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Day 264– 29th August 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on August 29, 2009

Saturday – Castle Rock, Washington

As you can see from the bedroom furniture, it is a very rustic type of outback setting 🙂

I was soon packed and gone, I had a bit of a roundabout way to get to the Johnson Ridge visitor centre as there were no roads over the ranges, so I had to go west, north then back east, this added quite a few hours to the trip, but I had all day 🙂 The weather did not look the best at all, and it was not long before I had to stop and don the wets!

The rain continued on and off so when I got to Castle Rock, before I had to head east, I stocked up on a Subway for take away for lunch and probably dinner as well. I got back on the road right away and as I got higher, it also got colder, as usual and soon I was amongst the clouds.

The road went up and down a lot, so sometimes I had better vision, but mostly whiteout, there were quite a few tight turns up there as well, lucky they had bright yellow centre lines to focus on as it helped me get to the main car park, it seems we were clouded in 😦

By the looks of the info board, there were a number of talks about the event, so my time would not be wasted.

There was also a 16min video in a big theatre which showed the event using the records/film and photos from back in 1980, but also it showed the actual event in its 5 distinct stages, the earthquake, the landslide(chicken or egg with these two apparently), the explosion from the volcano once the plug was removed(the landslide), then the glacier melt causing the floods, then the ash plume for about 9 hours including the pyroclastic flow as it slowed down. So, there was more to it than I had known and it was extremely interesting. 🙂 The climax to the show is that the credits are run with a voice over asking you to stay seated, then the screen lifts up, so does the curtain behind and ‘behold’ white out 😆 It should have been behold, a horseshoe crater volcano, so that was a bummer, no mountain, lucky I had seen it yesterday eh 8)

There was a ranger talk about some of the effects locally, also a large tree trunk is preserved inside with some info about it. There was a vulcanologist named Johnstone, he was standing on this ridge(named after him) when he saw the mountain collapse, his last words on the radio were “Vancouver, Vancouver, This is it!” This Vancouver is in Washington, not Canada. The mountain was only 5 miles away, imagine what he saw coming towards him!

There were a number of other displays, including a 3D map with a heap of fibre optic lights of different colours, the narrative is accompanied by the lights showing where the blast effected things, the mud flow and the landslide etc, not a bad job at all:) This particular effect is showing the effects of the blast, so all this area had shattered, uprooted, or burnt trees.

These things here are called spiders, they drop them onto parts of the crater lava dome area and monitor changes in the lava eruptions which continued to happen for years afterwards and have only ceased lately.

The viewing platform, a good place to study clouds today 🙂

So, as the main attraction was shrouded today I headed back west, I thought I may get a better view next week if I dropped in on my way past from Spokane. On the way down the cloud layer was topped out at just below 3000ft, but some of the views were nice, it was freezing though.

A bit further down was a large bridge, one of the new ones that were built after the eruption, as most of the road that was there had been buried under a few hundred feet of silt. There was an info board describing the procedure, quite interesting and a big long bridge which runs uphill away from this point, which is right on the edge of the blast area.

A private company lost a lot of property but seemed to recover a lot of the dead trees and has replanted pretty much the whole area affected 🙂

After this I rode back to the main highway and checked a few things out, the main one was that I was only 126 miles from Corvallis, Oregon where I was going to be tomorrow evening, I could not get there any earlier than 5pm, so it seemed to me that I had a whole day to burn. Hmm, OK, here is a decision, why not stay somewhere around here in a cheapish motel rather than a tent 🙂 Then, tomorrow, as it is supposed to be sunny, I could slip back up the mountain early and see what it all looks like in the sun, good idea, decision made, I found a cheap motel on the highway and settled in.

So, after posting a blog entry and answering some emails, I asked the dude about a pub, it is Saturday night after all, he said the local food joint also has a lounge, so off I trot just down the road.

Bummer, new owners are in there and they do not have their liquor license yet 😦 There are no cabs to get across into the main part of town, so I decided to stay in, I grabbed a 6 pack of Blue and settled in to update some more pages, probably a good idea as yesterdays took ages to do, at least a 6 pack anyway, but my typing did slow down during the evening 🙂

Day 171 miles and 275 km
Trip – 33,587 miles and 54,083 km


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