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Old 12-13-2011, 04:28 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 115
Default while you were working (or whatever) part 4

December 3rd to 12th, 2011 3375 to 5171 trip miles

We stayed another day in Yosemite, and did a longish hike in the Mariposa
Grove of Sequoia's. Despite having spent time in Sequoia/King's Canyon NP,
there were still new and wonderful sights and interesting trees to see.
There was also an historic village and covered bridge. There was a major
typo/senior moment in part 3: it was Mirror Lake that was mostly sandbars,
not Diamond Lake (don't think there is such an animal in Yosemite). Speaking
of animals, we saw several herds of mule deer up close and personal. Glad
they didn't come up begging for food (which would mean others had been
feeding them, which is very bad). But they had no fear of us, and grazed or
walked real near us, a buck almost knocking me over one time, and a doe
walking up to Marti's camera another time, messing up her head-on shot.
Unfortunately, no bear, mountain lion, coyote, etc. sightings.

After Yosemite, we headed for Lake Tahoe. It is beautiful, but very
commercialized. Then off to Mt. Shasta, where we stayed at a KOA campground
to catch up on laundry, etc. The town is pretty nice, and the mountain is
just breathtaking. The road was still open up to 6950 feet, so we were able
to get a pretty good view of everything. Then we went on the other side of
town to Lake Siskiyou, and the view of the lake up close and the mountain in
the background had Marti rustle up a quick picnic lunch so we could enjoy
the view for awhile (despite it being 42 deg).

After that we headed off towards Oregon and Crater Lake, staying a night at
Klamath Falls OR. Only the South entrance of Crater Lake National Park and a
short section of the road were open. Hey, they had 58 FEET of snow here last
year, and there was already at least 3 feet on the ground when were there;
we walked near the edge of the lake, and realized suddenly that we were
standing on top of the stone wall, and all the information signs were at our
feet! Fortunately there wasn't much snow/ice on the roads, and we enjoyed
the afternoon there. After that we headed north again; are we pushing our
luck or what?

Spent a night in Bend OR and washed the van at some point: it was pretty
grungy especially after the red gravel/sand/clay that they put down on the
roads around the Crater Lake area to give some traction on the packed
snow/ice, but, that's a lot better than the damned salt they use in the
Northeast; the Roadtrek is on a strict "no-salt" diet so that it will last a
long time.

We got to the Columbia River gorge about 120 miles east of Portland, and as
we descended into the gorge in the afternoon, it was socked in with fog and
right around freezing. But we were able to drive the twisty two-lane that
parallels the Interstate and the river, and still enjoy the view. Found no
place to stay overnight ("no camping" signs at the Walmart in Hood River,
and the nearby rest area on I-84), so we crossed to the Washington side to
the nearest campground.

In the morning we went back to Hood River OR, and spent several hours in the
air and auto museum (WAAAM: Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum).
Who would think that a little town like Hood River would have a good, let
alone a great museum, but it does. Lots of cars from the 50's and 60's plus
some great ones from earlier, and some neat propeller planes. Worth seeing
if you're in the area. Then on to Mt. Hood where we got the van dirty all
over again (but at least not red this time), but again we saw a majestic
mountain.

Then an early Christmas present: we spent a wonderful day with daughter Pam
(who we hadn't seen in a few years) in Portland. We had breakfast, a visit
to the majestic Pittock Mansion on the top of the hill overlooking the city,
visited more waterfalls (Wahkeena, Multnomah, plus, plus), along the
Columbia River gorge, and finally had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack.

The next day we rendezvoused with old friend Dwight in Washington State for
breakfast. He was on his way from Tacoma to San Francisco, and we were on
our way from Portland to Mount St. Helens. Later, we got to that beautiful
but tragic mountain; watch out if she blows her lid!. The devastation from
the blast 31 years ago is still evident dozens of miles away from the where
the mountain top once was (it lost almost 4000' of it), and we can't imagine
what the blast must have been like. Various websites say it was equivalent
to 400 to 500 Hiroshima atomic bombs. Yet as bad as it was, the well known
Mt. Vesuvius blast was perhaps 9 times as powerful, and the Crater Lake one
(7700 years ago) was 42 to150 times more powerful! We encountered some very
icy and foggy roads, and had to tip-toe on our way up and down, but made it
through unscathed. Fortunately we drove up above most of the fog, so the
trip was not at all wasted. And we saw perhaps "best sunset ever" on the way
down.

Then on to Mt. Rainer, the very best of the mountains. It just rises from
not too much above sea level to 14,410 feet, and there are no others around
it to spoil the view. It is the most massive mountain (not the tallest) on
the continent. We only got up around 5400 feet on the mountain itself before
the road was closed (for the winter). Lucky again, as there was snow, but it
was all plowed, i.e., so far we've only had to drive ON snow, not IN snow,
and we've been lucky enough not to actually been around to see any fall yet.
So our mandatory chains are still in the side-pod and still unused; we hope
it stays that way. After driving up the mountain that little bit, we drove
around to the north "to get the view from a distance" (what a view).

We're running out of superlatives, so from now on we'll just use <wow> and
you fill a good one. : )

Trying to organize our photos and get them on Flickr for all you to see one
of these days ...

Dick, Marti, & Glen RT09/10C190P "no more deadlines" Allegany NY
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