Clear Lake (Near Mt. Hood), Oregon - Monday, June 24, 2002

What great weather we had on our 3-day camping excursion in Oregon! We found the perfect campground just east of Mt. Hood on Clear Lake (almost perfect...no showers). Our site was HUGE and right on the water--perfect for the pooches and fishing. The weather on Friday was in the 80s and sunny. Dave tanned his balding noggin', and I attempted to tan my ghostly white legs.

Jon, Jen, & Guinness arrived Saturday and brought the Portland weather with them!! grrr... Shorts and swimming were not an option! However, we did manage to keep busy with never ending games of fetch with the dogs, reading by the lake, eating burnt marshmallows & smores, and shooting the breeze around the campfire. It was a very relaxing weekend for all. I'm sure we'll all go camping again for summers to come!

Hmmmm, do ya think Jerry & Carolyn are just slightly relieved to have us out of their house after several weeks?? THANKS Y'ALL!!!!!!! We are now spending a few days at Jon & Jen's house in Camas, then off to Bend, OR for a few more days of camping/hiking. Hopefully we'll start our journey to Canada next week!! WOO HOO!!!!

 Olympic National Park - Thursday, June 20, 2002

With Heimo’s new transmission and clutch, we left the comfort of the Jerry & Carolyn’s home for 5 days on the road in the Olympic National Park.

The Olympic National Forest is located on the western most peninsula of Washington. Within the forest boundaries is the Olympic National Park, which includes famous rainforests, hot springs, hiking, camping and backing packing. The views range from the beautiful mountains, forests, and glaciers on Mount Olympus to the rugged and desolate coastline. The forest is huge and 5 days was not nearly enough time to explore the park.

Day 1:
Our trip started with a most beautiful ferry ride from Seattle across the Puget Sound to Bremerton, a town on the Olympic Peninsula. From the ferry, we drove 2 hours west to the beautiful shores of Lake Quinalt and found a remote and free camping area ~12 miles east of the lake. Traveling the very bumpy forest road into our campsite, we passed by a migrating herd of Roosevelt Elk. The trees in the forest grow tall and very thick, essentially blocking most of the light out. Though it was to close to the longest day of the year, it was dark after 6pm.. Early night since we forgot the firewood—doh!

Day 2:
We scrambled early to secure our next campsite near the beach, stopping at the historic Lake Quinalt Lodge for a yummy breakfast. The Lodge was built in the 30’s as part of Roosevelt’s focus on the country’s national park system and felt very rustic yet elegant. The food rocked! I’m also easily impressed after an evening of car cooking…

We had hoped to stop at the Quinalt Rainforest on our way north to the coast but were beaten to the trailhead by a bus full of rowdy elementary school field trippers. Skipped that hike—didn’t want a headache! Oh well, we’ll get back there.

The 2-hour drive up the coast was very scenic as we were able to hug the storm-ravaged coastline almost the entire drive. The effect of logging on the countryside made quite an impact on me since I spent most of my life in Texas nowhere near a forest. I wasn’t expecting to see complete tracks of forest, miles on end, cut to the stump. It reminded me of the book by Dr. Suess, The Lorax. Sad. However, it was some consolation to see that the logging companies seem to make a concerted effort to reforest areas that have been cut down.

After picking up some chow in the town of Forks and checking e-mail at the local library, we headed west towards a dilapidated town called LaPush which is situated on the Quileute Indian Reservation. On the north shore of the Soleduck River between LaPush and Rialto Beach, we scored a remote campsite for the night and took a trip down the beach. The coastline is so eroded from storms that small islands called seastacks have formed a short distance off shore. Also, logs are strewn all over the beach. We spent a few hours there listening to the crashing surf, napping, and reading. RELAXING! Too bad we didn’t dedicate more time for this adventure, as there are some amazing coastal backpacking trips to be had up and down the coast.

Day 3:
We headed out early in search of a campsite on the north coast of Washington along the Straights of Juan de Fuca. We found a great park – Crescent Beach - after several stops about 2 hours up the coast. The park incorporated a former military base complete with old bunkers and gun placements used to protect the Straights during the 1st and 2nd world wars.

The camping area was tree-filled, remote, and had great views with beach access. The ocean on the north coast is much calmer than the west coast since the straights are protected from the battering of the open ocean by being wedged between Vancouver Island (Canada) and Washington state.

It turned out to be in the 90’s, so it is pretty fortunate that we ended up at the beach that day. Unfortunately the water was FRIGID!! Chuy went swimming, chased crabs and sand shrimp, and basically dirtied up Heimo with her sandy, seaweed smelling self. Pain in the neck….but we love her. We hung out in the sand reading and relaxing, sometimes braving a trip in the water to cool off.

Day 4:
Woke up to the sounds of rain hitting the pop top. Pulled the top top down, had a quick breakfast and hit road. So much for sunshine! We decided to drive towards Port Townsend, where Jen’s (sis-in-law) parents graciously lent us the key to their vacation condo on the beach. Heimo is not much fun in the rain with the pop top down, especially for tall Dave. We stopped in and relaxed for a while and headed in to check out the cute town then decided to see “The Bourne Identity” at the local theater. It was pretty late by the time we got back to the condo, so when we saw that Jen’s step-dad David was there we decided to just head straight back to Seattle so as not to disturb him.

The only memorable thing about the trip home in the dark was the 3 miles of panic until we hit a gas station once we realized we had been riding on fumes since we left Port Townsend. Whew….made it without having to call AAA.

That’s it!!! Quick and beautiful trip. Would take two weeks to do it again next time..

 Pre-Trip Planning -

So, what have we been doing in Seattle for the past few weeks? Spending a lot of time at the library figuring out where we are going next. Here’s the latest:
· No Europe this summer (tranny/clutch repair depleted the budget)
· July – Canada
· August – work on a dude ranch or resort to refill the coffers
· Sep/Oc – Australia
· Nov/Dec – New Zealand
· Jan-May – SE Asia
· Jun-Oct – Europe
· Nov/Dec- Egypt/Israel (if it’s safe)
· Jan-Mar – Central and South America
· Done unless there’s still $$ left in the budget or we get a job abroad

We’ve also put together a resume to help us attain a job for August. We’re not too hopeful that there will be a job for both of us for just a moth, but we have to try. We might pull in the trip to Australia 1 month and move everything up..

What else??
· Attended a beautiful Catholic wedding of Dave’s friend Matt McCarthy. He’s a liquor rep, so you can only imagine what the party was like! It was great to catch up with Greg, Hugh, the Woo’s and the Simmon’s.
· Spent the night at Dave’s former roomie Hugh’s house. For sure need to get back and spend more time there, eating big ‘ole breakfasts and snacking on only best ice creams..
· Chef Colin cooked us a great fajita feast and treated us like kings at the same time playing the role of super dad & bathing the kids (cuties!)
· Caught up with Scott, Jen, and Greg at a yummy brewpub. Hopefully we’ll be around to share the birth of their first born in July!
· Went to a great engagement party for a long-time, neighborhood friend James Bach. The food was SO GOOD and it was nice to catch up with James’ parent and meet James’ fiancée Kelly. FUN!
· Spent lots of quality time with Dave’s parents. Carolyn is a fantastic cook, and we are happy to be camping this week because we’ve been eating FAR TOO MUCH of her good cooking! Dave & Jerry to a sail on Father’s Day on Lake Washington and of course came home to a Thanksgiving-like feast. Why do we all forget to eat turkey all year except on Thanksgiving? Mmm.. turkey.
· To earn our keep, we spent much time helping the ‘rents clean out their garage (mostly Dave). We’ve discovered that both Marisa’s mom (Linda) and Dave’s dad (Jerry) have something in common other than their shared birthdays - both have a hard time getting rid of unneeded stuff.
o Linda hordes excessive amounts of office supplies (ie..boxes of pencils and notebooks…”you never know when you might need them!”).
o Jerry has been dubbed “the wood martyr” for his inability to get rid of all sizes, shapes, and grains of wood scraps from various remodeling and house projects. We are happy to report that over 400lbs of wood scraps from Jerry’s wood orphanage have been returned to the earth at the county dump.

We are now going back down to Oregon to camp for a few days. Jon, Jen, and Guinness will be meeting us for a night of camping so they can familiarize themselves with Heimo. They will be caring for both Heimo and Chuy while we are traipsing around the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you….

 Great Grub in Bellevue - Thursday, June 06, 2002

We've been in Seattle with the 'rents (Dave's parents) for a couple of weeks. Thanks Carolyn & Jerry! Who'd have thought that Newlyweds would move back in with their parents? Hey the grub is great...

Here's what we've been doing:

-Researching our trip itinerary at the library (we live there. high-speed internet)
-Hanging with Dave's friends
-Watching LAX
-Generally being lazy--sleeping late, eating great Haralson food (we are not exercising portion control-eek)
-Getting Heimo fixed (long story--bum tranny & clutch. No car for over a week!! Love the Seattle bus system.)
-Our laptop broke. Data recovered, not sure about PC---it's been a bad week. :(

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