I awakened very early to enjoy the ambiance of the Lodge’s combination TV and Library room I had seen the night before. I spent the next hour reading until I heard pots and pans banging in the kitchen. I ordered what seemed appropriate in that setting, the Jeremiah Johnson Breakfast. He conceivably had roamed here. No one else was up at that hour so I had the room to myself. I took my time and left about 9 a.m., almost immediately entering the Snow Zone but didn’t think that was a problem. I crossed Willamette Pass, 5,128’ in the Cascade Mts., down into green fields and major farms, and saw my first “Watch for Elk” signs.
Then I hit I-5 at Eugene, OR and had to make a decision to continue north on it or cross and drive up the coast. Since this was not a sightseeing trip, I opted to stay on I-5. It was pretty country and the traffic wasn’t too bad…until I hit Portland! If you don’t mind bumper-to-bumper traffic for three hours, it wasn’t too bad. Frustrating…yes. I wouldn’t do that again. Beautiful flowers and gardens were evident as I edged my way through Portland but there were no places to pull aside and take pictures. Trucks…trucks… trucks. What didn’t make sense to me was with all those vehicles converging to cross the Columbia River, all of a sudden, everything changed and it was clear sailing.
To the right of me somewhere was another one of those Bucket List musts, Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
It made history May 18, 1980 when “an earthquake struck below the north face of Mount St. Helens, triggering the largest landslide in recorded history and a major volcanic eruption that scattered ash across a dozen states,” including ID where my oldest kids lived at that time. I visited several years after the eruption and again later after major regrowth had taken place. This is a fascinating place.
I followed I-5 to I-101 where I turned left and started up the Olympic Peninsula. I knew that right behind me was Mt. Rainier National Park and another Bucket List nominee for those of you who haven’t been there. At 14,411 feet, it is the highest mountain in WA State and the highest mountain in the NW Cascade Range, considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. There is so much to do. You will never be at a loss for exploring. I wasn’t either.
When I reached Shelton, WA, it was time to get off the road. I was only an hour or so from my destination and a new place to live in Sequim, WA, but it was definitely time to find dinner and a comfortable bed. God Bless until next week.
Winter in the Wilderness, the first e-book novel published by Minshall, is offered at most Internet book sites. A print edition may be obtained from Amazon, or you can order an autographed copy from the author at 1009 W. Brackett Rd, Apt 234, Sequim, WA 98382 for $7.95 plus $3.50 for postage and handling.
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At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”