Roadtrippin’ the Palouse – A Wanderer’s Guide to the Rolling Hills of Eastern Washington

This was Days 16-20 of a fabulous Fall road trip a couple of years ago. This leg was Seattle to Ellensburg to Pullman, Washington — 289 miles. If you fly, Spokane is the closest airport.

Holiday Inn Express, Pullman, $121/night with a AAA discount + $20/night pet fee. Nice, recently-renovated hotel. Big room; lots of green space to walk the dog, and they don’t mind if you leave the dog in the room (they even give you a tag for the door that says Do Not Disturb/Dog Napping) (love that!). Located close to Washington State University, so be sure to book in advance on football game weekends. This is football country!

I’d wanted to visit The Palouse, famous for its photogenic landscapes, for years and finally made it part of my long roadtrip home (the move from California back to my home state, Missouri).  Most photographers visit in the spring when the rolling hills of eastern Washington are like green velvet, but I think Fall in The Palouse is absolutely gorgeous, in a whole other beautiful way. I was there towards the end of October, long after the wheat harvest, and I used Pullman as my headquarters and spent 4 days wandering aimlessly around The Palouse, which I highly recommend. If your time is more restricted there are lots of local photographers there who offer photo tours, but I really enjoy wandering.

Fair warning: I include a LOT of highway shots from behind the wheel. I do it to remember the journey, and hopefully share the thrill of discovery. You can discover the beautiful red barn when I do, resting peacefully just off the highway in a beautiful field, or perched precariously near the highway curve because it was there long before the highway interrupted.

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Cuban Cowboys

A Uniquely Ordinary Day in the Cuban Countryside

In March 2017 I went to Cuba for the first time, and I’m just now sharing my first Cuban photos. And, interestingly, they’re not photos of old buildings, old cars, or old people. But of the thousands of photos I took, these are the first I processed. And this was the most ordinary, and most unique, day of the trip. I went to Cuba on a photography workshop with Colby Brown Photography, and was thrilled that we didn’t just photograph all the usual suspects — old cars on the Malecon in Havana (we did that), colorful Trinidad (we did that, too) — but we went beyond the usual tourist attractions.

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Road Trip – Dinosaurs, Crabs, and Another Lighthouse

Gold Beach to Bandon-by-the-Sea, Oregon,  55 miles

Another beautiful day on Highway 101…

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, ObsessiveHobbyist.com


PREHISTORIC GARDENS

http://www.prehistoricgardens.com/

This one was a surprise. I automatically stop at all roadside attractions — just can’t resist the kitsch. But I didn’t expect an education. The gardens here are so well-maintained, and the information about the gardens and the dinosaurs is presented on friendly, easy-to-digest signs along the way. The most fun thing was to see the real size of dinosaurs in person (yep, they were huge).

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Jackpot – Gold Beach, Oregon

Gold Beach is really all about the beach. Make sure you find a hotel with an oceanfront view and access (I loved the Pacific Reef Inn), and spend your time beachcombing and watching gorgeous sunsets.

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Roadside Attractions – Klamath, California to Gold Beach, Oregon

75 miles
Gas $2.75/gallon (thank you, Oregon!)
Pacific Reef Inn, Gold Beach
$99/night + $20 pet fee
Oceanfront room with full ocean view and private patio

Before cruising out of Klamath (minus several $$$ left behind in the Redwood Casino), I cruised through town. Whenever I’m in redwood country I feel compelled to drive through a tree. It’s not PC, I know, but you kinda have to admire the business model, at least. All day long, Jewel at Tour Thru Tree (I think Drive-Thru Tree was already taken) sits there (or goes to the post office and leaves a note), collecting $5. And there can’t be much maintenance on a 785-year-old tree.

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Funky Fun – Samoa Cookhouse and an Indian Casino

Eureka, California to Klamath, California
65 miles
Gas $3.02/gallon (why is it going up?)
Holiday Inn Express in Klamath (great, brand new hotel attached to a tiny Indian casino)
$117/night + $25/pet fee

Just north of Eureka is the Samoa Cookhouse – I love finding unique places like this (thanks, Roadtrippers). It’s off the beaten path, but worth the 15-minute drive from Highway 101. Built circa 1893, it’s the last lumber camp-style cookhouse still in operation in North America. Established by the Vance Lumber Company, Samoa is one of the last company-owned towns in the US, and the cookhouse was operated for the working lumberjacks. Today, they still encourage you to eat like a lumberjack. Continue reading

Glass Beach, California … It’s Real!

I finally made it to Glass Beach, after years of hearing about this magical sea glass destination. And one of the first pieces I found is this nearly-perfect sea glass heart. I’m not even kidding.

Magical.

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The beach was smaller than I expected, and quite unspectacular from the bluff above, but it did not disappoint. It was covered in sea glass, although apparently over the years the quantity and variety has diminished. At least now it’s protected from beachcombers – by law, and by a closed staircase. So you have to do a little rock-scrambling to get there, but it’s worth it. [UPDATE: The staircase is now open, but the glass is greatly diminished, sadly]

And it’s all because a bunch of idiots dumped trash in the ocean years ago. That’s what nature does with our trash – reclaims it, and recycles it into little treasures.

BUT WHEN YOU GET DOWN TO THE BEACH…

All that history…just laying there…

and yes, I left my heart on glass beach…

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Just north of Mendocino in Fort Bragg, California, on Highway 1
http://www.fortbragg.com/explore/glass-beach/

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