A Late Start

Silverlake, Washington

By the time we pick up the RV, hitch the tow dolly and attach the car, it’s 5:00 PM. We still have to drive north through rush hour traffic to get to Mt. St. Helens RV Resort in Silverlake, Washington.

Stuck in traffic on I-84 and I-5 North, we crawl across the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington.

Finally we pass through Kelso whose earliest inhabitants were Native Americans from the Cowlitz culture, named after the Cowlitz River. By some accounts, the name means “spiritual seeker.” Upon reaching adolescence, young members set out on a fasting quest to seek visions of a spirit guide to help them become productive members of their tribe. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

image warpaths2peacepipes.com

Paul Kane, an 1840s artist from Canada, painted this portrait of a Cowlitz mother and her baby. Notice the sloping forehead. Apparently the tribe believed that a sloping forehead marked a person as free, so a board tightly tied to an infant’s head helped produce this special trait.

image aci-iac.ca

In 1847 a Scottish surveyor, Peter W. Crawford, platted a homesite which he named for his hometown of Kelso, Scotland. Nicknamed “Little Chicago”, Kelso became famous for its taverns and brothels that catered to loggers.

With the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, 24 miles away, in 1980,

image spokesman.com

Kelso received huge amounts of volcanic ash through the air.

image spokesman.com

image spokesman.com

Many areas of Kelso today, including the Three Rivers Golf Course,

image teetimes.com

are built upon volcanic ash dredged from the Cowlitz River by state inmates and volunteers.

In 1998, 129 homes were destroyed by a slow moving landslide set in motion by higher than average rains. (en.m.wikipedia.org)

image pacengtech.com

image web.mst.edu

In 10 more miles we reach Castle Rock where we turn onto Highway 504


that will take us to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, 52 miles east, the closest viewing area of Mt. St. Helens. In 8 miles we arrive at Mt. St. Helens RV Resort in Silverlake.


Guess what? The Camp Host couple is from the Cincinnati area. Their RV has a Bengals sign in the front window!

3 thoughts on “A Late Start

  1. In 1980 when Mt. St. Helens blew we lived in Corvallis, Oregon, over 100 miles away. We got a covering of the volcanic ash all over everything. We were advised not to drive for a while (I don’t remember how long) because the ash would damage our car engines.


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