Category Archives: The Journey Not the Destination

THE BEST PICTURE I NEVER TOOK: Lake Crescent at Dusk, Washington State, USA

There is one photo I never took, one of a scene far more beautiful than any I’ve ever seen to date . . .

The breathtaking view was on a long drive on the northwest route toward Port Angeles in the state of Washington, U.S.A., as Day 5 of our 3-week Teardrop Trailer trip was nearing an end.

We had been traveling North on coastal Route 101 since we left Oregon, but once we were about halfway up into the state of Washington, much to our dismay, Route 101 began wandering inland. When we hit the town of Artic, we had a decision to make. On this far northwest part of Washington State referred to as the Olympic Peninsula, Route 101 became a circular loop that traveled loosely along the west, north, and east edges of this tall rectangle land mass. Along the south edge were several highways and roads that collectively connected the west leg of 101 to the east leg of 101. Olympic National Park sat smack in the middle of the peninsula, surrounded by Olympic National Forest and tons of State Parks.

Since our destination for the night was a campground just inside the north entrance of Olympic National Park, due north from Artic as the crow flies, we had to decide whether to head east out of Artic on Route 107 and make out way on various other highways and roads until we reached the east leg of Route 101 heading northward along the eastern side of Olympic National Park or to continue on Route 101 out of Artic and head northwest along the western side of Olympic National Park.

Our GPS told us the preferred route would be the eastern one, promising to be picturesque due to an expansive lake region along the way. But because we ached to see Washington’s coastline, we ignored the GPS and headed for the western route, hoping to score views of the Pacific on the part of the road that ran north out of the town of Queets and continued for 12 miles directly on the coast before hitting Oil City.

When we reached that stretch of road, water views were hard to come by. Trees separated us from the open views we were used to along California’s coastline, so we took a turn off the road and visited Kalaloch Beach 4. There, we parked the car and, with dog in tow, headed down a pine tree-lined trail to a driftwood walking bridge where a rocky beach opened up before us.

Down the full length of the beach as far as the eye could see was a perfect line of pine tree soldiers, standing shoulder to shoulder, keeping watch over their fallen brethren that lay strewn along the coastline with their weathered, fair-skinned trunks and branches exposed to the elements.

The marine layer fog that blocked our view of the Pacific on much of the coastal ride in Oregon and into Washington, too, finally dissipated at Kalaloch Beach. We were grateful for the lighter misty spray that met us there and enjoyed a long walk on the beach, taking in the sounds and smells of the Pacific Ocean.

Afterwards, we made our way back onto Route 101 and continued on what was supposed to be a scenic part of the ride. We were in an area known as Olympic National Forest, and though the heavily forested area had its own beauty, we were still smarting from not having seen as much of the Oregon and Washington coastline as we hoped to. And we were tired—dead tired. The tall, uniform, untouchable forest trees that lined the highway quickly felt monotonous and had the effect of a slow hypnosis, making us sleepy . . . very sleepy.

That is, until the road turned eastward to continue along what we thought was the northern coastline of Washington, along what we thought was the Strait of Juan de Fuca that separates the U.S. from Canada. After a while, the road narrowed considerably and took on a wiggly serpentine shape. Guardrails and steep hillsides bridled close by. The cloudy sky above deepened into a mystical blue-gray. We seemed alone on the road—alone except for the dreamy dusk that surrounded us.

A snake-like lane of dark water appeared unannounced alongside our highway road, rising to a level equal with the road, taking on the road’s form as if it were part of it. I felt claustrophobic in its presence. I couldn’t tell where the black water ended and the black road began. Around every turn, I half-expected the road would be flooded.

Beyond the water was an even deeper blackness, unidentifiable at first. Only when the water mirrored a pattern of clouds that appeared in the twilight blue-gray sky above did we begin to see what lay on the other side . . . black Fiji-like mountains lining the other edge of the water, on what we thought must be the Canadian side of the waterway. To this scene, my mind attached tranquil and mysterious scenes of places I’d only read about in books, places where mystics lived and weary seekers traveled en route to their hearts’ desires. It was intoxicating.

My partner and I wanted nothing more than to stop along the road, absorb the moment, and stay awhile. But the distracting road, the dwindling daylight, and the ticking clock all made it impossible. I ached to catch the scene on my camera, but the serpentine road offered no safe way to do so, none at least that we could take advantage of in the moment. And honestly, even if she wanted to, this amateur photographer would not have been able to capture near darkness and sheer wonderment on her cheap point-and-shoot camera, no matter how hard she tried.

No, instead we gazed to the left as much as possible while darting hyper-vigilant glances at a commanding road. I willed my body to relax so I could capture the view as much as possible with my mind.  I knew I would not soon forget it and would someday attempt to write about it and share it.

At times, that’s all we can do. Be absolutely present in the moment. Tune ourselves into the layers upon layers of mind-boggling detail nature has to offer. Absorb, remember, and share our stories of the incredible beauty that surrounds us every day.

It was not until the next day that we figured out what this enchanting waterway was . . . it was NOT the Strait of Juan de Fuca and our view was not Canada. Instead, we were riding along lovely and enchanting Lake Crescent.

I searched and searched through images on the internet, but could not find any that captured what we saw that evening. Here, instead, is a picture I’ve doctored up from the internet that is far less striking and, frankly, pales in comparison in every way imaginable. Trust me, the one in my mind is a zillion times more amazing.


Who: Outdoors and traveling enthusiasts, National Park enthusiasts

What: Breathtaking drive along Lake Crescent in Washington State, U.S.A.

Where: On Route 101 in Washington State, approaching the North entrance to Olympic National Park from the west

When: We did the drive as part of our 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip in late August and early September 2014.

Why: You must experience this gorgeous drive at dusk and then spend a day exploring a hiking trail that promises to be quite stunning on the other (non-highway) side of the lake. We didn’t get to hike when we went, but will be back again to Lake Crescent to do so in the future.

How: Motor vehicle only. The road is too narrow and too curvy to hike, bicycle, or horse ride. It would be far too dangerous for anything other than motor vehicles.


To see our original 3-week Teardrop Trailer trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


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Living the Dream on a Truck Bed of Roses

We’ve just begun breaking in our restored/rebuilt 1950 Chevy 3100 Pickup Truck. It was a real treat last weekend to finally pull our custom home-built teardrop trailer with this beautiful vintage truck.

My fascination with this truck (and others like her) is that she has aged gracefully. I love that she is still pretty, tough, and practical, too. We’ve been calling the truck “Ruby,” but Mark says she’s a whole lot like me. I’ll take that as a compliment. I hope I age as well as she has.  🙂

Today, we made a run to the store to gather up materials for a raised-bed planter in the backyard where we’ll plant a variety of tomatoes, but we also committed to buying roses, even though we only rent our current home. They were far too beautiful and fragrant to pass up. I know they will bring us a lot of joy.

We’re looking forward to a few summertime camping trips up north in Arizona this year, where Ponderosa Pines in the high mountains will protect us from the desert heat.

Hope you all are doing as well as we are. If not, we wish you better days ahead.

Love,


RELATED POSTS:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_3: Hard Body Meets Firm Foundation

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_4: Grilling on a Sunday Afternoon

Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing

Photos of Our Own Home-Built, Custom Teardrop Trailer

Lemmon Eye Candy: Sunset Photo Gallery, Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ

Valentine’s Day 2016. Desert cactus. Snow skiing. Stunning sunset after hiking. Prepare yourself for eye candy a.k.a. a photo gallery of our day trip to Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ.

We started with desert cactus at the base . . .

and wound up in snow at the peak . . .

followed by hiking and spectacular Lemmon candy at sunset . . .

and perhaps my favorite photo of the day . . .

LemmonMtn_DSC02028_UR‘Nuf said!



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Happy trails, y’all!

Hope your Valentine’s Day was just as special.

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Sue J signature

Got Gas? Utah Offers an Old-Time Fix

Confession: Sometimes the smell of gas makes me weak in the knees–in a good way. That, and the smell of used motor oil and Gunk.

These three things–gas, used motor oil, and Gunk–in combination transport me back to a significant portion of my youth where I spent a lot of time helping Dad in our garage. Gunk was a product my dad used to clean his hands at the end of a day fixing one of several Volkswagen engines or their interchangeable-parts-cousins, one of several lawnmower engines.

I’m pretty sure Gunk, a cleaning product with the fine aroma of gasoline, was meant for cleaning car engines, but Dad kept jars of it in the garage and the house for soaking his fingers like he was soaking in Palmolive. (Palmolive was a dishwashing liquid, peddled for other purposes on their TV commercials, such as skin beautification–I can still remember Madge, Palmolive’s TV-commercial mascot, saying, “So gentle, you can soak your hands in it.”)  No insult to Dad (God rest his soul.), but I seriously doubt  Gunk’s inventors envisioned their product being used as part of my father’s beauty regimen.

Odd as it seems, altogether or individually, gasoline, motor oil, and Gunk transport me back to a happy childhood. Grease-soaked rags. Bolts. Workbenches. And Dad.

So, it should not have been a surprise to me (nor now, to you!) that I found myself snapping pictures of gas pumps on our recent lengthy road trip to eight national parks in the west and northwest United States.

The initial rush might have hit me back at this eclectic barn/garage in Oregon on the way north to Olympic National Park in Washington State:

eclectic garage, vintage tools

In Wyoming, somewhere near Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park, I snapped this photo of a well-kept (or well-refurbished), old-school Texaco pump:

vintage gas pump, antique gas pump, Texaco, fire-chief

Then, I got a rush of nostalgia when we stopped for gas at this Sinclair gas station shortly after entering the state of Utah (I’ll bet I haven’t seen a Sinclair dinosaur since I was a kid.):

nostalgia, Sinclair gas stations, Sinclair dinosaur

We hit the mother load outside of Lake Utah State Park in Provo, Utah, with this great display alongside a storage facility. Fabulous! I love the antique visible (a.k.a. see-through) gas pumps.

Here’s a great article about these antique visible gas pumps from a fella who pumped them when they weren’t antiques . . .

Vintage Visible Gas Pumps

and then check out this great video showing a working vintage gas pump in Glendale, Utah. I love it!



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This was just one experience of many on our three-week Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip to eight national parks in the western United States. To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks

or check out any of our posts along the way . . .

Day 1, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Travel Log: Willits, CA, KOA Campground

Early Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Toilet Bowls, Vintage New Yorkers, and the Eclectic

Later Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Drive-Thru Redwoods, Giants, and Castles

Day 3, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Gigantic Marshmallows of Oregon

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Early Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Port Townsend, WA, See It All and Sea Otters Too!

Later Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

Day 7, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Goodbye Olympic Peninsula; Hello Seattle!

Day 8, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Hay, Washington! Spuds! Spokane!

Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Bison vs. Humans: You Can’t Fix Stupid

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wildlife IN YOUR FACE in Grand Teton National Park

Day 14, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Journey to the Center of Utah

Day 14, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Journey to the Center of Utah

I’m officially in the wild-animal Twilight Zone. It’s no joke that animals are literally in my face on this trip (remember my encounters from the last post? 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wildlife IN YOUR FACE in Grand Teton National Park). Even after leaving Wyoming’s wildlife-abundant national parks, we still happened upon large critters on the road to Utah . . .

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Utah, Wyoming, wildlife

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Utah, Wyoming, wildlife

that brazenly stopped traffic and sauntered by my car window . . .

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Utah, Wyoming, wildlife

When we left the “Yellowstone / Grand Teton / Jackson Hole” area on Day 15, we made our way to Utah.  Are you familiar with the saying “It’s the journey, not the destination?” Well, I can honestly say the best part of this trip for me has often been the drive to the next place. Most of the time, I’ve been hanging out the window with my camera, taking pictures on the fly, or reaching over Mark while he drives to take pictures out HIS window. At this point of the trip, just willy nilly holding the camera out the window and snapping  photos works, too.

By now, it should be clear that I remain obsessed with hay on this trip,

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, hay, scenery

how hay is stored,

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, hay, scenery

how hay ends up looking like this . . .

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, hay, scenery

when it started off looking like this . . .

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, hay, scenery

This New York suburbanite had no idea that lush green hay fields went through a cutting process that lumped the cuttings in neat rows and left them to dry, later to be rolled and bound. Whether drying hay chased itself in huge crop circles or raced along in straight lines with trains that helped define property lines, hay kept grabbing my attention. Maybe there’s a future for me in processing hay. Anything is possible.

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, hay, scenery

We headed out of Wyoming via Route 89 South, despite the fact we planned on taking I-15 South. The trip via I-15 may have gotten us to Provo, Utah, faster, but it was so pleasurable to travel a very rural Route 89. If we hadn’t gone this way, besides missing in-your-face cattle and dozens of hay fields, we wouldn’t have been able to take this shot while passing through Afton . . .

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, hay, scenery, Afton

or this shot of three dogs riding at 70 mph on the back of a fifth-wheel truck . . .

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, hay, scenery

You see that country dog there? He’s looking at our suburbanite dog, thinking either “You think YOUR life is tough?” or “That’s right. No biggie. I do this every day.” I can’t be sure which, but I was impressed.

The truck’s toothless, smiling driver gave us a thumbs up, no doubt for our teardrop trailer, at about the same time I was giving him a thumbs up for his bad-ass dogs. Our dog simply groaned, something to the effect of “Really? And what am I? Chopped liver?”

Shortly after, we crossed the Utah border. If the “Welcome to Utah” sign hadn’t announced the state line, the immediate change in terrain would’ve done the trick.

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A few hours later, we were settled in our resting place for the night, Lake Utah State Park in Provo, Utah, where we managed to hook up with my niece who just flew in that same day from the east coast to attend college at BYU.

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, scenery, Provo, Utah Lake State Park DAY_14_22 DAY_14_23

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, tiny trailer, national park road trip,, Utah, Wyoming, journey not the destination, landscape, scenery, Provo, Utah Lake State Park

All in all, this has been a great trip thus far . . . every . . .  last . . . bit of it!



 

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We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com


To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks

Or any of our stops so far on the way . . .

Day 1, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Travel Log: Willits, CA, KOA Campground

Early Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Toilet Bowls, Vintage New Yorkers, and the Eclectic

Later Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Drive-Thru Redwoods, Giants, and Castles

Day 3, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Gigantic Marshmallows of Oregon

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Early Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Port Townsend, WA, See It All and Sea Otters Too!

Later Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

Day 7, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Goodbye Olympic Peninsula; Hello Seattle!

Day 8, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Hay, Washington! Spuds! Spokane!

Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Bison vs. Humans: You Can’t Fix Stupid

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wildlife IN YOUR FACE in Grand Teton National Park

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

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Did I mention this 3-week trip to the national parks of the western United States has been a life-long dream of mine? In this moment, I am living my dream. My initial thought was to capture and convey the trip to you as we mozy on from point to point, providing clever narrative and stunning photos as we go.

But I am here . . . living my dream . . . a dream of a lifetime.

So, the trip updates are less frequent than intended, the narratives brief, the photos uncropped.

First, I attempted to write and post every morning, which stole from reflective early morning conversation with my partner.

Second, I tried to write and post from the car en route to the next point. Nice idea, but I was missing the show outside my window. On a trip like this, to places where I’ve never been, every bit of the journey is interesting. When not in national parks or campgrounds, I’m getting a feel for how another part of this country looks, smells, and even tastes.

Distractions involving organizing, resizing, and renaming photos, as well as writing narratives and dealing with an inconsistent internet connection completely detached me from my partner and the joy of the journey.

The third attempt was to post cumulatively after pairs of parks, possibly targeting one major update each for the remaining two weeks. No go. At Yellowstone alone, I snapped 250 photos.

Yesterday, I actually caught up to Day 14 in photos, but realized the challenge before me. We’ve now gone through four additional national parks–Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, and Canyonlands. The task of selecting a sampling of photos at any of these locations is as overwhelming as the great expanses of meadows and canyons we’ve recently traversed.

I may make an attempt to post some Yellowstone pictures soon, but I don’t want to rush it. There is much to say about the experience, and yet I suspect words won’t do it justice.

Just as words are limited, so, too, are photos in capturing the beauty of these places. Yellowstone was sensory overload. So, was Grant Teton. And Arches. And Canyonlands. We still have Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion.

I haven’t even talked about the KOA campground experience, dog kennels, and dealing with the unexpected.

I felt pressured at the beginning of the trip to do it all–writing for pleasure, updating the Teardrop Adventures blog regularly, and enjoying the trip. I haven’t written for my own pleasure (nor will I attempt to on this trip.) and am officially slacking off from trying to update the blog in step with each length of the 3-week trip. At this point in the trip, I vow to ENJOY it.

 

Stay connected with Teardrop Adventures (by providing your email in the FOLLOW THIS BLOG option on this web page), and I promise to provide you with additional updates about this eye-opening, life-changing trip.

Happy Trails!

Sue J signature

 

 

 

 

 

To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Or if you want to get timely updates of the posts we’re sharing here on Teardrop Adventures, use the FOLLOW button(s) on this website to enter your email and you’ll get updates directly to your email box. It’s a safe and secure environment, and we promise not to sell your email address to the underground mob in exchange for the dark chocolate we crave. Really. Promise. No, really.

DAY_7_01Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

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Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

In a perfect existence, dogs would rule the world.

The road to Yellowstone National Park is paved with biscuits, or at least should be, according to our dog.

Hey, wait a second . . . what the heck?

And, plenty of this . . .

We’re on our way to Yellowstone today. Looking forward to the sights along the way. See you there!


We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Or if you want to get timely updates of the posts we’re sharing here on Teardrop Adventures, use the FOLLOW button(s) on this website to enter your email and you’ll get updates directly to your email box. It’s a safe and secure environment, and we promise not to sell your email address to the underground mob in exchange for the dark chocolate we crave. Really. Promise. No, really.

DAY_7_01Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com