Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tulalip, Everett and Sedro-Woolley, Washington

June 25 - 29, 2016:

We were blessed by the weather gods today with clear skies for the short trip to Marysville, Washington.  We took the more country route north through the towns of Duvall and Monroe.  I made a quick stop in Monroe, another cute Washington town, to walk around for a few minutes.  It was then onto Route 2 west past Snohomish and onto route 5 at Everett, Washington.  A few miles north we exit for the Tulalip Casino in Marysville.  This is a huge Casino with a large dedicated RV lot, no charge as long as you join their players club and register with security.  It is a most convenient location with lots of shopping and restaurants in the area.

Mural on Monroe NAPA store

The Tulip Casino and Hotel

Tualalip sign on side of the Casino

We took a ride to the historic downtown of Everett which was way cleaner and nicer than I expected. The historic area seems to be having a renaissance with many trendy shops, pubs, gyms, and restaurants to compliment the new apartment complexes that have been built.  We then took a ride along the Possession Sound past the Everett Naval Station to a large Marina.  This was originally the site of a huge Weyerhaeuser lumber Mill complex, now totally gone and grown up with weeds.  There is an ambitious project underway to develop this open area with Parks, a performance stage, playgrounds and a large Condominium complex.

The old Everett Motel is sadly gone, only
the sign remains

The Everett Theater remains in fine condition

Lots of aircraft money is helping here

The Marina is doing well

The old Weyerhaeuser office is restored and being moved

Planned "Waterfront Place" development next to the Marina on
the site of the old Weyerhaeuser Lumber Mill

The downside of working in the lumber mill

  We then drove to the Dock area with immense stacks of shipping containers along with cranes and equipment to unload cargo ships.  We saw a sign for the  “Pigeon Creek Trail” which was a path lined on each side by a 6 foot fence that ran between the Port of Everett and the railroad tracks to a waterfront beach area.

The Port of Everett through the fence 

The "beach" at the end of the trail

In the evening we went to the Tulalip Casino and donated a few dollars to the Tulalip Tribe.  This appears to be a very successful Casino and it was packed with patrons.  There is a large fireworks sales area on the road behind the Casino that was shooting fireworks periodically all afternoon and at at dusk put on a pretty substantial fireworks show.  The Tulip tribe appears to be doing well with a huge luxury Hotel attached to the Casino and a large Shopping Mall complex.

The Fireworks show

Sunday morning we are off for a short ride to Sedro-Woolley, Washington where we have a reservation at the Riverfront Campground.  I could have gone most of the way on Route 5 but instead elected to take the more back country route 9.  It was a very curvy, twisty handful of a drive, a beautiful ride, but could hardly take my eyes off the road.  We get to the Riverfront RV Park which is a Sedro-Woolley City Park where the camp host has no record of our reservation, but luckily there are open sites and we have a paid receipt on our phone to show him, bottom line, no problem. 

This campground is right adjacent to the fast flowing Skagit River which I believe floods the campground often by the way they have the electric boxes set on posts about 6 foot off the ground with a stairway to reach it.  

We need a few grocery items so we go to downtown Sedro-Woolley which originally was two separate towns who grew together and eventually merged.  This is a Timber town and they have a huge lumberjack, woodcarver and Rodeo festival called "Loggerodeo" as a part of their July 4th celebration.  We actually were here in 2014 to see the parade and woodcarving competition.  The downtown looks like it is suffering a bit, there isn’t much money here, but there is a beautiful new trendy market, "The Woolley Market".  We stopped in unknowingly while their Sunday Jam session was in progress and it was great.  It was a cross section of varying ages, from about 12 to 75 years, playing mostly old time country music on many instruments and they played together very well.  I bought an ice cream from a young girl, about 13 years old, who said she was giving me big scoops because “You don’t live forever”, I thought it was funny, but now I’m wondering if I look that bad ?


Lumber Train display at entrance to Sedro-Woolley

Downtown Sedro-Woolley with their angle parking

Logging mural

I still sense a wild west attitude around here

As usual it is also a railroad town

Excellent Sunday afternoon jam session at the Woolley Market

Window of an antique gas pump restoration shop in town

We rode to the nearby towns of Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Washington on Monday.  Mt Vernon is the larger town and the historic downtown had the beautiful "Lincoln Theater, built in 1926 and several other interesting old buildings, restaurants and shops.  Burlington also has a small old downtown area with a very nice old City Hall building.  In between, It’s the usual blight of boring strip mall and chain restaurants.  We stopped for lunch in Burlington at the “Train Wreck”  which was decorated inside with heavy timbers pieces, which they do well in this area of the country.

Burlington City Hall

The Train Wreck in Burlington

Great time piece in Mt. Vernon

What do you want to do before you die ?

Interesting mural in Mt. Vernon

Another one

The beautiful Lincoln Theater in Mt. Vernon

I may have to change my look as lately I’ve been falling prey to pan handlers, I must look too kind, non threatening or something.  Yesterday a guy asked for 50 cents so he could make a phone call and I gave him a dollar although I haven’t seen a pay phone anywhere in a long time.  Today a decent looking woman came smiling up to me and started giving me a long story about the small town she came from and this and that and finally, I couldn’t take any more of it and told her, “Can we just get the the point” and then gave her a couple of dollars to help her get home or whatever. 

I took a ride north on route 542 known as the Mount Baker Highway all the way to the end.  The upper section has recently opened and there were huge snow banks lining the road in places.  The trails at the top remain under several feet of snow, but you are able to walk around and many people were, including me.  The conditions were clear and the 360 degree views were fantastic.  I made a couple of stops along the way at the "Nooksack Falls" and the "Horseshoe Bend Trail".  The Waterfall is a wild one, but not fully accessible or viewable and some of the water from the river is being diverted to a nearby Power Plant.  I only walked the Horseshoe Bend Trail for a short distance, mainly to see the beautiful Nooksack River.

Many of the forests here look like a badly clipped poodle, ugly !

The Nooksack River coming right from the snowpack

A perfect spot to relax

The Nooksack Falls roar down 88 feet

Roadside view from the Mt. Baker Highway

Lots of snowballs being thrown here

Mt. Baker, (I think), view

A vast snow covered playground at roads end

Mt. Shuksan reflection in Picture Lake

The carnival has arrived at the Riverfront Park and I’m not talking about a group of strange RV’ers.  This is the real deal, Davis Shows, and they are setting up for the 4th of July weekend carnival that takes place here in Sedro-Woolley.  It’s pretty exciting stuff, sadly we will miss it.  We will also miss the Loggerodeo event  on the weekend.

The carnival is getting ready

The banners are out all along the parade route

The wood is being set up for the woodcarving competition

The next stop is Vancouver, British Columbia to visit friends and caravan around for at least a couple of weeks.  Posting the blog may be a difficult process, but something will be displayed, keep watching.

Happy and safe travels  to all over the holiday weekend,
Twinkles and Slick

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Carnation, Wshington

June 19 -24, 2016:

It’s time to leave the Ahanapecosh Campground and it’s nothing but bright sunshine, first time all week, that figures !  On the ride north, on route 123, through the park there are spectacular views of a cloudless Mt. Rainer, but no place to pull over.  When this happens and no one is behind me, I sometimes do a quick stop and go.  

A parting shot at Mt. Rainer

The driving conditions were great today, the navigation was a bit shaky, but somehow I made it without a wrong turn.  Our destination, Tolt-MacDonald County Park is in Carnation, Washington in a beautiful farm valley.  The town of Carnation gets its name from a local dairy farm started in 1899, "Carnation Farm” that became the “Carnation Milk Company".  Originally the town was named Tolt after the Tolt River which runs through it.  There was considerable controversy over the name change and it was reversed for a while then changed again.  It has a nice downtown and will be a good spot for us to get cleaned up and recharged after ten straight days of dry camping. We stop for a beer at the “Pete’s Club and Grill”, (part of our recharge process) with a nice outside patio, it sure feels good to sit in the sun.  We like it enough to return later for dinner which was very good although the service was slow and weird.

Pete's Club in Carnation

Was hoping for more than Pizza at the Lazy K 

Segis Pietertje Prospect - World Champion Milk Cow
from 1913 - 1925 at Carnation Farm

The Tolt-MacDonald Park is a very large and well manicured County park bisected by the fast flowing Tolt River.  The RV area has paved roads, grassy campsites, fire pits, picnic tables and electric and water hookups.  There is a scenic walking suspension bridge over the river to a tent camping area on the other side.  There are also walking trails along the river and a short trail to downtown Carnation.

The suspension bridge over the Tolt River
The quality of life seems pretty high in this area with several very nice nearby towns.  We explored the towns of Fall City, Snoqualmie and Duval which all have vibrant downtowns and not a Walmart or MacDonald’s in sight.  They are all river towns along the Snoqualmie River and Tolt Rivers with a lumbering heritage.  Every town has a very modern, large state of the art, library.  It is only about a half hour ride to get to the Seattle area from here making it an attractive place to live.

Totem Pole in Snoqualmie

The most interesting hangout in Snoqualmie

With a most interesting mural on the outside patio

Lumber trucks roll through town regularly

Nice stone work in park area along the river

The Snoqualmie Train Depot

Massive trees like this one are long gone 

Interesting wood signs along main street in Duvall

Duvall Coffee House looked good

Liked the sign

The Snoqualmie Falls at 268 feet high is the second highest falls in North America and big tourist draw.  Pugent Sound Energy operates the Hydro-Electric Power Plant on the Falls which was built in 1899 which sort of set the design standard for future hydro-electric power plants.  It has been enlarged and upgraded with new technology for increased output and remains fully operational supplying power to the Pugent Sound metropolitan area.   Pugent Sound Energy has done an excellent public relations job with the park areas, the falls viewing areas, the excellent interpretive signs, the nature trail to the river and a fully outfitted souvenir shop.

View of the Falls

Interesting plant along the nature trail

This fern like plant is very unusual

New tree growing from an old giant

At the river next to the lower power plant

The Falls from the river

The Falls are a sacred ground and figure prominently into the creation story of the Snoqualmie Tribe.  The tribe relinquished this land to the US government in an 1855 treaty, they probably didn’t have much choice, either give it up or die.  The US has recently deemed the Falls area to be “Traditional cultural property” and have listed it on the National register of historic places, over the objections of Pugent Sound Energy.

I return to Snoqualmie, to take some photos of the remarkable bone yard of old Steam Locomotives at the “Northwest Railway Museum”.  This museum is in the building stage, their main thing at present is a weekend train ride to North Bend.  They have a Train Shed exhibit building but you need a two weeks in advance reservation to see it.  They also have a shop area, but it is not open to the public and a Railway Education Center that is in the planning stage.  All you can see at present is the Depot which is the original structure built in 1890 by the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway.  It was completely restored in 1981 and is the oldest continuously operating train depot in Washington.  This should be a great museum when fully completed.

US Plywood Corp Mallet Locomotive next to Depot

Old Train control board

Advertisement for Milwaukee Road coach seats

Door of wood stove in Depot museum

Famous photo of Engineer George Longworth
and daughter in 1919

The restored Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Train Depot

Old Steam Locomotive on storage track

Massive 1907 Northern Pacific Rotary Snow Plow

Shaw Locomotive in storage

Baldwin Locomotive in storage

After an oil change and wash job on the Jeep, I return to Fall City stopping for a bowl of chili at the Fall City Roadhouse and Inn.  I was attracted here by their classic neon sign and the original appearance of the Inn.  This was originally the Riverside Tavern and Colonial Inn built in 1916.  In 2008 the building was totally remodeled and the upstairs rooms converted back to vintage 1920’s appearance.  Bottom line, the place is clean and beautiful and one of the best bowls of Chili ever.

Fall City Roadhouse is a classic

  Another interesting attraction is the Snoqualmie Valley Trail which is a 31.5 mile former Milwaukee Road rail line now converted into a biking and hiking trail.  I wanted to walk the trail section that goes over the historic wooden 100 year old “Tokul Creek Trestle” that was recently reopened after undergoing structural repairs.  The Trestle spans a 400 feet wide gorge, 120 feet above Tokul Creek.  I was able to find a trailhead about a mile from the Trestle, after considerable research, it was a nice walk and the Trestle was very cool.

The trail to the Trestle

Couldn't pass these snapdragons along the trail

The Trestle was as impressive as expected

Nice husband that I am, I drive Twinkles to a quilt shop in the town of Issaquah about 15 miles away.  This is a larger town and definitely a higher rent district.  While she is in the shop, I slip away to the old downtown about a mile away.  The train used to run through town, the track are still there and they have resurrected the old Train Depot.  They have a small rail museum there along with a Caboose and a Trolley car.  They still operate a tourist Trolley ride on weekends and for special occasions .  It another cute downtown, good stuff and has the huge impressive new Library that seems to be common all over King County.

Logging mural in downtown Issaquah

Darigold Dairy plant mural

We return to the “Fall City Roadhouse” for a breakfast, Twinkles has fantastic looking order of French Toast and I have a bacon, tomato and cheese Omelet.  It was a great breakfast, one of the best !

I return to Duvall to the “Match Wine and Coffee”  to see local musician Jim Marcotte play.  I’m not real comfortable hanging out in these more upscale places, but it turned out to be a most sociable evening for me talking about traveling with a nice local couple sitting next to me.  He lived in Weed, California as a youth where we were earlier this year and as I explained our travels, they were familiar with about all the places. She said she was in New Jersey for business and couldn’t believe how beautiful it was with the rolling green hills, that’s not what you usually hear. I didn’t really hear much of Jim Marcotte with all the conversation, until near the end when it was just me, the restaurant owners and Jim’s girlfriend left.  I did like him, so I bought a CD, sadly probably his only sale of the night.

The next stop will be a one nighter at the Tulalip Casino in Marysville, Washington and then onward to Sedro-Woolley, Washington:

Twinkles and Slick