Anacortes, WA

(Click here for more photographs.)

We parked here at the Swinomish Lodge and Casino RV park which is located a bit east of Anacortes and Whidbey Island.  During our car road trip in 2014 we spent a few days in nearby Oak Harbor.

Diablo Lake - North Cascades National Park

We took a day trip from here, heading east to North Cascades National Park.  This park contains some of America’s most beautiful mountain scenery.  The mountains are not the tallest but with jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, glaciers and sheer-walled cliffs there is ample dramatic beauty.  We hiked the Thunder Knob Trail which afforded awesome views of Diablo Lake and the peaks beyond.

Coupeville, WA

On another day we drove out to Whidbey Island and re-visited Oak Harbor and Coupeville.  We had to treat ourselves to the steamed mussels at Toby’s Tavern in Coupeville.  These are Penn Cove mussels which are grown right here in Coupeville.

Next stop:  Hope, British Columbia

Advertisements

Alaska Cruise–Week 2

(Click here for more photographs.)

This post is a continuation of Alaska Cruise – Week 1.

Byron Glacier - Anchorage

Day 8:  Anchorage, AK.  This is by far the largest city in Alaska and is the commercial and transportation center for the state.  Valerie’s cousin Prudence is working on a temporary assignment at a hospital in Anchorage.  We were able to meet up with her and she generously offered to drive us to see some of the natural beauty around Anchorage.  We drove south from the city along the coast of Turnagain Arm.  Our first stop was a brief hike in Chugach State Park, one of the largest state parks in the United States.  While hiking, Prudence spotted a moose with a calf at about 150 yards from the trail.  At a little further along the road we hiked to Byron Glacier and spotted a black bear at a comfortable distance.  Back to Anchorage we stopped briefly at the Earthquake Park which captures some of the impact from the massive 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage in 1964.  Near there we saw a young moose grazing on the side of the road.  Finally, after a quick stop at Point Woronzof for a classic view of Anchorage across Knik Arm, we stopped into 49th State Brewing before returning to the ship.  It was a good day with beautiful weather and we thank Prudence for showing us around. Continue reading

Gig Harbor, WA

(Click here for more photographs.)

Gig Harbor is located on a small inlet near the southwestern portion of the Puget Sound.  We have previously visited the Seattle area on the eastern side of the sound but this was our first time on the west side in what’s known as the Olympic peninsula.  This is a huge tract of land bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north and the Puget Sound on the east.

Gig Harbor

Continue reading

Twentynine Palms, CA

(Click here for more photographs.)

Twentynine Palms is a town of about 25,000 people located in the Mojave Desert on the north side of the Joshua Tree National Park.  It was named for the palm trees found there in 1852 by Col. Henry Washington while surveying the area.

Joshua Tree National Park is the only national park that encompasses two distinct ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado.  It was declared a national park in 1994 when the US Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act.  The elevation in the park ranges from 1,900 feet above sea level to over 5,500 feet.

20180104_105053 Continue reading

Greenfield, CA

(Click here for more photographs.)

Greenfield is on Highway 101 south of Salinas.  While here we visited the Monterey peninsula and Pinnacles National Park.

We have been to Monterey before on a road trip and it’s a beautiful place to visit.  We checked out the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, Lovers Point Park, Point Pinos Lightstation and had a terrific lunch in Cannery Row at The Fish Hopper restaurant.  We also stopped at the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pacific Grove.  This is one of several wintering sites for these colorful butterflies along the Pacific coast.  Temps were in the mid-50’s when we were there so they were not very active and we saw only a couple of them.  We’re hoping to see more at the grove in Pismo Beach.

Continue reading