Coast Redwoods

Off we go on another road trip down the beautiful West Coast (and best coast) of the USA, headed toward the majestic Coast Redwoods!   We leave Seattle and after three days cross the border into California on Highway 101 enjoying the same awesome ocean views we had grown accustomed to in Oregon.

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But now we move inland to take the scenic parkway through old growth forest gazing upward while we look for the tops of the giant beauties before us, the Coast Redwoods, the tallest living things on earth.

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We hike deep into the woods through giant trees and ferns and moss-covered maples, then move on to the next roadside attraction, The Big Tree.

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This beauty, estimated to be 1500 years old towers 304 feet over us.   Some friendly travelers take our picture with the Tree and we return the favor.

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Coast Redwoods grow in a narrow strip along the Pacific Coast of California and southwestern Oregon. Its cousin, the Giant Sequoia, grows only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas. The Coast Redwood is the taller of the two growing up to 380 ft high while the Sequoia is greater in total size growing up to 32 feet in diameter.

We continue to the Avenue of the Giants driving slowly through the majestic trees that dwarf the road below…

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Stopping for an easy loop trail through Founders Grove where we see this beauty….(the tree I mean)

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And continue around fallen ones leading us to ask the question, ‘if this tree fell in the forest and nobody was there to hear it would it make a sound?’  And the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’

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After two days in the land of the giants we say goodbye and head back to the coast on highway 1 where we are rewarded with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. We are still impressed.

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~ Susanne

Snoqualmie Dreaming

I love living in the Pacific Northwest where we are surrounded by an incredible landscape of mountains, rivers, forests and seas.  Within a couple of hours you can be at Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier
Mt Rainier

or Olympic National Park

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

or Columbia River Gorge.

Columbia River
Columbia River

Or you can opt for closer to home and still see some killer scenery in less than an hour.

One favorite local drive is to Tolt-MacDonald Park in the Snoqualmie Valley.  Snoqualmie.  Even the name is beautiful, don’t you think?  The park showcases the river and a 500 ft suspension foot bridge that frames the surrounding views of rolling farmland and the Cascade foothills.

Snoqualmie River
Snoqualmie River

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We visited the park on New Year’s day when it was crisp, cold and clear and perfect for a short drive.  Even the grass was beautiful that day.

Icy grass
Icy grass

And on up the road is famous Snoqualmie Falls which is always worth a stop to view the falls from above

Snoqualmie Falls
Snoqualmie Falls

and to make the short trek to see them from the river below.

Snoqualmie Falls
Snoqualmie Falls

Of course today I am only dreaming of these places, as I look out the window at gray skies, light winds and intermittent rain.  A typical Seattle Memorial Day weekend.  ~ Susanne

Tiger – a new day

Good Morning all. Tiger again.  The first light of day has begun to dawn through the closed blinds and I must needs go out to hunt the small ones who reside in the bush.  I hear them through the walls.  I sense them in my whiskers.

Bob is up and Sue tosses.  She is the one I must wake but though my eyes speak she doesn’t hear.  I must resort to the mew, though she does not appreciate that, I have learned.  But what can I do?  The small ones will escape and I need the chase to release the energy stored up overnight in my limbs.

“Mew,” I say quietly so only she can hear.  She stirs but does not rise.

“Mew,”  I say again a bit louder but still there is nothing.

“Meow!  Meeowww! ” I say again so she has no excuse to pretend she does not hear.  Some movement but still the door remains closed.  I hate when the door remains closed.

I begin to panic as I hear the small ones get away.

“Meow!   Meowwwwww!   Meowwwwww!”

“Oh Tiger!” she says and she is up and finally opens the door.

My day has begun.

~ Susanne & Tiger

Never wake a sleeping Tiger

Okay, so I like to sleep. It’s one of my favorite things.  In fact, I don’t know what I like best, batting around small rodents who dare to cross my kingdom or stretching out on Sue’s bed with the room heated up to a toasty 74 degrees while TV provides the buzz that sends me to kitty lala land. On second thought, that’s the clear winner.  Sleeping.

Sleeping Tiger
Sleeping Tiger
Yep, that's me
Yep, that’s me

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Sleeping –  It’s what I do best.  ~  Tiger

 

Happy Garden Herbs

Is there any plant so cheerful or faithful as the herb?  I stepped outside this evening when the rain was falling lightly and found my herbs all aglow..

Rosemary, lavender, oregano, chives

Rosemary, oregano, chives, and lavender.

 

Tiger’s Corner – It’s me again.

It’s me again.  Tiger.  The handsome one who lives here.  Oh, I don’t mean to be vain, but you know how it is, when you’ve heard it your entire life.

“Oh, isn’t he beautiful!”   or   “He has the most penetrating green eyes.”

Yeah, I get that a lot.  Always the eyes.

Of course that’s not all I heard.  “Not exactly the smartest one in the litter,” they said.  Yes.  I heard that too.  They thought I couldn’t understand but I could.  Cats have feelings too you know.   So I set out to prove them wrong. I think I have. And now I don’t care.

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I don’t care

Great American Road Trip – the long way home

So this is it.  Come along for the final installment of a four part series on our Great American Road Trip.

After 21 days on the road we were just past the half way point of our epic journey across the USA which started in Seattle, took us through the heartland and up the Blue Ridge Parkway into Virginia, Pennsylvania, and  New York  and back home again. We were now in Virginia, birth place of these United States of America and home to many historic sites including Jefferson’s classic home Monticello.

And Colonial Williamsburg, the restored capital of colonial Virginia where men and women of the American revolution lived.

After leaving Virginia we headed north into Pennsylvania’s gentle and fertile farm country where we stopped at the York Harley Davidson factory and shopped in the Amish town of Bird in Hand while looking out for horse and buggy.  (Yes, we saw them.)

We also managed to squeeze in a visit to Hershey (yes, THAT Hershey)

and Steamtown National Historic Site which tells the history of steam railroading and its role in the development of the country. It also had the biggest collection of trains I have ever seen. This place made Bob happy.

Our next stop was one of the most anticipated: the Adirondacks in upstate New York, a beautiful mountain region of six million acres and the largest protected natural area in the lower 48.  (I bet you didn’t know that.  Neither did I.) Here were mountains, forests, lakes, streams, verdant valleys and steep cliffs.  And hundreds of small communities including Lake Placid, site of the 1980 winter Olympics where the USA upset the Soviets to take the gold in a game called, “Miracle on Ice.”  Score!

We were there in early September and got to see the trees start to change color. And we visited the charming Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake which reminded me of our own San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest.

Whether it was this reminder of the Northwest that tugged at our hearts or something else, it was about this time in our trip that something  changed, quietly at first.  It wasn’t just that fall’s breath could be felt in the air.  Or that climbing into the camper bed every night was taking more and more effort.  And it wasn’t because of that slight panic that sometimes happened when we got lost and were hunting for a campground in the dark much later than we’d planned, and sometimes in the rain. Or that we were tired of both my camper style cooking and eating out at diners along the way (which we were.) No, it was more than all that.  A kind of travel weariness had set in, a missing of things familiar. A longing for ordinary days.  We were still a long way from home but it was in New York that home began calling us to press on, perhaps a little more hurriedly.

But we were not done yet.  On our 31st day we were camped at Indiana Dunes National Lake Shore on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.  And in one of our more spontaneous excursions we boarded the train at nearby Beverly Shores station leaving the solitude of that beautiful park and our camper behind..

and explored the great city of Chicago which was unexpectedly beautiful, as seen from the Hancock Tower.

The next day we were westward bound again, stopping only when convenient to the highway.  One such stop was in Minnesota at Blue Mounds State Park,  where we walked through a remnant of preserved prairie grass to pink quartzite cliffs, while warm winds blew through tall wildflowers and  grasshoppers danced around us.

And still we pressed on. On into South Dakota’s Badlands where the air was crisp and the sky clear blue and where we seemed to have the place to ourselves…

Our time in the Badlands included a visit to a genuine prairie homestead made of sod and included a friendly colony of white prairie dogs (the only ones in the world) who were everywhere and unafraid;

And was complete with this amazing sunset.

After a long drive the next day with stops by Sturgis and famous Wall Drugs, we made it to Wyoming and set up camp in Buffalo at 4,600 feet. Temperatures plummeted that night and we woke up to snow on the Big Horn Mountains nearby.   Does it seem that I’m rushing the telling?  That is just how it felt at this point in our trip.  Though the scenery was grand, magnificant in fact, we were back in the West now and so close to home we could almost smell it and Bob’s foot was heavy on the gas pedal…….

and so our Great American Cross Country Road Trip which covered 23 states over 37 days and 8,000 miles came to a close.  We loved every single day of the adventure, and would do it again in fact, but as that lovely Dorothy Gale realized after her fantastic journey to Oz was over,  There’s No Place Like Home!

~Susanne

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