All posts tagged: road trip

Observations From the Road (The “On the Edge” Edition)

At times, Wednesday’s ride seemed as long as a California redwood is tall. Claire and I were on Day 13 of the Not All Who Wander Are Lost tour (a.k.a., the “length of the country” portion), and perhaps it had to do with it being the 13th day, but there were some weird things happening along the way.  We left Portland, Oregon at 8:30 a.m. and didn’t arrive in Eureka, California until around 6:30 p.m. for what was supposed to be a 7 hour trip.  (Darn those Google maps algorithms.)  The portions on the “straight and narrow” path of I-5 could give a guy and his daughter the blues.  Rest areas that we really needed were closing up due to “bear activity.” Ah, but those crooked roads through the mountains, the redwoods, and along the beautiful California coast…now that’s when we felt we were alive and on the edge of the world. We had to take I-5 down to Grants Pass.  The Oregon landscape is changing and beautiful through this part of the country,  but …

Efficiency Isn’t the Point

One could look at today’s itinerary for the Not All Who Wander Are Lost tour and think that our main goal was to go from Point A (Seattle) to Point B (Portland) as quickly and efficiently as possible.  But those who think that way miss the point of our cross-country trip. We avoided most of Interstate 5 – the main line between Seattle and Portland – and struck out from Gig Harbor, Washington, to get to Astoria, Oregon on the coast via the crooked road. And think of what we would have missed had we taken the straight and narrow way. Why, we wouldn’t have known that Montesano, Washington is the home of the Tree Farm.  (It says so right on the sign.) We would have missed the fact that South Bend, Washington is the Oyster Capital of the World. Given the amount of “working forests” one sees in this section of the state, I suspect this is where America’s supply of paper is produced. And who knew that McCleary, Washington will be celebrating the …

Flying Fish, Hipster Neighborhoods, and Wonderful Friends – We Must Be in Seattle

After the long and draining drive on Sunday in our Not All Who Wander Are Lost tour, we spent Monday resting, meeting up with friends, and simply enjoying Seattle. I always love my trips to this Northwest city, but none more so than this visit when I was able to share some special places with Claire, who was seeing it for the first time.  On recent business trips I have discovered a new favorite hotel in Seattle – the Paramount – and so we woke up Monday morning smack in the middle of Seattle’s downtown. But we didn’t wake up too soon.  We needed the morning to catch up on sleep and exercise and to finish up the previous day’s blog post, so we had a leisurely morning. And – as you can see – my late nights have caught up with me and these posts are now coming out the following morning.  (I know that a few folks are reading, because at least one family member called Candice to make sure we were okay …

Observations From the Road (The “We Made It [Well, In One Sense]” Edition)

Arriving in Seattle Sunday evening, Claire and I celebrated making it cross-country with a dinner in the revolving restaurant atop the Space Needle. We did the Atlantic to the Pacific thing! I can check off one bucket list item. Who hoo!! Of course, we’re just one day into the second half of our tour. Now that we’ve done the width of the country, we still have the length to go. Southern California or bust! So this edition of Observations From the Road is the “We Made It (Well, In One Sense)” edition. Sunday was a long day on the road – from Kalispell, Montana to Seattle, Washington. Three states (Idaho is in the middle there, for those who are geographically challenged.) That’s why this post is being finished on Monday morning. The trip was made longer by an hour-long back-up on I-90 in  Washington State.  There might have been an incident, but we suspect it was tied up as people gawked at the forest fire smoke that was coming over the mountains.  More on that …

Going to the Sun

Wow! On a picture perfect August day, Claire and I visited Glacier National Park, The Crown of the Continent. It was an experience we’ll never forget. We had always envisioned this day – at the midpoint in our cross-country road trip – to be one of the highlights.  But as first time visitors to this park, we just couldn’t have imagined how wonderful it would be. Knowing that we wanted to beat the crowds, we left our hotel early and drove into St. Mary, the eastern gateway to the park.  On the advice of several friends, we planned to focus our visit along the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road – a National Historic Landmark and a National Engineering Landmark. According to the National Park Service website: The road officially received its name, “The Going-to-the-Sun Road,” during the 1933 dedication at Logan Pass. The road borrowed its name from nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. Local legend, and a 1933 press release issued by the Department of the Interior, told the story of the deity, Sour Spirit, who came down from …

Observations From the Road (The “Jeez, Montana is a Big State” Edition)

On Friday morning, as we began our second week on the Not All Who Wander Are Lost tour, Claire and I drove the 20 miles up from Fort Peck to Glasgow, Montana where we reconnected with U.S. Route 2.  Now mind you, we had driven two-and-one-half hours in Montana the day before just to get to Fort Peck – which is in the eastern part of the state.  So imagine our surprise when we clicked on the Google maps direction finder to head west to Glacier National Park from Glasgow and the young lady on the smart phone who has become our traveling companion says: Go west on U.S. Route 2 forever. Well, I may be exaggerating a bit. It was actually something like 259 miles. But after a long day of driving through Montana’s plains along the original Hi-Line (New York City’s High Line is late to the party), it seems like forever. This Hi-Line refers to the northernmost route of the Great Northern Railroad and U.S. 2, near the Canadian border. But, as …

Observations From the Road (The “Prairie” Edition)

Having been warned that we will lose cell and online coverage as we enter the mountains portion of our trip over the next couple of days, I’m writing my next set of Observations From the Road (Prairie Edition) from my outpost here on the front porch of the historic Fort Peck Hotel in Fort Peck, Montana.  (The beautiful and flat part of Montana, as their website describes it.) You can catch earlier parts of the “Observations” series here (the Central Time edition) and here (essentially the Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana edition). Fort Peck dam was built in the 1930s as a WPA project, and this building was originally constructed to house the workers.  It was converted into a hotel in the 1930s, and has served sportsmen, patrons of the Fort Peck Summer Theatre Playhouse, and wayward travelers like Claire and me ever since.  The rooms are small and simple but the lobby (where I wrote last evening’s post) is down home and friendly with a well-stocked bar.  The only disappointment was that the dining room …