“Ocean in view! Oh the joy!” wrote William Clark in 1805, thinking he had reached the Pacific Ocean.
Alas, that famous member of the duo, Lewis and Clark, was looking at an estuary of the Columbia River.
This got me thinking about all the things my family saw, thought we saw, or wanted to see, but didn’t, on our recent vacation to the Pacific Northwest.
And, because this is my blog, I get to
torture thrill you with my vacation photos and anecdotes!
Portland was a pleasant surprise. Sometimes you think a big city will be like all other big cities: skyscrapers, noise, etc.
However, Portland was full of gems. We had a spectacular summer day and enjoyed a visit to the infamous Voodoo Donut:
Next we checked out the International Rose Test Garden:
The following morning we shopped, visited Pioneer Square, and rode the light rail:
Our next stop was the coastal town of Seaside. My kids LOVED Seaside for these reasons:
- It was the beach!
- They had never seen the Pacific Ocean before,
- Their cousins from Nevada met us there,
- Seaside had an aquarium with seals to feed and lots of shops, restaurants, and arcades. Kid heaven!
- We saw mole crabs and red crabs in the sand, plus seals and harbor porpoises swimming near the shore. It was like our own version of National Geographic.
We moseyed up the coast, stopping at Fort Clatsop to get our fill of Lewis and Clark history (ok, so my husband could get his fill), before visiting Astoria, Oregon.
I think this family photo from Fort Clatsop could be a contender for the Christmas card, don’t you? My daughter was mad about something…
Astoria was the filming location for The Goonies. We got to see their house on the hill and visit the jail from the opening scene where the Fratelli brothers escape. In Astoria, you can also see the school from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Kindergarten Cop.
The best part of Astoria was riding Old 300, the trolley, up and down the waterfront. The volunteer drivers provided excellent historical commentary and it was only $1/person. Woot woot! My daughter got to ring the bell, too.
We ended the day with a visit to Cape Disappointment (more Lewis and Clark) where we saw a sea lion frolicking in the water–sorry, no picture of him. So here’s a picture of us there:
We drove the Columbia Gorge out of Portland and checked out Multnomah falls and a fish hatchery.
The fish hatchery competed with the falls in terms of beauty. I’m not kidding! Their flowers and grounds were beautiful.
Mount St. Helens
Our luck changed the day we drove up Mount St. Helens. It was cloudy and we could barely see it.
The good news is that the route we took had amazing visitor centers–and a Bigfoot store!
We did NOT see Bigfoot. However, we are now the proud owners of a Bigfoot bottle opener and a magnet.
It was cloudy in the morning, but then the clouds lifted the moment we got to Paradise and started climbing. We got to see the mountain! It was beautiful! And straight up. I’ve never seen such steep visitor center paths. And I’ve rarely seen such cute marmots.
As the vacation wound down, we joined 84,549 other people visiting Seattle in July. They were all at Pike Place Market, too.
We visited the Gum Wall, the fish throwing guys, and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese where we watched them make cheese. It was busy, but fun.
San Juan Islands
On our last day we drove 90 minutes north of Seattle to Anacortes, Washington where we rode a ferry one hour west to the town of Friday Harbor. We boarded a small boat (think Gilligan and the Skipper’s S.S. Minnow) and cruised around looking for orcas for 3 hours.
We saw none.
According to the tour boat owner, it is very rare NOT to see orcas this time of year. Uh huh.
The good news? Shall I ever want to fly to Seattle, make the drive, ride the ferry, and try another whale watching excursion again, I get half-off.
I think the orcas and Bigfoot were on vacation. Possibly together. Probably on Mount St. Helens.
How’s your summer going? Have you been to the Pacific Northwest? Have you ever gone whale watching and not seen a whale?