Thoughts, Myths, and Half Truths from 2 weeks on the road.

With apologies to Thin Lizzy:  Guess who just got back today..that wild eyed boy that had been away.  15 days, 5125 driving miles.  several nights camping either sleeping in the car or pitching a tent with a few hotel nights mixed in, a couple thousand images, sore ankles and knees from more hiking than I’m used to, time spent with some dear old friends, time photographing a bear I first photographed in 2007 when she was a cub.  All in all, a grand journey.  Here are some thoughts, Good, Bad, and Ugly.

Good:  I was able to photograph in the Columbia Gorge and all the tips I gleaned from reading other photographers’ blogs worked!  Some great images.

Bad:  There is a reason that they call it a Rain Forest.  During a 7 day period I saw the sun for maybe 4 hours.  Worked great for the Rain Forest shots…for the beach sunsets, not so much.

Good:  The sunny morning on Steptoe Butte in The Palouse was everything I hoped it would be.  I came away with some images that I’m very proud of.  Of course, with the exception of beach sunset images, I’m very proud of all the images I got on this trip.

Bad:  I had one sunset on the beach and did a really average job of creating images.  And the light at Palouse Falls was flat and boring.  These were the only 2 disappointments on the trip that were photography related.

Good:  I rediscovered the advantages of small local motels vs. the large nationwide chains.  In Cascade Locks, OR, I highly recommend the Cascade Motel.  Older, smaller, but recently renovated and absolutely wonderful.  Also the least expensive hotel on the trip.

Bad:  Spending the night at the Econolodge in Spokane was a disaster.  The room was badly in need of repair and renovation.  The desk clerk flatly refused to attempt to locate my Choice Hotels account number so I could get credit for the stay and would not rebill once I provided the number.  Choice Hotels has been notified.

Good:  Spending time with my daughter, Heather, and getting her input on what to do and what to see while we were in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  She is the only one of my family (so far) that doesn’t mind sitting somewhere waiting for the light to get right or waiting for a critter to show up.

Bad:  Trying to kill 2 birds with one stone we waited till long after dark for Castle Geyser to blow and to get some starscapes.  The sign predicted an eruption between 9:30 and 11:30pm.  Clouds moved in so no star shots, and we both got too cold and bored so we left at 10:30.  Went back the next morning to see it erupt.

Good:  In Oregon there is a state law requiring a station attendant to pump gas for you, even at convenience stores.  Imagine my surprise when a young woman snatched my credit card out of my hand, ran it through the pump, and pumped my gas.  Wow…just like when I was growing up.

Bad:  She didn’t check the oil, check tire pressure, or wash my windows.  Also the gas prices, especially in Washington, were tremendously high.

Good:  Spending a couple of days and nights with my old college friends Tim and Kristy in Woodway, WA.  Great conversation, great food, wine tasting…I also met their niece, Ashley and her friend Suapanel (sic) both are delightful young people.  Spent a great afternoon with them and Tim tasting wine at several of the wineries in Woodinville.

Bad:  My other college pals, Dennis and his wife Teresa, were out of town so I didn’t get to see them.

Good:  15 minutes after entering Grand Teton National Park we encountered Grizzly   #610 and her cubs.  I photographed her as a cub in 2007 with her mother, Grizzly #399.  Great to see her again with her own family.

Bad:  We couldn’t locate #399 though we did hear that she was alive and well and had made a kill.  I hope the old gal is doing well.

As I said, it was a grand trip.  Can’t wait to get the images up on the big monitor and have a look.