With our house sit in Port Townsend over, it was time to say goodbye to Washington! Since we’d already driven the western side of the State, for our trip back to Oregon, we decided to take the route that passes just west of Seattle, goes through Olympia and then straight south to Portland. That way we’d see more of the state and get a better sense of the area.
For the first hour or so we saw a few snow-capped mountains on our right in Olympic National Park. Boy, oh boy, do I ever want to visit that place for a few days!
We also saw many shorter mountains with no snow, all covered with pine trees. The first couple of hours of the trip Jim would hear me sigh over and over and finally asked what was wrong. “I want to take some pictures.” “Well, just tell me, and I’ll pull over, silly.”
We had a long drive, and I didn’t want to keep stopping. However, I did want to keep stopping: photo ops were everywhere. Even though my ‘camera’ never captures the grandeur of the scenery I keep trying!
We learned that parts of western Washington are as green as much of Oregon. They both have less attractive sections as well, and we haven’t seen much of the far east of either State, but this is a spectacular area.
There were small towns all along the way, but we didn’t stop in any of them.
One of our two-minute photo stops was for this tree at a rest stop. Gorgeous!
We drove along country roads for a while, winding around curves, going through forests, and passing a few houses, even a few small towns.
There we were sitting on a bridge in a long line of cars waiting for a crew to finish maintenance on a draw bridge. We mean waiting. Get out and stretch, sure. How about cleaning out the trunk? Take the dogs out for a walk?
The views were pleasant enough, and we got out and snapped a few photos.
Finally, the traffic started to move, and we were on our way! More water, grass, and big sky panoramas. It was beautiful.
Just another sunny spring day in Washington with classic Pacific Northwest views one after the other. Mountains in every direction, some quite high with snow-caps, forests stretching as far as you could see. Rivers, streams, waterfalls, ponds, lakes: water simply all around.
We saw many homes right on the shore with docks, boats of every type, vehicles leaning towards off-road, four-wheel drives, trucks, more campers than in Oregon, if that’s possible. Oh, and lots of clouds.
After hitting Olympia, the views changed, and we didn’t snap another photo until we reached the Oregon border. We crossed over the bridge from Longview Washington and saw this. Is this where the trucks take all those logs?
The next photo is on the Oregon side looking north into Washington over the bridge we crossed.
Once back in Oregon, we had a choice of three ways to go as we were still well north of Portland: south through Portland, west through Astoria or something else through the middle kingdom.
We decided on the later, a ‘country road’ back to our destination. It went on a somewhat diagonal course through the mountains on Route 47 then Route 8 west to the 101. It’s the road you go on only if you want to as it’s not the quickest way to anywhere. We loved it.
Such a lovely stretch of remote forests, mountains, tiny towns, and vistas. Quite rugged indeed with a few campgrounds here and there.
One unexpected find was the little town of Vernonia. A charming spot with more attractive shopping and dining options than you might expect driving in the area. We figured it must be close enough to Portland to be a day trip. No way the locals alone support all those shops.
Like in so many areas of Oregon we saw farms with cattle grazing: small herds, no feedlots. Oh, and hay! Tons of hay, stacked up in the fields, covered with plastic tarps, or in barns, always 20 feet high if an inch. Forklifts must be a big deal around there.
Driving inland along Timber Road, we found this! We didn’t know there was a ‘town’ named Timber. Well, there is and here’s the Post Office! Note: not the smallest one we’ve seen. That comes much later down the road.
Something we’ve noticed a lot around these minuscule towns is that when things wear out, people seem to vacate, move over a bit, and build a replacement. They never seem to tear down the old buildings.
At some point, we entered Tillamook Forest – now that was beautiful. If you had your choice of places to fight a fire, we’ll guarantee this wouldn’t be it. Seriously rough country. We stopped at a viewing point and read about the Tillamook Burn, as they came to call the forest fire of 1933.
The first burn set records for size, speed, and intensity, and generated lots of new rules for loggers and techniques for firefighters. Strangely, the area burned every six years through 1951. YouTube has vintage film of the fire. Over many years, and 72 million seedlings later, we now have Tillamook Forest inside a massive state park.
We headed west out of the park, the road following a stream. After a long way, we began to see a few houses, then some small farms, weekend cottages, and campsites. Then it’s out of the mountains into the valley, a big agriculture area. Finally, back to Tillamook and the 101. All we had to do was head south a while, and our trip home from Washington was finished. And a fine trip it was too.
What’s Next – A house sit in Portland
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