Our Lady of the Blue Highways

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

Monday, August 2, 2010


The ferry bumped into the dock at Mukilteo, and I headed south – and of course, once again, I drove through Seattle and Tacoma rush hour traffic!!! I have a special knack for that.

Mt. Rainier dominates the horizon from Seattle – south!

I was headed for the little town of Roy, WA to visit a childhood friend – Judy – Judy of the red hair and freckles!!!! We were best friends for years – a trio, actually – Judy, Margie & Me!

Upon arrival, I met her husband, Larry. Judy and Larry used to raise and show Brittany Spaniels. In fact, they will be in Great Falls the same time I will – to attend field trials.

Now, Judy rescues abandoned and abused cats. I’m not sure how many she had at the time I visited, but with an empty kennel – she has plenty of room for them.

We spent hours looking at photos and catching up on the last few (4-5) decades. Remembering things from our childhood! She showed me a small ceramic gold and white cup and saucer, and a mug with an elf face that my mother made for her so very long ago!

Sunday morning, Larry suggested a visit to Boeing Field Flight Museum. It was fascinating, folks!

Looking for a Corvette?

One of the first things I saw – from the parking lot – was a sign: “Giving Bi-Plane Rides Today.” I want to tell you - I seriously considered it! I thought what an adventure it would be!!! I got a brochure about the flights, and my hopes were dashed! $135.00 for a 15 minute ride. Sorry, it would have been much too much for my budget! But, I’ve added Bi-Plane flight to my bucket list!

The main part of the museum held bunches of airplanes – on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, and even fastened to the walls. A Blackbird (Stealth), fighters, piper cubs, pontoon planes, early planes, new planes – Every kind you could think of!

V-1 Buzz Bomb – WWII

Looks like a bumble bee!

Boeing’s Stealth (the Blackbird)

Anyone interested in bicycling?

I was fascinated by the number of early female pilots! They jumped in the game early on!

We walked through the Space Mission exhibit. I was intrigued by the tires on this Lunar Rover. They were made from steel mesh

We then took the walking bridge across the highway to see the big planes. One of Larry’s friends worked for the company that built the bridge. It was fabricated off site in two pieces, then the company had to work on it only in the middle of the night and on weekends, because this is such a busy street.

We were able to tour the Concorde and Air Force One for Presidents Eisenhauer through President Johnson. I expected the Concorde to be very luxurious – but it was simply a very long, narrow plane with two rows of two seats on each side. I guess it’s claim to fame was truly it’s speed.

Air Force One had a doggy door to one of the conference rooms for presidential pups, and one of President Johnson’s famous Stetson’s hanging on a peg. It had a “State of the Art” communications room (totally antiquated now) – even, gasp, how modern….. An IBM word proccessor.

Back across the bridge to the main museum - The red barn like building was the very first Boeing plant.

We went through the halls of courage – representing WWI & WWII. I found this the most fascinating part of the museum. Like – upon the start of our entry into WWII, the U.S. had 7 aircraft carriers – within a year or so, we had over 150. Thanks to Rosie the Riveter and the plants operating 24 hours a day. (I was too young to remember the war, but my Mother told me that my brothers carried their gas masks with them everywhere when we lived in Seattle)

Many women pilots were involved in the war effort – from ferrying planes to England, to actual combat flights. A docent – dressed in grey coveralls, carrying a black lunch box, and wearing a dark fedora told me about the Russian pilots who flew at night harassing the Axis planes. They were called the Night Witches. He recommended a book of the same name.

Upstairs in the WWI gallery – I looked for Snoopy and the Red Baron – sure enough – their planes were there!!! A Sopwith Pup, and a Messerschmidt. It’s hard to believe how functional these early planes were – they could land and take off from anywhere.

Tri- Plane

Red Baron’s Messerschmidt

Snoopy’s Sopwith Pup

They had built a French Farmhouse in the gallery where you could watch movies of the war. They also had a replica of a trench – that was interesting.

Replica of French farmhouse with Judy and Larry

Either this is a Sopwith Camel, or just a plane that caught my attention

I had an absolutely fabulous time there! I really got carried away with the photos. Couldn’t help it.

Time to say So Long for now to Larry and Judy!

Judy and Larry’s home

Judy and Katz

Judy, Larry and Wee Beastie

An old car in Judy and Larry’s yard – Is this what you were talking about, Ken? It’s probably for sale if you want it!

I continued my journey – headed for the Spokane area
via Mt. Rainier Park, which is about 35 miles from Judy’s
As I drove East, the forest became a mix of deciduous and evergreens.

I stopped to gas up at the “Last chance for Gas” - was I happy I did – I would have been stranded for sure.

Along the road, a doe jumped up on the opposite side of the road. I watched in the rear-view mirror, and watched as she crossed the road, then signals to her twins to follow. The second twin stopped in the middle of the road. I hope she made it across safely.

I stopped to take this photo of the Alder Dam. It creates a 20+ mile long lake, fed by 7 of Mt. Rainier glaciers. The ice melt has caused the unique color to the water. It’s beautiful. They have many parks and campgrounds, and a beautiful drive along the lake. I came around a curve, and there was Mt. Rainier in all it’s majesty.

Passing through Elbe, WA – I saw a sign for the Hobo Inn. All the rooms are made up of old railway cars and cabooses – the restaurant is an old dining car.

I passed through Alpine, WA – population 2.

I stopped at the park entrance and looked at the “fee” sign. $15.00 entrance. Oh, it’s so good to have a Senior Pass – free entry! (Note to all, as soon as you turn 65 – get a Senior Pass for National Parks – covers National Monuments, and historical sites as well as National Forests – you and 3 others with you get in free. And, if you are crazy like me, you can camp for ½ price.

This is an original gas station, built in the part in the early part of the 20th century. Not in use any longer, but preserved for history

Once again, I’ve been on the road for 3 ½ hours – and haven’t covered 50 miles yet.

The drive through the park was wonderful – thick forests, tumbling waterfalls, gurgling creeks. Lots of pull-offs, and view points.

Yep, that’s the road I drove up way down there!

Scenic Viewpoint

Near the top of a waterfall – but, much to long a trail to do it now, if I want to make Spokane this evening.

Mt. Rainier trail head

Slopes of Mt. Rainier

Starting hiking at a very early age

Snow bank on the 25th of July, 2010 – in Mt. Rainier park

The decent from Paradise, WA – at the foot of Mt. Rainier, was a mighty long, steep descent

Out of the park, and headed east, the geography changed from forested mountains to dried grass foot hills, to prairie, to desert, and finally back to the mountains again! Big Climbs, long, big descents.

Ice Melt lake

Basalt Pillars

High Prairie foot hills

I stopped at the top of a hill coming out of the Yakima Valley (home of apples, peaches, pears,
Hops for beer, cherries, and much, much more) I decided to grab a snack while waiting for Madame to cool down – a cheese stick. Good Lord, it was pepperjack cheese – Now, I’m thirsty!

Yakima Valley

Wind Farm

I then found myself driving through wheat fiels and sagebrush. I went through Moses Lake – about 120 miles to Spokane!!!

The wheat has already been harvested, and then I moved into cattle country – wide open prairie. No towns, nothing but blue skies & puffy clouds and prairie as far as you can see!

Open rangeland – Watch for livestock on the highway – they’re a lot bigger than a deer, and can do considerably more damage. This is the West and that’s the way it is.

Approaching Spokane – we’re back in the pine forest again. Fairly level ground – not the huge rolling hills from earlier. Still a beautiful blue sky.

Then it was back into the mountains to get to Sherrie and Tom’s.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs,

1 comment:

  1. Hey Boots, Great pictures!
    I like the idea of "Night Witches" It's funny how once the men came home from war suddenly women were considered unfit or unable to perform jobs they had been doing for years. Back into house dresses and maternity clothes for them. Can yu imagine how that must have felt?

    I want to see the waterfalls, we just came back from "Folkmoot" in NC and spent one day driving around to see a few. None as grand as the ones you are seeing! We saw a lot of good dancing while we were there, the russians were not as memorable as they were last year,but the bolivian and Israle groop were a lot of fun. We saw some neat camping sites in Maggie Vally and I thought of you!
    Hobo Inn looks interesting! ANd the bi-plane ride...the only time I went up in a small plane I got airsick! So maybe you were wise and thrifty!!!!I'm still strugling with my mouth and teeth and am ready for this to be over!!!! I still have months to go...sigh....
    Where is the bear?