Cheapness In Seattle (A 2019 PNW Trip Report - UPDATED 11/21)

declansdad

DIS Dad #639 New Brunswick, Canada
Joined
Apr 14, 2004
Chapter 2: The Olympic Experience


The Pacific Coast is probably my favorite part of Olympic, mostly because it feels so exotic to me. The most obvious and striking feature are “sea stacks”—islands that have been formed through the millennia through erosion. They’ve been battered by the ocean into all sorts of shapes and sizes—many of the larger ones still have trees growing on them. We have nothing like this on the Atlantic coast. I find them to be both beautiful and fascinating.

New Brunswick says "Hold my beer......"

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  • Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Sorry for the delay in posting the next update. The DIS is driving me nuts with photos once again. First it stopped letting me link to Google Photos. Now every time I upload a photo that is taken portrait-style, it displays sideways for no reason whatsoever. It wasn't a problem in previous updates and now, suddenly it is. I can't find a fix for it.
     
  • pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    Sorry for the delay in posting the next update. The DIS is driving me nuts with photos once again. First it stopped letting me link to Google Photos. Now every time I upload a photo that is taken portrait-style, it displays sideways for no reason whatsoever. It wasn't a problem in previous updates and now, suddenly it is. I can't find a fix for it.
    Can't help with the photos. I've noticed that posts from my phone are frequently (but not always!) sideways. I don't know why.
     

    declansdad

    DIS Dad #639 New Brunswick, Canada
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2004
    Sorry for the delay in posting the next update. The DIS is driving me nuts with photos once again. First it stopped letting me link to Google Photos. Now every time I upload a photo that is taken portrait-style, it displays sideways for no reason whatsoever. It wasn't a problem in previous updates and now, suddenly it is. I can't find a fix for it.
    PEBCAT error
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Can't help with the photos. I've noticed that posts from my phone are frequently (but not always!) sideways. I don't know why.
    This is doing the sideways thing with photos from my good camera, too. So now I either only post landscape photos or steal some from the interwebs.

    PEBCAT error
    Always a possibility. I think it might be more of an ID-10T error.

    Hey Mark, have you tried to just drag them over from Google Photos?
    I thought I had earlier, but I'll give it another shot. I'll try anything at this point!
     
  • Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Chapter 3: Moving Mountains

    On the second day of our vacation, I lovingly took my family as close as I could get to an active volcano.

    Mmmmm...sulfur...

    We drove on I-5 south of Olympia and then turned east on Rt. 504, a drive of roughly 50 miles that we’d have to completely backtrack later. For someone who loves efficiency in a touring plan, backtracking is like nails on a chalkboard, but I found that there was often no other choice on this trip. Many destinations had only one road in or out.

    We drove a windy mountain road to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which sits only about 5 miles or so from Mount St. Helens and has a direct view into the crater of the volcano. The observatory is named for David Johnston, a geologist who called in the eruption of May 18, 1980 and then perished not long after.

    If you were alive, you probably remember hearing about the eruption at the time. I was only 5 ½ years old, but I remember seeing reports on the news and looking over and over at photos in the article of National Geographic that my grandparents had about the eruption. An event of that magnitude tends to leave a big impression.

    Mt. St. Helens had been a picturesque peak in the Cascade Range, and a popular vacation spot in Washington. It had sat dormant for decades before showing signs of life about 2 months before the May eruption. In March of 1980, the mountain began venting steam and a series of earthquakes were recorded that steadily became more frequent. But none of these warning signs really prepared anyone for the actual eruption.

    When the eruption finally came, the mountain literally blew its top. The peak and entire north face of the mountain collapsed, causing an enormous mud-and-landslide that wiped out hundreds of thousands of acres, snapping the trees of the forest like matchsticks. This was followed by huge blasts of ash clouds, which blackened the skies as far east as Spokane. It ultimately left significant deposits in 11 states and two Canadian provinces.

    The landscape in the area has never really been the same since.

    We timed our drive so that we arrived at the observatory visitor center right when it opened at 10:00 a.m. There’s a large overlook just outside that gives a great view of the crater. Even now, there’s a lava dome that rises and falls in the center of the crater. Steam pours from vents around the crater, another sign that the mountain is still alive.

    DSC_3098.JPG

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    There is a fee to enter the visitor center, but we were able to get in using our annual National Park pass. The museum itself wasn’t huge, with just a few exhibits on the eruption and volcanoes in general. They had a theater which showed a couple of different films showcasing different aspects of the eruption. One was on the effects to nature and the wildlife, and the other was more generally about the eruption itself. We went with the latter option.

    We chose….poorly.

    I remembered visiting as a kid (before this visitor center was built) and going to a museum that had a stellar slideshow about the eruption. It was presented as a ticking clock, giving all of the details of the earthquakes and signs the eruption was imminent before finally showcasing the volcanic blast. It must have made a huge impression on me, since I remember it all these years later.

    This film, on the other hand, felt less urgent. They tried a “you are there” approach—literally. We got a lot of shots of what we called “landslide cam”, as they flew a shaky-cam over the slopes of the mountain to the valley. I guess they were trying to show what it looks like from the landslide’s perspective as it overtakes the ground. Really, all it succeeded in doing was making us seasick.

    Staggering out of the theater, we worked for the next hour or so on completing Drew’s workbook to get his Junior Ranger badge. He had to attend one ranger program, so we sat and listened to a ranger talk that basically repeated everything we learned in the film. The big kids and I were hanging out at the edge of the crowd, so eventually we got bored and wandered up a hiking trail to see the view on the other side of the ridge. We only made it partway before being overtaken by swarms of bloodthirsty gnats. So we turned around and went back down to sit through the rest of the ranger talk. It was still better than visiting Flamingo, Florida.

    Once Drew got his badge (he was especially proud of this one—I guess 5-year-old boys being impressed by volcanoes runs in the family), we made lunch in the parking lot and then backtracked to I-5, turning south when we hit the highway.

    Less than two hours later, we entered our 49th state.

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    The view was better out the other window, as Mount Hood was visible.

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    Even though it was early afternoon, the traffic around Portland was terrible, so we crawled across the Columbia River. Eventually we got through the bottleneck and were able to reach the Historic Columbia River Highway.

    This road is cut into the side of the ridges bordering the famous Columbia River Gorge east of the city of Portland, Oregon. It’s a popular tourist route in the summer, as it takes you to some beautiful overlooks and several long waterfalls.

    Right off the bat, I messed up. I had meant to stop to get a photo of this famous view (that’s Vista House in the foreground), but I completely missed the overlook. It’s called the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint, which I had looked up and should have remembered. But I didn’t. Anyway, the problem is that the actual sign looks more like this:

    PORTLAND WOMEN’S FORUM
    State Scenic Viewpoint

    I took one glance, saw the first three words, and thought, “Well, that’s not for me,” and sped off. Whoops.

    We did stop at the actual Vista House, from which we could at least see this view:

    453932

    So we had that going for us, which was nice.

    A little ways down the road, we stopped at the parking area for Latourell Falls. An overlook gave us a nice view of this 249-ft. drop.

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    Just to the east was another parking area for Bridal Veil Falls (I’m pretty sure every state has a Bridal Veil Falls somewhere—let’s get more creative, people). Here we actually had to work for the view. We took a fairly short (1 mile roundtrip) but steep trail down to a man-made viewing area. The worst part was that the downhill portion of the hike came first, meaning we’d have to climb out later. Still, the double-decker falls were very nice.

    453935

    On the not-so-nice side, dozens of people had decided to leave the path and swim or sunbathe at the base of the falls, which made it very difficult to get photos without random strangers in the shot. Win some, lose some.

    The next stop was the most famous waterfall, Multnomah Falls. We pulled our van into the parking lot…

    …and promptly pulled out. No spaces available anywhere. We debated trying to circle around and stalk some poor tourist, but decided we could make a return trip later in the day. We drove further east. A couple of miles down the road, we could see Horsetail Falls (another original name) right off the side of the road.

    Continued Next Post
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    The Columbia River Road ended and merged back with I-84. We drove down the highway for a few miles, and then exited at the Bonneville Dam. You know dam well what’s coming here.

    That’s right, it’s a dam fish ladder. But first, we had to get there.

    I got a kick out of these signs at the entrance. I was wondering if they put a new one up every time somebody hits the bridge.

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    We went through the gates and drove across the short dam bridge to the Bradford Island Visitor Center. First, here’s the actual dam.

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    Nearby, the dam staff had built a fish ladder for the salmon swimming upstream. This was built to accommodate migrating salmon that would otherwise be blocked by the dam—here, just read the dam sign.

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    I feel bad for the people who are forced to stand there and count the dam fish as they swim by. That’s got to be a job you foist on your summer interns. It was neat to check it out, though. You could walk around and view the fish ladder from up above, or you could go inside where they had windows looking into the water. This made for a better spot to actually see the salmon.

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    We left and got back on I-84, now heading back west toward Portland. There’s an exit and a separate (much larger) parking lot for Multnomah Falls off the interstate, and we had much better luck finding a parking space there. It was an easy walk through a tunnel to get to the falls visitor center (i.e. tourist trap gift shop) and viewing area.

    This is the most popular waterfall in the gorge, and you’ve no doubt seen it on countless postcards and Oregon tourist brochures. It’s the one with the famous bridge over the lower falls.

    Naturally, the DIS's crappy photo interface is not letting me post any portrait-style photos, which is all I have of this waterfall. So, here's what it would look like if gravity pulled water sideways.

    453943

    It sure is pretty, although it makes my neck hurt looking at it.

    Naturally, we couldn’t be content to just stand at the bottom. We had to climb up to see what it looked like from the bridge. But I only have sideways photos of that, too. Here are some other, better photos of what we saw.

    I liked the view of the double-decker falls from below better.

    We hiked our way back down and then set off for Portland. We were staying just west of the city near Beaverton, so I found an Italian restaurant in that area called Pastini. It’s a local chain, but it still satisfied our trip bylaws as none of us had ever been there. And it’s hard to go wrong with Italian food.

    There was a bit of a wait to get in, as it was somewhere around 6:00 p.m. on a Friday evening. But we got seated in about a half-hour, so it wasn’t a terrible wait. I can’t remember what everybody ordered, but I know I had a pasta Bolognese that was very tasty. As I recall, everyone was happy with their meal here.

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    We spent the night in an Embassy Suites, which is my go-to hotel if I can get a decent price on a room (which is rare). It’s nice to have that extra space for my family to spread out, and nobody has to sleep on the floor. Unless I do something to tick off Julie.

    Julie had broken her sunglasses somewhere along the way, so she and the big kids walked across the street to a Target to find a replacement pair. They found a shopping cart someone had left in the parking lot and decided to be good citizens and return it to the store. This also provided a chance for Julie to give Dave a ride for old times’ sake, just like when he was a toddler.

    453946

    Ah, memories.

    Coming Up Next: What my yard would look like if I had even an ounce of interest in doing yardwork.
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    On the second day of our vacation, I lovingly took my family as close as I could get to an active volcano.
    This sounds like part of a really bad Christmas song...
    Mmmmm...sulfur...
    Now I want eggs... hungry.
    For someone who loves efficiency in a touring plan, backtracking is like nails on a chalkboard,
    I get that, but...
    Many destinations had only one road in or out.
    ...have also been there/done that.
    We drove a windy mountain road to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which sits only about 5 miles or so from Mount St. Helens and has a direct view into the crater of the volcano.
    Wow! Cool!
    And... I can't believe I didn't think to do that. :sad2:
    The observatory is named for David Johnston, a geologist who called in the eruption of May 18, 1980 and then perished not long after.
    whoa
    If you were alive, you probably remember hearing about the eruption at the time.
    Oh, yes. Remember it well.
    An event of that magnitude tends to leave a big impression.
    Literally and figuratively.
    When the eruption finally came, the mountain literally blew its top.
    Remember this. Incredible amount of energy released.
    Steam pours from vents around the crater, another sign that the mountain is still alive.
    ::yes:: I missed your date comment so googled to look.
    Interestingly, when you do "Mt. St. Helens eruption"... you get the last eruption... July 10, 2008.
    Thanks for that. Some interesting and incredible photos.
    We chose….poorly.
    Uh, oh...
    I remembered visiting as a kid (before this visitor center was built) and going to a museum that had a stellar slideshow about the eruption. It was presented as a ticking clock, giving all of the details of the earthquakes and signs the eruption was imminent before finally showcasing the volcanic blast. It must have made a huge impression on me, since I remember it all these years later.
    That sounds pretty cool!
    Really, all it succeeded in doing was making us seasick.
    :sad2:
    We only made it partway before being overtaken by swarms of bloodthirsty gnats.
    Ew... not good. You should introduce them to the Everglades.
    Once Drew got his badge (he was especially proud of this one—I guess 5-year-old boys being impressed by volcanoes runs in the family),
    :lmao:
    we made lunch in the parking lot
    Please... tell me.... PB&J????
    Seen that view. :)
    This road is cut into the side of the ridges bordering the famous Columbia River Gorge east of the city of Portland, Oregon. It’s a popular tourist route in the summer, as it takes you to some beautiful overlooks and several long waterfalls.
    ::yes::
    Anyway, the problem is that the actual sign looks more like this:

    PORTLAND WOMEN’S FORUM
    State Scenic Viewpoint
    :rotfl: :rotfl2:
    An overlook gave us a nice view of this 249-ft. drop.
    Nice!
    (I’m pretty sure every state has a Bridal Veil Falls somewhere—let’s get more creative, people).
    It's a legal requirement. If you live in ND, you just have a fountain built somewhere and call it that.
    Nice. I shoulda stopped for that one too. But... ran out of time.
    We pulled our van into the parking lot…

    …and promptly pulled out. No spaces available anywhere.
    Wow. Really! It's a big lot. But... I remember it being pretty full when I was there too.
    and then exited at the Bonneville Dam. You know dam well what’s coming here.
    Nope. Not a clue. None.
    I got a kick out of these signs at the entrance. I was wondering if they put a new one up every time somebody hits the bridge.
    :laughing:
    And the heights seem off... unless that's just a trick of perspective.
    First, here’s the actual dam.

    453939
    Big. Dam.
    here, just read the dam sign.
    Okay! Okay! Sheesh.
    I feel bad for the people who are forced to stand there and count the dam fish as they swim by. That’s got to be a job you foist on your summer interns.
    ::yes::
    Also the reason you hire interns.
    you could go inside where they had windows looking into the water.
    Cool. Like the photo too. Not an aquarium. :)
    This is the most popular waterfall in the gorge, and you’ve no doubt seen it on countless postcards and Oregon tourist brochures.
    Or on my TR. :)

    And here's your photo, corrected as above.
    453972
    Naturally, we couldn’t be content to just stand at the bottom. We had to climb up to see what it looked like from the bridge.
    ::yes::
    I liked the view of the double-decker falls from below better.
    I did too... but still glad I made the trek.
    And it’s hard to go wrong with Italian food.
    You can... but yes it is.
    I know I had a pasta Bolognese that was very tasty.
    Excellent choice. May I recommend a Coke as an accompaniment?
    nobody has to sleep on the floor. Unless I do something to tick off Julie.
    :lmao:
    This also provided a chance for Julie to give Dave a ride for old times’ sake, just like when he was a toddler.

    453946
    awwww... :)
    Coming Up Next: What my yard would look like if I had even an ounce of interest in doing yardwork.
    This sounds interesting... and I think I know what's next. ;)
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    funny thing, though....
    When I first tried to post the "corrected" Falls photo... I accidentally didn't include the border... and it posted right side up!
    Then realized... I hadn't flattened the photo, so it appeared to be the original, but the size was landscape... you just couldn't see it.
    Don't know if you get what I'm talking about... but this is the result:

    453974
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Can you edit your photos?
    You could put your verticals in a landscape frame. Like this:
    funny thing, though....
    When I first tried to post the "corrected" Falls photo... I accidentally didn't include the border... and it posted right side up!
    Then realized... I hadn't flattened the photo, so it appeared to be the original, but the size was landscape... you just couldn't see it.
    Don't know if you get what I'm talking about... but this is the result:

    453974
    Wow, you're good!

    So...I do not typically edit my photos, and I can't say I know what I'm doing. And I admit that I don't really know what you're talking about here! If you have the time and/or patience, would you be willing to give me a quick tutorial?
     



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