Monday, July 06, 2009

Road Trip 2009: Leg 4

The morning after we arrived was Graduation Day. Mel woke Randy up by telling him that some of his friends had vandalized her van during that night and that he needed to come and see.

Of course everyone else knew that they were getting him up early to surprise him with a car for a graduation gift.

This video is hilarious. Check out how Mel had to point to the car for Randy to even look in that direction! 6:00AM was just way too early!!




After Randy's surprise, Jeff and I headed to Spokane to pick up his mom, Jerilyn, and Hannah our niece.

On our way back to Bridgeport, we stopped at Grand Coulee Dam. This was the 2nd dam we'd stopped at on this trip. It was incredible. It's amazing just how big and powerful these dams are.

We stopped at the vista point, a few miles from the dam. For some perspective on the size of the dam, the little holes that you can see kind of in the middle of this picture are so big that 2 semi-trucks could drive through them side by side!




Before returning to Bridgeport, we made a stop another dam: the Chief Joseph Dam. This one is actually in Bridgeport. In fact, Jeff's brother, Bill, works at the dam.
You can walk down stairs into the river. This was as far as I wanted to go. There are at least two or three more levels that are under the river.

Hannah and me at the bottom of the stairs

One of the main purposes of our trip was to attend Randy's graduation from high school. I brought my camera to the ceremony, but I didn't take a single picture! Terrible, I know.

The next day was Bridgeport Days. It's kicked off with a parade.

Here's a picture of Bill and his son, Billy, kicking off the parade with a half-track.The finale of the parade was some mariachi dancers. They were neat to watch. I took a video, too, but I was too far away to catch any of the music on the video, so here is just a picture.

There were a lot of cars and a couple of floats between the half-track and the dancers, but I didn't really get any pictures of them. It was a pretty fun parade--especially for all the kids in Bridgeport. There was a LOT of candy being thrown to the crowd.

Cousins RaeAnne and Parker wanted to show that they were glued at the hip (being good "buddies" using the buddy system as we walked from the parade to the park), but couldn't quite get their hips together.

There! That's better.

At the park, Eli and RaeAnne bought inflatable swords.

This was really fun! This tricked out car was actually in the parade! It would adjust its hydraulics while driving along the parade route; it was very cool to watch, but I didn't get any pictures during the parade. I was glad to see it parked like this when it was time to go.

Jeff remembers that they would always spill the Chief Joseph Dam during Bridgeport Days, but Bill informed us that it wasn't going to happen this year. We were totally bummed.

Imagine our surprise when we got a phone call saying it was spilling! We grabbed our shoes and were out the door so fast! It was quite an experience to see.

First, we when to the top overlook to get a great aerial view.

When we got down to the base, we were suprised to see some of our family had come to see the spill, too.

From Left to Right: Brianna, Hannah, Diva, RaeAnne, Sallie, Me

Here is a picture of Jeff down at the bottom of the stairs. With the spilling, he was able to go down about two more landings further than Hannah and I had the day before.

Sallie was not impressed. Every time the water was splash, she would jump back as far as she could. We tried to get a better picture or a video, but she wouldn't get close again.




After taking lots of pictures of the dam spilling, we rounded up most of the kids and headed to Alta Lake. It was fun to go swimming in a lake that was in the mountains. It was pretty awe-inspiring for this MN girl. We've got lots of lakes out here, but they are not nestled in the mountains like this one.
Back at Bill & Mel's, RaeAnne and Sallie had so much fun together! Here they are taking a rest. After a few days at Bill & Mel's it was time to head back home. Here are a few pictures from our home stretch.


Sallie would do this cute thing while sitting on Jeff's lap. She would tuck her head into the holes in our steering wheel. I wish we'd gotten a better picture. It was so funny!

We all know how much Jeff likes to get Sallie to sing! Here is a final video of the two of them singing while driving down the freeway.

video

Friday, July 03, 2009

Road Trip 2009: Leg 3

The 3rd leg of our trip takes us through Northern CA, the Redwood National Forest, up near Seattle, WA and the Rocky Reach Dam.
Before we even left Susanville, we took this fun video of Sallie with her head out the window--just enjoying being a dog!
video

The following pictures are from the Whiskeytown State Park. We stopped here for a bathroom break and decided to make lunch while we were stopped. We didn't even need to leave the parking lot; it was so beautiful!

This was neat! There are buoys out in the lake that normally we think of as a warning to keep boaters away from swimmers , but these buoys are actually used to keep warm water away from cold water. This apparently helps to protect the Chinook salmon.

Along our drive, we found ourselves following a particularly beautiful river. After a couple of hours, we decided we needed to stop and take some pictures. Here is a short video from our vista point.

video

As we were driving to the Redwood National Forest, we suddenly looked out and found ourselves at the Pacific Ocean. We hadn't really made the connection before that we would be driving right along the coast. We couldn't resist pulling off the highway and driving a scenic route.
video

Stairway down to a little beach

Surfers

I just love flowers, so I had Jeff take a few pictures of some beautiful ones along the coast.

We made it to the Redwood National Forest. Just before entering the forest, we came upon this castle carved out of a Redwood. We couldn't resist stopping. Jeff actually took quite a few pictures, but here is one of the entire thing. We're pretty sure it was a fountain; although the water wasn't running. Such detail went into this carving; it was stunning!

I loved the bright yellow flowers against the green foliage.

Sorry for the poor pictures. I'm not very good at taking pictures from a moving car.
We passed quite a few trees like this one. With all the bark removed, it's pretty easy to tell why they're called redwoods. :-)

Just couldn't resist these pale pink pretties.

Here we are hugging a tree. This is a little deceiving because we are not even close to being able to touch each other's hand on the other side of the tree. This tree was HUGE!

Looking up the base of a tree.

The next morning, we made it to Seattle. We drove across a really cool bridge. I wasn't really able to get any good pictures as we were driving, but here are my attempts.

Looking out the front at the beginning of the bridge

Looking out the back at the end of the bridge (again, please excuse the poor photography)

These overpasses were really neat. They were completely covered with trees. I doubt that cars drive on them. Are they built just for looks or are they pedestrian bridges? We don't know.


More from the window as we passed through Seattle

Our final destination before reaching Bridgeport was the Rocky Reach Dam.

Here is the fish ladder that helps the salmon survive the dam.

You can go inside and view the salmon that are swimming through the ladder.

Here are the turbines that generate the energy.

Jeff's hometown is Bridgeport. It's just up the river and home to the Chief Joseph Dam.

The museum had some cool mechanisms where you could create electricity.

And let there be light...

Here is an outside view of a turbine (obviously not in use).

Every year they plant an American flag with flowers.

Stay tuned for the final leg of our road trip. It will include a surprise for Randy's birthday, Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams, Bridgeport Days, and some other fun pictures.

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