Best Two Days Yet

Trip Start Jun 01, 2011
Trip End Nov 28, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday 20 June

Left Vancouver headed for our dear  friend of many years Shane Calnon in St Helen's Oregon.
Well the weather seems to be finally clearing but we are not holding our breath.  Good to actually see something of Canada though and with the weather clearing we could glimpse at the surroundings and get the gist that it is a really beautiful alpine type country.  Very well maintained city. Getting out of Canada was a bit of a hassle.  The wait to get through was quite a lot longer than getting in and the questions were a lot more intense.  The police presence was huge at the boarder. Boarder check was very concerned about how long we would be staying in the US and we had to show them our tickets out of the country to ensure we could get back into the States.  Got to St Helen's about 7pm to Shane's house. A beautiful three x two townhouse with a huge tv.  Tom in heaven and Tom and Shane managed to fit in watching an AFL game, along with quite a few ales. It was so good to catch up again as it has been two years since our last catch up, just a shame that we have missed Allison by a few weeks. (yes Helen & Kevin it really is two years since Tom was saving your boat in his jocks at bandy creek).  Shane mentioned we could park the RV in his driveway.  He did not expect the RV to be a 30ft beast and was very amused by us trying to navigate this thing in the tight cul de sac that he lives in.  Luckily the unit next to Shane's was vacant so we parked in that drive and settled in.  There is a state trooper living across the road who was having a chuckle along with Shane about the size of the RV. Shane wondered how we had managed with the RV with all the traffic and if we had been road raged.  Only once this happened and I managed to calm Tom down before he was ready to give it back.  Shane warned to ignore it because they all carry guns here!  Apparently the state trooper was on holidays and his patrol car was parked up in the driveway the whole time we were there.  They get to take their patrol cars home!  Only in America.  On the way into St Helen's, we saw the beautiful Columbia River.  This area is the heart and sole of logging country and we were amazed at the amount of logs, trucks and ships on the River.  It is truly an awesome sight to see huge liners on the river of Columbia.  The logging trucks were everywhere and the timber huge.  They have a huge replanting programme apparently and the countryside is just forests everywhere up and down mountains.  Bloody mountains Tom has had a gut full of driving up mountains, around mountains, across mountains, through mountains and down mountains.  The whole of America is bloody mountains!  We were very fortunate that Shane was able to take a day off work the next day and he took us on a tour up to Mt St Helen's via the St Helen's town site.  A very pretty town on the Columbia River and saw the house that was used in the Twilight movies.  Photo attached is for you Paige.  The trip up to Mt St Helen's took us once again up mountains.  Luckily Shane was driving which gave Tom a break.  Logging trucks in the dozens along this stretch and as can be seen from the photos the huge stock piles along the river.   Mt St Helen's last erupted in 1980 and basically blew half of the side of the mountain out.  Several people were killed including the chap who was monitoring the activity at the base of the mountain.  His last words were  "  Base,Base it's happening". Pretty awful seeing this guys last words. This was prior to the intricate monitoring that is available today to predict activity.  The Mt is a different type of volcano to the Hawaiian islands.  Mt St Helen's is a composite type which can explode at eruption.  Many people were camping in the neighboring national park and were overcome by the eruption and had to be rescued.  Some not so lucky.  Among those not so lucky was one old chap who lived in a shack at the base of the mountain and refused to relocate.  Said the Mt was his life and was not going anywhere.  Well he did not go anywhere and was never found.  Another story was of a young family camping with a three year old and a three month old baby.  The father took photos of the event and the devastation of their campsite.  They were rescued by helicopter and the story goes from the rescuer that when hoisting up the mother he kept yelling to her to get rid of her backpack.  She would not comply and continued to ignore him.  It was not until she was in the chopper and they were headed to safely that she revealed the contents of her backpack - the baby!    There was a great documentary at the Mt about the history of the Mt and the eruption of 1980, the footage of the eruption and how it blew down forests like they were toothpicks for miles and miles on end was just the most unbelievable thing to see.  The evidence is still there today with the surrounding environment looking like forests that have been logged. The doco also showed how advanced the technology is now to ensure that future eruptions can be predicted more accurately.  Apparently the volcano is currently releasing steam and gases and this will eventually lead to the gaping hole in the side of the mountain being rebuilt. This will take thousands of years though.  At the end of the doco the curtains were lifted to reveal the actual Mt itself.  It was awesome.  Made you gasp at the size of it.   

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Marg Smillie on

Tom hope you had a great birthday, it looks like the 2 of you are having a wonderful time, am going to tell Chris all about it and this is what we need to do, continue to have a great time

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