North by Northwest - Cookie's Adventures

North By Northwest – A Thriller!

Good Evening!

Good Evening!
Good Evening!

We interrupt our tales of Cookie’s travels in the Wild West for some “Breaking News”… For their next adventures, Cookie and her friends are heading North by Northwest!

Running on RushmoreJust like Roger Thornhill in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller of the same name, we lived and worked in New York City for most of our lives before we decided to hit the road, heading for parts unknown. But unlike Thornhill, we’ve traveled across the country willingly, so we are hoping to avoid running into any nasty foreign agents… or being chased across the tops of National Monuments trying to evade Soviet spies!

The Latest News
Watch Out For Nasty Foreign Agents!

All Come To Look For America

NYC - A City of Immigrants
Living in the City of Immigrants

As we travel around this country, we are continually amazed by its tremendous diversity, not only in its landscapes, but most notably in the great rainbow of people, cultures and ideas that make up America, past, present and future. We’re from New York, where you can hear 110 different languages just by walking down the street. Steve Earle called it the “City of Immigrants,” and we firmly believe that in our diversity lies America’s greatest strength. michelle obamaThe more we travel, the more obvious it is to us that this country, as it is today, was built by immigrants as well as by slaves. Likewise, the remnants we visit from the ancient American past reveal an even greater diversity of people and cultures, with thousands of languages, sophisticated trade, and advanced skills and knowledge in architecture, astronomy, agriculture and the arts. Navajo Woman at WorkDespite all the efforts made to decimate them, they are still with us today, and we are the better for it.

Remember the Grape Boycott?

Our Route to the Northwest
Our Route to the Northwest

Our winter home is in the city of San Buenaventura California. We returned there for two weeks after our trip through the “Wild West” to plan our “North by Northwest” adventure. It’s the first time we have ever been in California in July! Ventura, as it is better known, is a diverse city that maintains its roots as farm country through its zoning regulations, so as you drive through the city, you will often pass fields with migrant workers before you enter the next residential area. farm workers venturaSo it should come as no surprise that only a couple of hours away, we will be visiting one of our newest National Monuments, the former home of Cesar Chavez, which still serves as the headquarters of the union movement he started and led, the National Farm Workers Association. Cesar Chavez National MonumentWe have wanted to visit Cesar Chavez National Monument since President Obama established it three years ago, but in a year when our Latino friends and neighbors are being vilified in a presidential election by a deplorable demagogue – from New York, no less! – it’s all the more important to recognize and honor the contributions of the hard working people we all depend on for our food.

Grape Boycott 1965-70

This Monument is one part of a proposed National Historical Park that includes the Filipino Community Hall in Delano, CA where the five year long Delano Grape Strike and Boycott began in 1965, along with other sites associated with the fight for workers’ rights.

Cesar Chavez
Cesar Chavez

Appropriately, we will be camping in an orange grove our first night out!

It Could Never Happen Here?

Barracks at Manzanar
Barracks at Manzanar

Next, we travel north to Manzanar National Historical Park, the site of an infamous World War II internment camp, one of ten such camps where over 110,000 Japanese American citizens were “relocated” during the war.

A Racist Cartoon
A Racist Cartoon

This shameful episode in American history was the result of racism, bigotry and fear of “the other” during a time of national crisis. Some people today are spreading similar lies and fears and proposing racist “solutions,” but the history of Manzanar should serve as a cautionary tale.

Forced Removal of American Citizens
Forced Removal of American Citizens
Herded Onto Trains for Manzanar
Herded Onto Trains at Bayonet Point

We have heard that the National Park Service does a good job of telling the unvarnished truth about the harm done to so many loyal Americans by their own government and fellow citizens, simply because of their race and where they or their ancestors came from.

It’s important to remember what happened at Manzanar and places like it so that ignorance and fear never lead us to repeat such injustice.

High Sierra

The Eastern Sierras
The Eastern Sierras

Just up the road from Manzanar along the scenic US Highway 395, we plan to visit the Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center in Bishop, CA. We have visited many tribal sites and cultural centers on our journeys, and always find the stories of First Nations people to be fascinating.

Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center
Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center

Manzanar and Bishop are in between Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Death Valley, three fantastic National Parks we haven’t written about yet, but we will be camping right across from Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the “lower 48” states.

Mount Whitney
Mount Whitney

Oddly enough, you can’t see Mount Whitney from any of those parks because it’s hidden among other peaks in the Sierras, so we hope to finally have a few photos of the tallest peak to post, along with pictures of the incredible Sierra Nevada mountains that surround it.

There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills!

Scenic US Highway 395 continues north and so do we, to Bodie California.

Bodie SHP
Bodie California – From Gold Rush to Ghost Town

Bodie was once a California gold rush boom town; now, it’s a ghost town, preserved as a California State Historic Park. We have heard from other “travelers” that Bodie is well worth a visit, and we plan to do so on this trip.

Paradise Shores RV
Paradise Shores RV

We’ll be camping on the shores of a reservoir for two nights, which might be the last body of water we see for a while as we head once again across the desert sands of Nevada. We’ll have more to say in another post about the journey we undertook last month on “The Loneliest Highway in America,” but that experience convinced us that our survival skills must be sufficient to brave crossing Nevada again, bound northeast to get to the Northwest this time.

Winnemucca RV
Winnemucca RV

Nevada is huge, so we’ve booked an overnight stay in Winnemucca (where??), and another overnight in Eastern Oregon, before we finally get to another National Monument, the John Day Fossil Beds. We never heard of this place until we discovered it on a National Park Service map, but pictures and descriptions of the area convinced us that it will be worth the trip.

John Day Fossil Beds
John Day Fossil Beds

We certainly hope that’s true, since it’s in such a remote area of Oregon that we had to veer away from a direct route to the Northwest for the previous two nights just to get there!

Picking Up Sacajawea’s Trail

After two days at John Day, we’ll be heading for another National Historical Park, this one on the site where Lewis and Clark camped in 1805 just before they got their first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean.

Sacajawea
Sacajawea

They never would have gotten there without their Shoshone guide, Sacajawea. It’s important to understand how much the earliest American explorers and pioneers depended on the help of native people. We’ll be camping at Fort Stevens, a Civil War fort that is now an Oregon State Park.

Fort Stevens Historical Site
Fort Stevens Historical Site

It has the distinction of being the only place in the United States that was fired upon by a foreign power – a Japanese submarine – during a time of war, since the War of 1812, which was fought against Great Britain.

Columbia River at Memaloose SP
Columbia River at Memaloose State Park

Along the way to Lewis and Clark NHP, we’ll follow and camp along the Columbia River, just as Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery did over 200 years ago. Unlike them however, we’ll have full hookups for water, sewer and electric!

Finally, We’re Roughing It!

We have one more National Park visit planned before we start heading back south for the Fall. That’s a three day stay at North Cascades National Park in Washington State near the Canadian border.

Skagit River Trail North Cascades NP
Skagit River Trail in North Cascades National Park

We’ll be dry camping in the national park along the Skagit River… that means no hookups for water, sewer or electric for three days, so we’ll be running our generator and filling our holding tanks! We started off tent camping 35 years ago, so by camping, even dry camping in an RV, we’ll be a lot more pampered than we were in our tent or even in the pop-up we had for 20 years!

The Suspense Is Over… The MacGuffin Is Revealed!

On the way to North Cascades, we have an overnight stop planned in Kent, Washington, about ten minutes from our son Jesse and his wife Sheila. They promised to bring dinner!

Jesse and Sheila
Jesse and Sheila

After North Cascades, we’ll return south to a campground just north of Seattle for another visit with Jesse and Sheila, this time for five days. Our primary motivation for this whole trip … i.e. the mysterious reason that prompted our North by Northwest Adventure… is to visit our family! Jesse and Sheila recently bought a house we haven’t seen yet just outside Seattle, and our niece Carrie just bought a house in Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Carrie and Kate
Carrie and Katherine

My sister Katherine is planning to fly there to see Carrie’s house, so we coordinated the dates to be there at the same time. This is the first year in our lives that we won’t be in New York, so we wouldn’t otherwise get to see Katherine, who lives in New Jersey. We’re really looking forward to this visit!

No More Unexpected Plot Twists… Please!

Once again this fall, we will be volunteering as camp hosts at Carpinteria State Beach in California.

Carpinteria Sunset in the Moonlight
Carpinteria Sunset in the Moonlight

We’ve done this every year but one since 2008, and it’s always great to spend three months on the beach, meeting and helping other campers and working with a great group of rangers, park aides snd othe volunteers.

 

Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park
Point Arena Lighthouse
Point Arena Lighthouse

We have just about a week to get back from Seattle to Southern California, but we’ve managed to fit in a few interesting

Bale Grist Mill
Bale Grist Mill

stops along the way, at Redwood National Park, Point Arena Lighthouse National Monument, Rosie the Riveter National Historical Park, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It looks like the five year drought in California is making this year’s wildfire season worse, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the California Wildfire Map

Bale Grist Mill
Rosie Can Do It!

as we return south in the hope that our North by Northwest adventure doesn’t end up in a thrilling nail-biting climax!

Big Sur
Big Sur

The Moral Of Tonight’s Story Is…

If you haven’t done so yet, it’s not too late to start traveling around this country. Visit our National Parks and Monuments, our Historical Parks and Landmarks. They really are “America’s Greatest Idea.” And don’t forget the State Parks, the State Historic Parks, and the Tribal Parks and Cultural Centers – they are truly rich in the local history and cultures that make America so unique. If you have the time and the opportunity, by all means take to the roads – you can’t retrace the routes of Lewis and Clark, the Pony Express, the California Gold Rush prospectors or the Mormon pioneers; you can’t cruise Route 66, or really see America from the sky! But even if you can’t drive or fly there, or even leave your house to get there yourself, you don’t have to miss the bus! Come look for America, come travel with us, as we Travel With Cookie!

Dont Miss the Bus!
Dont Miss the Bus – Travel With Us!

14 thoughts on “North By Northwest – A Thriller!

  1. Sounds amazing

    We are leaving Sept. 13 for Grand Teton, next Yellowstone and last Glacier. Will be gone for 2 weeks. Nothing like your trip but exciting just the same.

    Looking forward to hearing more about the travels of Cookie

    Ellen

    1. Hi Ellen,
      Those are three great parks! Where are you staying when you go to Yellowstone? That is one HUGE park… so much to see. Have fund, and post lotsa photos!

  2. We have been park hosting here at Vista Park in Skamokawa,WA since May 9th. We love this area on The Columbia River and have become quite familiar with the history of this area and the influence of Lewis and Clark’s travels through here. We leave here headed for Colorado on Sept. 7th. Continued safe travels to you.

  3. Better than Steinback ! Jealous of all you have seen and will see and grateful you share tales/photos/postings. Cookie travels with great Americans!

    1. I don’t know about Steinbeck… he was quite a writer, but you’re right about Cookie;-) We got to see Rocinante, his “homemade” RV in Salinas… and your brother in San Leandro!

  4. Jealous of Cookie’s journey and grateful you share tales, photos and commentary. So much better and authentic than Steinbeck.
    Wishing you both good health with many years and journeys ahead.

  5. Great information! Well done! We hope the California fires stay clear of your home, and we hope they end soon!!!

  6. Wonderful commentary & use of our language, so descriptive & informative. Photos are not bad neither, as well as your homage to Sir A.H.!

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