Fall 2012 Raod Trip – Post 5 – The Olympic Peninsula

During the last week of our 2012 Fall Road Trip Duke and I spent four nights on the Olympic Peninsula. We stayed in the four different National Park Lodges in the Park. The weather was sunny and warm and we had a marvelous time. 

After taking the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles we drove to Lake Crescent Lodge. Coincidentally  the night that we were there was the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt staying there. Our room in the lodge overlooked the lake.


In the morning we had coffee on the porch.


The next morning we hiked from Crescent Lake to Marymere Falls


Then we drove to Sol Duc Hot Springs. We hiked to Mink Lake and had a picnic then came back to Sol Duc where we were spending the night and soaked in the hot springs.




On day three on the Olympic Peninsula we drove to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center and took another short hike and had another picnic lunch.


As we were leaving the Hoh Rain Forest we saw the only elk we saw on the whole trip.


We spent our third night in the park at  Kalaloch Lodge on the coast. We had a fantastic room in the lodge with 180 degree windows from which we enjoyed a magnificent sunset.



Sunday morning we went for a walk on the beach. Duke built a bit of a bridge across the creek that was entering the Pacific there and I crossed it with no problem going north. But on the way back I lost my balance and fell in!




After I changed into dry clothes we drove to Lake Qunault Lodge and  took another short hike. Lake Qunault Lodge reminded me of the lodge in the movie Dirty Dancing. It was such a nice sunny warm day that we sat on the beach reading for awhile.




 From Lake Qunault we left the Olympic National Park for the last time. We stopped at Gray's Harbor Historical Seaport and visited The Spar Shop where they have the largest tracer-lathe in North America. They make masts and spars and anything else that needs to be turned on a really big lathe. The lathe operators showed us around and told us they can  turn logs up to 40 inches in diameter and 122 feet in length.

The Lady Washington Tall Ship had just returned from a cruise and was moored nearby.


We stopped in Olympia to tour the Washington State Capital.


Then we headed to Tacoma to spend the night with my sister and her family.

On October 9th we headed south to Bend Oregon. We had some wonderful views of Mount Rainier.


 From Bend we drove home to Reno. It was a wonderful trip. If you would like to see all of our pictures from the trip they are available on Flickr here.

From Jasper, Alberta through British Columbia back to the U.S.

Duke and I returned from our Fall road trip a couple of weeks ago and I am just getting to updating the blog. This blog entry will be about our travels from Jasper Alberta in the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver and Victoria British Columbia, and then back to the U.S.

 We left Jasper heading west and stopped to spend the night at the SunPeaks Resort near Kamloops, British Columbia. The SunPeaks Resort is a ski resort but since ski season hasn't started we got a great room for a great price on PriceLine.

The next day we drove to Squamish, British Columbia. Along the way we drove through Whistler where the 2010 Winter Olympic Games were held. We drove around a bit and stopped to check out the bobsled track. As we were walking around we kept hearing a whistling sound. We finally realized that it was the zip line going down the canyon behind us. It looked like a wild ride.



 From Squamish we drove to Vancouver and spent two nights. We visited Chinatown in Vancouver and went to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. In the picture below you can see the man using a gong to call the fish before he feeds them. The next picture is of the garden too. It is the first full-size "scholars" garden built outside of China. We took a tour and learned all about the culture of the garden.




The other great thing we did in Vancouver was visit the Museum of Anthropology – University of British Columbia. The building was designed to display the collection of carvings and totem polls. It had a wonderful collection of everything from clothing to boats to art to masks of the native people who lived on the west coast of what is now Canada. I could go back and spend days exploring the collection.




On the way back from the museum we stopped at Granville Island and explored. We visited the public market and watched the sunset overlooking the water. Then we took the pedestrian ferry back to near our hotel and walked the rest of the way.




Tuesday, October 2 we took the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. We drove up the coast and spent the night in Courtenay. Wednesday we drove to Victoria stopping along the way to hike and explore. The giant Douglas firs were amazing.



In Victoria we went to see Butchart Gardens. While deciding what to do that day I was debating whether it really was worth  the drive and the cost. But when we got there I was blown away. They have to be the most stunningly beautiful gardens I have ever seen.


After visiting the gardens we took the afternoon ferry across Juan de Fuca Strait to Port Angeles, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula. It was a gorgeous day, there was no wind and the water was as flat as glass. We even saw some dolphins as we were crossing.




This is my third post about our three week road trip. We are now entering week two. The first two posts are here and here. If you would like to see all of our pictures they are on Flickr here.

Wednesday morning we woke up in Banff. It was overcast.


We headed up to Lake Louise and it was already clearing. How can a beautiful Fall day in a stunning place like lake Louise not be a wonderful day.


As we drove up the Ice Fields Parkway towards Jasper all the clouds disappeared. It was a perfect day.


We decided to take a hike. The guide book described the Parker Ridge hike as the best short hike off the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park.  It wasn't a long hike but it was up to the ridge ahead of Duke in the picture below.


I am going to keep repeating myself but as i said it was a stunningly beautiful day. At the top it was a bit windy but what a view!


I took this panoramic shot from the top.


And here is Duke starting down. When we got back to the car we drove on to Jasper where we are now.


My Mother lived in Jasper from about 1930 until 1940. Her father was a train engineer for the Canadian National  Railroad. I wrote a post about him and my Grandmother here.  The picture below is of my grandparents and my Uncle Gordon and their dog Sailor in front of their house in Jasper.


This morning we found the house and talked to the lady who lives there now. She runs a B&B – Juniper House.


This afternoon we took a hike south of Jasper. The trail is called the Five Lakes trail.


We had a picnic lunch beside one of the lakes.



Any complaining about the smoke that I did early in this trip I now officially take back. I would trade it any time for the absolutely wonderful weather we have had since we got into the Canadian Rockies. It has been in the 70s and clear. Absolutely perfect Fall weather. I couldn't ask for anything better!

Into Canada

Duke and I are on a three week road trip. On Monday we left Post Falls, Idaho and headed north into Canada. The border crossing was easy and quick. The smoke from western fires that has plagued us the whole trip continued as we drove north along Lake Kalune. You can just barely see the mountains through the smoke at this wonderful picnic lunch spot. It is a gorgeous lake that seems like a fiord.


At the north end of the lake the road ends and there is a free ferry. It was about a 30 minute absolutely beautiful ferry ride. Soon after that we arrived in Nelson where we spent the night. We stopped at one point to taste wine. The guy pouring our wine told us that Nelson is a hippy town where a lot of the Viet Nam war draft protesters settled. It is a beautiful town nested next to the lake.


On Tuesday we drove from Nelson to Banff in the Canadian Rockies. As we headed north the smoke cleared. We took another free ferry ride and found a totally deserted provincial park for our picnic lunch. One of the great things about travelling this time of year is that the roads are almost deserted and we have the parks to ourselves



It started to rain as we drove into Banff but who cares! The smoke is gone and the mountains are breathtaking. Today we head up the Ice Fields Parkway to Jasper.

Fall 2012 Road Trip – Idaho

Duke and I left Reno last Thursday on a three week road trip. We are planning to do a circle north through Idaho into Canada over to Vancouver and then back south to Reno. Day one, Thursday we drove 400 miles from Reno to Jackpot, Nevada. Jackpot is on the Idaho border in the north east corner of Nevada. We stayed at a casino there called Cactus Pete's. It was much nicer than I expected it to be. Our room was stylish and comfortable, the food was good, and the people were really nice. The package deal we had included food credit and $50 free play and we won!

On Friday we drove from Jackpot to Sun Valley, Idaho. On the way we had several serendipitous experiences that reminded me why I enjoy road tripping so much.

We stopped in Twin Falls to look at the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River. It is 486 feet from the bridge to the river below. According to the Lonely Planet Guide Book people travel from all over the world to BASE jump off the bridge. We were lucky to be out on the bridge when a guy jumped. It was really cool to watch. Here is my picture of the bridge and a video I took of him jumping.




After Twin Falls we stopped at a  the Silver Creek Nature Conservancy
Preserve. It is a pristine trout stream that is used
by fishermen and includes hiking trails. We took a two mile hike through the preserve. The
creek is crystal clear and we just happened to watch a fly fisherman
catch a beautiful trout.



 After leaving Silver Creek we just happened to go through the little town of Hailey  when they were having their Fall Festival parade. We stopped to watch.


We spent Friday night in Sun Valley. We had a great Pizza at Wise Guy Pizza Pie. Notice the tally of guys with socks and sandals. Personally I don't have a problem with men in socks and sandals.


Saturday we drove from Sun Valley to a bed and breakfast out in the country near Cottonwood, Idaho. The Sawtooth Mountains and the Salmon River are beautiful but unfortunately there was so much smoke from forest fires that we could hardly even see the mountains. We did have a nice picnic lunch.


You can really see the smoke in this picture I took when we were filling up with gas in Grangeville


Driving through all that smoke hurt my eyes and throat so it was sure nice to wake up this morning and be able to see the wheat field beyond the yard of the B&B where we were staying. Our first stop this morning was the Nez Perce National Historic Park on the Clearwater River near Lewiston.


Farther north we had a picnic lunch on the shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Tonight we are staying in Post Falls. Before dinner we took a hike in Qémiln Riverside Park along the Spokane River.

Tomorrow we head into Canada. If you would like to see all my pictures from the trip they are on Flickr here.