Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Friday, July 30, 2010


By the time we left the house headed for Seattle, the sun was shining and the skies were a beautiful clear blue.

We took a bypass road for a bit before getting on to Hwy 5 - through farm land, tulip and daffodill farms, old buildings and new. I really enjoy the old roads.

Arriving in Seattle, we drove down to the harbor and proceeded to hunt for a parking space. Once we found it – we could only stay for 2 hours

Ivar’s marketing duo

By the time we got parked, I was starving – I’d had no breakfast. We crossed the street, and there was Ivar’s Restaurant! I remember Ivar’s. About 50 or so years ago, I had lunch there – a Crab Louie salad. We settled for fish and chips. They now have a walk up window for take-away food. We had to stand in 2 different lines – one to order the fried food, then another to order drinks, or soup, and to pay the cashier. The lines were quite long. But eventually, we got our food and looked for a table outside.

As you can see from this sign, this is the Seagull’s favorite restaurant too! I ate my fish, but fed the fries to the birds. They seem to know they are not allowed on the land side of the fence – if a fry fell inside the fence, they didn’t even bother about it. The song of the Seaguls was raucus!!! Loud screaming and squawking.

This old guy would only reach so far for food. I had to aim well!

Right beside us was a fire station, complete with fire boat. Behind that a ferry terminal. I saw a sign saying they offered free internet on the ferries!!!

We left Ivar’s and started along the street – and right next door, just as I remember it is the Olde Couriosity Shoppe. I dashed in for a quick in and out look. It has just the same weird stuff they had the last time I saw it – before the original shop burned down.

I mainly wanted to see Pike’s Place Market – I remember it from when I was a small child. Mom would take me down with her every Saturday to buy fresh produce. And flowers! She always brought home a bouquet of flowers for the table. I always was given a free donut by the lady at the donut shop - I was always fascinated by the machine that dumped the batter in the hot oil, and scooped them back up again.

We headed directly to Pike’s Place – about 5 blocks along the road, but 2 blocks up – Straight up it looked like to me!!! We walked in and there on the right – about 2 shops in was the old Donut Shop - Hardly changed at all in over 60 years.

I saw a T-shirt I should have gotten for “Chico” Ken - It said “I’m retired! Ask someone else!”

I also saw a little T-shirt I should have picked up for my great-granddaughter, Kayce. When her mother was about 2 years old, I got her a T-shirt that said “My name is No-No!” I saw one in Pike’s Place, but with the crowds – and noise, I just wasn’t in the mood to shop.

We worked our way through the crowds – this is a huge place. It was fascinating with all the produce and other food stalls. Hundred’s of them it seemed We sauntered along, passing vegetables, fruit, sea food – and yes, we stopped at the “tossing fish” place - Pike's Place is 3 stories, and several blocks long.

I saw a sign for a restroom – thought about it and decided to wait. Bad Choice.
When I finally decided it was time to find the restroom - I asked Gary to look for a sign – and about then we spotted it – clear at the end of this section – through this crowd. Finally made it down stairs, only to find a long, long, long line of women waiting to enter. Gary says I was gone nearly 40 agonizing minutes.

So between standing in 2 lines at Ivar’s, and 1 long line at the market – we had used up a goodly part of our 2 hours of parking. It was time to work our way back to the car. Taking photos along the way.

Gary by Whale Sculpture near Harbor

Seattle Skyline from Harbor

Along the harbor

The Harbor

There’s those Bensons again

Latest best seller?

Another best seller?

Shop Window

As we drove along the harbor, I spied a particularly large ferry. “Wrong,” said Gary – “it’s a cruise ship – see – no ferry “hole”.” Well, maybe you had to be there – it was a funny moment – it wasn’t a ferry, just a biggie boatie!!! So, there you are! And, I hadn’t even been tippling! (It was the Norwegian Star)

From the Harbor, we headed toward the Space Needle in Seattle Center. I was in Seattle for the 1962 World’s Fair – with a 2 year old in tow and big as a house with the next one. On the way to the mono-rail, the toddler giggled and giggled while on the moving sidewalk. When we got to the top, the guard picked her up, took her back to the bottom, and let her ride back up again! She loved that! At that time, I took the elevator to the top of the Space Needle – when I got up there, my vertigo popped in, and it took all the courage I had to move from the wall to the railing for the view. Now, they charge $16 per person to ride to the top – another reason not to go up again!

Unfortunately, this was an “Event” day - Taste of Seattle food festival was on at the Seattle Center - crowds, and crowds and it was impossible to find a parking place, and if we did – special “event” rates applied - $20 for 0-10 hours. After fighting the crowds and noise earlier, I said – hey, don’t mind me – I’m ready to go!

On the way back to Oak Harbor, Carol called – they were waiting in line for a ferry to cross to Whidbey Island. We met them at a Dairy Queen for a cone. It was food confession time. I tried to gloss over some of it – but Gary, blessed Gary, didn’t let me get away with it – Little Tattle Tale!!!!!

Carol and Ken headed for a hotel, and an early rising to catch a ferry to Victoria BC, and I returned to Gary’s to work on my blog!

And that was my much awaited for trip to Seattle! Next time, I will definitely visit on a weekday, during the school season, and off season for cruise ships,– and at least now I know how to get down to the harbor!! (Just drive west and stop before hitting the water.)

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Entering Washington

At last, blue skies

Pacific Shore

View through the trees to the Pacific Beach – don’t know if you can see it, but there is a car driving along the beach - I believe this is the longest hard surface beach in the world.

With the sun shining, and the beautiful blue sky with huge fluffy clouds scudding across it, I headed for Cape Disappointment. (Total driving time from the KOA to this campground – less than 2 hours)

They asked if I wanted lake-side or the beach - since the beach sites were in the trees, that’s what I decided upon. I set up camp, and walked to the beach – about a 3 minute stroll – and there, spread out across the world before me was Benson Beach! A wide, wide beach when the tide is out – lots of driftwood (protected by law, it’s a no-no to pick any up) I walked down the beach quite away before heading back to my tent to curl up with a book. It was cold! I took a little nap, and my arm was out of the blankets – felt like it was frozen solid when I woke up - Time to take action – dug into my winter clothing and found a sweatshirt, T-shirt, and a pair of sweat pants to sleep in. And socks! Socks, people – I only wear socks when I’m walking in my other shoes - and never, ever to sleep in. With proper sleepwear, and all my bedding, I spent a very comfortable nite.

Path to Benson Beach

Benson Beach


Early in the morning, I heard a buzzing sound – I figured someone had an air mattress leak and were filling it up. Little did I know that I had kicked over my air pump, causing it to click on, and the batteries ran out.

In the morning, I just didn’t want to get up - I thought I would have to invite you-all to my “pity party” (At this point, I would normally call one of my friends – usually Holly, cause she’s good at giving me a swift kick, even by telephone – but, I was in a dead zone) So I gave myself a good talking to - somewhere between “Boots, you can do this, what are you thinking? And “Suck it up Bitch”, I snapped out of it.

I packed up, visited with the neighboring campers – a couple on a motorcycle from Idaho with a pop up camper – they showed me the inside of it. Really neat – a double size bed, with a tall section you could comfortably stand in for dressing.

I drove down the jetty road – and I was there!!!! I remember this place – but I can’t remember when or why. The only thing I can think of is that it was when my children were young and we had a camper and drove to western Washington so my husband could go deep sea fishing.

Cape Disappointment Light House

Freighter off Cape Disappointment

It looks like someone built a shelter of drift wood on the beach.

I could see the Cape Disappointment light house, but decided not to hike up there. Instead, I went to the North Head Lighthouse – It was shrouded in light fog, but very, very interesting. It was built after the other lighthouse because ships coming down the coast couldn’t see the Cape lighthouse – so the North Head Lighthouse saved many a ship from being wrecked.

North Head Lighthouse from Benson Beach

North Head Lighthouse up close!

I left Washington and once more had to cross the Astoria Bridge on my way to Hwy 5 headed for Mt. St. Helens. The second time over, I had no problems on the bridge. I just don’t understand it.

the Astoria Bridge from the Washington Side – you can’t see the really high part!

Columbia River

Driving along Hwy 30 from Astoria to Longview, I saw a sign for cherries for $1.00 a box, so I stopped and got a couple boxes. (they were really small boxes – about a cupful each)

As soon as I got back on the highway – I saw the Wildberry Restaurant – advertising home-made pie. Following Holly’s directive, I pulled in and ordered a piece of huckleberry pie (ala mode) It was outstanding! And my first piece of homemade pie since I left Virginia. Now how to fit it into a no-sugar plan. Well, it was an “event”

Approaching Longview Washington, there was a beautiful view of Mount St. Helens, I stopped on the shoulder, illegally, to take a photo and as I got back on the road, I saw another mountain to the left – learned later it was Mt. St. Margaret.

I arrived at Seacrest campground across the road from the Washington State Mt. St. Helens center. I put out my chair and a tablecloth to claim my spot, then went to the center to watch their movie and wander around the exhibits.

Quilt done by a then 84 year old woman from photos of the eruption - It was done the old way - the fabric was soaked in chemicals, then the photos were laid face down on it, and the image transferred to the fabric. You can tell the method because the images are all blue.

By that time, it was too late to head for the Johnson observatory about 50 miles up the road for the National Monument, so I headed back to put up my tent.

Deer by driveway – they have no fear!

Remember my air pump? Well, it takes 4 D batteries. I had 2 in my stash, and bought 2 more at a little store. Put them in the pump, and nothing happened. Did I burn out the motor? I walked all around the park asking people if they had a pump – No luck – most of the tenters either had foam pads, or blow-up air mattresses. Only Boots had to have a full size twin mattress that couldn’t be blown up by mouth. On my way back to my site – accepting the fact that I would have to really rough it that night, I suddenly thought about my flashlight which uses D cell batteries. They were a little weak, but I finally managed to get the mattress inflated.

I then moved my camp chair into the tent (why hadn’t I thought of this before) It was a little early to go to sleep, but for 2 hours, I played computer games, and read my book. When the puter battery warned me it was running out, I shut it down and crawled into bed.

It was not nearly so cold that night, and I slept very comfortably. I got up, fixed breakfast (granola and almond breeze), and packed up camp. I then travelled the 50 miles to the Mt. ST. Helens National Monument. Madame really didn’t appreciate some of the climbs, but she made it in fairly good humor. Along the way, you could see remaining ridges of silt from the eruption. The forest is mostly renewed, but still a lot of scarring is visible - the north side of the mountain looks barren

The movie at the monument was awesome, You are in a theatre watching the movie, and when it ends, the screen moves up, and so does the curtain to an astounding view of the mountain. It is as fantastic as Holly said it was.

– Helicopter tour, Anyone?

one of 19 bridges that had to be replaced after Mt. St. Helen destroyed them.

Wildflowers (Wildflowers were among the first signs of new life following the eruption)

Mt. St. Helen North Face of Crater

More of the devastation

I got the first stamp in my National Park Passport there! On my bucket list is a plan to visit all National parks, and as many monuments as I can manage.

I left the monument bound for Whidbey Island. I had planned to drive up the east coast of the Olympic Penninsula – but changed my mind and stayed on Hwy 5. I stopped at a company that makes packaging – so I could see the actual product – I plan to order some for the chocolates this Christmas.

Then, I aimed Jack at Whidbey Island – I left Revere at 4:30 – know what that means? Rush hour traffic. The first notice I got from Jack, I was in the wrong lane and couldn’t follow his directions. The 2nd time, the road was closed for construction – In any event, there I was, on 4th Avenue through downtown Seattle before I was able to make the correct turn to get back on Hwy 5. Oh my gosh, I’d forgotten Seattle hills. I was so happy Madame has an automatic transmission – the fellow in front of my obviously had a stick shift and he was on his clutch and brake trying to keep from rolling back down the hill. We finally made it.

I stopped at a rest area and shared a table with a young couple travelling by motorcycle. While pulling my cooler out of the car, my quilt shop directory fell out – which started a conversation about good shops to be found along the road. She said the one at Big Fork MT was really small, but the one at Polson, MT was really worth visiting - both are located on the shores of Flathead Lake in Montana, and I just happen to be headed up to that area!

I had not been able to call Gary to tell him when I would arrive because I had been in a dead zone for days. When I finally got clear, the battery died. I finally called him about 15 minutes from his home.

Another long day of driving.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs