I stayed the night at a Motel 6 in Centralia, WA. The clerk at the motel asked for ID and it felt like 10 minutes of computer stuff she did while looking at my ID. What do you need a federal background check to stay at a Motel 6 now? It almost seemed like an afterthought when she asked for my credit card to pay for the room.
For breakfast the next morning, I went to a place called Country Cousins. It was a fun rustic family restaurant. The servers wore black t-shirts that featured a version of Grant Wood’s American Gothic where the man is wearing a cowboy hat and the woman is wearing a pink with white polka dot apron with white gingham edges. Then under the picture it states: “Let’s get Country Fried.” The inside of the restaurant is like going into a barn and has old farm tools and “antique” type things hanging and sitting around. The tables are light wood that have old photos and prints that are decoupage onto the surface. I had the Hazel’s Omelet and it was a plate full of food for the $10. What a fun way to start off the day.
I then fueled up real quickly (Thank you Jay & Patty for the Chevron card!) and off I went on I-5 South to Hwy 12. On Hwy 12 I went through towns named like Ethel, Salkum, Mossyrock, and Morton. It like those names a mother would give a kid to embarrass them for the rest of their life. Mossyrock seemed to the most scenic of them as I went by at 55mph. At Morton, I drove north on Hwy 7 to town of Elbe (another wonderful name) where I took a right to go towards the Mount Rainier National Park.
|Photo- My first view of Mt. Rainier while I'm still aways away.|
I stopped at a gas/grocery station in Ashford, the last town before the Park, to pick up a cold beverage and a little snack before heading in. It’s there that I got into a quick conversation with a motorcycle guy while in line. He asked if I was going into the National Park today and I said yes. He went on to say that Hell’s Angels would be visiting the Park today too. WHAT?!!? Go figure the day I’m going to visit a National Park all of Hell’s Angels would be there too. Well, I did see a great deal of motorcycles but whether they were Hell’s Angels or not I couldn’t say for sure. But I will say quite a few of them were kind of rough around the edges.
|Photo- Of me with Mt. Rainier in the background. |
The guy that took the picture was kneeling that's why I look so tall! :)
Mount Rainier National Park was amazing! I drive along on a road edged by tall evergreens and the whole time I get little peeks at Mount Rainier through the tops of the trees. The road winds around quite a bit and there are tons of areas to pull out and stop or look at sites or take a hike. I got out at the first area and took a couple of pictures of Mount Rainier but it was still a ways off. Back in the car, I went and continued driving up. I felt like I was getting into the “nose bleed” section of the surrounding mountains when a large over look came up. Wow! I had a guy nearby that took a photo of me in front of the mountain, and I took several other pictures too. The overlook where I stood has a sheer cliff drop that goes down to very rocky streambed of a river that runs off the mountain. It had to be at least a few hundred feet down. Needless to say, I didn’t want to get too close to that edge.
|Photo- Bridge over stream with waterfalls. So pretty!|
|Photo- Another name for restroom at the National Parks?|
Comfort? Where's the jacuzzi or how about a pedicure?
Comfort? A Men's and a Women's with three stalls each. Hmmm?
Next, I continued up the road for as far as I was able. The Steven’s Canyon Road was closed for road construction. They started that the day after Labor Day. I got up to a picnic area and there was a wonderful bridge with stream that waterfall a couple of times down. Unfortunately, the Nierda Falls trail that I would have loved to have seen these waterfalls from the other side was closed too because of the above construction. Darn! I went back to Longmeir and walked around the a bit; saw the gift shop, restaurant, and an old fueling like station that had historical info. I guess that President Taft’s car was the first car over the Paradise Road Pass in 1912 and for part of it the car was pulled by mules. Now, that would have been something to see.
After I left the park there was still quite a bit of day time hours. The night before I had visited the website for a RV/Camping place that looked rather nice; so after a little back tracking I went back past the town of Mossyrock and turned off to Paradise RV Resort. Let me state for the record--Don’t always believe in a place named Paradise and don’t always believe what you read on the internet.
|Photo- The ONLY view at the Paradise RV Resort before you went in.|
The only view that the RV Park had was just prior to you going into the RV Park, and I felt a bit like I was in the movie Deliverance. Most of the men had wife beater tank tops, wore either farm caps or cowboy hats, and a few of them were toothless too. There were some old married couples where the guys looked like they have served in the military. At least that what I saw as I set up my tent in the tents only section. I was the only tent in that section for the night.
I set up my tent real quick and then decided I would catch a bike ride; after all it was only 5pm. So off I go, up out of the valley with no view and down to towards the pretty little Mayfield Lake. Now this was nice. The road I took was lined with little farms, cottonwood trees and evergreen trees. Down I went to the lake and crossed over the bridge and then took a quick loop through a cute little state park; which I could’ve camped in. Live and learn!
I took a quick shower when I got back to “Paradise” which the facilities were relatively clean and well kept up I have to say. I then proceeded into town of Mossyrock to grab a bite to eat because “Paradise” didn’t allow any open flame. I soon discovered that most of the restaurant places close in Mossyrock about 7 or 8pm. In fact, quite a few of the businesses close down by 6pm on a week night. Not much of a nightlifr type of town here.
I ended up going to Tavern that also served food. I ended up ordering the DAM Bacon cheeseburger; which is how it is on the menu and toots itself as the best in the entire county. I will say that it was a good pretty good burger and very large too. I ended up ordering a Bacardi Silver with it and the gal wasn’t sure what that was but I pointed to it on the menu. " Oh," she said," mostly everyone orders bottles or cans of beer here." Well, I said it’s probably obvious I’m not from here; and thus, I ended up talking on and off during my meal and a couple of drinks afterwards.
I also met some more locals that sat down near me; Jerry, a contractor, and his brother Steve. They seemed like some nice local guys and it was fun talking with them. I ended up talking with Jerry and explaining what I was doing. Then talking about what I had seen in the state of Washington. What was funny is that he didn’t know about or where half the things were that I had seen. He said that I probably knew his state better than what he did.
I’m not surprised though. It seems like quite often people get in a rut of doing the same thing or don’t explore their local areas that much because when its vacation time all they want to do is get away. And away, most often is outside of their state or a hot tourist attraction that you fly to. It’s sad because I’ve spent a little over a week and a half in Washington State and feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of seeing all that is here.