Our spring, 2007 trip took us on a loop through Utah, Idaho, Yakima WA, Olympia, Bremerton, Seattle and Vancouver BC to Elderhostel #10973--Butchart and Empress Delights: Gardens, Wine, Chocolate and Royal Visits in Victoria BC. We generally avoid interstate highways when we travel so we can enjoy the scenery.

We then took the ferry to Washington, toured Whidbey Island, the Olympic Peninsula, Astoria OR, and up the Columbia to Portland where we joined Elderhostel #6015--A River Passage Through the Oregon Territory, cruising along the Columbia River on the Spirit of Discovery. The educational focus of the Elderhostel was the Lewis and Clark Expedition along the Columbia River.

Before turning east to return to Colorado, we visited friends and family in California. NB: [click] means you can click an image for a larger or different, related image.

View from the top of the Moqui Dugway, a three mile unpaved, switch-backed section of Utah 261 north of Mexican Hat; it gains 1100 feet in altitude. [click]

212-foot tall Shoshone Falls, on the Snake River, before the spring runoff.

Our Sienna on the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry. Rita enjoyed the ferry ride out on the bow. [click]

Blooming fruit and nut trees added color to Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum.

A seagull helped Ron with computer work at our Vancouver Hotel near Stanley Park. [click]

We dined with Frank, whom we met in China. We had a fine meal at the Raincity Grill near Stanley Park, Vancouver BC.

BC Ferry from Vancouver to Swartz Bay, we drove down-island to Victoria BC. [click]

Ron and Rita in Victoria, with the Empress Hotel in the background. The Hotel welcomed well-behaved dogs, and even served them dog-biscuits each day! Rita was happy to be in her van (the most comfortable kennel in Canada) in an underground garage while we attended classes, otherwise, she just hung out with us. [click] =>

Afternoon tea with other Elderhostelers. [click]

Charles Blackhall (Elderhostel Instructor) discussed British Columbia wines with Ron. [click]

A decorated dome of the BC Parliament House--designed by Rattenbury, the architect of the Victoria Empress. [click]

Exterior of a wing of the Parliament building.

Elderhostelers had the rare privilege of a tour through the Empress Hotel's kitchen. It was a-bustle preparing for Afternoon Tea. [click]

D'Oyen Christie, the Empress Pastry Chef demonstrates how to create chocolate delights. He prepared a treat for each Elderhosteler. [click]

Based on this sign [Keep yellow buoys to port (LEFT)], Canada has lost its seafaring history. [click]

As with most west-coast Chinatowns, Victoria's is eclectic, extensive and exciting. Unfortunately, it did not have a garden to rival the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden that graces Vancouver.

In spite of record rainfalls and generally cloudy days, our tour of Butchart Gardens was gloriously sunny! Here we descend into the sunken garden. [click]

One of many large water features at Butchart. [click]

Sturgeon Fountain, between the Japanese and Rose Gardens at Butchart. [click]

The original lobby entrance to the Victoria Empress. [click]


The Coho Ferry provided a ride back to the United States--to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. [click]

Floating houses line Victoria Harbor.

Port Townsend-Whidbey Island Ferry.

Bob and Marilyn by an ancient cedar on Whidbey. [click]

Deception Pass separates Whidbey Island from the mainland. [click]

Tasting wines at Greenbank Farms--they feature a fine loganberry dessert wine.

Penn Cove provided marvelous shellfish. Mussels, YUM!

Ruby Beach on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula. [click]

Take a break from driving--on the cold-water Pacific [click]

Ferns and moss live on water that drips off the trees in the Hoh Rainforest. [click]

Cetacean skeletons at the Westport Maritime Museum, Washington. [click]

Approaching the 4.07 mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge across the mouth of the Columbia, from the north. [click]

Fort Vancouver in Vancouver WA. Our Elderhostel group took its first field trip to this museum. [click]

The Columbia River Gorge and Chanticleer Point, OR.

Sculpture in the lobby of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Portland OR--land base for the Elderhostel group. [click]

The Steel Bridge on the Willamette River, Portland OR. Its lower deck carries rail, pedestrian and bicycle traffic and the upper deck carries cars. It opened in 1912. The bridge connects Old Town Chinatown with the Rose Quarter. According to our native guides, Willamette is pronounced to rhyme with Dammit! [click]

The Empress of the North, a stern-wheeler based in Juneau, was cruising the along the river.

It must be April Fool's day: our ship, Spirit of Discovery, has her main deck below the level of the grass!

We entered our first lock, Bonneville. [click]

This propeller operated a (Kaplan) water turbine. [click]

Multnomah Falls, south bank of the Columbia River. [click]

Our small cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, on the Columbia River. It was operated by Cruise West. [click]

Columbia Canyon walls hold remains of flumes that carried logs down the mountains to the river for floating to saw mills.

John Day Lock is a guillotine lock that lifts the gate 110 feet--highest of any lock in the U.S.A. [click]

This lava flow on the Columbia's north shore shows the typical columns that form as lava cools.

Dave, our accomplished and accommodating bartender pours an Alaskan Ale on board The Spirit of Discovery.

Jet boat excursion. Because of damage to the Little Goose Dam Lock, we could not go up the Snake River. Instead, we jetted up the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River.

White Pelicans flew along the Hanford Reach. [click]

One of many de-commissioned breeder reactors along the Hanford Reach. Plutonium from its B Reactor fueled "Fat Man," the atomic bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945.

A riverside lecture at a former Lewis and Clark campsite.

The Ft. Walla Walla Museum had a diverse collection of artifacts from the region. [click]

The lock at the Dalles held back the Columbia until gates behind our ship closed and the draining water level droped us to the river.

Auguste Rodin's sculpture of Camille Claudel at the Maryhill Museum of Art. [click]

Mount Hood, visible from the south side of the Maryhill Museum of Art

Sam Hill’s Stonehenge, enroute to the MaryHill Museum.

Betty snaped Ron and Marilyn at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. [click]

Wind surfers frolicked on the Columbia River.

Betty, Reed, Joan, Ron, Jim and Marilyn (photographer) enjoyed Happy Hour on the stern sundeck.

First over, then under the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

The Spirit of Discovery, in full profile, tied up at Astoria.

The Astoria Brewing Company and Wet Dog Cafe poured many fine ales.

The marvelous Columbia River Maritime Museum featured dramatic depictions of rescues in the roily waters where the Columbia River pushes into the Pacific Ocean! [click]

Dugout canoes at Ft. Clatsop--Lewis and Clark's winter camp. [click]

Heading back to Portland, we encountered this port Tug.

We bade fond adieu to new friends, particularly the Barlaus, with whom we have since taken many additional trips. Then we headed south down the Oregon Coast. [click]

Among the joys of coastal travel is small cafes with fresh sea food! [click]

In California, Granddaughter Noelle struck a pose reminiscent of Lewis and Clark when she led a night expedition into a Moreno Valley urban forest. =>

Our month of travel took us away from Alamosa at the best time of year--we missed the coldest spring winds. By the time we returned in April, bulb flowers began to poke through the just-thawed surface as summer crept slowly back and the snow left the hills.

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