Day 63: Monday, August 2nd, 2021

I’m going to work backwards today on how THIS went, because I am so frustrated and angry right now that it may be better to just start from my evening first. I mentioned to yall yesterday that my a/c went out. No idea what it is, mileage, age of the car, she’s had all of her tune ups- could just be she needed a recharge. I was on my way to Cannon Beach, thought I would get the sunset there, and low and behold I see an AutoZone. Great! So I decide that not dying in my hot box of a car is smarter than going to the beach, so I go and buy a can for recharging my a/c. I ask them if they can show me how to use it… they aren’t authorized but they send me to a Dealership. I run there, meet a very nice man named Jody, who tries to put it in, said it doesn’t fit the nozzle, I need an adaptor.  Go back to AutoZone he tells me and find an adaptor or return the one I bought and buy an entirely new one. Ok. I do this. They don’t have an adaptor. None of the other cans fit it. He tell me to go back on the other side of town to NAPA Auto Parts. So I drive all the way over there…they don’t have any of the A/C cans at all.  Near tears at this point, I just give in to my pity party, buy ice cream Dibs, and go back to my amazing hotel room for tonight’s sunset and just cry over the fact that this is my nightmare come true. My top two were getting sick and having car troubles…and here they are both in the same week. It makes the fun stuff hard to enjoy, I am trying, but God this is hard alone. So I am not sure what I am going to next besides bake in my car until I find a dealership which will be hella expensive or a can that works. So that was my last 3 hours.

Astoria Crest Motel

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Before that? I drove up the 101 for 4 hours, through lush forests and along waters edges, across towns like South Bend which is labeled the “World’s Best Clams” or something like that. I came into Astoria so excited for all of the Goonies excitement, and up until this evening, it was pretty good I have to say.  I got to see the jail where they house the Oregon Film Museum, some movie props in here but best known for the very first scene in the movie, where Fratellis are in jail. Yep, filmed right in that jail cetll, pretty cool.  Not much else here, some scenes you can film for yourself, not really my thing when you are traveling solo. You can purchase a ticket for just here, which will take you all of 30 mins to tour, grab some merch, and that’s about it OR the combo ticket which includes the Heritage Museum and te Flavel House. I bought the combo, it was cheap for $16.

Astoria-Megler Bridge

Dismal Nitch

Megler Bridge

Oregon Film Museum

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The Flavel House is located right across the street, and is an easy, self-guided tour. You must show your combo ticket at the carriage house FIRST before entering the home, but once you do that, they give you a calling card to enter the premises.  Photos without the flash allowed, two floors to tour. Beautiful home, and it took about 45 minutes to tour. This is ALSO a Goonies location, in the beginning of the film, Mikey and his friends bike down a hill and past his Dad working at the local Museum- which is THIS!  Pretty cool.

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Flavel House Museum 2021

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Flavel House Museum 2021

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Flavel House Museum 2021

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Flavel House Museum

Next location I found was the bowling alley that Chunk watches the car chase speed by…where he smashes his soda on the glass while watching them go by.  Then there is the intersection where the housekeeper is trying to cross, right in front of the Coffee House downtown on their main street. I haven’t gotten to Mikey’s house yet, again, half my day was eaten up by the drama above. Maybe tomorrow.

Goonies Bowling Lans

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I then found parking at their Maritime Museum, bought the ticket to look around inside, it was ok, not that into boats but was curious.  Toured the one docked behind the Museum, got super queasy on it, I do NOT know how they stayed in tight quarters like that, the air was so thick and there was just zero space. Since I had a good parking spot, I decided to get lunch and walk downtown to make the most of the area.

Columbia River Maritime Museum

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Columbia River Maritime Museum
The Coast Guard

Astoria Coast Guard

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Columbia River Maritime Museum

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Columbia River Maritime Museum

 

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Columbia River Maritime Museum

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Columbia River Maritime Museum

I ate at Mo’s where I had the BEST Clam Chowder of my life thus far, with a side of fries. I enjoyed looking at all of my pictures, the view on the water, the Mountains, the amazing bridge I had traversed on the way over here (WHICH BY THE WAY IS IN THE MOVIE- SHORT CIRCUIT)and that was the last time I relaxed today. LOL I toured the downtown area, shopped a bit, and then headed to the hotel to check in.

Mo's Seafood and Chowder

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Columbia River

Astoria Oregon

Astoria Oregon

Astoria Oregon

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Astoria Oregon
The City Trash Cans are Cans of Fish

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WOW. The view from this Hotel was everything I had hoped it would be, and even though there is no a/c, it is 55 here overnight lately, and I have a screen door to keep open all night to enjoy the cool air. Plus, this girl ALWAYS brings a fan and a cold pack.  I dropped off my stuff, after hauling up my heavy suitcase again a flight of stairs (no elevator), and enjoyed a moment with the view and room before changing and heading out for the next half of my day.

Astoria Crest Motel

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I headed to “The Astoria Column” which is pretty much a lighthouse without the light on top. Built in 1926 to celebrate the discovery, settlement, and adventure of the West, you can walk up its winding 164 steps to the top to take in the most breathtaking view ever.  I was quite proud of myself of not only doing it, but not dying while doing it since I am still recovering from the ick of my cold. It’s stuff like this that I feel I need to do while I am here, it’s not going to help me being fully well in a couple of days and I am a State away…I just muddle through so that I don’t have regrets later. You can purchase a glider for $1 and fly it from the top of the Column to those below- cute tradition they have had going for years. Just reopened July 1st after Covid, this is a must see for spectacular views- both from the top and on the grounds themselves if you don’t wish to walk it.  It IS a narrow staircase, but you can’t see up or down while using them, so for those with a fear of heights like myself, you will be fine. It is more closed in than let’s say St. Augustine lighthouse in Florida where the stairs hug the walls- there is no center to look down on this- the staircase occupies the entire space of the column. Basically a staircase to a great view and back down. $5 to park here, and the drive to this is INSANE!  All I can say is that Ellie and I are prepared for San Francisco, and even that I have Kelly driving for so just in case. The hills here are STEEP! At one point coming back down, I couldn’t see over my dash to see where I was going because the road just dropped off. You get used to it after a couple of them, but thank God they don’t have any stop signs or lights as you ascend or everyone would be rolling backwards. Yeah, I’m not kidding. Look at the pics

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Astoria Column

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Astoria Column
The view from the Column

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After the Column is when all hell broke loose with the attempted a/c fix.  I continued writing this the next day because I was so stressed last night that I just had to sleeping pill it and try to forget that half of the day. It’s a new day and I am going to take Ellie into a quickie Oil change place and see if they can fix it, and if they can’t, I guess a dealership will be next. I have a lot here I want to do, so if I can’t squeeze it in today, I will work on it later in this State or Idaho. Trying to roll with the punches and just breathe. Just being sick and car troubles in the same week while trying to enjoy something that was high on my bucket list has been a challenge- pray for me, think good thoughts for me, the hardest part is being alone to deal with it.  Adventure is out there right? See you tonight.

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Thank you for YOUR kindness when I needed it most.

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

Day 58: Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

I am learning on this journey to go with the flow and leave room for space not planned…also for when I am not feeling very well, weather conditions, wildfires, oh, and yes, a Pandemic that is still happening. I am fully vaccinated and happy to help my fellow man in this simple kindness. I have heard whispers we may shut down again, and that would be the only thing that would send me home. Not much point to being on the road and doing things if nothing will be open. So, we watch, we wait, and we hope more and more make better choices in all of this. 

In the meantime, I don’t mind this area. But I HATE the traffic, I think it may actually be worse than Orlando, and I didn’t think that was possible. I almost didn’t do anything today because of my high stress levels of driving in and out of Bellevue. GPS can only do so much, but the ramps and exits around here are in multiples, so when you exit, it may be for three choices, instead of the normal one. There has been a lot of swearing in my vehicle the last 2 days, and more praying as well. I can’t relax when I’m so worried about which turn to take, and that makes driving ANYWHERE uncomfortable and unfun. So, with that being said, I DID get out to Mount Rainier National Park today, but tomorrow will be a REST day- there will be still be a blog post tomorrow, but my butt will be chilling out all day.

Washington State

Washington State 2021

So, Mount Rainier, wow. Let’s start with the simple. I have never been here before, brand spanking new for me. With that, I had no idea how to “enter” the Park, meaning what entrance works best.  I belong to SO many National Park sites online, trying to follow the news on many of them, but unfortunately I didn’t follow this one very closely.  I did check to see that they put a mask mandate back on today inside any Federal building at the Park. Yes, effective today, kicker is that all Visitor Centers at Mt Rainier are all closed anyways, soooo didn’t really make much sense, but there you go. I just put in the National Park in my GPS and pick the closest entrance, which to Bellevue/Seattle was the Sunrise Road. Sounded pretty, so I checked in at the Ranger Station, got the map, flashed my “America the Beautiful” Annual Pass and I was in. Yes, it reminded me of the Disney Auto Plazas…I must be missing Disney. I saw the 50th commercial yesterday, and yes, many have asked “How could you be missing it Amy?” Here’s how, I was there for the 40th and many of the other past ones. It doesn’t just happen THAT day, they run it for about a year or longer. With Covid still being a thing, I don’t know how much they will actually HAVE for it. Florida, and that County, has had a huge spike, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they dial it back for the Celebration. I will be there at the end of January for 2 weeks to enjoy the Disney magic and another rest before I go up the East Coast, so I know I will see it in due time. The “DAY” which is October 1st, the actual birthday, is cool to be a part of- but it is crowded, the special edition pins go fast which means you get to stand in a line for hours, the shirts go just as fast unless it’s like Epcot’s and they have tons left (Yall know what I am talking about) and it’s usually a speech in front of the Castle at Magic Kingdom and then everyone goes on with their day until the nighttime show- God willing they have it.  Listen, I hope it’s amazing, but it’s not enough for me to fly back for, I have my own amazing dream I am fulfilling that VERY next day after that….so no worries loves, I will be ok, Disney isn’t going anywhere.

Mount Rainier National Park 2021

Mount Rainier National Park 2021

Mount Rainier National Park 2021

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Back to Mt. Rainier…I took the Sunrise Road all the way to the top,  turnouts here and there for you to stop and take pictures and breathe in the view. The very best one is at 6100 feet at Sunrise Lookout, it’s a panoramic view that just has no words…I posted videos of it on the Business Facebook page. 300 more feet up to the point, the very top is 6400 feet with trails everywhere to enjoy. It was quite crowded, and I felt like I may be coming down with a cold, so I took it all in, got my pics, and headed back down.  There is an adorable gift shop located at the foot of the Mountain that has the National Park merch, and so happy there was because like I had mentioned, all the Visitor Centers were closed. It took about an hour and a half from Bellevue to get there, and another 30 plus minutes to drive to the top. OH I did see a little lamb walk past my car…Amy had a little lamb, it was very storybook like in this Park. Even the fields of flowers with the Mountains backdrop SCREAMED “Sound of Music.” I would have done it had I felt better…but my luck I would have just got dizzy twirling, tripped, and fell down the hill. Seriously, I am the biggest clutz in middle age. YAY for adulthood.

Mount Rainier National Park 2021

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Mount Rainier National Park 2021

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That was all and enough for today, I made it back to my hotel in one piece and happy to be tucked into bed with soup, Sprite, and snacks. I even scored “Dantes Peak” on HBO here, it was so cool to see everything from the movie that I had just walked around in the same town, and seen just days ago.  So I am going to stream more “Twilight” goodness on my laptop tonight because I am coming for you FORKS!!! I can’t wait, talk to y’all tomorrow. Oh, and I work really hard to share with everyone, so please drop a dollar or two in my Paypal to let me know you appreciate this crazy ride, the gas is insanely expensive here! Thanks everyone.

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Thornewood Castle 2021

Thanks for appreciating my hard work!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

Day 57: Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

Day 57: Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

What is it like to wake up in a Castle you ask? Incredible. Like a fairytale, I felt like royalty waking up in such a large room, looking over the courtyard. I woke up crazy early, to excited to sleep anymore. I finished the blog post for yesterday, watched the rest of “Rose Red” and then dug into the first two films of the “Twilight” Series.  Stop judging, I love them, and you can bet your bottom I will soon be in Forks, enjoying every Twilight location that I can find.  #TeamEdward

Only an hour until my next destination, it wound up being a lazy day and I am AOK with that! The drive over to Bellevue, city right next to Seattle, I was incredibly tired and not at all about their traffic. Dear 405 Interstate….I 4 and you should date…y’all are A LOT alike! I forgot how much I HATE this kind of traffic, and it just drained my patience today.

Blessed that my hotel tonight could check me in early, so I could take a nap and pretty much do nothing until dinner with a classmate and his wife tonight. Thank God they are picking me up, after attempting a run to Target here (something that was easy in FL) I was surprised to see that their Target was on the third floor of a shopping center.  Parking in the garage to get groceries felt so off…and I missed Downtown Disney in that moment something serious.  I had to take an elevator to get TO Target, and then it opened up right in the store…what planet am I on?  LOL  I grabbed my blueberries, spinach, Sprite, raspberries, soups and snacks for the three nights I will be in town. I always check the size of my freezer in the room, and it is the tiny one, so great for my ice tray, but nothing I can freeze from the store. I got back here in one piece, avoiding the interstate on the way, but the hills here are crazy!

Dinner is Asian this evening with Aaron Schielke and his wife, Mari.  I am super excited to chat with him, as I am pretty sure I haven’t seen him since graduation in 1992.  I am looking forward to catching up this evening.

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Aaron and Mari graciously picked me up at my Hotel for dinner so I didn’t have to navigate the roads here on my own.  We talked from the moment they picked me up until I was dropped off…plus an additional 2 teenage boys in the back. It is so cool meeting my friends kids, it seems so surreal. When I am with any of my classmates, I feel like I am back in High School, talking about life.  We reminisced and laughed out all sorts of memories, and I TRULY enjoyed getting to know Mari, definitely a new friendship blossomed this evening!  I am hoping to see them again on my way to Forks, WA, even if for a lunch or breakfast.  We had a great meal at “Wild Ginger” which was Asian Fusion, and it was DELICIOUS! We each picked a dish and then shared all three….it was so good! Aaron ordered the “Seven Flavor Beef” and I got the “Shrimp Fried Rice” and Mari chose the “Mongolian Prawns.”  Drinks were Mango Mojitos and I can’t remember what Aaron ordered. I was so excited to drink because someone else was driving and I was with safe people to do so…one of my rules while traveling alone is to never drink alone or around strangers on my own, to many creeps out there.   We ate, we laughed, it was THE best time and MUCH NEEDED for this girl’s sensitive soul.  I had a Berry Sorbet to finish off the meal with a Diet Coke, and THANK YOU to Aaron and Mari for their kindness on the meal.  OH and Walter got to meet them both, he was very excited to get a pic with them. Before we headed out we walked the Mall….and there was the Disney Store…it was so nice to see. Feels like another life now.

Wild Ginger in Bellevue WA

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Wild Ginger in Bellevue WA

Wild Ginger in Bellevue WA

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Wild Ginger in Bellevue WA

Wild Ginger in Bellevue WA

Wild Ginger in Bellevue WA

Bellevue WA

It is actually when I DO spend time with others, especially from my childhood, that I feel a bit homesick coming back to an empty hotel room. But I am oh so grateful for the time they blessed me with today, and so happy that they asked to use them as an emergency if I found myself in one in this part of the Country. It is something I think and worry about now and then, car troubles or medical problems, who would be able to be at my side quickly? A kindness offered that reassured my soul that it would be ok…just in case

A long day, so happy to see an old friend and make a new one, and have a great hotel room until Friday.  Have a great night, see you tomorrow.

Thornewood Castle 2021

Thanks for your support!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00

Day 56: Monday, July 26th, 2021

Days Inn last night proved to be a much-needed rest, although I forget how much I don’t like hauling my heavy suitcase up and down stairs. Shocked some hotels STILL don’t have elevators. Anyways, checked out nice and early and hit the road about 7:30 a.m. Two hours to my first destination, driving first among nothing buy golden fields, and then it’s like the Mountains opened up and it was SPECTACULAR!! I was in LOVE with the area!

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Angela had mentioned this charming Bavarian town, nestled in the Mountains, that I could stop and take a gander at on my way to my next sleep. The town is called “Leavenworth” and it was everything I thought it would be and more! I truly felt someone had dropped me off in Europe, and I was skipping among flowers and colored walls. Shop after shop with something for everyone, and it was COOL stuff…not that gift shop garbage in Florida. I loved how everything fit the theme, seriously it was like it’s own amusement park. 

Leavenworth Washington

I walked and shopped, grabbing stickers here and there.  I found something “like” school bread from my beloved Norway in Epcot, a long with “Bob’s Brat” because when in Bavaria, you eat bratwurst!  Between the two, I was stuffed, and enjoyed the full tummy while I perused the shops and museums.

A Nutcracker Museum you say? Yes! I am all about the NEW experiences, and I had never been to one, so there you go. It was incredibly cool, and for only $5 to tour it, it was a steal for something to see and do. The largest collection I had ever seen, it was quite impressive. The pics below are of my favorite Nutcrackers I saw.

My kindness today was giving someone my all day parking pass and my spot, so they got their spot and got it free- it made me feel good. I headed out for m next 2 hour drive to Lakewood, WA, which turned into 3 hours with rush hour traffic. Orlando had prepared me for spots like this, so I did very well with it. I arrived at my bed for the evening, and I drove in with my mouth on the floor.  Months ago I was looking online for something different to stay at, and this came across my path.  #1, I am a HUGE Stephen King fan, #2, I am a HUGE Castle fan, and #3, it’s haunted….and I am a HUGE Paranormal fan.  This is Thornwood Castle….also known as “Red Rose” and “Bly Manor.” (Both filmed here).

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Thornwood Castle

I checked in, got my key, and squealed with delight at my room. I chose the “Blue Room” online because it had the most beautiful view of the front fountain and gardens.  Probably the largest room I have ever had in my life, I felt like a Queen with my soft robe and plush towels. Even now as I sit here and write this, darkness has fallen outside my windows and I can’t help but me excited for what spirits may visit me tonight.  I wonder who was in my room back in the day, and what they did in here. After my love affair with my room, I showered and freshened up so I could tour the rest of the Castle and grounds.

My favorite by far was the garden, something out of a storybook. I wanted to wear a flowing dress, have my hair in curls, grab a blanket and read a book at the foot of the fountain. I walked it again at twilight, and someone named “Joe” was talking to me there. I loved every second.

Thornewood Castle 2021

Not many staying here tonight, so it’s been quiet… I walked every inch and corner of the sections they allow us too. I am assuming the residence area is on the left side of the Castle since I never see any of that part. After a small nap, something to eat, and started “Rose Red” in my room…I  decided to take a walk at sunset.  It was so beautiful and peaceful, and then I walked down to the Lake and put my feet in the cool water. I sat and just drank in the sun going down, praying something wasn’t going to grab my feet in the Lake. Thornwood Castle in the background, the sun setting on my face, it was something I will never forget. You can believe I will be ghost hunting in my room tonight, who wouldn’t? It’s a freaking haunted Castle!! 

Thornewood Castle 2021 Lake America

Thornewood Castle 2021

Thornewood Castle 2021

Thornewood Castle 2021

I will let y’all know how it goes tonight, tomorrow, but for now, I am going to go and watch the rest of “Rose Red” IN Rose Red- eeek! Goodnight!

Thank you for your kindness!!

I LOVE sharing the joy of Adventure, and Travel! Every dollar you support me with goes right back into my mission for equipment, gas, and essentials. But most importantly, when you support me financially it tells me you BELIEVE in me and MY VALUE, and that means more to me than ANYTHING! Spreading the kindness is my goal on this amazing journey, and I thank you for helping me make magic for so many people. So THANK YOU for YOU!!

$1.00