Oak Harbor, WA to La Push, WA 7/19/22

This morning when we wake up it is bright and sunny. It is a fine day for taking the ferry from Coupeville to Port Townsend.

Approaching Port Townsend on a beautiful morning

Ferry dock on the left

Our first order of business is to do some more shopping for both clothes and food. Our lodging tonight is self-catering and pretty far from stores and restaurants so we want to be prepared for our two day stay with food for dinners and breakfasts at least. I also need to get more cool weather ware to replace the clothes that I threw out.

We end up at a WalMart and have a hard time finding anything sweatshirt-like. The sales associate laughs when we asked about sweatshirts saying that was fall not summer clothing. I guess they must be used to going around in shorts and short sleeves when it is 60F. I find a couple of leftovers, not the right size but they will have to do.

We head through the Olympic National Park which is just astounding beautiful. The trees here in Washington are magnificent and there are ferns everywhere. We stop at Crescent Lake for some picture taking.

Crescent Lake
Mary at Cresecent Lake (you can see one of my bites if you zoom in on my left elbow, ugh)

On our way to Quillayute River Resort we have to pass Mary Clark Rd., my namesake street. John has plotted a course so we can drive the entire length of the road. I am a little disappointed to see that there has been some clear-cut logging on several plots of land. Of course we have to take some road pictures.

Who wouldn’t stop for Mary Clark Rd.!?
Here I am with my eponymous street sign

We reach our digs about 4 PM and it is so nice to be here. We stayed once before about 4 years ago.. The property is beautiful and the kitchen is well-equipped. John declares it is cocktail time and we dig into our stash of munchies. Later he cooks a steak on a charcoal grill outside our unit. It is a delicious dinner.

The grill is heating up in front of our unit

John grilling our steak and baked potatoes

Yummy dinner

Pocatello, ID to Missoula, MT 7/6/22

We have such a busy day planned! First there is a visit to a geologic site of an ancient lava flow, then a ride up to Idaho Falls to see another Whispering Giant, followed by a visit to the Idaho Potato Museum, then lunch in the first town run entirely on atomic power, and lastly a stop at the Sacajawea Cultural Center. I can say that we got most of it accomplished.

The first stop we make is at a geologic site that is hidden behind a rest stop. It is called Hell’s Little Half Acre. About 4000 years ago lava oozed out of a weak portion of the earth’s crust. The non-explosive lava flow eventually covered about 222 square miles. It is part of the same system that created Yellowstone’s hot pools and geysers. We take a walk on a short interpretive trail through the lava field.

Mary ready to explore the lava trails

This lava is the same sort as in Hawaii and is called pahoehoe. The lave flows like a river and the top layer cools first and hardens. The hot lava still flowing underneath causes the cooled skin on top to wrinkle causing a ripple effect.

Pahoehoe lava flow

Not much can live in this harsh environment and it takes thousands of years for the elements and plants to break down the lava into soil. One plant that thrives here is sagebrush. Native Americans used the bark to weave clothes, the leaves for medicine, and burnt the plants for warmth.

Sagebrush

John is wearing themed lava colored clothes today!

When I was learning about the Whispering Giants yesterday I discovered that there is another sculpture in Idaho Falls which is only about 20 minutes north of here. We decide to go take a look. We were in Idaho Falls about five years ago. I am amazed that we overlooked it.

John next to the Whispering Giant at North Tourist Park in Idaho Falls

Mary trying to catch what the Giant is whispering

Now we have to backtrack to Blackfoot, Idaho to see the Idaho Potato Museum. We could not miss a chance to see this! Blackfoot is the potato capitol of the universe situated in the volcanic soils of southeastern Idaho. The sandy volcanic soils make potatoes exceptionally happy. I am hoping for free potato chips at the end of our self-guided tour. But first we must take a picture next to the giant potato topped with sour cream and butter!

Mrs. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head

Inside we learn many amazing potato facts. Here is the way ancient Incas learned to defeat their enemies from the Potato God.

Underground potatoes, good, little green potato-like bulbs that form behind potato flowers, bad

Interestingly, potatoes reached North America from South America via Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and, Bermuda. They were known as Irish potatoes so they would not be confused with sweet potatoes.

Here is some interesting signage from the museum.



Sadly at the little potato cafe at the end of the museum tour there were no free potato chips!

After heading out in the wrong direction for the second time today, we get turned around and decide we will need to find somewhere for lunch as it is all ready after noon. We decide that Arco, Idaho is only a little out of our way to the Sacajawea Cultural Center in Salmon, ID. Plus Arco is THE FIRST CITY IN THE WORLD TO BE LIT BY ATOMIC ENERGY! And we know that we can eat at the Golden West Cafe because we have eaten there before!

Now Arco may be at an elevation of 5320 feet but according to the 2010 census only 995 people live there so it is important to know that there is somewhere to get lunch. One of the reasons Arco exists at all and was the first place to be powered by atomic energy is because it is near the Idaho National Laboratory where they developed such things as the EBR or Experimental Breeder Reactor.

The Golden West Cafe (perhaps the Glowing West Cafe would have been more apt)

After lunch we still have a couple of hours of driving to Salmon, ID and the Sacajawea Cultural Center we change drivers in the middle of this trek and notice that the sky ahead is getting dark.

On the way to Salmon

By the time we get to Salmon the rain is coming down sideways driven by very strong winds and there are bolts of lightning. Viewing the cultural center on 70 acres of park like surroundings no longer seems like a good idea. So, change in plans, we head directly for Missoula on the Scenic Salmon River Byway where I am driving along clutching the steering wheel and only interested in getting through the storm. Missoula is still over 2 1/2 hours away.

Obviously we made it to Missoula and celebrated with chicken wings and beer. This is our third chicken wing dinner. Jonathan has named our trip the Chicken Wing Tour.

John with beer

Traveling to Barcelona April 6 and 7, 2022

Our flight leaves at 1:20 PM. It is recommended that we arrive at the airport 3 hours earlier so we leave the house at 9 AM and we get to the car parking and finish checking in at 10:20. At 10:44 AM we are through security. We kill the rest of the time having breakfast/lunch at the United Polaris lounge which is pretty nice. You can take your mask off while eating or drinking so it is no biggie to have the mask on in the airport. We are careful to stay away from other people which we would do anyway, pandemic or not.

Sarah waiting patiently until flight time.
Some lounge food

First “hoisting of the beer” picture

Once on the plane we are immediately served another lunch.John and I imbibe in a bit of lunchtime wine and Sarah, surprisingly, has a gin and tonic. I know she must be thinking of the time we were flying to LA when the people in front of us on the plane had gin and tonics and they smelled so good. It is definitely vacation time!. John and Sarah have beef short ribs with mashed potatoes for lunch (good choice) and I have salmon which is like shoe leather. After lunch John and Sarah watch movies and I read my book, doze off, and start writing my post.

Mary and John on the plane

Time passes quickly and we arrive in Munich and then onto our flight to Barcelona. we are met by the Viking people and then have quite a bit of rigamarole getting tested before we can get on the ship. All is well and we make it in time for dinner at the Chef’s Table. The menu they are serving tonight is California Cuisine. After a yummy dinner we are ready to crash. it has been a long day!

Celebrating Purim 3/16/22

Our Purim celebration featured a lot of triangular food. The triangular theme represents the hat of Haman, the evil bad guy. Haman was plotting to get all the Jews killed but Queen Esther out-smarted him. So on Purim we celebrate Esther’s triumph, the saving of the Jews, we read the Book of Esther from the Bible, and eat Haman’s hat.

Triangular crudite and crackers with hummus for an appetizer
Crab Rangoon with dipping sauce (I know that shellfish is not Kosher)
Spanakopita

Actually we just walked down the frozen food aisle and picked out anything that was triangular. We also had samosas. They looked a lot like the crab Rangoon and the spanakopita. For dessert we had our daughter’s hamantashen, or Haman’s hats. They are yummy cookies with prune in the middle.

Hamantaschen

And for a special treat, here are a couple of pictures of our daughter from 1983 in her Queen Esther costume.