“The best things in life are free. But you can give them to the birds and bees. I want money.” Money – The Flying Lizards Yeah, yeah, yeah so I … Continue reading Cha-Ching! Casino Time
“Wherever I wonder, wherever I roam. I couldn’t be fonder of my big home.” Bare Necessities – Walt Disney Studios
Have you seen the “Waving Bears“? A video of some very cute bears waving at onlookers went viral in or around 2010 and ever since then has become quite the hit in America! They’ve been featured on local news stations and even national news stations. I myself had the fortunate pleasure of viewing the video around a year ago and was so impressed and entertained by these 1000 lb creatures I showed many of my friends and family.
So before we did the loop, by chance I decided to show my sister the video of the waving bears. I had come across it on accident and decided to show my mom and dad as well. It never occurred to me before to actual find out WHERE these bears were located. I often thought they were in some far away place like Scotland or Alaska etc. So as I was showing the video to my family they were talking about the places we would drive through on the The Loop trip and one of those places was Sequim WA…WHERE THE WAVING BEARS ARE!! What are the chances right?! You can’t imagine my excitement. I was going to see the waving bears in PERSON!
So the place is called, “The Olympic Game Farm” located in Sequim WA. It’s pronounced “Squim”. Why? I don’t know.
Here’s the info on what the Game Farm is about. Taken from their website:
“For over 40 years, Olympic Game Farm has provided an opportunity for visitors from all over the world to learn and observe wildlife, igniting countless imaginations.
Olympic Game Farm is the place to get face to face and experience wildlife at close range, offering visitors the opportunity to really see a tiger’s stripes, a rare white Siberian tiger, a Kodiak bear’s huge size, or to get slobbered by a buffalo!
With over 200 animals onsite, our driving tour leaves our visitors with vivid memories of these amazing creatures; experiences which, at first are hard to imagine, become pleasantly surprising. Friendly llamas and yak eat bread from your hand, clowning bears stand up and wave, and the elk and buffalo peacefully grazing in the pastures.
Olympic Game Farm worked exclusively for Walt Disney Studios for 28 years, filming here at the farm and on the Olympic Peninsula, as well as on many different set locations. A few popular titles produced with our past animal actors, are “Charlie the Lonesome Cougar”, “The Incredible Journey”, “White Wilderness” and “Grizzly Adams” television and movie series. In 2012, we had used our black bear “Kitty” and wolf “Brutus” in “Serenity Farms”. In winter of 2013 we used “Kitty” once again in a National Geographic documentary on black bear in the city. Summer of 2014, “Leland” a black tail deer was used in the filming of “Captain Fantastic” as well as Olympic Game Farm used as a filming location for a scene.
After the death of Walt and Roy Disney, Disney Studios began to move away from the nature films that had been so dear to Walt’s heart. In 1972, with the approval of the Disney Studios for using the Disney name, Olympic Game Farm, Inc. was opened to the public. Our founders Lloyd and Catherine Beebe, retired from the filming industry and focused solely for caring for their animal actors, concentrating on offering “in need” captive bred animals a new and loving home. Olympic Game Farm will continue to accept in-need wildlife, as space permits and with the proper authority approvals. We cannot accept local animals from the wild without proper permission from Washington State Fish and Wildlife.”
That’s a lot of info but it’s necessary to understand how AWESOME this place is. So we started our driving tour and saw some really cute and cudly animals. REMEMBER: ONLY FEED THE ANIMALS 100% WHOLE WHEAT BREAD!!!
At this point we were very high on the hill and you could see down over the farm. If you look toward the bottom right corner you can see the crazy llamas going up to that car.
After the deer and prairie dogs, you drive down the hill and drive through a little section of YAK’s sitting on the side of the road. I did not take pictures because I was driving and the Yak’s were kind of taking up a huge space in the road. I had to concentrate. They’re also quite intimidating. 😉
You’re instructed to NOT STOP while you’re driving through but it’s quite difficult to do that seeing as the animals are directly in the road and won’t move. We had a little follower along the trail.
We came upon the llamas and they are most interested in the food you have to give them. Check out the video:crazy llama
I got a little freaked out because it felt like we were being taken over by these animals and we couldn’t move! It was much easier to feed them from far away LOL: Feeding the llamas
I have to say that I was a little ready to get out of there! We eventually came to the bears! This was the most awesome experience. It was everything I thought it would be. Check out the video:Waving Bear Some of these bears are circus bears and others are trained. They’re pretty docile and SOOO cute!
Some of these guys are just hanging out…you know…relaxing in the pool. lol
This guy didn’t even get any bread but was ready to wave anyway!
I think I fell in love with these guys! I’d go back just to see them. 🙂 So cute.
The next part you come into is the secured area where the animals are in cages. It sounds terrible but all of the animals that are in the park are rescued from some bad situation. Some were pets of owners who could not take care of them (shocking *hint of sarcasm*), some were abandoned and others were just rescues.
We did not drive through the trail where the buffalo were. They too, like the llamas, are very ready to get the goodies from inside your car! Llamas are one thing but buffalo are QUITE another! And dad was not having that hahaha.
At the end of the tour you get to tour the barn that housed some of the Disney movie sets for certain movies. There’s some farm life like these cute little goats.
Beautiful bird though this turkey may be, notice those white feathers that are touching the ground; he drags them across the ground and makes a vibrating low growl sound. It’s SUPER CREEPY! Notice the lines in the dirt from where he kept dragging his feathers! UGH! I tell you it was something out of a horror film!
There was a nice little aquarium just next door and then you come to the final stop in the tour which is the barn that housed some movie sets for Disney. There were a couple of films that were filmed in there but never made it to production. One in particular was called, “Lessie’s Rainbow”.
I thought this was pretty cool; I can’t remember why they have this tree trunk but it’s 1000 years old.
Lloyd Beebe tamed this wildcat. I forgot if it was a bobcat or a lynx. I don’t remember. Maybe someone can help identify it.
On of my favorite movies as a kid was “The Incredible Journey” and little did I know that some of it was filmed here at the game farm.
There were many films that either used animals from the farm or used parts of the farm to film.
One in specific was “Grizzly Adams”. I know most of the older generation of people will remember this. This little house was the exact house they used in the film.
This was absolutely the coolest trip! We enjoyed every minute and I’m so happy we got to see this amazing animal farm! I would recommend it to anyone driving through and it’s definitely worth it. 🙂 For more information on the Olympic Game Farm visit their site: Olympic Game Farm WA
“I love you when you’re singing that song and I got a lump in my throat cause you’re gonna sing the words wrong.” Riptide – MisterWives
After the Big Cedar tree we stopped to have some sandwiches we packed in the amazing Yeti cooler! It has really come in handy throughout our travels. We wouldn’t have been able to financially do a lot of what we have done if we didn’t have that cooler to pack food in. So, big props to Yeti.
Our next stop was very unexpected to me because I didn’t know where we would be. To my surprise it was at a BEACH, “Ruby Beach” to be exact.
The beach is beautiful and so very different from our beaches in NC. There’s no sand, only rocks and pebbles that range from large to small.
Check this guy out. He must be a photographer from National Geographic! I should have asked for his autograph. 😉
Ruby Beach, as you can see is quite stunning and just very beautiful. I think some of the beauty comes from the big rock formations next to the beach and that visual makes it so interesting to look at. In NC and on the east coast, you don’t have these huge rocks next the beaches to make it interesting but you have the warmth of the water to swim in and the nice warm sand between your toes. Overall the beaches along the west coast are breathtaking and definitely possess a character of their own.
After Ruby Beach we continued north. We came into Forks, WA. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this place, the Twilight Series kind of put this place on the map. The fantasy romance novels were based in Forks Washington. The movies, on the other hand, were not filmed entirely in this town. There was a scene filmed in Forks and another scene filmed at “La Push” which is a beach just north of Forks. Other than these two sites, I believe most of the movies were filmed in Canada. Well, that did NOT stop Forks from capitalizing on whatever they could from the movie.
These pictures were taken at the visitors center. I didn’t make any images of the town because there were no images to make. It’s just a tiny little town that you drive through to get to your next destination. It’s one road and the entire town is branded with all sorts of shops named all things, “Twilight”. So they would have shops named something like “Twilight Hair Designs”, “Bella’s Beauty Shop” or “Vampire Lounge”. These are not exact names of their shops, however you get the idea. Though I WILL say that they have a spectacular 4th of July schedule of festivities lined up for our day of Independence! We were planning on attending this because we would be camping at the Clearwater, but unfortunately we never went camping due to forest fires 😦 Now I know some of you are thinking, “Yeah right! I bet you were glad to get outta that one!” But I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to experience it for the first time in agreeable weather. I can’t imagine camping in NC which is why I never did it.
At some point on this vacation I always think I have seen all there is to see in terms of beauty. I think, “That’s it. There’s not going to be anything else more beautiful than what I’ve seen. I’m completely satisfied; I’ve seen it all.” But then there’s ALWAYS something EVEN MORE magnificent around the corner. In this case it was, “Crescent Lake“.
Now, I would like to let you know that sometimes I have to put myself in compromising positions to get really great shots; walking down rough terrain into dangerous positions, climbing up rocks and almost falling or stepping out onto a ledge 3,000 ft above ground level, forgoing all my fears of heights just to get that one good shot. Crescent Lake was no different. There were no pull-offs where you could safely get a picture. We did find a pull-off that I had to walk about 50 yards away from to get a good image. So I had to step over the railing on the side of the road to get the images. I was not ON the road by any means. I was about 6 ft. from the road. For WHATEVER reason, 3 cars came by me and BEEPED their horns obnoxiously! Why? I was not on the road so there was no fear of them hitting me and to further justify that, there was a rail blocking them and myself. I’m still quite puzzled by this. My thought was, “Are you they beeping because they think I’m going to jump off the ledge?” Well beeping certainly wouldn’t help my staying on it! Anyway, if anyone has any ideas, please leave them in the comments below. It’s been bugging me for a long time. LOL
“Big red tree grew up and out, throws up its leaves, spins round and round.” Feed the Tree – Belly
Let me apologize again for my lack of posting. I didn’t realize what traveling would entail when it came to what little time you have to really reflect. My plan was to always keep the blog updated at least every day or every other day. Unfortunately with 10 people and many places to visit, you find yourself DOING more than BEING. There’s been a lot of spontaneous activities that occur and with everyone having an agenda it gets hectic. See Traveling Realities for more info on our living situation.
So “The Loop” is an interesting travel. I’ve been hearing about it from my mother and father how I just HAD to do the loop and I have to say it was pretty awesome! So basically you start from Aberdeen on Hwy 101 and drive up to the Peninsula and then back down to Aberdeen again all on Hwy 101. It looks something like this:
Aberdeen > Quinault > Ruby Beach > Crescent Lake > Forks > Port Angeles > Sequim > Port Townsend > Hood Canal > Shelton > then back to Aberdeen.
This isn’t a day trip, it takes roughly 2 days to make it. If you wanted to see all of the sites then it would take maybe 3 days. We stayed one night in Port Angeles giving us two days to check everything out.
So we headed North on 101 to explore the loop. We first came into Quinault. It’s so beautiful because it’s a rainforest area that’s heavily wooded and just beautiful.
This is also one of several Native American Reservations. *Just incase you’re not familiar with reservations; they are run and manned by Native Americans and are separate from our Federal Government. They have their own laws and rules (but work with our government) on many things. Their goods are cheaper on the reservation than outside due to either low or no taxes. Also, every reservation I’ve seen, thus far, has a casino on it. This is due to the fact that gambling is illegal in the state of Washington but since the reservation is separate from our federal government, that law does not apply to them. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason I somehow like this idea; maybe it’s due to how they were pushed off of their land and now they get some of it back and are capable of living however they would like? Nothing will make up for what was done to them in the past but somehow I feel like at least they’re getting something.*
The air is very moist and damp but not unpleasant. It feels more refreshed than anything. The moss grows heavily in the wooded areas and it really is neat. We decided to tour the “World’s Record Sitka Spruce” tree and that was SO pretty. You have to walk down a trail to get to it but it’s worth it.
“World’s Largest Spruce Tree. 58′ 11″ Circumference / 191′ Tall / 922 AFA Points (American Forest Associations) / About 1000 Years Old. This is a Sitka Spruce, one of the Quinault Valley’s six champion trees. The trees in the Quinault Rainforest are well watered with an average rainfall of 12 feet a year. There is a Spruce in Oregon that has 902 AFA points, that they named a co-chamption. Also in the Valley are the World’s Largest Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir & Mountain Hemlock. The U.S. largest Yellow Cedar & Western Hemlock.” (from the info at the Sitka Spruce tree site by Rain Forest Resort Village).
So this entire area is just beautiful and a little mysterious and enchanted at the same time. It looks like those pictures out of a storybook. I was definitely under it’s spell…in a good way 😉
When you get out of the wooded area of Quinault you come upon an opening to view the lake!
These places are so beautiful along the way! We have seen some things that weren’t worth seeing and I don’t ever post about those because honestly…they’re not worth knowing about. LOL At this point I was so into the trip and just snapping pictures everywhere!
We hit the road and drove away from Quinault and came upon the “Big Cedar Tree”.
It seems as though something happened to the tree because part of it split off and fell down. Maybe it was hit with lightning? I don’t know. Even still, the tree is LARGE!
Oh, and here’s this guy trying to get the PERFECT photo.
I would have to say that this portion of WA is quite…enchanting. 🙂
“Giving up a verse the curse occurs a thirst to burst first breaking through the center of the universe” Freak Out – 311
Before I tell you about this amazing thing called Mount St. Helens, I have to let you all know that I’ve been sick with some sort of cold, which is why I haven’t posted in several days. I may have picked it up from my niece or from something else, either way I’m sick and am currently on the mend. I feel better than I did a week ago but am not sure if I’m going to get better without seeing a doctor. Hopefully I will kick this and be ready for anything! So here’s to feeling better! *raises imaginary champagne glass*
Have you ever seen how small you are compared to this world? Or have you ever thought about how tiny we are compared to the earth below our feet and above our head? I have. I have thought about it before. I never really had anything to compare myself to except for the ocean. I always looked at the ocean and thought about how small I was…until this past Saturday when we visited Mount St. Helens. For the first time in 34 years, I felt/saw/experienced how small I really was.
Mom, dad, Rayann, Hayley and I all took the drive over to Mount St. Helens with eager anticipation. For me I was very exited but like everything else on this trip it was an empty canvas waiting for a paintbrush and paint. I have always heard of this place from my mom. I also knew that it had erupted in 1980 (one year before I was born). Because of the stories and knowing about it, naturally I would be curious, thus propelling eagerness into motion.
We stopped in Oakville and had lunch at a place called “Loretta Eagan’s Diner”. A little hole in the wall burger place was completely okay with us. Sometimes I prefer them to bigger nicer restaurants because they usually have that down home taste! Have you ever watched that T.V. show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri? He definitely provides inspiration and courage for me to test out some of these not-so-popular dives! It’s funny but why not right? Just as I thought, the food was GREAT! It was like having home cooked food and we enjoyed it!
We continued our trip and the scenery was fantastic. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was to see. When we arrived at the visitors center at Mount St Helens, there…sitting quite perfectly displayed was Mount St. Helens.
You can tell that they purposefully cut out this, well…hole like thing for you to view the mountain! I thought it was perfect and was much obliged to the people who did so. It’s a great image. And of course we had to get the family in there 🙂
As I stated in a previous post, I used to be so worried about looking like a tourist when I was on vacation, but honestly, that’s what you are! You’re a tourist. I felt so much like one when one of the employees jumped in and made us get together for this picture. I didn’t even have to ask. After it’s all said and done, I will be so thankful that I have these images to remind me of that day 🙂 So I honestly don’t mind at all. Where’s my fanny pack?
There was a show playing in the theater inside of the center that really gave you a nice detailed footage of what happened in 1980! I don’t have that footage but I’ve found a video on YouTube that tells you what actually happened that day. Check it out here: Mount St Helens Eruption
Once I watched the video I was HOOKED! The last experience that hooked me was when I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. It literally changed my life. After I went through and saw what I saw, some sort of passion was ignited in my heart and I took interest immediately. I kind of feel the same thing has happened here. After being here and seeing this volcanic, living, breathing thing, I am wanting to know more and more!
Here are the images they had in the visitors center. You can see the sequence of the eruption. It started at 8:32:38 (I believe), then 8:32:47 > 8:32:49 > 8:32:53 > 8:33:03 > 8:33:18.8
HOW AMAZING! Look at that burst! It’s just crazy. Mount St. Helens had 3 small phreatic eruptions in 1893, 1902 and 1921. It had been quiet since the mid-1800’s. Apparently 123 years of no activity is a long time for us, but according to geologic time, that’s just a “nap”. At 3:37 p.m. an earthquake, measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale hit, coming directly from beneath Mount St. Helens. Then there was another earthquake and then another one which led scientist to believe that this volcano was waking up. So, these earthquakes eventually led to the first eruption of Mt. St. Helens. It ejected steam and ash along with rock fragments and ice blocks on the slopes of the volcano. Within hours of the first eruption, residents within a 15-mile radius of the volcano were advised to leave. Because of the continued activity, the Governor of Washington issued a State of Emergency. Craters had formed and eventually a “bulge” formed on the north flank of the volcano (probably due to magma rising in the volcano). They used comparisons of the pictures taken in 1979 of the mountain to see what kind of differences were happening with this bulge and found that it had grown outward and upward about 250 feet as of April 12, 1980 – and it continued to grow 5 to 7 feet per day since April 25th. During this time people were to have evacuated, but after a period of time of nothing happening, they started letting people back in to get their things or do what they needed to do. On May 18th, the volcano erupted. The “bulge” had exploded sending ash and rock rolling down the side of the mountain. Some witnesses said they saw lightning bolts shooting through the ash.
I would like to take this time out to draw some attention to a guy named, David Johnston, who was a Geological Survey Geologist who died during this eruption. His name is continuously brought up during videos and in information given to you on this volcanic mountain. He died doing his job and for some reason I just really admire that. His famous words, “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!” seems to ring many times through the tour of the visitors center and is pretty famous when talking about Mount St. Helens. The pictures above are his images and are displayed in the visitors center. He last radioed in at 8:32 which was when it happened. (All info stated above is from the visitors center at Mount St. Helens)
After the visitors center we drove up to Johnston’s Ridge (named after David Johnston) to see her up close and personal. We stopped at a pull off before Johnston and got a couple of great shots as well as some along the way.
You know that this is tourist attraction when the local chipmunk comes up to you begging for food. LITERALLY, the chipmunk saw us, ran up to us (about 1 foot away), stood on the stone wall and did all but ask, “Do you have any food for me?”. LOL I swear, when he stood up on his hind legs, if he could have spoken, that’s what he would have asked. So funny and cute.
Johnston’s Ridge is the up close and personal view.
You can see, directly in the center where the explosion happened. It used to be a mountain at one time but now is looks a bit open. I found a before image for you to see (taken from Wikipedia).
The visuals of the mountain are just insane. I think that’s what really blows my mind. That is what makes you feel small. A mass of ash and rock, reaching heights of 50,000 ft. can really put you in your place. People who were 35 miles away from the mountain said they felt a temperature increase of 30 to 40 degrees higher than usual. What can do that? I can blow air out of my mouth and it may reach a foot away from me? I am an ANT in a wilderness of monumental size. God’s creation is so fantastic that to think this all happened just by chance, to me, is a foolish idea indeed.