General: Washington

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General: Washington

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Review of "General: Washington"

published 01/12/2006 | elinor.z
Member since : 06/05/2005
Reviews : 39
Members who trust : 18
About me :
Pro An intereresting STATE to be in.
Cons It can be cold and wet! When its hot its HOT
very helpful
Value for Money
Ease of getting around

"Washington State! A Love Affair.!!!"

Seattle High Rise built on top of Old Town

Seattle High Rise built on top of Old Town

In 1990 I fell in love! corny? not really, I was in love with Washington State, and what a State to be in. Where do I start. In Seattle on the borders of Canada, or by the Columbia River Gorge, on the Borders of Oregon. Yes that is where my affair began. Portland in Oregan. From the Airport in Portland it is just a few minutes drive to Camas in Washington where I stayed with friends for a while.

Camas is a really small town on the river, known for its logging, and Paper Factories. A very pretty little town, high above the river. with views of Portland on the other side, when at night the lights from this large modern town in Oregon twinkle in a dazzling display of stars hovering over the river, their reflection doubling the display as they bounced off the water. If you look south the first thing you notice is Mount Hood. Looking North West, you see Mount St Helens, which still appears to smoke if there has been heavy rain.

Camas, is set amongst the masses of conifers and redwoods growing on the mountains behind, that flow endlessly through Washington State, where even the widest roads still make their way between the towering redwood giants. East along the river you come to Washougal a small town in the mountains, where the place to dance the American Jive, drink the local beer, listening to the local band, or even have a great game of base ball, in the field beyond . The Homestead, a lovely venue, right in the middle of nowhere was the inn place to be.

I remember fondly of the offer to sleep on the rostrum in sleeping bags with my daughter, the rain was falling out of the
sky, making it impossible to drive home. We were awoken to a hot cup of coffee and warm Danish pastries, before we went on our way.

Up and on through the most beautiful drive I have ever experienced. along the road which ran along the North banks of the Columbia river. Cutting its way through tunnels when the mountains were too steap to drive around.

White Salmon River was the next little town, with a few shops, a bank and a pretty blue painted church with a wonderful tall spire. It was here that I passed my American driving test. Then visited a Salmon Farm on the river, where the girls were working on place minisscule chips into the necks of the baby Salmon. (not the potato kind!)

The further you drive along the trail to the East the more barren it becomes. The Dalles are quite spectacular. I can recommend anyone coming to the area to take this drive at least once during their stay.
Looking across the Columbia river to the South Side of Oregon, you will see that the mountains are very steep, consequently there are many water falls, often with a 200 Foot drop. I counted at least twelve all with names. On arriving at the Dalles, it is possible to cross the river to the South and drive back along the road to Portland where you can stop and enjoy the experience of standing at the foot of the falls, where the sound of the water is deafening.

Leaving this area and driving North East into the mountains you will come across Mount St. Helens. The one that erupted in 1980. You will need a whole day to venture to the top, (or as far as they let you go) Here you will find that the molton lava has hardened and the persistant trees and shrubs have pushed their way through and where once it was all black and roughcast, like a badly laid Tarmac road, it is now once more green.

Up along the road to the top you can see the apex of rooves of the timber framed houses that were all but covered in ash as it ran down the mountain side.
At the top is a museum, restaurant and shop, where beautiful, unusual glass ornaments have been made out of the volcanic rock. These look rather like the pattern that petrol in a puddle makes. blues & purples in streaks.
This trip is not recommended for the winter months, as the roads are often closed by the snowfalls

Driving straight up the main freeway will bring you into Seattle. Now this is a really great town, modern with many sky scrapers of all different shapes, sizes and colours. A monorail travels around the town above the street and shops giving a strange view of the surrounding buildings.

Right in the centre is a lovely park area, where the Seattle Tower stands. tall and slim with a round bulbous shape at the top. It was closed when I was there, so I never made it to the top. (oneday perhaps!).
There is a large shopping mall, with many little stores within, we were fascinated by the candy store that spun out the candy like a skein of wool, spinning it into shaps and sizes for the various sweets. Most malls have a dining area, this one was no exception. Around the perimetre were all the little bays where food good be purchased from all the countries of the world, taken into the centre where the tables and seating were arranged around pools and fountains, with lights accentuating the display. A most enjoyable experience.

On the West-side of Seatlle, the sea side. there is a Market, which sells most things, especially a glorious display of arts and crafts. super fresh vegetables and fruit, and of course being right by the sea, FISH!!
Have you heard of the Seattle fish market? It really is quite famous. Here the workers throw fish (full sized ones, at that,) to one another, while serving the multitudes of shoppers, awaiting their turn...They move so fast, and they never seem to drop one, laughing and joking while working. I think it is a display for the visitors, but enjoyable to watch anyway.

For a quiet sit in the heat of the day, there is a great park right on the coast, where Totem Poles tower over you, in their brightly coloured paints.
You can then wander down to the old town. This is something of a museum, I wish I could have spent longer there. The high rise office blocks have been built on top of the old streets, burying the houses and shops underneath them. You pay only a small amount to be able to visit these shops, still set as they would have been all those many years ago. It really has to be seen to be believed.

The Youth Hostel there is worth a visit for those of you doing the tourist thing on the cheap. Otherwise Motels on the outskirts are usually pretty good and very friendly.

Back now to Camas, the town where I first arrived, which now supports a really modern Community Centre, called the 'Jack Will & Rob Centre' for the children of the town to use for Sports, Music and Arts. This was built in honour of three little boys who died a few years ago with their father, in their light aircraft, on the Columbia river. The day after Thanksgiving. 1999.
I loved those boys with all my heart, I will never forget them. Also their father who died, leaving their mother and sister to grieve. My thoughts go out to the family, whom I lived with for nearly a year, as nanny to the boys and their sister, who was born while I was with them.

I am hoping to return there soon, to visit the new centre, and renew my 'love affair' with Washington State.

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Comments on this review

  • imogen49 published 06/12/2006
    It has always sounded like one of the best states to visit. Very well written especially with the poignant piece at the conclusion.
  • silverstreak published 05/12/2006
    How sad that your wonderful memories are tainted by the terrible tragedy that occurred. Hope you manage to revisit one day.
  • venice105 published 01/12/2006
    Very hearfelt and personal review :-) I have visited Oregon once and it was lovely, hope to return someday and see Washington too :-) Steff
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Listed on Ciao since: 01/12/2006