Let Her Sleep – Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Washington

We don’t treat our Mother Earth very well, and occasionally She likes to return the favor.

Oh! Do you kiss your mother earth with that mouth?

On May 18, 1980, She threw a fit. The eruption caused a cloud of gas and rock debris to blow out of the mountain, removing 1300 feet of the mountain’s summit. Everything within eight miles of the blast was destroyed almost instantly. The shockwave caused by the blast dropped everything over the next 19 miles. Beyond the “tree down zone” the damaged area  was over 260 square miles.

Dead tree zone – some still standing after 37 years
She dropped her top…and everything else.
Dead Tree Zone – all downed trees after the May 1980 eruption were on the ground, pointed north.

The eruption caused a mushroom cloud of ash and gas 12 miles into the air, resulting in ash falling from the sky in seven different states.

The ash darkened sky caused the street lights in Spokane (300 miles away) to turn on in the middle of the day.

The Mt. St. Helens eruption is considered the most destructive volcano in U.S. history.  At least 57 people died, over 200 homes were destroyed, and more than 185 miles of roads and 15 miles of railways were damaged.

It is hard to imagine this being anything less than breathtaking – but I suppose about 540 million tons of ash was pretty breathtaking as well.

Mt. St. Helens National Monument now is evidence of us trying to rebuild that damage that was done. We have replanted trees over the years, a lot of them. The rivers and creeks that were dammed by fallen trees and damaged by mud rivers are flowing again. Mt. St. Helens became a national monument in 1982, making it easier to get grants and monies to help fund the replanting and repair all the damage.

Between 2004 – 2008 the mountain showed volcanic activity as a continuous eruption with a gradual sploosh of magma. Basically, it was a very long, very unladylike burp – just to remind us of Her power.

Mother Earth – beautiful, dangerous, and first place prize winner of any burping contest.

Since 2008 Mt. St. Helens has been considered dormant – but one should keep an eye where sleeping bitches lie. Amiright?

Visiting the National Monument is a must if you are cruising through Washington. It’s really a blast!

Coming Soon – Halloweentown!

 

Northwesternest Corner of the Contiguous U.S. – Whatcom County, Washington State

(Disclaimer - Sometimes I am dumb. Last blog I wrote the Northwesternest Corner of the Continental U.S., which is wrong. Alaska is part of the continental US and I should open a geography book and a dictionary to get my crap together.)

Whatcom County, Washington State
I am tempted to make some dumb joke about the name of the county, but I can’t figure out whatcom that would be.

We recently visited my kids who just relocated to the Bellingham area and asked them to show us the sites.

Sumas
Sumas is a tiny town right on the Canadian border. We stayed at the Sumas RV park for a week. The price was GREAT, and it was really quiet. There were some obvious long-term residents were there, but with the price I can understand why.  

Sumas – voted best tasting drinking water 2012. Also voted stinkiest cow poop 100 years running

Sumas has a lot of cows, and therefore, cow poop. It’s pretty odorific, but if you’re in love with the smell of cow crap like our dog Rusty was then you’ll be golden. 

See? He’s golden.

Fall Drive
I asked the offspring to take me on a fall colors drive, so we drove towards Mt. Baker. It was beautiful. I could give you a sweet quote on how fall shows us that letting go is beautiful…but really, it was close to Halloween and death looked damn good on that road.  

Fall road trip…
Leaves are falling almost as fast as Trump’s approval ratings…
What did one leaf say to the other? I’m falling for you.
Why did the tree worry that he would never get his leaves back after autumn? He didn’t be-leaf in himself!
Just wanted to leaf you with my best wishes for fall. Orange you glad the leaves are turning? I’m so happy, I could yellow ’bout it.

Birch Bay
Birch Bay is a little seaside tourist town that is completely adorable! Lots of little shops, cute cottages to rent, and a state park. Also – a rock painter’s paradise!

All of the beautiful round rocks awaiting their art.
Beautiful, beautiful rocks…the ocean was lovely too.
Just a heart on wood

Peace Arch Park
Peace Arch is a monument located on the border of Blaine, WA and Surrey, British Columbia. The park on both sides is well kept and lovely. The meaning behind the arch is even lovelier. In 1916 Samuel Hill commissioned the building of the Peach Arch Park (he also commissioned the Maryhill Stonehenge in Washington). The park was built to symbolize a long history of peace between our nations…perhaps we should build more Peach Arches and less walls.

The Peach Arch viewed from Blaine, WA
The Peace Arch viewed from Surrey, British Columbia
Canada has some cool foliage on their side.
This hardworking gentleman was in the majority of the photos that I took. He was like a landscaping cylon.
It was tempting for…reasons, but we came back. <3
Crisp air and color everywhere… we hope this autumn LEAVES you feeling refreshed. Okay – I am done with the jokes now. I’ll leaf it alone. 

Trips visiting my kids are always too short, but they tire of me using their washer and dryer quickly so we pointed Matilda’s nose south toward Mt. St. Helens – UP NEXT!

It’s Just How Geeks Roll – Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

We at Write on the Road tend to avoid big cities whenever we can – so recently we tackled Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington all in the same week – because we also like to make ourselves cry.

We got it raw…

We had to be in Portland for a few days, so we filled our time finding geeky stuff to do. 

…and lots of books.

Who says size matters? The Guinness Book of World Records – Portland is home to the World’s Smallest Park. Mill Ends Park is just 24” in diameter and 452.16 square inches.

Mill Ends Park
This is it. No really. This is it.

Who else says size matters? Me, when a bookstore takes up an entire city block! We visited Powell’s City of Books, America’s largest independent bookstore. It was amazing. It smelled of books, new and old, and coffee. There were a LOT of people shopping while we were there, but it was okay – book people are okay.

A bag of books. Just add wine for instant happy!
Sniff them. Do it. All the cool kids are.
A city block full of books. This is just one section of heaven here.

We also hung out for a few hours at the Clackamas Town Center Mall. Best stores – Hot Topic and Barnes and Noble. Now I own a badass beanie, and my to-be-read-pile is ridiculously large (and now we’re talking about size again). To finish up our shopping, we visited the StarWarsStore store near the mall. The store is small, but the space is filled with so many collectibles that it was nerdgasmic. 

Are you okay, Anni? Anni, are you okay? Are you okay, Anni?
Maximum effort!
Made the Kessel Run in 12 parcsecs…

To end our Portland adventure we found The TARDIS Room Cafe. With hopes of fish fingers and custard, we arrived for lunch – only to be disappointed by a closure for remodel. 

The construction workers have the phone box.

After our few days in Portland, we were ready to get on the road again.

Portland, Oregon, thanks for being nerdy with us!

We headed north, and briefly stopped in Seattle, WA.

How do they thread the space through the needle?

I try to be a supportive spouse. I support Mike in most things, and when I don’t it’s because he has had some stupid idea to…I digress. I support Mike in most things, and it was no different when he decided to take a religious trek to sacred ground – CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

“…it’s one thing saying you’ve got the best god, but sayin’ it’s the only real one is a bit of cheek, in my opinion.” – Terry Pratchet

I don’t give any craps about football – but Mike does. He has been a fan of the Seahawks since he was a wee lad, and he was thrilled to stop by Centurylink for a quick look-see. It wasn’t a tour day, so we didn’t really get to see the field open, just through the fence. The store was open there, and although I don’t give any craps about football, I do love me a new hoodie – so guess who’s a Seahawks fan now? Still not me, but I got a new hoodie anyway.

Wave your flags and banners, sports fans!
12 is okay. 42 would have been a better answer.
The view from the cheap seats. Really cheap seats. The free ones outside the locked fence…
Or the 42’s!

Seattle has a ton of things that we wanted to see and do, but we didn’t have time for this trip. Travel through Washington will be a regular thing for us from now on, as family members have moved up there and we will be visiting often.  Looking forward to the Space Needle and the Pop Culture Museum next time through!

After Seattle we kept driving north – eventually all the way to the Canadian border…

UP NEXT – The most northwesternest you can get in the continental US.

 

Stonehenge – Maryhill, Washington

While staying at Cottonwood Canyon State Park in Oregon, we decided we were interested in visiting Stonehenge. Wiltshire, England seemed like too far to go, so we went to Maryhill, WA which was only about 30 miles away.

Stonehenge Rocks
Did you know that Stonehenge was made by Chuck Norris stacking blocks as a baby?
Is there a Paperhenge? Scissorhenge?

The Maryhill Stonehenge, built by Sam Hill, was the first monument in the United States to honor the dead of World War I. The center altar stone is lined up with sunrise on the summer solstice. Hill had incorrectly believed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site, therefore constructed the replica as a reminder that humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.

“Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica, takes the universe!” – The Doctor
“Stonehenge, where the demons dwell Where the banshees live and they do live well Stonehenge, where a man’s a man And the children dance to the pipes of Pan.” – Spinal Tap
“In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench.”
The memorial is worth the drive over the Columbia River, and most certainly worth the time to appreciate some of those that gave all.

If you are interested in visiting other Stonehenge replicas in the United States you can find a Roadside America map here.