North to Seattle, er Portland, er Crater Lake, er Redding

October 18, 2017


What do you do in August if you live in Texas? You leave if you can. This August was relatively cool here but we left anyway. On August 18th flew to Seattle to visit youngest daughter’s family and son-in-law’s parents for a few days. Then we drove to Portland to bike the Columbia River Gorge and see the Great American Eclipse. Next we stopped for a couple of days at Crater Lake National Park. Finally we stopped in Redding Ca. to visit Gwen’s niece Rachel.

Additional photos are posted at: Northwest 2017 Photos


  • The flight was just a few minutes late. I watched Ghost in the Shell on the plane. It reminded me of Blade Runner. Mostly the setting and photography. Although the movie covers the same dilemma – humans versus androids.
  • After arriving in Seattle and settling in we visited Woodinville at, I think, the Market Winery for snacks and then back to Don & Karen’s for the remainder of the day.



  • When in Seattle you have to visit Pike’s Market and we were no exception. The miniature donuts were a big hit with everyone but Gwen. We parked at the Waterfront level and then took an elevator up to the Market. If you ever visit the Market that’s the best place to park because you also have access to the Waterfront attractions. After the Market we walked along the Waterfront. The boys, Gwen, and Sara boarded the giant Ferris Wheel for an exciting ride.
  • The rest of day was at the Don and Karen’s Lake House. Played with boys. Took a boat ride. Kids flew home. Spent the evening watching Cowboys and Rangers with Don & Karen


  • Sunday morning: We had a lazy morning with Don and Karen at the Lake House
  • Sunday afternoon, we drove to Portland and it was a drive from HELL. Must have been all the people, like us, driving into Oregon to see the Total Eclipse? Our 3 hour drive took 4.5 hours.IMG_4409
  • In Portland we stayed at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront. It s a great location and good hotel but pricey. If we ever stay there again park at the Parking Garage next door and walk across on the sky bridge unless we have too much luggage.
  • Dinner at The Imperial which was in walking distance. Very eclectic


  • Breakfast at the hotel. Very good
  • Walked to Pedal Tours for our Columbia River Gorge Bike Ride. When I think of the gorge I envision a deep narrow chasm. Well, this is not the case. It’s deep but miles wide. Apparently the Spring floods in the old days were unbelievable catastrophic. But the ride was awesome as was our guide, Crystal. Highly recommend if you are ever in Portland and have a day to site see.
  • We stopped at the Vista House on the way out and viewed the eclipse with our special glasses the park rangers gave us – what luck!!!. Then it was on to the ride and hike and see magnificent waterfalls.
  • Back in town after the ride we had lunch at Kell’s Irish Pub across the street from the bike shop.Northjwest2017-100
  • Dinner was at the Yard House, a chain but we did not feel like dressing up, and it’s casual with decent food.


  • Breakfast at The Good Earth. A place downtown to grab a quick byte. Nothing special. Mostly a take away by the looks of it.
  • Drove to Eugene and toured the Owen Rose Garden before lunch at the Bier Stein.
  • The on to Klamath Falls via 58 and 97, state two lane roads but well maintained through the National Forest. Everything went fine until 58 merged with 97 where there was a 40 minute backup to a hole in the wall ramshackle group of gas stations and diners. Then it cleared up and we could drive about 60 the remainder of the trip but it was still bumper to bumper.
  • Klamath Falls first impression – Nothing to write home about – 2nd and 3rd impressions were the same.
  • Dinner at Italianna’s Restoranti & Gelateria. Dinner was excellent. In fact we are saving the remainder for leftovers tomorrow evening. However, I can’t give it an A+ rating because the service was sooooo slow.


  • Woke to slightly better smoke conditions. I could see the building next door from the hotel window.
  • Breakfast at Nibbley’s. Most excellent! First time I’ve had oakcakes, like a pancake but made of oats.CraterLake_edited
  • Then we drove through the smoke, although is better today, to Crater Lake. Hooray, the sky was clear enough to just make out the far side rim. Yesterday they could not see Wizard Island,wonder if Harry Potter is hiding out there?


  • We started out by walking around the rim at the Visitor Center and snapping photos. Then we explored the lodge. Many of the older National Parks have great old lodges. This was no exception. Much smaller than the Grand Canyon but just as rustic and charming. We ate lunch at the lodge restaurant. Very good. I had trout. They served it with the head to prove it was a trout.
  • After lunch we hiked a couple of miles to Discovery Point. There are many scenic overlooks along the way. They list the hike as moderate. Almost any healthy person should be able to complete the hike even though the elevation is 7000 feet.
  • The lake itself is the bluest blue I’ve ever seen. It’s the deepest lake in the U.S. With a depth of 1943 feet. The rim elevation fluctuates between 7,000 and 8,000 feet. The lake receives over 500 inches of snow per year. Needless to say although I want to visit again when there is no smoke it won’t be in the Winter


  • Breakfast at Nibbley’s again because it was so good yesterday.
  • Drove to Redding – Smoke was bad. Even some in Redding.
  • Lunch at a micro-brewery. Very good – can’t remember the name however.
  • Visited Jason and Rachel and Brenda and Judah, and Gideon, and the baby.
  • Dinner at a strange takeaway, Wilda’s – Yardbirds type food in a Chinese takeaway carton. I liked it and it was dirt cheap.


  • Breakfast at Deja Vu downtown, an eclectic joint.
  • Spent most of the morning in the hotel working on Master Gardener tasks – mostly finding photos for the 20th anniversary article in the Seed Exchange and queuing up Instagram photos.
  • After lunch at Rachel’s we took the boys to the Turtle Bay Nature Center where among other thing we saw a real live beaver up close. They brought it out and let it wander around the seated on the floor children while they gave us a lecture on beaver trivia.
  • After dinner at Rachel’s we drove to Wiskeytown Lake to watch the Sunset.


  • Saturday morning in Redding California. Never thought I would spend a couple of days here, but that’s the way life goes sometimes. Visiting Gwen’s niece for the last couple of days and leaving tomorrow. Right now my mind is on Hurricane Harvey which slammed into the Texas Coast just North of Corpus Christi as a Category 4 storm last night. I have empathy for the millions residing in the area for their life and property.
  • Today we journeyed to Lake Shasta with Rachel’s for a picnic in the 107 degree weather and toured the dam, The dam is a brilliant work of engineering. The guide sucked however. I hope if you ever tour the dam you get a better guide.


  • Dinner was at their house and we also watched the “Boys” win another pre-season game.
  • Back to the hotel early to pack up. Tomorrow is drive to the Bay day.


  • Drove from Redding to St. Helena in Napa for lunch at Archetype. Then we stopped by Titus for a private wine tasting and of course Gwen ordered a case of wine. Then on to Clos Pegase where there was no wine sampling but buying more wine.
  • After Napa we drove to the Hilton Garden Inn in San Mateo for the night before our flight home on Monday.
  • Dinner Sunday night was at The Fish Market, my favorite restaurant in Silicon Valley


  • Flew home first class, the only way to travel. Mike and the boys picked us up. On the way home we stopped by Gloria’s for dinner with Mike and the boys.
  • Good to be home.