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Beautiful Pacific Northwest

Lucille McCrea

All aboard on July 27, and we were off on our bus to travel to Shasta Dam where we stopped to enjoy a hosted picnic lunch. After lunch we continued on to Klamath Falls, Ore., for the night to enjoy a hosted buffet dinner at Sizzlers. The evening was free to take a walk or turn in for the night.

Day two of our journey we departed our motel after a very good breakfast to travel to Crater Lake. The water in this lake is the most beautiful, deep blue. The lake is 1,932 feet deep, and 6 miles long. After about a 45 minute stop for pictures and shop for gifts and post cards we were off to travel to Portland.

There was so much road construction we were somewhat delayed several times. We finally arrived at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. We saw a film about the expedition that was most interesting in explaining the hardships they went through to arrive at this destination in Oregon. We then proceeded to the Portland Rose Garden – what beauty, and such a variety of gorgeous roses.

Day three, we took a short jaunt up the Columbia River to Multnomah Falls. It was a gorgeous sight to those who had never been there. It was almost unbelievable to see the falls and the beautiful setting. The next stop was Mt. St. Helens visitors center. There we saw another film about the eruption of the volcano before and after.

Day four, we were off to the Ferry to cross the Strait of San Juan De Fuca then to Victoria, B.C. Upon arrival, we went to the Empress for High Tea. What a treat that was in the beautiful reception room. The sandwiches, biscuits, jams, scones, petite fours, were all so elegantly served and most delicious. After High Tea, we went across the street to “The Crystal Gardens,” an absolutely beautiful indoor garden with some small jungle animals, macaws, pink flamingos, beautiful, exotic plants and waterfalls.

With a short time for shopping, then we were off to board our coach to go to our motel for check in for the night. Some took the evening free time to walk to a mall to shop!

On day five, we went to downtown Victoria for shopping and to visit the museum where there was a special exhibition of Egypt. Two Imax shows were playing and we had plenty of time to gift shop, take pictures of the harbor, or walk around before going back to the Empress on our own for our own choosing. We met our bus at 2:30 to go back to the motel, freshen up to board again to be off for Butchart Gardens. What a fantastic place that was, with paths of flowers, beautiful water falls, and an Italian garden that would make any Caesar envious.

We stayed for the fireworks that night, and what fireworks they were. We all “oohed” and “aahed” at the beauty of the display. They went on and on for about two hours. We all remarked we had never seen fireworks like those in all our lives. The next day was going to be a busy day as we crossed the Strait of Georgia, by the San Juan Islands to Vancouver.

On day six, we had to leave early – 7:15 a.m. – to travel to Schwartz to board the ferry to Vancouver. Upon arrival we went to Stanley Park, where we had a wonderful time taking pictures of the giant totem poles.

Then day seven, after our relaxing night, we were off to Glacier Park, B.C. We stopped in Salmon Arm for lunch, then off to Glacier Park Lodge. We were greeted by the manager, and enjoyed a high tea reception – very nice.

The next day (eight) we were off to go into Yoho National Forest, over Kicking Horse Pass, and into Alberta, Canada. We went up the Maligne highway, with a stop at Athabasca Falls – what a gorgeous sight. Then we were off to the Columbia Ice Field. We had lunch there and time to do some shopping before boarding a bus to take us to the Snow coaches. We boarded a Snow Coach to transport us out onto Athabasca Glacier. It was rather chilly up there, windy, and the snow was slushy, as they had very warm weather up there also.

On day nine we were backtracking down the Maligne highway and we saw so many glaciers, the scenery was breathtaking and so beautiful in the Canadian Rockies. We stopped for picture taking and gift shop at Lake Louise, a beautiful blue lake with a glacier in the background. After time for pictures, etcetera, we went to Banff, where we had lunch, and ample time to shop buy souvenirs, take pictures. Driver Steve took us to the beautiful Banff Hotel, somewhat like the Empress. We then went on our way to Calgary, our home for the night.

On day 11, we traveled along Flathead Lake, which is 28 miles long and 15 miles wide, a beautiful lake. We stopped at St. Ignatius to visit the Mission with its many artifacts and dry fresco paintings, then a lunch stop at the buck Horn in Ravelli, where the gift shop was most interesting with the artist on site, who did some beautiful pottery work and also paintings.

The next day (day 12) we traveled down through Idaho, following the Salmon River for some time, beautiful rolling hills and so green. We stopped at the Craters of the Moon, a volcanic area which emerged from the earth about 2,000 years ago. Bubbling flowing lava blanketed the landscape as molten material poured or gushed out of the earth. Then on to Twin Falls, where we stopped for more picture taking at the bridge crossing the Snake River Gorge – quite a sight, which over the years now has a golf course and resort down below the bridge.

Our home for the night was Elko, Nev., where we enjoyed another hosted delicious buffet dinner.

On day 13, we were homeward bound, across the endless expanse of the Nevada desert over the hills, and into Lovelock, where we stopped for a hosted lunch, which the group opted to do instead of going on to Reno for hosted buffet. We arrived home earlier than planned and even though it is fun to travel and see so many interesting beautiful places, as the saying goes, “There is no place like home.”

Looking forward to another tour with the wonderful Sierra Travelers. The best in the land.


Lucille McCrea likes to travel with The Sierra Travelers. She lives in Grass Valley.

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