Auburn, California has some beautiful parks and we were able to hike in two: the Auburn State Recreation Area to Clementine Lake and a city park trail to Hidden Falls. The hike to Clementine Lake and Dam has the state’s highest bridge, the Foresthill Bridge. The bridge stands 730 feet in height and stretches 2,428 feet across the American River where it was constructed in 1973 to join the towns of Auburn and Foresthill across a reservoir that was never completed. The lake was quite beautiful and calm and we actually made it back to our car before the downpour that lasted several days. When the sun came out again, we hiked to Hidden Falls.
After nearly two weeks of sitting around in our trailer when it was raining, hanging out with relatives (and their German exchange student Julia), with interspersed hiking, we wondered if and when we would get our truck. The day finally arrived and all I will say is that the FORD dealer in Auburn could have been more accommodating for people who were driving through town and were having work done on a Warranty. It would seem to me that they would want those passing through to have fond memories of their little town rather than feel as though we were inhibiting their work with the locals. Even the day they told us we would receive our truck, they delayed the time which only gave us about 4 hours to begin our trek toward … Seattle.
We arrived after dark, something we vowed never to do, at a sweet place called Lakeshore Villa. The owner was so accommodating that she waited for us to arrive even though she ‘closed’ 1/2 hour before. It was a cute, little place by Shasta Lake built in the 1950s. I could actually imagine people camping there when everything was ‘new’ and not ‘retro’. A short walk to Shasta lake in the morning refreshed us for the day’s drive ahead. From the Villa we continued to head north and it finally felt as if we were really, actually, heading toward Alaska.
During the drive we had a beautiful view of Mount Shasta that appeared to be venting steam. It is not a dormant volcano, but the one that may be the next Mount St. Helens. Our next overnight was at an RV park near Portland. It was like a huge parking lot and our site was on “Alaska Road.” When we opened our trailer, low and behold, one of the curtain rods had fallen from the window and landed on the leather couch. Had I not put some pillows and a blanket on it, I would have had holes from the screws! We are learning that all the bumping and thumping makes for things to twist, turn and come loose. Though these trailers look like they are made sturdy and strong, they have their issues.
Once we crossed into Washington state, we decided to take a detour to the Mount St. Helen’s Visitor Center. Unfortunately, it was foggy and rainy so we couldn’t see the mountain, but we did follow the history of events and watch the little video. It’s very strange to think the eruption of this volcano and much of what I remember seeing as evening news footage is now ‘history’. It was such a part of my life with ash falling on my car in Denver as much as living five miles downwind from Three Mile Island, also now on the history channel.
Our final stop in the U.S. was in Seattle. We had made plans to meet with our friend and former exchange student, Hugo Brito, from Brasil. He was in Seattle for the 2017 Coffee Expo as his family are coffee farmers in Minas Gerais, one of the states in Brasil. For many years they were in a co-op, but now he is traveling the world to market their coffee independently. It was quite the coincidence that he would be there as we were passing through. We hadn’t seen him since we visited his family in Brasil five years ago. Finding an RV park became the issue. Every place I called was full and had no spaces for our large rig. One place finally called back and said someone left early and we could have the ‘big rig’ site. It was only 15 miles from Seattle and an Uber would only be about $20 so we decided to go with it no matter what.
When we arrived at this park in Bellevue, it was literally a parking lot for RVs that were squished together. When the owner saw the size of our rig (already he knew it was 42 feet, but not a fifth wheel), he was a little overwhelmed. Fortunately, they guide everyone to and into their site. Let’s remember, we are NEW at driving a fifth wheel and when he began to circle us around the exterior of the park, he had to direct every turn my husband made. When we finally got to the site, two people, one in the front and one in the back, slowly guided my husband into the site in such a way that we could actually get out the next morning. It left us in a twisted-arched position, but hey, we could park and go into the city and see Hugo!
The Uber rides were interesting as always. It seems we always get foreigners and the discussions are enlightening as far as immigrants are concerned. One seemed to take us a long route while the other got us back to our RV in less than 15 minutes. Both spoke English, but with thick accents: Asian and Pakistani.
We were to meet Hugo at the Starbucks Reserve store near the convention center. He arrived looking much older – he was 15-16 when he was at our house and 22 when we saw him in Brasil – and with some Brasilian friends. We all went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and talked in English and some Portugues. Afterwards, the three of us had drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe and then wandered to the original Starbucks, the Pike Public Market, the monorail, and rode it to the Space Needle at night. We had such a wonderful time reminiscing about the past in Nebraska and our visit with his family and all of his friends we had met in Brasil. We look forward to seeing him again, somewhere, anywhere, and even maybe at his wedding if he ever decides to get married! Saying good-bye was more like ‘see you again’ and wasn’t nearly as sad as saying good-bye 10 years ago. He flew next morning from Seattle to Japan; we headed north to the border of Canada!