John developed an obsession for clouds during GFW ’09. We have seen so many beautiful scenes, most of which included BIG clouds. Gorgeous!
As we got closer to the turn off for Lake Louise the rain abated a bit and we decided to give it a try. We drove to the lake hoping to see something through the clouds that had engulfed us throughout the morning. We arrived at the parking lot and looked at each other and said, “Where’s the lake?” What were we missing? We parked in the lot and took a short path through the woods. We spotted bluish green through the woods and realized we were on the right path (literally). After a very short walk we were greeted by beautiful Lake Louise. The sun was out fully and the spectacle in front of our eyes was nothing short of breathtaking.
Before we left Seattle and headed farther north we needed to check a few things off our list. The first one was to channel our inner Guy Fieri and visit either a diner, a drive-in, or a dive. We took his recommendation and visited Mike’s Chili Parlor in Ballard, WA. It was not a drive-in and did not really have that diner feel so we are classifying it as a dive. A delicious dive! We walked in this no-frills establishment and ordered our lunch. John tried a cup of chili complete with onions, cheese, and jalapenos, while Donna opted for the chili spaghetti with onions. Delicious!! We both like the fact that as modern stores sprouted up around this chili parlor its proprietors stayed true to its roots and refused to sell out. Next time you find yourself in Seattle venture over the bridge, a bit north of downtown, and have yourself some chili. Just remember to bring cash as that is all they accept.
We then wound our way to the Archie McPhee store. This store is filled with anything and everything unusual. You can buy a yodeling pickle or dueling bacon and tofu. We wandered the store laughing at the unusual items everywhere. Who really needs a pair of squirrel underpants? This shop is pure fun and fortunately they have a thorough catalog to meet all of our unusual requests.
Next we headed to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle in search of Roadside America attractions. We were specifically in search of the infamous Fremont Troll but were pleasantly surprised to find a plethora of attractions to add to our list. The Fremont Troll lives under the Aurora Bridge and is big and scary enough to prevent any billy goats from crossing. In his hand he is clutching an actual VW Bug which looks tiny in comparison to this behemoth. Definitely worth the side trip to the Fremont neighborhood.
We then walked down the street to the Waiting for the Interurban statue. This statue is unique as anyone can decorate it as long as they do not use it as a form of advertisement. We found the people decked out in leis with a large HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign strung overhead. Donna wished she knew about this before their visit because she is sure there would have been some way to deck them out for Go Farther West.
We walked a bit more and discovered Rapunzel on the bridge with her long flowing locks drifting down toward the river. We also discovered How The Elephant Got His Trunk. Probably the most amusing site, however, was the massive Lenin statue that stood on the corner. When we passed by it the first time we thought it was a bit odd. Why Lenin? The oddness multiplied, however, as we returned to our car and spotted an older gentleman on a very large ladder attempting to throw a giant noose with a sign attached around Lenin’s neck. What political statement was he trying to make we pondered as we watched try to swing the noose around the neck. Pedestrians stopped to watch and discuss what he was doing (and whether or not he was going to fall off the ladder). He managed to successfully complete his task, dismantled the ladder, and walked away. We rushed over only to discover the sign read SIZE MATTERS. It was merely an advertisement for the burrito store near the statue. This has definitely been a trip of bizarre occurrences.
We both enjoyed Fremont tremendously and look forward to returning another time.
A trip to Powell’s was one of the conditions John and Donna set when they began planning (or not planning) Go Father West ’09. Today was the day. As we walked toward the “City of Books” Donna remembered the hours and hours spent there when she lived in Portland. She wondered if it had changed like the rest of the city or if it would feel like going home. John was enamored from the minute he saw the creative bike racks outside.
They entered and Donna noticed some changes but it still had that homey feel. John entered with baited breath wondering if it would live up to the expectations set by so many who had been there before. He was curious to find out if it would measure up to Anderson’s standards, especially considering the immense nature of the store. Would it live up to the “Eat, Read, Sleep” motto that both espouse?
We walked through the aisles absorbing the vast number of books. Comparing the two stores (or was it necessary to compare them at all?) feels like comparing apples to oranges. Could such a large bookstore compare to the intimacy of Anderson’s? John felt like he was in a public library. He kept thinking that the employees were reference librarians.
The conclusion is that both stores are unique. John holds loyal to Anderson’s and Donna remains an avid fan of Powell’s, although John would shop at Powell’s on a regular basis if he lived in Portland. Regardless, Powell’s is a wonderful place that should be experienced if you find yourself in Portland.
The drive was beginning to get a bit long when Donna noticed a sign for a “drive thru tree.” She yelped with glee as she asked John if they could stop and steered the car toward the exit. Had John said he did not want to go she knows the car would still have made the detour. We soon found ourselves at the entrance to the “Drive-Thru Tree” and paid our $5 admission. We wound down a narrow road as Donna pondered what would happen if another car came from the other direction. (She was not aware that it was a one way road). We arrived at the tree and waited behind several cars for our turn to drive through. As we entered Donna carefully checked John’s mirrors to make sure they would clear it as they laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole thing. We both wondered how the tree could survive with a huge hole in it but it seemed to be doing just fine. Donna thought all in all it as a worthwhile $5.oo investment.
We had doubts about whether or not we could go one day disconnected from social networking sites and the “iPhone clutch.” There were times when a question or a location would have been quickly answered/found via Yelp, Google Maps, or a simple keyword search. Disconnecting from technology set the foundation for a more enjoyable ride through northern California and southern Oregon (at least through our eyes). It was easier to focus on the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful Redwood Trees, and the narrowness of Route 101. After a few hours the urge wore off to read a status message, check if anyone posted a comment on gofartherwest09.com, and respond to e-mail. Give it a try—you will probably like it.
Donna and John will not check or post to any social networking sites or send text messages for the next 24 hours. They are mutually playing the “Let’s Disconnect” card. They will randomly turn on their phones to check for voicemail messages but will not check or read anything further.
This card starts as soon as they recap their evening. If John catches Donna disobeying this card (or vice-versa), the other will have to pay an extra day. This may make Donna pay on her own birthday. Wouldn’t that be sad?