Our Honeymoon Journal
     Entry 7 - 27 August 2000
Lots of forest and farms between Portland, Olympia and Seattle. The 27th was overcast and slightly cool.  Click here to see what the weather is like today...
  Hillsboro to Kirkland (Seattle)

Vanessa We were so impressed by the quality of our room in Hillsboro that we decided to stick when we could with Best Western for our choice of accommodation. Before we left the motel, Chris did some research and booked our next night's stay in Kirkland, a satellite city just north of Seattle. He, by coincidence, spoke with the same person who had organised our Hillsboro room and thanked her for her good advice.
  We decided to make up some time and not stop to look around in Portland, but instead go straight through to Seattle. (We needed some extra time that evening to do some mundane things - like washing our clothes.) We took the main highway, the I5.
  Portland, what we saw of it, seemed to be a large, industrial city. I missed taking some spectacular photos of a huge double-decked bridge we crossed, as I was changing the film in my camera at the time. (Once again, I later did a web search and found a photo of the Marquam Bridge on Andrew Hall's "The Bridges of Portland, Oregon" website.)
  Chris was very impressed by the I5 highway - the speed limit is 70 mph, however, most vehicles were usually doing a minimum of 75 to 80 mph!
  We got our cat fix for the day.We left Oregon and entered the state of Washington. The countryside here looked a lot like southeast Queensland, only swap the gum trees for pines. Not having planned much for the day apart from travelling (and washing clothes), we stopped at an information centre at the twin towns of Longview/Kelso to see if there were any interesting tourist spots along our route. There was a very pleasant lady working at the centre who had a beautiful siamese-cross cat keeping her company. (He made us miss our cat, Crystal.) The lady told us about the area and gave us lots of useful maps. Much of the centre was filled with photographs and models of the local volcanoes - including the famous Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier. The maps showed us that, unfortunately, the volcanoes were too far off our route to visit easily, so our plans for the day stayed as no real sightseeing, just mostly travel.
  Junk food!  Junk food!After the tourist centre, we popped into a nearby Safeway store and bought up on snacks. While we were in the supermarket's carpark, a friendly local and his son began chatting with us. The curious man had heard us talking and recognised our accents as Australian. He seemed fascinated by Australia. He had visited Sydney for two weeks during the Vietnam War and he saw the Opera House while it was being built. He told us that while he was there, he and his group weren't allowed to drive. He asked Chris how he found driving on the other side of the road. Chris said: "Weird, but I've done it before."
  On our way further north, we began seeing more and more RV's. RV's are recreation vehicles and they come in a huge assortment of sizes and shapes. Some are like caravans, towed by cars or 4 wheel drives; others actually tow the cars! Many of them are very large, like small houses on wheels. From the number of them on the road and the time of year it was, we guessed that we had hit the end-of-summer-holidays traffic.
  The food was good - something for the whole family.Lunch was in Centralia at an Azteca restaurant - one of a chain of Mexican restaurants. I was fascinated by the interesting "mexican" architecture and the people visiting the restaurant. Many were dressed up in their Sunday best - whole families with the men in suits and ties and the women wearing fancy dresses and gloves! Chris was more interested in the food. The salsa was very good, but the chips were a bit oily. Another point of interest I noticed: the age limit for alcohol in Washington state is 21 years and the limit is .08.
  We passed through the state capital of Olympia and all we could see was the highway lined on both sides by tall, thick pine trees. When I mentioned this, Chris said: "The Interstate stops for no-one and nothing!"
  Closer to Seattle, the highway became a concrete monstrosity. In one place, it was at least 10 lanes wide! Huge billboards were everywhere, including video billboards. Chris found those to be too distracting while he was driving. Some areas we passed through were highly industrialised and there was a bad smell in the air.
  We took the wrong turnoff, not surprising with the tangle of roads, but we quickly got back on track. The hotel we stayed at is right next to the highway (as most are), but it was quiet in the room.
  None of the local restaurants inspired us, and as we were feeling a little tired, we decided to have KFC. We discovered that there are many differences between US and Australian KFC. All the soft drinks, except diet Pepsi, have caffeine in them - even the lemonade! The coleslaw is better in the US, the mashed potato and gravy worse, the chicken is about the same and the corn pieces are huge and very juicy, but not as flavoursome. There are different types of "meal deals" as well. Extras are called "side orders" and these include something called "biscuits". The biscuits turned out to be a very light plain scone. Chris doesn't like the Australian KFC much as it's too greasy. The US version was about the same.