USA Pacific Northwest & Western Canada early summer 2000
(The photographs: Originals on 35mm slides. Photographed off the screen using a digital camera for use on the web, and then compressed. Quality suffers, but I hope they are still enjoyable)
The picture above shows my route. I started in Seattle, and drove with a friend to his relatives in Sandpoint, Idaho, and further up into Canada. My friend lives in Portland, so on out way back from Sandpoint, we travelled further south. After this, I had a week on my own driving down the Oregon and Californian coast to San Fransisco. I left the coast to visit Yosemite National Park, and then returned to Portland and Seattle.
Locks in Seattle. These takes boats from the sea up to Lake Union and further up to Washington Lake. I had a long walk around Seattle this day, started off at 5:30 in the morning. I enjoy walking, as I get to experience much more of daily life and catch the small details in a place this way.
I walked almost 20 miles that day (Good shoes and packpack with necessities + camera is mandatory). I got into central Seattle and got a shot of one of the uglier stuctures you won’t find in Seattle tourist brochures. Somebody I spkoe with called it the Alaskan Highway, and said there would be one advantage with an earthquake in Seattle: They would get rid og this.
In the port area you find the “Old Curiosity Shop” that sells all kinds of strange items. This dried (or mumified?) man with a bullethole in his body is one of the major attractions – but probably not for sale. I remember it (him) clearly from my first visit to Seattle in 1977. Yoy should visit this shop when you are in the Pike Place Market area. From here, you can take the old renovated tram to the oldest part of downtown Seattle that has charming cafes alnd nice little shops. They also have the “Underground tour” here, a guided tour where you get to see Seattle from below and learn about the city’s history. Our guide was funny with a lot of old smelly stories about the sewage system in old Seattle. Recommended.
Snoqualmie falls is a magnificent view about 1 hours drive from Seattle (depending on traffic). The building you see on the left has a nice (but expensive) restautant. Good idea to go here for lunch and a little stroll around the park and viewpoints. You can also work your way down to the river.
Old airplane inside the “Red Barn” at the Boeing Museum of Flight. This is where the Boeing started assembling planes. This museum is a “must see” for all interested in aviation. The exhebitions are well organized, and if you want to photograph different types of aircraft, this is the place. I did not notice any restrictions on photography, and I like museums that allows using a camera. Pictures are usually an imporant part of what tourists like to do.
This is me in the cockpit of the fastest “conventional” aircraft (i.e. except rockets) ever built, the Lockheed SR71. That aircraft was designed for reconnaissance, and could fly away from many anti aircraft rockets. Wonder how it is to be here doing Mach 3 or more at 100.000 feet (30 km) altitude? I’ll probably never know.
Me again, inside the old Air Force One. Interesting to see inside this probably most famous aircraft (except perhaps Charles Lindhbergs “Spirit of St. Louis”) used by many American presidents, including president Nixon. To be honest: It was smaller inside that I expected. When President Clinton visited Oslo in 1999, he used two 747s and a Galaxy transport aircraft for his stuff.
Fascinating landscape in eastern Washington on our way to Sandpoint Idaho. I like these vast open fields – kind of the same feeling you get far out at sea.
The area around Sandpint has lots of wildlife, including these squirrels that came to the kitchen door for their daily ration of peanuts. They grabbed peanuts right out of your hand.
These arent very shy, the photo was taken while sitting in the car, and I didn’t need to put a telephoto lens on.
Little humming-birds on a bird feeder provided by my friends old landlady. These birds move fast, so plan on doing many shots to make one satisfactory one. The wings are moving so fast that you are unable to see them while the bird is flying – and keeping it’s body motionless in the air.
This nice little home is in the historical town of Fort Steele in Canada. The entire city was abandoned when railroad systems where developed in other parts of the region. The climate is quite good for preserving wooden structures, and the entire city remains virtually intact in it’s original state. It has everything you expect to find in a frontier town. Some of the original stores are still open, we went to a bakery, and also saw tha blacksmith at work. The Dentist’s shop is also here, but I guess he doesn’t receive many customers anymore – his equipment looked like torture tools (and probably felt like them too) even if the sign said painless . Fort Steele is a must-see if you have kids with you.
After a hike to Sulphur Mountain in Banff, it is nice to soak your body in these hot springs and enjoy the fantastic view of the Canadian Rockies, breathe the crisp, cold air, and still be warm and comfortable in the water. The water is warmer than in regular pools, and is steaming as it comes out of the mountain. It has to bee cooled down a little for you to soak your body in it.
This fairy-tale castle looking building is the Canadian Pacific Railroad luxury hotel (Banff Springs Hotel) built in stone and started more than 100 years ago. I remember this picture from a travel book I saw many years ago, but could not remember where it was until I actually got to see it myself. Usually, I don’t spend money on expensive hotels when I travel on holiday, but when they are as special as this, I think it’s worth the money. This is where I would stay if I where to visit Banff again. Make shure to get a room with a window facing west in the main building.
Elk. If traffic signs warns about elk on the roads national parks in Canada, look out. They’re probably there – the question is: how many? These animals are quite large, and you should approach with caution. As with all animals that can represent a possible hazard, never sneak up on it (it may attack when surprised by someone being close), but let the animal know you are there, and always allow it a way of escape. Stop proceeding if it shows signs of anger or fear. If they have young ones, stay at a longer distance.
Big horn sheep are rather shy, and afraid if you come on foot. My best shots where again taken from tha car window. Although they have big horns, they didn’t appear to be particularly dangerous.
Canadian National Parks are really beautiful, and this is one of the most beautiful places I ever saw, particularly when weather cooperates as here.
Mirror image at Lake Louise, defenetely the prettiest lake I ever saw. The ice on the lake cracked open this day, and revealed crystal clear water. Cameras clicked all over, and luckily no silly kid destroyed this view by throwing a rock into the water.
The resort located at Lake Louise. Remains of the ice can bee seen in front. Although this large structure is not very pretty (it doesn’t help calling it a chateau), it is probably a better idea to build one large building instead of spoiling the area with several smaller resorts. This allows more people to come here and experience more unspoilt nature.
Canoing in Canada. Fantastic. If you plan a canoing expedition in the Canadian wilderness, and miss a participant, call me.
I am now back in the US, and while Canada has strict regulation on carrying guns, everyone in the US seems to be allowed to carry them. Judging from traffic signs, many people carrying guns in the US should not be allowed to do that. By the way: Mile-markers is a genious way to tell you where you are. I never got lost driving in the US, even if many of these areas where completely new to me.
Oregon coast. Long, nice beaches and some cabins, but water is too cold, and dangerous sea currents threatens the brave swimmer from below. Pity. However, there are a lot of other attractions and nice little towns. The only hostel on the Oregon coast is a small establishment in the little town Bandon. I had the men’s dorm all to myself. Bandon is a nice place for short hikes around. I used a road called “Seven devils road” south on my way to Bandon, but couldn’t find anything special about it. In Gold Beach, you can take jet-boats up to the small place called Agness. To save time, I used my car instead, and got to see a lot that way too, and got to Agness before the crowds. I don’t regret on using my car.
Everyone should see the redwood trees in Nothern California once in their lifetime. The size is unbelievable, and must be seen. Driving in these forests really maky you feel small. No photo can reproduce the impression if being there. They also have the even bigger trees (in bulk) called Giant Sequoias – a must see. They are the biggest living organisms on earth. Some of them where old trees when Jesus Christ walked around on earth, and are still alive.
Another Redwood. And it’s 300 feet / 100 meters tall. I guess lumber-jacks in the old days needed to be big and strong to cut down these in the old days.
This redwood provides a living for a local guy who where lucky to have this on his land. For a couple of bucks, you got the chance to drive through and take all the photos you wanted. I met some people on motorbikes, and we did all the pictures we wanted: Me in the car, they on their bikes, me alone inside, and also me on one of their bikes, which is the one I was most happy with. This tree you can find in Klamath, CA – look for a sign on the highway, it’s just next to the highway. A nice stop on the way that only takes 30 minutes.
Well, after a long ride on the twisty little roads called highway 1 (VERY twisty – not really recommended, but certainly fun on a motorbike) along the North California Coast, I finally came to San Fransisco. In case you didn’t pay attention, the local authorities has provided signs telling you that, yes, they have hills in San Fransisco.
Almost all of the typical tourist knowledge about San Fransisco in one picture: Hills, cable car, the sea and Alcatraz. Guess what is missing in the picture? (Hint: A large bridge.)
Some hills are steeper than others. This is known to be the steepest that you can still drive down. It’s a one way street, so you cannot go up here.
First time you are in Paris, you have to do the Eiffel Tower (and leave it for the inexperienced tourists on later visits). I guess Alcatraz does the same for San Fransisco, and as this was my first time to the city, I had to go. Now I can answer “yes” to the second question I usually get about San Fransisco. The conversation goes like this:
Q: Have you been in San Fransisco?
Q: Did you go to Alcatraz?
Yosemite National Park. A ranger greeting me. (Or to be honest: I actually left the park this way, but didn’t get the idea of this shot before) During the planning of my Yosemite visit, I found a lot of useful information on www.yosemitefun.com/images/how_to.htm particularly if you only plan to stay two days (as I did). If you like longer hikes on foot, you should plan on staying longer.
This view is from Glacier Point, easily accessible and a 5 minute walk away from the parking lot. Definetely the best viewpoint in the park that does not require a hike on foot. Half Dome in Yosemite is the mountain to the right in the picture. I should have taken a hike there if I had a 3rd day in Yosemite, but I was running out of time. For 1st class accomodation, stay at the Ahwanee hotel close to everything in the middle of the valley. It is almost in the picture above, just outside the lower left corner. For budget accomodation, the Yosemite “Bugs” hostel just outside the national park is a good choice. They have some nice 6 bed dorms, each with a bath, and some less nice beds in a large garage (or was it a barn?). Make shure what you get when you make reservations.
The classic Yosemite photograph, also known as the tunnel view. This is because the view appears immediately after you exit a tunnel on highway 41. You should actually start slowing down before you exit the tunnel. Expect a crowd of people and vehicles here.
Exiting through Tioga Pass takes you to this monotonous landscape. I found the landscape fascinating, particularly the way down the valley. After this, I had a long drive back to Portland, Oregon, and further up to Seattle by Greyhound bus.