - oh well, it's five nights. 

We are very conscious of campground rules but I didn't remember from our confirmation that the check-in is 3 pm. We're often hours earlier than the official check-in and it's never an issue if our site is vacant. Today all but four sites are vacant so we're sure it isn't a problem.

Wrong. A ranger stops by to tell Bill "in the future don't arrive before 3 pm". Thanks for the nice welcome :-(  

Our view Sunday morning. I-90 on the other side of the single row of trees.

Sunday afternoon is much better! More trees on the other side of more trees.
Monday I make a grocery run and drive around the cute little town. It's so nice to be out of the crowds and traffic and construction of the Issaquah area. 

Cows are big in a little town named for the Carnation Dairy Company.

Daisies just look like summer to me.

A unique cross at the old church.

This gorgeous fence surrounds the whole house and looks like an art piece.

I could never get our Hydrangea to bloom so I'm always envious when I see these huge bushes filled with blooms.
2x4s and cold beer at the same stop - gotta love small towns!
Like all young men, Jeff's life is busy, so we take advantage of a free evening and on Tuesday we head back to Seattle for dinner at his favorite restaurant. We learn that he got the room he wanted and will be moving there on August 1 - yay! 

Annapurna has a huge menu of tasty items. Just as good, is easy parking. I miss having a good Indian restaurant nearby. All too soon it's good-bye hugs. More than Indian food, I really, really miss Jeff!

Seattle on a sunny afternoon - such a pretty city. Too many people, but still pretty.
A unique place we missed last time is the Snoqualmie Centennial Corridor Trail. This half-mile asphalt trail follows the dormant railroad track now home to rusting, antique rail cars, awaiting restoration as part of the Northwest Railway Museum. It is a fascinating place, and we spend over an hour enjoying these relics.

Interesting information on the stats and history of the type of car, as well as the specific car's story.

Built in 1903 this oil-fueled locomotive spent most of its life in Idaho before moving to Oregon to pull lumber cars until its retirement in 1965. I love the wood frame, sliding windows.

This steam wrecking crane was built in 1908 and was used to clear tracks of train wrecks. The two cylinder steam engine powered two cables for lifting up to 75 tons. It was  also capable of rotating 360 degrees. 

 Shay locomotives were known for their tremendous pulling power. Designed by Ephraim Shay in the late 1800's, this one was built in 1904 and retired in 1957. 

The Shay has cylinders mounted vertically with power transmitted to the wheels through drive shafts and gears. It is a beast of a machine!

All the locomotives had "shelves" accessed through narrow (like thin child narrow) wooden doors.
Each of the aged machines wears their skin like art pieces. I had fun with the different "canvases".

Grease drips down the side of a box car.

Layers of paint flake on a tanker.

Ridges of an end cap on an enclosed auto hauler.

Corroded oil tanker.
We go back to North Bend for lunch - so we can see that mountain again :-)

Our last day we stay home and enjoy our beautiful site. Although there is a large Girl Scout gathering at the park next door and at one of the campsites, it is quiet and peaceful here. Relaxing with a good book under clear skies is a treat. We watch the sky change, play a game of backgammon (my first) and partake of a few adult beverages. 

Large green space on a sunny afternoon.

Don't ride your bike down this path, there's a creepy guy following you!

The constantly changing sky puts on a show.

A pale sun dog.

A final good-night.
Friday morning we're headed north to spend a week in Anacortes, including a visit with our favorite island-friends! 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Why We Go to This Big City

July 16-21, 2017
Issaquah, Washington

Sunday's drive is our first Interstate-only since May. As expected, the traffic gets worse the closer we get to Seattle. 

Sunday morning, let's all go to Seattle!
So it's a slow drive until we get to I-90 heading east, but it's an overall easy trip to the pretty town of Issaquah.

We navigate some (more) road construction before pulling into Issaquah Village RV Park, another no- frills-but-close-to-everything spot for a week. It wasn't my first choice, or second, or third.....but it's clean and level with FHUs, 50 AMP and well maintained. Although our neighbors are quiet, with I-90 just 100 yards from our space I can't say the park is quiet. 

The priority for this stop is seeing Jeff, my youngest, and our number four son. It's been a year since he flew out to Denver to see us on the road.

As soon as we get set up we're back out the door and into the city to see him :-)

We are all happy to see him!

The kids.
Jeff directs us to a great eatery on Capitol Hill - Skillet, and then we take a drive (always an adventure in this busy city of steep and narrow streets) to Woodland Park along the water. It's so good to see him and get caught up with his life.

Monday we're out to find a fishing spot - first stop Beaver Lake. 

It's pretty, has nice green space for picnics, but the only public fishing access has zero place to fish.  We continue on.

Beaver Lake

Cute old cabin back in the woods by the lake.

I love wood boats, and this one across the lake is a beauty.
When we were in the area two years ago I fell in love with the little town of Enumclaw. Nice historic downtown with cute houses surrounding it, beautiful views of Mt Rainier (hard to miss it from anywhere "up here"), plus a great little diner.

The mountain is out!
Unfortunately Kitchen (little diner) closes at 2 and we're too late. Kelly's Mercantile across the street has exceptional organic and fresh local fare, giving us a perfect Plan B.

Not a fishing spot (unless you have a long, long, long fishing line), but on the way back we stop at the single-lane Green River Gorge Bridge. We squeeze into the one narrow spot where we can get out and walk the bridge. Given my "dislike" of high places, I'm pleased with the appropriate railings along the sides. All bridges and view points should require these :-))))


Preservation and conservation began in the late 1960's.

The State now owns and protects 80% of the 14 mile river gorge.

Barely visible falls higher up the walls.

Close to the river, these falls are loud and beautiful.

"Holy Spark Plug Rock"
The history of the river is similar to so many - developers and conservationists continuously battle for it's shores. A resort along the gorge closed in the 1980's due to liability concerns and public access was cut off. A few residents live there year round. Down river some private property is developed along the gorge. There are no hiking trails for humans or horses, and no interpretive centers are planned. So far, conservationists are winning, which means the river is winning - let's hope that continues.

A final stop to takes us to another public fishing location with nowhere to fish....but the flowers are pretty :-) Sorry honey....

Lake Number 12 - seriously.

A few pink lillies on a lake full of white blooms.

Bugs' summer paradise.

They grow those fuzzy pink sweaters here.....

Tuesday is a lazy day - I never get out of my PJs :-)

Jeff takes Wednesday off and we meet him at the theater to see the new Spiderman movie. My first time seeing a movie on the second floor - big city stuff! Not only is the movie very fun and very funny, but the large reclining leather seats with swing out tables are wonderful. The popcorn could be better.. 

Late lunch at the Cheesecake Factory across the street (we've already paid the parking ransom), and then we drop Jeff off to interview for what he hopes will be his new abode.

Although our healthcare plan only covers us for emergencies and urgent care outside of California, we are fortunate to have both dental and vision coverage we can use anywhere in the country. It's time for our annual eye exams and Thursday we have appointments here in Issaquah. Thanks to Linda for the great recommendation!

All week I've been looking forward to Friday so Jeff can come spend a couple days at our house!

We meet at his work, Victrola Coffee Roastery, where he and the crew are doing a "cupping". We're lucky to join this weekly staff event. They do free cuppings with the public on Wednesdays so if you're in the's like coffee college in 30 minutes!

Each selection is tasted three times. If you normally drink decaf like I do, taste small spoonfuls - whew!!

Five selections, tasting for flavor, mouth-feel and acidity.
The tasting process is simple, but the information gathered, and the conclusions made, are complicated and fascinating. It's especially fun doing it with the crew - thanks Jeff for including us!

Brunch at the Issaquah Cafe and then a quiet afternoon back at our place. Nothing better than hanging out with your kid! 

We round out the night with chili, brews and a movie. Saturday we're off to visit a couple of our favorite places in this beautiful area.