2013: Weird, Wild and Wonderful; Explore the Unusual and Extraordinary

Take an idyllic Sunday drive through Lewis County’s rural pastures. While you take in the scenery, consider checking out some of the area’s most unique roadside attractions. Start in the Twin Cities and then go…

North

Take I-5 north and take exit 88 for Tenino. Take a right onto Old Highway 99. Take a left onto 183rd Ave. SW and the South Sound Speedway will be on the right.

 

South Sound Speedway and Its Million-Dollar Toilets

South Sound Speedway owner Butch Behn bought four self-cleaning toilets from the city of Seattle after they became havens for drug abuse. He paid $13,000 for them through eBay — Seattle originally paid $1 million. You also may want to check out a race while you’re there.

3730 183rd Ave. S.W., Rochester, WA 98579

360-273-6420

 

Tenino, Home of Wooden Money

From the South Sound Speedway, head back onto Old Highway 99 and go 5½ miles east into Tenino, a town famous for its sandstone quarries and its creation of wooden money during the banking crisis of the Great Depression.

Head north from Tenino on Old Highway 99  for 3 miles, then take a right onto Offut Lake Road.

 

Wolf Haven

News.Wolf.Haven.120319.ceg2.cmykHear the real call of the wild at this sanctuary for captive-born wolves, which is also home to a nationally recognized breeding program for two species of highly endangered wolves.

Tour the facilities to meet the wolves and unleash your inner wild animal at a “Howl-in”

3111 Offut Lake Road S.E.

800-448-WOLF

www.wolfhaven.org

Head back into Tenino, go east on Old Highway 99 and back to I-5, then go north to exit 95. Take a left and go under the freeway, then take a quick right onto Maytown Road. Go 3 miles to Littlerock and through the community until the road Ts. Turn right onto Waddell Creek Road  and look for the “Mima Mounds Natural Area,” sign on the left

 

Mima Mounds

This state preserve shows off the unique geographic formation known as Mima Mounds. Their origin is a mystery and their ecology is equally fascinating, as they offer a home to rare prairie flowers, grasses and lichen. Keep an eye out for butterflies and the elusive Mazama pocket gopher.

www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mima-mounds

 

South

Winlock egg

life.080630.eggday.dsVisit the “world’s largest egg,” located in Winlock. The egg is a tribute to the town’s history when it was considered the egg capital of the world. If possible, visit June 22 through 24, during the city’s annual Egg Days celebration, which features a car show and royal court.

First Street, Winlock, WA

 

Then head east on 505 toward E. Front Street. Turn right onto Camas Road and on your left will be the Gospodor Monument Park.

 

Gospodor Monument Park

The Gospodor Monument Park was built by the late Dominic Gospodor, a millionaire from Seattle. The enormous statues pay tribute to Mother Theresa, Jesus, American Indians and Holocaust victims.

Stay on Camas Road south until it turns into Drews Prairie Road. Turn left onto Telegraph Road. Turn right onto state Route 506 and follow it into the town of Vader (where the name predates “Star Wars”). You’ll see Little Crane Cafe on the right.

 

Little Crane Cafe

This popular restaurant this winter became known less for its tasty food than for the fact that a small spring is now flowing underneath it.

While that problem is likely temporary, the quality meals are here to stay. Stop by this diner for some homemade food at good prices. Menu choices include pancakes, burgers, and roasted turkey and roast beef. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available any time of the day.

110 7th St, Vader, WA 98593

 

East

From Chehalis, take I-5 south toward Portland. Look for the proudly conservative Uncle Sam billboard on your left. A mile later, take Exit 71 for state Route 508. Turn left (east) onto 508 and continue straight until you hit the lumber town of Onalaska. You’ll see a giant smokestack on the left, the only remnant of what was once the largest inland timber mill in the world.

Turn right on Leonard Road. You’ll see the Justice General Store up ahead on the left.

 

Justice General Store, Onalaska

Step back in time when you visit the quaint Justice General Store, with its wooden floors and old-fashioned ambiance. It is said to be the oldest continually running grocery store in Washington.

116 Main St. Onalaska, WA 98570

360-978-4194

 

Head south on Leonard Road toward Railroad Avenue. Turn left onto U.S. 12 and turn right onto Birley Road. Turn right onto Mossyrock Road, and the farm will be on your left.

 

DeGoede Bulb Farm

News.110504.Tulips.bds3If strolling through 30 acres of tulips sounds like a nice way to spend an afternoon, consider visiting the family-owned DeGoede Bulb Farm and Gardens, located just off U.S. Highway 12. The family first grew flowers in Holland, then later moved to Mount Vernon, Wash., and finally to their current location in Mossyrock. There are also 100 greenhouses, a garden center and a show garden with a pond and waterfall.

409 Mossyrock Road West

Mossyrock, WA 98564

360-983-9000

www.degoedebulb.com

Head east on Mossyrock Road and go right toward Birley Road. Take the first right onto U.S. 12. Watch for the marker commemorating the underwater ghost towns.

 

Underwater Ghost Towns

The towns of Mayfield, Riffe and Kosmos are located under Riffe Lake — a result of building the Mayfield and Mossyrock dams in the 1960s. You can see the towns if the water level is low enough.

While you’re near Riffe Lake, check out the Taidnapam Park.

 

Taidnapam Park

The park is popular for camping and fishing. Nearby Dog Mountain is a mecca for hang-gliders.

More than 4,000 years ago, the Cowlitz and Yakama tribes inhabited the area — an interpretive display is at the park with more information about the location’s history.

www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/parks-rec

360-295-3711

 

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