The Longest Day – July 30-31, 2016

OK.  So, this post is actually about 2 days.  But one of them WAS really long!

As Cliff was reflecting on the 3,000 mile drive, he determined that we should install new tires for the ride home.  So, we dropped off our rig in Centralia

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and headed up to the Olympic Peninsula in our TOAD.

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We really didn’t have much time, so we made our destination Lake Cushman, right on the edge of the Olympic National Forest.

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It reminded us of a scene from the alps.  Really beautiful.

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It was neat to see the bay side of the peninsula, too.

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We stopped and took it all in, but only for a brief time.  Cliff was in turmoil because he forgot to lock all of our bays.  So we headed right back!

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We spent the night at the Chehalis Walmart.  That was the first day.

Now for the longest day.  We took off from the parking lot at drizzly sunrise, on the 12 toward Yakima.

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Several folks at Seaquest State Park told us how gorgeous it was, so we decided to make it our first eastward leg!  It did not disappoint!  (Sorry about the windshield wiper swipe!)

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We planned to pop into Mount Rainier National Park, but the entrance was poorly marked and we missed it!  There was nowhere to turn around.  We did stop for breakfast, however, at this turnout a little while later, where we viewed Rainier’s peak beneath heavy clouds.

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Here are more pictures of the 12.  (The first one is what I think the valley below Mount Saint Helens probably looked like before the blast.  It’s not far from its location.)

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You have to see this picture to appreciate the 12 and what Cliff endured throughout most of its miles!  This is the view from my window.  That, my friends, is the edge of the road.  It is a gravel shoulder most of the way, mind you.  And those little trees you see are actually just the tops of BIG trees growing from the bottom of the chasm far below!

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I just had to sneak this one of my cuties for all the grandparents!

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After descending, we were greeted by high desert and high heat!  It hit us so hard.  We were so used to the coast!

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We were also greeted by the bugs which had been absent in the cooler temperatures!  And that means flies.  I spent a lot of time chasing those guys around with the flyswatter.  We called this one Montezuma, because he got revenge by spilling his guts all over the window.  Yes, I could have left out that detail!  But, it’s part of our journey!

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The rest of our day is filled with LOTS of driving.  So I think I will just let the pictures tell the story.  The story of the fruit fields in Washington.

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Again crossing the Columbia River

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and playing tag with semis in the high desert of Oregon.  (It was fun to return to the state where we had watched stars in a mineral spring and first encountered the Pacific Ocean.)

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And rejoining our beloved Snake River in Idaho.

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Another shameless plug for the Grandparents!

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Cliff experienced a bit of trouble with our gas line, so we stopped here to evaluate it instead of proceeding.  It is such a coincidence that we ended up stopping in Jerome, ID.  If you remember from a previous post, I called that place the noisiest Walmart in America.  Well, we didn’t get much sleep this night either.  While Cliff evaluated the repair the next day, I made a much-needed visit to the laundromat.  This may have been a record for the number of loads (11) I needed to do…and I didn’t even do our towels and bedding!

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I realize now that I am actually heading into “Day 3” of this one-long-day post.  I really didn’t mean to use false advertising, but now it just seems to all flow together!  We decided to head down to Salt Lake City that night for one quick day there before heading out for home again.  It was at this time that Cliff coined the phrase “I can go from zero to sixty faster than you can eat 4 peanut butter sandwiches without milk.”

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Here’s a couple of pictures.  I used to think that most places in Brown County were in the “middle-of-nowhere.”  Not anymore.  Not even close.

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Here we are at the Brigham Walmart.  More on Salt Lake City next time!

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