Thursday, July 23, 2009

Road Trip: Good Eats

What else are roadtrips about? No pork rinds or Blue Ribbon on this last trip but did get a chance to set down for some classic diner fare in Fife at the Poodle Dog. Been there since 1933 -- probably established as part of the build up along the then new Highway 99. Old 99 is to the left coast North/South corridor as Route 66 is to the east/west corridor.

This photo is terribly backlit but it catches the feel of that moment.

It. Was. Hot. At least by the standards of Western Washington. Of course as my Dad likes to say about Western Washington weather, "When it's nice, it's really nice. When it's bad, it's not so bad."

My trophy wife and I were headed south to my home town on that stretch of I-5. Got there in time to enjoy a slice of apple cobbler at "The Country Cousin." Then we wandered out to the north of town to enjoy an evening walk along the Skookumchuck at "The Shallows" (now referred to as Schaffer Park and then on out past the Steam Plant to see how things are shaping up now that the coal mine has closed.

My buddies and I spent a lot (A LOT!) of time out that valley hunting as yout's. Imagine my surprise (and delight) to find that elk have moved in to the area. 30 years ago we would have thought it inconceivable.

Hard to make out in these sunset photos...

There's a bull in velvet, a cow and a calf somewhere in these photos.

Back up the road a piece we spotted a couple more elk cows and fat blacktail doe.

My camera phone wasn't up to the task -- can't make out the wildlife very well in these backlit shots -- I know where to look and can barely make out their outlines.

Down the road just a bit (not shown here) Canada geese were all over enjoying an evening knosh in recently mowed hay fields. I spent a lot of time freezing at sunrise in those fields in hopes of spotting a duck or two. Nice to see the habitat supporting so many waterfowl now.

Back in town here's a shot of the town's original reason for being. Joseph Borst set up a ferry and roadhouse/hotel here in the 1840's. It was major and flourishing stop and trading location between Puget Sound to the north, Gray's Harbor to the west and the Cowlitz/Columbia/Vancouver settlements to the south. A foreshadowing of later years when the town became the "Hub City" & "Centerville" of SW Washington railroads. Eventually they settled on the name of "Centralia" and established a flourishing downtown -- in large part due to the vision and generousity of a former slave, skilled tailor, farmer, and Indian fighter and friend of Indians name of "George Washington."

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