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! 


  1. Yeah, Seattle has way too much people and traffic, but I agree, it's a pretty city.

    Armitage Park in Eugene, OR has a similar arrival time issue (2pm) that can be frustrating. We almost got sent away for arriving at 12:30pm by the cranky guy at the entrance...fortunately his wife stepped in and said our site was open. There was no reason to be such a jerk!

    1. Our third day at Tolt we came back to a blocked entrance road with signs about 3 PM check-in. I drove in the ditch around the cones - can't believe they blocked us from our home!

      That guy at Armitage is still there, still a jerk :-(

  2. Wow if those are “thin” falls, you should have been in the Finger Lakes last summer. The falls were about 1/100th of yours. I vowed I’d call ahead and find out if they had a snowy winter if I ever go again. I think I must be the only one on the planet who didn’t watch Twin Peaks and thus doesn’t recognize any of the references. It really doesn’t matter how long we spend with our kids, it always seems to go by in a flash. Wow what a grouchie – sites are open but you can’t use them anyway. Love your selection of pictures of the little town. They are so vivid and colorful.

    1. We were also disappointed in the falls in the Finger Lakes last summer - you're right, these falls were far superior to those :-)))

    2. How did we miss meeting up with you? You were in Florida when we were and the Finger Lakes.

  3. We ran into the same thing at Skyline in Napa in May, Jodee. We ended up sitting in a grocery store parking lot for a few hours. What a pain in the patootie.

    1. We've been fortunate since we nearly always arrive around noon with our shorter drive days. Guess I'd better start reading the fine print better!!

  4. Love the old trains! Wish Joe could explore there. The Hydrangeas and Daisy's remind me so much of my back yard back in Georgia...

    1. The gardens and hanging flowers in the PNW are beautiful - and I don't have to maintain them :-) There's a train going by right now just behind our site. I waved to them for Joe!

  5. I can tell you from experience that the cherry pie isn't worth the money or the calories. The farm fresh eggs were always delicious, though! And yeah, I was shocked when I saw a story about that bridge. Good thing I follow King5 on Facebook! :)

    1. Jeff warned us about the pie - he's convinced it's bad on purpose because, like the coffee, it was bad on the show :-)))

      You really saved us a mess at that bridge - thanks again for sending me the info.

  6. Wow, you really created some cool art from your closeups of the old locomotives! I think you're on to something there. Looks as good (or better) than many modern art pieces I've seen. :-)) Your interpretation of the bike sign is hilarious!

    1. Thanks Laurel :-) It's fun to find those hidden art pieces. I laughed every time I saw that sign!

  7. I'm not much for cities but agree Seattle is a pretty one. You sure bring back some memories of Carnation.