Two Roses and the Tale of a Trip

Pink Roses at University of British Columbia Botanical Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Two Roses © 2010 Bo Mackison

Still wading through many photograph files, pulling out special ones from my recent trip to Seattle, Vancouver and the Olympic Peninsula. There are so many photographs that I would love to share — why take photographs if you don’t share, right?

While we were on the Pacific coast, my younger daughter and I visited our 47th (Washington) and 48th (Oregon) states. Sherpa and I always believed that we should introduce our three children to the wonders of their own country first. Then they could take on the world when they were ready to explore further. When our youngest child turned 5, we started going on three week summer vacations, pulling a pop up tent everywhere we traveled.

We concentrated on the sites in the National Park System, but we balanced our trips with visits to some of the major US cities, too. (A few of our favorite National Parks — Yellowstone, Craters of the Moon, Acadia, Padre Islands, Glacier. A few of our favorite cities — New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Chicago.)

When we stopped our travels – yep, the kids grew up and moved away and got jobs and took on other commitments — we had all visited (not just flown over, but visited) 46 of the 50 United States. Well, for the sake of full disclosure, Sherpa was at 47 because of a quick business trip to Seattle, but the rest of us had yet to see Washington, Oregon, Alaska or Hawaii.

When I offered my daughter an after-graduation-before-starting-big-job trip, she immediately proposed a vacation to the Pacific Northwest to capture States #47 and 48. And so the trip we just completed was planned.

I’ve posted photographs from Washington state – we traveled over 1,000 miles in Washington — but nothing from Oregon.

Nothing against Oregon, really! But we only had 10 days and we couldn’t see everything. Especially after we added a few spontaneous stops to our original itinerary. In order to visit our 48th state, we crossed the bridge from Longview, Washington to Rainier, Oregon on the last day we were there. (We had intended to go to Portland, but that was still miles away and we had a plane to catch in Seattle later that night.)

To make the state “count” according to family rules, we had to eat something while there and we had to do an activity, preferably something unusual.

We stopped at a little place not far from the bridge and ordered ice cream cones. I had blueberry cheesecake ice cream, delicious, one of the biggest single dip cones I’ve ever had, real blueberries, of course. We were in Oregon, right? Manda had pumpkin, a solid choice, too. Then we bought a lottery ticket and played lotto. (It was only the second lottery ticket I’ve ever purchased, and Manda’s first, so it counted as something unusual.)

Then we checked off #48, turned around and headed for Sea-Tac.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. It sounds like it was a fun trip. When are you heading to Alaska and Hawaii? 😉

    You captured the roses beautifully.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Alaska and Hawaii are going to have to wait for awhile. I’d love to take a cruise to Alaska someday…

  2. Gandalf says:

    Beautiful color. The emerging blossom looks like a periscope – checking things out to make sure its’ okay to come out.

  3. Oh how I enjoyed reading about your family adventures and travels. What a wonderful family tradition! I’m so sorry that we didn’t undertake something like that when our son was young.

    And, as usual, I enjoyed your beautiful image.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Sue. Our family travels are the first thing that each kid recalls fondly when asked about their childhood favorites. Some summers we would travel 6,000 miles, camping along the way.

      We were fortunate in a way. Since we live kind of in the middle, of the country, we would push hard for the first 2 days and the last 2 days of each trip to get to the part we wanted to visit. Then we’d take our time, exploring and seeing whatever caught our fancy.

      The trips were always planned, but we did things like make all the plans to go to the Pac Northwest, then we checked the weather the night we were to leave, and saw rain from Wisconsin to Washington. So we turned south when we were halfway there, tired of rain, and ended up in Yellowstone and the Tetons. We really did have great times.

  4. Nice job on the rose! I’m glad you got to see Washington. It’s a beautiful state.

  5. I’ve been enjoying your travels this spring/summer, with a good deal of wanderlust. Best wishes for States #49 and #50, … someday!! 🙂

  6. Such a lovely photo. I adore all of your rose photographs, but I have to say for this post, the story was my favorite. 🙂 (As a sidenote, I get to feel a little special I have been to one state you have not. Not a lot of people can say that! Especially now… lol)

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