3 Sept – Beautiful, sunny morning with temps in the 50s and a hot air balloon rising into the blue sky. I head south toward Missoula along the west side of blue, blue Flathead Lake with countless sailboats on its surface. I think at least every 10th car is towing a boat. Pretty scenery and easy roads, 70 mph speed limits. I angle west and meet up with I 90 which will take me through the panhandle of Idaho and straight to Bellevue WA. I think the GPS mentioned 350+ miles but I blanked that part out. Once in WA, the interstate quickly became desert and dull. Most interesting part of this highway are the “cell phone pullouts.”
I stopped to visit a Jesuit mission in Cataldo Idaho. Built in 1850 it is the oldest standing building in Idaho. Mission is a simple wood structure built upon rock base hauled here by the Coeur d’Alene Indians from half a mile distant. The interior has simple ornamentation.
My last 80 miles is driving the Mountains to Sound Highway and again I am in beautiful forested hills. Topping one hill I see Mt. Rainier towering directly in front of me. Some snow remains on the mountains and the temps have cooled.
Staying with Susan and Bill in their lovely home in Bellevue. Susan is my third cousin and she just goes to show what great people one meets through genealogy research. Wonderful dinner and interesting discussion about the history of this area. Tomorrow it will be a genealogy day of searching for my roots.
4th Sept – Clear blue skies, snow-covered mountains on the horizon, and warm temps as I am off on the hunt for great-grandfather E.F. Shinabarger. First stop is Costco, of which I learn it may not have gas but it was the initial Costco store founded in Kirkland, i.e. store brand-name.
Visited Evergreen Cemetery and with the help of the man in charge, I was able to locate the grave site where E.F., Georgiana, Harry, Harriet Joslyn, Millicent and Griffin are all interred, mostly cremations. Then drove short distance to Everett Library. Town has great views of sound to west and Cascades to the east. Houses are simple two-story wood frames along tree-lined streets. Doubt a lot has changed with these homes though town has grown.
At Everett Library I looked up ancestors in City Directory, finding Harry only. Then looked in Everett Herald for report of accident that killed E.F. Found article that reports a sling of lumber broke and struck him. He died that night in the hospital. Gave his address so drove by his home which is now a Holiday Inn next to I-5. He would have had wonderful views of the mountains when he lived there; son Harry lived about 10 blocks away and the address no longer exists as far as I can tell.
Bill and Susan took me to dinner at Anthony’s Homeport overlooking Moss Bay. Beautiful views of the bay and setting sun enhanced by smoke in the air. Drove around a bit in Bill Gates’ Medina neighborhood; not a bad spot with views of the Lake Washington and setting sun. Returned home to talk genealogy.
5th Sept – Susan and I drove the 91 miles south to Lost Lake near Shelton. I have seen more police in the 50 miles around Bellevue than in previous 2500 miles. I now understand why I have thought WA drivers to be so slow. With a 60 mph speed limit here, even on I-5, everyone pays attention or pays a ticket. Fines must be keeping government afloat.
Even though the sky is not totally clear, the view of snow-covered Mt. Rainier is beautiful. There was so much snow this year the peaks are still covered. Sun is shining, temps in mid 70s. This area of WA state is green, dotted with numerous lakes and rivers, and the salt water of the Pacific flows in through the sounds and deep channels. Lumbering is still a primary industry; communities are small and rural, some show signs of poor economy, and the spotted owl controversy is still alive here. Doubt a lot has changed since Grandfather E.F. worked in the area lumber mills in 1908.
Susan and I are staying at their gorgeous home on Lost Lake, a fresh water lake. It is idyllic in the cedar and pines, overlooking the lake with a peak of the Cascades to the west. We kayaked around the lake before driving to the home of her Norvold side of the family for dinner. They live on a salt water inlet surrounded by trees and tranquility. Alas, no Orcas swimming by today. Good people and good times.
6th Sept – Mists of a cool morning lay over the glassy surface of the lake this morning. I hate to leave. Have had a great time with my third cousin Susan. However, I am off to Aberdeen Library in search of more info on EF. Lost Lake is only a few minutes from Aberdeen where the Shinabargers worked; they lived just over the Chehalis River bridge in Cosmopolis, probably within a block of Hwy 101. I found Grandpa Riley was also here in 1908. After searching the library for information, I drove around their old neighborhood. They must have enjoyed their magnificent views of the forests, the Chehalis, and possibly of Mt. Rainier.
I hate to leave this part of WA but next destination is Portland. It is getting hot again. I made a stop at Mount St. Helens Visitor Center. Enjoyed their film and the displays explaining the eruption 18 May 1980. I was last here about 6 weeks after the devastating eruption and what was then covered in a foot of ash powder is now green and alive. St. Helens is also covered in snow and about now I wish I had time to drive around it as temps are 92.
I arrived in Portland at rush hour, or two, but GPS got me right to hostel. Later I made a pilgrimage to Costco for gas and in the hopes of finding Cougar Gold, a great tasting cheese from Washington State University. Did not pan out. Back at hostel, passed the evening in the Secret Garden listening to local musicians and drinking beer. Good end to the day.