Auto Tour of Mount Rainier and More

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn September 30, I packed up from a long stay at the lighthouse in Oregon and headed up to Olympia, Washington to visit Crystal for a week. With October being the start of the rainy season here we were in for a week of off-and-on showers with a couple nice days mixed in. Arriving Sunday in the rain I got a site at Millersylvania State Park with electric and water to spend a week enjoying Crystal’s company as much as I could. I set up camp and then Crystal came over to spend the evening. We made plans for the next day, even though they were predicting rain all day. To go to Bellingham, Washington to check out what it had to offer. Originally Crystal was wanting to settle in the Bellingham area and still might move there at some point, so she wanted to check it out a little more. It was a dreary day and we had off-and-on heavy showers as we made the trip north a couple hours. When we arrived in town we stopped at the visitor center to pick up some information and ideas what to do. The nice lady at the counter suggested several stops. So, we made her way down to Fairhaven which is one of the Historical Port Districts of the area. We did some driving around checking out the area and then made a quick stop for lunch and a nice burger joint called the Filling Station.20181001_14350720181001_143453

It had a uniquely decorated interior like an old-style diner.20181001_14105120181001_143441

Enjoyed a couple tasty burgers and brought some leftovers out to Maxine as she was waiting patiently in the car.20181001_14104420181001_142221 After that we headed south along the coastline on the old Chuckanut Drive this is part of Washington’s State Route 11.20181001_152114At one time this was part of the Pacific coastal highway but now it is just a short scenic route along the bay in this section of the Washington coast. On a clear day I’m sure the views would be spectacular.20181001_151956But as you can tell from these photos there wasn’t much to see today, but it still was a nice drive. 20181001_152526            On Tuesday I stayed at the campground and caught up on some cleaning and paperwork, it was another rainy dreary day. But Wednesday was promising to be clear and sunny, so Maxine and I made plans for a road trip up to Mount Rainier. Our first stop on the drive up to the park was in the small town of Elbe. Crystal and Josh just the weekend before, had taken a train ride out of Elbe that explores parts of Mount Rainier. She had told me about this cute little restaurant that they ate I called the caboose. It’s part of a little development called the Hobo Inn.

What the owners did is they took a bunch of old railcars and cabooses and made a little motel and used a couple diner cars for restaurants. But nothing was open being a weekday in the off-season, they only open on weekends this time a year. But I stopped and got a few photos. Each caboose and car was set up as its own little hotel room.


They had one of the diner cars that serve pizza and another that serve breakfast and lunch.


Just outside of town is we caught was where we caught her first glimpse of Mount Rainier.


This is a beautiful and spectacular park, Mount Rainier National Park at over 369 square miles. But only about 5 to 10% are accessible by car. This was done on purpose to keep much of it in a natural and wilderness state.20181003_122014_002The downside of this and many other national parks is that dogs are not allowed on most of the trails, making it not very pet friendly. They are only allowed in the campground’s and designated paved areas. But we able to drive around and take in quite a few nice views.


20181003_134803I stopped at and checked out the Henry Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, at Paradise area of the park at just a little over 5000 feet it is only about a third of the way to the top of this 14,411 foot mountain. I watched the movie about the park that they run every half an hour or so. This is also where you would pick up your permits to do your backcountry hiking and camping and climbing of the mountain. 20181003_141147The colors fall colors made it breathtaking everywhere you looked. Here’s one of Maxine and me with the mountain in the background.20181003_13130320181003_134857(0)

Just look at the reds and oranges on the hillsides.



There were breathtaking views everywhere you looked.


The one spot we stopped Maxine got to admire the waterfalls.


This one’s unique because it starts on one side of the road.


And then goes under the bridge and continues out on the other side of the road.


Mount Rainier like most national parks have their own beautiful scenery. But the really enjoy them you need to take out time and do some hiking in the backcountry. But it was still a lot of fun to go on the scenic road trip and enjoy the day. In the next couple posts there’ll be a few more fun things Crystal and I got to do this week. So, check in next time, that’s all for now, Rick



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