This summer our humans were going to United States to watch the Solar Eclipse on August 21st. A Solar Eclipse happens when the Moon moves in between the Sun and the Earth, and the Moon covers the Sun and casts a shadow somewhere on the Earth with total darkness! The solar eclipse would make landfall on the west coast in Oregon and the shadow would travel east across America. We were invited to join our humans, and we were all excited.
Part 1: From San Francisco to Silverdale.
Part 2: From Silverdale to San Francisco.
Remember to watch our video of this trip: Solar Eclipse 2017
Part 1: From San Francisco to Silverdale, WA
Dublin, August 2017
Finally, the day had come! Excited, we packed our gear and headed for the airport. We'd be flying with Aer Lingus as per usual.
Roger and especially Sam enjoyed the lounge in terminal 2 and watched
some of the transatlantic aircraft.
"And is the coffee really for free in here?" Sam asked.
"Ah, yeah" Roger replied. "Now, it's not like the VIP lounge, but it'll do..."
Click each photo to enlarge
Our flight path went over Iceland and we could see the large volcano Snefellsness on the west coast. McBear was all excited as he had planned our route so we'd be following the "Volcano Alley" up along the Pacific coast in America...
Greenland, August 2017
Then we reached the east coast of Greenland and could see glaciers and icebergs everywhere.
After a 10 hours flight we finally reached San Francisco and stayed for the night at the Hampton Inn.
Korbel, California, August 2017
The next day we headed north and crossed the Golden Gate bridge - which was hardly visible due to fog and clouds. We then met up with friends of our humans in Nicks Cove on the coast. They took us to the Korbel Winery near Santa Rosa. We were delighted to see a bear in the flag of California.
Korbel Winery actually makes famous champagnes. Tom was all excited as he
discovered a 1 meter tall bottle of champagne.
"I'll stay here to rest for a little while..." he said. "The two of you can catch up with our humans outside...
Ukiah, August 2017
We arrived our hotel in Ukiah. We had rented a Toyota Yaris. It
was a great car to drive, however, it was a bit small: one suitcase
in the boot, the other one squashed between the front and backseats...
"It's getting crammed in here!" Roger was giving out. "We are not letting our humans have one inch of the backseat, no way!"
"Well, I prefer that to getting squashed in a bag in the boot..." Tom pointed out. "Everything out of the bag is 5 star to me!"
We found our room and unpacked our gear - there was actually quite
a lot! McBear had gathered an impressive collection of scientific
equipment for the study of the solar eclipse.
"McBear, are you sure you know how to put it all together?" Roger wanted to know.
"Of course!" McBear replied. "I wrote the manuals!"
Sniffy, the smelly dog, was with us and he was excited to be travelling with the famous Travelling Bears.
Napa Valley, August 2017
The next day we were going to explore the Napa Valley. At first, we
headed north to Calpella to find highway 20 to Napa Valley, but we
ended on a dirt track up a mountain. Damn! We went back and found
Napa Valley. There were wine and wineries everywhere, wow!
We stopped in Yontville for wine tasting. Tom said it was lovely wine.
"If for some reason we can't return to Ireland, I'd be happy to seek refuge in Napa Valley," he said.
Later in the afternoon we reached Sonoma Valley and visited more wineries. Here were are at Landmark Vineyards studying the wine in the field. We had parked Tom in the lounge area. He later announced the wine was severely great. We managed to bring him safe back to the hotel...
Leggett, August 2017
We went north west along Highway 101. At Leggett we stopped to see the nearly 100 meter tall Douglas tree called The Chandelier. At the bottom a tunnel has been carved through the tree, so a car can drive through! Our humans tried it as well, wow!
Near Philipsville, on highway 254, we drove along the "Avenue of the Giants" to see some of the mighty Sequoia trees in the area.
Roger climbed a tree.
"This could make a pretty nice home for a tree climbing bear", he stated. "Actually, it could make up an entire bear village!"
Eureka, August 2017
After a long day of driving we finally reached our hotel: The Best Western Humboldt Bay Inn in Eureka.
We were going down town for a fine dinner at a fish restaurant, The Sea Grill. McBear was looking forward to salmon. It turned out that the hotel had a limousine available for us.
Eureka, August 2017
"How appropriate!" Roger said as we sat in.
McBear was pondering.
"Wonder if the limo have a freezer for ice cream..." .
Next morning we left Eureka and headed east on Highway 299. Just south of Willow Creek we stopped to get a selfie.
Highway 299, August 2017
Just as we had finished lining up for our selfie, we spotted a bald eagle right above us! Wow, a genuine, water proof bald eagle! There were actually several of them in that a couple of fledglings were learning how to glide up and down with the thermal winds.
At the end of the day we reached Mt. Shasta, a massive volcano in northern California. We stayed for the night at the Best Western Tree House.
Highway 97, August 2017
We left Mt. Shasta and headed north on the Interstate 5. Then we turned north east on the Highway 97. As we headed on, we went through many forest areas where fires had raged. Later that year we learned from the news that more fires had raged, and wineries in the Napa Valley were hit hard by flames! Much of it possibly due to global warming.
Having reached the border, we now found ourselves entering Oregon for the first time. Before we left, more people had stopped to take selfies at the border sign, "Oregon welcomes you".
Crater Lake, Oregon, August 2017
Crater Lake in the south eastern part of Oregon had for long been
on our wishlist of things to see. It's an amazing crater of an extinct
volcano. The scenery and the colour of the lake is absolutely
We wanted to have a selfie with the lake as a background, but the sides of the crater were very steep, and one of our humans was afraid we'd slide down and get lost, so... no selfie!
Oregon, August 2017
As we cruised northward we saw more and more posters announcing
the great American solar eclipse.
"Do Americans make ice cream?" McBear asked our humans from the back seat.
"Oh, I'm sure they make ice cream!" was the answer.
"But... are there any ice cream makers here in Oregon?" McBear tried again.
"Oh, I'm sure there are ice cream makers in Oregon!"
"McBear," Roger whispered, "I'm afraid our humans don't get it..."
"Can we stop somewhere for icecream?" Roger asked loud. "McBear wants an icecream - he just doesn't want to admit it because he's on a diet..."
McBear got his ice cream.
Oregon, August 2017
On the way we also saw more and more volcanos: Mount Jefferson,
a pointy thingie sticking up among the mountains in the west. Straight
ahead the pointy peak of Mount Hood slowly increased in size as
we got closer and closer.
McBear was blissfull both because of the volcanos but also because every mile there was another 18 wheel lorry to be admired.
"Wow, there's a Peterbilt! Wow, there's a Kenworth! Wow, there's a Freightliner!" we could hear him constantly.
"One more wow, and he can hitch hike to Washington!" Roger was thinking.
Vista Point, Oregon, August 2017
We stopped at the Vista Point east of Portland to watch the
beautiful scenery along the Columbia River.
Our humans bought ceramic mugs for us at the Vista Point shop.
Mt. Saint Helens, Washington, August 2017
When the volcano Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, 300 meters of
the top of the volcano blew off and created the largest landslide
ever recorded in history. McBear had long wanted to see the crater.
We stayed for the night at the nearby Best Western in Castle Rock.
We were now in Washington, the state - not the city.
Chehalis, Washington, August 2017
Next morning we headed north on the Interstate 5. After around
an hour or two we had got severely coffee thirsty. McBear demanded
a coffee break at a decent cafe. Thank God we had reached civilization:
Starbucks originates from Seattle in Washington, and Starbucks cafes
are dotted in towns everywhere.
We used our new mugs to dip into our humans' mugs to fill up our own mugs - the well of coffee as McBear called it.
Silverdale, Washington, August 2017
Then we reached Silverdale just east of the Olympic National Park in the north west of Washington. We checked in at the Best Western for the night.
Silverdale, Washington, August 2017
In the evening we began preparations for the solar eclipse and tried out our special solar eclipse glasses.
Check out the map of the west coast of America.