April 2018 Cross-Country Road Trip: The Landscape in Photos

Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, CO

This is the final post from my April 2018 cross-country road trip from Lexington to Port Orchard, Washington and back. As a reminder, I covered 6000 miles and ventured through 16 states. Along the way I not only stopped to visit attractions and see the sites in towns small and large, but I also tried to capture the grandeur of the landscapes and scenery I passed by along the way.  Following are a number of scenic photos from that trip.  Enjoy the ride!  I have randomized these, so they are not in any particular order.  Captions tell the story.

Sunset in Colorado, taken on US 24 near Hartsel, Colorado
Lovely sunset after a windy day. Taken on a side road of Interstate 70 just east of Abilene, Kansas
Morning sky taken between Bend, OR and Brothers, OR (near Millican, OR) on US Hwy 20 heading east.
This is a sunset scene taken from the Edmonds to Kingston Ferry in Washington. The mountains in the distance are Olympic National Park. Water is Puget Sound.
This is US Route 2 heading west towards Waterville, WA
A huge dust storm as seen from Nevada Hwy 140 west of Winnemucca, NV
Lovely mountain scene from US Route 2 near Skykomish, WA
Mt. Rainier as seen from the Edmonds to Kingston Ferry crossing the Puget Sound.
US 101 near South Bend, WA. I was heading south and it was raining. Still beautiful
Another shot of Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs, CO
This is Hole in the Mountain Peak, taken from I-80 near Deeth, NV. I was heading east and this was south of me.
Blue Mesa Reservoir in Curecanti National Recreation Area east of Gunnison, CO. This was taken from US Hwy 50.
Mt. Aetna as seen from US 50 near Monarch Pass, Colorado. heading east.
Sunbeams over Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs, CO
One of the peaks of the Cascades near Goldbar, WA
A snowy Interstate 90 heading west towards Livingston, Montana
Seattle, Washington as seen from a ferry in Puget Sound
A scene of the high Utah desert near Crescent Junction, UT
Heading towards Pine Canyon near Waterville, WA
Sunset over Sinclair Inlet near Port Orchard, WA
Missouri River Valley near Chamberlain, South Dakota

US Route 2 just past Steven’s Pass, WA – notice how high the show walls are on the side

Wenatchee Valley, near Wenatchee, WA
US Route 2 in Eastern Washington
A view from Oregon 202
Colorado Highway 94 near Rush, Colorado
US 50 East of Gunnison near Monarch, CO
Frenchglen Highway in Central Oregon
Skykomish River near Skykomish, WA as seen from US Hwy 2
A beach scene in Manchester, WA
The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah
The high deserts of central Oregon are lovely.
The view of the Cascades as seen from the Skykomish / Gold Bar area of Washington, east of Everett.

ENJOY THE RIDE!  CHOOSE HAPPY!

If you like what you see, you may want to check out my book: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names, available on Amazon.  My second book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, is currently being worked on and I hope to make it available in late  June 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2

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Washington State: Adventures in Port Orchard, WA

Welcome to Port Orchard
Welcome to Port Orchard

As I may have noted in my earlier Washington posts, my daughter and her family live in Port Orchard, WA.  The city is located 13 miles due west of West Seattle and connected to Seattle and Vashon Island via the Washington State Ferries run to Southworth.

View of Mt. Rainier from the ferry near Port Orchard, WA
View of Mt. Rainier from the ferry near Port Orchard, WA

The Port Orchard area was first settled in 1854 by Wiliam Renton and Daniel Howard, who set up a saw mill there. The town that was to become Port Orchard was originally platted in 1886 by Frederick Stevens, who named the new location after his father, Sidney. The town of Sidney was incorporated September 15, 1890, and was the first in Kitsap County to be both platted and incorporated. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Navy sought a suitable location for another installation on the west coast, and found it with the assistance of Sidney’s residents in Orchard Bay (this installation would later become the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard).  The shipyard is still there.

A scene of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from the Port Orchard Ferry area
A scene of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard from the Port Orchard Ferry area

The population of the city is about 12,000.

Another view of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Another view of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

Over the few days we were there I was able to get a glimpse of the uniqueness of the pleasant town.  There are walls downtown with large murals and a few quirky places that were fun.

Undersea World mural in Port Orcahrd
Undersea World mural in Port Orcahrd

When we first drove through town I spied a large mural depicting an undersea world, including orcas and other things.  I captured a couple of shots and detail views of this colorful and large mural.

Unfortunately, I have searched to locate the artist of this work, but have not found it yet.

Entire Mural
Entire Mural
Detail of Port Orchard Mural
Detail of Port Orchard Mural
A second detail view of Port Orchard mural
A second detail view of Port Orchard mural – even has a treasure chest!!
The Orcas on the wall mural in Port Orchad
The Orcas on the wall mural in Port Orchard
This is another mural in Port Orchard
This is another mural in downtown Port Orchard

When you first get off of the ferry in Port Orchard, you can see the library, which has a few colorful murals as well.

One mural panel on Port Orchard library
One mural panel on Port Orchard library (If I recall correctly)
Sumoflam at the Mattress Ranch
Sumoflam at the Mattress Ranch

Along with murals, I am always on a never-ending quest to find the quirky and fun.  My son-in-law came across a place near Port Orchard that was udderly mooooving!  Indeed, it fulfills the definition of quirky to the max.

The Mattress Ranch in Port Orchard, WA
The Mattress Ranch in Port Orchard, WA
CJ the Cow-poke
CJ the Cow-poke

The place is called The Mattress Ranch and is one store of a chain of eleven stores in Washington and Alaska.  The brainchild of Ted Sadtler,  who has created a serious and profitable business with a quirky and fun twist.  The location in Port Orchard has a couple dozen fiberglass cows and many more farm animals sitting in a section outside of the parking lot.  Ultimately, its a kitschy twist on getting people to come to their stores, which continue the farm animal motif on the inside as well.  For me…a perfect fun spot with the quirky, off-beat character that I like.  Here are a few pics of “The Ranch.”

Mattress Ranch, Port Orchard, WA
Mattress Ranch, Port Orchard, WA

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Granddaughter Livvy with a ram at the Mattress Ranch
Granddaughter Livvy with a ram at the Mattress Ranch
Grandsons at play with a cow...milking it for all its worth!
Grandsons at play with a cow…milking it for all its worth!

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Bethel Saloon in Port Orchard, WA
Bethel Saloon in Port Orchard, WA

Then, on another trip we drove by a place…obviously a Biker Bar.  It was great!!  This too is in Port Orchard.

The Bethel Saloon has a skeleton on a motorcycle as the main decor at the top of the building.   They claim to be the only Biker Bar in town.  The building was apparently one of America’s first official Texaco Gasoline Service Stations in the late 1920’s. It’s also served as a general store, cafe, dry cleaners and pottery shop.   It is bedecked with a nice mural on the side and appears to have a great off-beat character to it. 

Bethel Saloon Mural
Bethel Saloon Mural
Closeup of the Biker Skeleton at Bethel Saloon
Closeup of the Biker Skeleton at Bethel Saloon

And, finally, a couple of other fun shots from town…

That's Bautiful Accessory Boutique in Port Orchard
That’s Beautiful Accessory Boutique in Port Orchard
A Gastro Pub in Port Orchard
A Gastro Pub in Port Orchard

Then, there is Easy Street….

EasyStreetDSC_6748And a couple of shots of the port…a ferry and my friend the Blue Heron….

A Walk-on Ferry leaves Port Orchard
A Walk-on Ferry leaves Port Orchard
A Blue Heron relaxes in the waters of Port Orchard
A Blue Heron relaxes in the waters of Port Orchard

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Washington State: Point Defiance Zoo

All packed in and ready to head for the zoo.
All packed in and ready to head for the zoo.

On Day 4 of our visit to Washington we packed up the kids and a couple of cars and made our way south to Tacoma to visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.   Though not as huge as some of the zoos we have been to (such as San Diego, Louisville, Cincinnati), it is still a nice zoo with some great opportunities to see some good wildlife.  The thing I like about most zoos is that they not only have a lot of animals, but they also have an abundance of flowers and foliage that is always pleasant.  So, this trip on this day was about grandkidz, animals and flowers.

Point Defiance Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo entrance

The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is apparently the only combined facility in the Pacific Northwest.  It is a 29 acre park and a major tourist attraction in the Tacoma area.

I was actually pleased with it as it was much smaller, quite clean and seemed like you could get a bit more “intimate” with the animals, though there was less of a variety of them.

A tiger at the Point Defiance Zoo
A tiger at the Point Defiance Zoo

Following are a few photos of the animals that I took.  They had four or five tigers in a couple of places, an elephant and a few other critters.  They had a goodly amount of birds, including penguins and puffins.  I always enjoy photographing the animals.

An Asian Elephant playing in the dirt
An Asian Elephant playing in the dirt
A Tiger Cub
A Tiger Cub
A puffin on watch
A puffin on watch
Puffin in a nest
Puffin in a nest
A Polar Bear tries to stay cool in the water.
A Polar Bear tries to stay cool in the water.
A playful otter does the backstroke
A playful otter does the backstroke
A tiger relaxes
A tiger relaxes
The small penguins stand majestically at feeding time
The small penguins stand majestically at feeding time
A sealion underwater
A sealion underwater
A blue budgie
A blue budgie

The Budgie exhibit was lots of fun, especially since the grandkidz were there and could actually feed the colorful birds. The real name for a budgie is “Budgerigar” and these cute little guys are native to Australia and New Zealand.  This parrot species is very social and it was very apparent, just being in the exhibit with them.  They were not afraid of hanging around people.

Grandson Benson enjoys handling a budgie
Grandson Benson enjoys handling a budgie
Charles watches as he carefully feeds a budgie
Charles watches as he carefully feeds a budgie
A pair of budgies
A pair of budgies
No...he is only acting like a budgie.
No…he is only acting like a budgie.
White budgie
White budgie
Bald eagle
Bald eagle

We brought our lunch and enjoyed it while watching a stage which featured a number of animals from the zoo.  I was most enthralled with the bald eagle.

It was as close as I have ever been to these amazing (and quite large birds).   I saw a couple of them on our road trips in Washington, but could never capture any on camera until the zoo.

Winspan
Wingspan
Grandkidz
Grandkidz

Of course, watching the kids was also fun.  They had a variety of facial expressions at the various exhibits.  Here are some “grandkidz” shots from the zoo.

Their curiosity is always a joy to experience.  Going to the zoo with young children is fascinatingly fun!

Livvy points at the elephant
Livvy points at the elephant
Charles is bored?
Charles is bored?
Kade watches
Kade watches
Charles shows some excitement
Charles shows some excitement
Livvy flirts
Livvy flirts
Hanging with my sweetheart at Point Defiance Zoo
Hanging with my sweetheart at Point Defiance Zoo

DSC_5699Part of the joy at a zoo is the variety of plants and flowers.  I enjoyed a few closeup shots of these, including some varieties I have never seen before.

Following are a few of my shots:

A bee grabs a snack
A bee grabs a snack

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Amazing Lily 1
Amazing Lily 1
Julianne with bamboo
Julianne with bamboo
Amazing Lily 2
Amazing Lily 2

DSC_5674DSC_5778And finally, I have to say that the view of Mt. Rainier from the zoo was spectacular.  Could not have asked for a more beautiful day and beautiful views!

Mt. Rainier as seen from the Point Defiance Zoo
Mt. Rainier as seen from the Point Defiance Zoo
Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

After the zoo we headed back home, dropped the kids off, changed clothes and all of the adults headed for Seattle to go to the Mormon Temple there.  We took a ferry across the Sound.

Ferries are a way of life in the Seattle area.  Many live on one side of the Puget Sound and

On the Ferry to Seattle
On the Ferry to Seattle – Mt. Rainier in the background

work on the other side, including my son in law Aaron. The give you a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of the city job.  I really enjoyed sitting on the deck and taking in the views, smelling the fresh air and have the wind blow through my hair.

This particular ferry ride offered some amazing views of Mt. Rainier as well as some nice views of Seattle on the approach in. They were different views from those of a couple of days earlier.

View of Seattle from the Ferry
View of Seattle from the Ferry
A ferry passes by us in the sound with Mt. Rainier in the backround
A ferry passes by us in the sound with Mt. Rainier in the background
A shot of the Seattle skyline
A shot of the Seattle skyline
Another Seattle shot
Another Seattle shot
Thai food at Tangerine Thai
Thai food at Tangerine Thai

Once we crossed the Sound, it was back in the car and heading towards the lovely Seattle Temple. We stopped along the way to have some great Thai Food. Tangerine Thai was a classy little place with some amazing cuisine that I hadn’t seen (or tasted) before.

Grilled Eggplant at Tangerine Thai
Grilled Eggplant at Tangerine Thai
Grilled Salmon Curry at Tangerine
Grilled Salmon Curry at Tangerine

After dinner it was off to the temple.  Nice to visit another temple!

At Seattle Temple
At Seattle Temple
A symbol of LDS Temples - the Angel Moroni
A symbol of LDS Temples – the Angel Moroni
Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge
Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge

After doing some baptisms for the dead, we headed back to Port Orchard with the sunset.  It was a wonderful day with family!!

 

 

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