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  • Road Trip: Day 8

    Posted on September 5th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Maybe I should have call this the “Volcanic Road Trip”, as I’ve visited Mt. Lassen, Crater Lake… and today Mount St. Helens.

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    The drive originally planned for today was just at 400 miles (and almost 8 hours), so having the first part on I-5 (with it’s lovely 70mph speed limit) was nice. It was also on I-5 that I noticed my GPS is pronouncing abbreviation “WA” (Washington) as “Western Australia”… I guess that’s a side-effect of using the “Australian Voice”!

    The road up to Mount St. Helens was very picturesque, and I found myself stopping to take photos every few miles. Fortunately the roads were fairly empty.

    Once I reached the Johnston Ridge Observatory I walked around the Visitor Center a bit (my National Parks pass got me in free) and then went to the look-out to get some more photos of the volcano.

    With all the attention being put on Mount St. Helens itself, I nearly missed all the other great scenery. It was very cool to still see hillsides covered with bare trunks of trees… reminders of the blast from over 30 years ago. The whole area made a great backdrop for photos.

    Once I left the observatory I headed down the mountain and practiced my coasting skills. There were a few times I found myself moving at quite a clip… for a few seconds I was even getting 70mpg!

    Last night on Top Gear they had a challenge to drive from Portland to San Francisco (~640 miles) on a single tank of gas. They made it, but how about me? So far I’ve been averaging 18.2mpg, so with a 19 gallon tank… I’d only get half-way. Oh well, I still have a longer range than a Nissan Leaf!

    The remainder of the day was devoted to reaching my hotel for the night… 112 miles of which was on Highway 12. Based on my GPS’s prediction I should have arrived around 6pm, but while driving on Hwy12 I ran into a stretch of road with a major construction delay… I was stuck waiting for 30 minutes!

    While waiting on the side of the road (at least I found a bit of shade) I pulled-up Google on my phone and tracked-down a closer hotel for the night. Now that I’ve checked-in and gotten settled, I’m really glad that I decided to shorten the days drive.