PapiBlogger Family Soars Over Mount St. Helens on Day 21 of Epic Road Trip

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Majestic, proud and strong, Mount St. Helens continues to roar.

On the 21st Day of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip the Ruiz clan went to the home where “The Goonies” was filmed and then did the ultimate volcano sight seeing by going airborne over the majestic Mount St. Helens in Washington.


We began the day with a quick visit to Astoria, Oregon, a picturesque seaside town near the Oregon-Washington state border where a number of films have been shot including “Kindergarten Cop”, “Short Circuit” and most notably the 80’s classic “The Goonies”. The white “Goonies” house looks considerably smaller than it appears in the movie and overlooks Astoria’s seaport from a high, distant viewpoint. To see the house you have to park about 100 yards down from a hilly parking entrance that denotes its existence.

The Ruiz clan visits the home of 'The Goonies.'

This wonderful bridge marks the border between Oregon and Washington. It was built by the engineer who created the Golden Gate Bridge.

As remote as it was to find the Goonies house we were surprised to learn that we were just one of four other families that were also there at the same time getting their photos taken in front of the famous house. Poor neighbors. The only consolation they have is that their homes have to be worth more because they’re next door to the Goonies.


The crater of Mount St. Helens.

As we approached Washington’s awesome Mount St. Helens we felt inspired to try the full HD experience of the volcano so we booked what turned out to be the most wonderful heli ride of my life with Applebee Aviation, Inc. (

Logs that look like match sticks pack into Crystal Lake.

The land and waters near Mount St. Helens look otherworldly in parts like these.

My wife and I have been on helicopters over the Grand Canyon and the island of Kauai, Hawaii where parts of “Jurassic Park” were filmed but soaring for 58 miles over and around Mount St. Helens was just a notch better for three reasons.

First, the volcano and its surrounding areas are stupendously beautiful. When Mount St. Helens erupted in May of 1980 it gushed ash and lava for nine hours, killing 57 people and flattening vegetation and buildings for over 230 square miles.

Our 45-minute tour, called the Awesome Combo, featured a close up view of the volcano’s crater and distant vistas of the majestic Cascade Mountains that includes Mount Rainer. From the air you see also get to see the cataclysmic results of the explosion in spectacular fashion including Spirit Lake, where many logs blown into the lake by the volcano still remain and volcanic mud slides that flowed for miles called Mud Flow Devestation.

The north side of the mountain, though fairly well recovered and greening it’s way back to its former splendor, looks like the moon’s surface compared to the immediate south side of the volcano, a gorgeous contrast that is best appreciated from the air.

Pilot Patrick Hall of AppleBee Aviation was a terrific pilot and guide for our family.

The second reason this helicopter ride trumps my other ones is because I remember the massive 1980 explosion. I was just 10 when it happened but I recall that it was this eruption that first turned me on to a lifelong fascination with volcanoes.

The third reason was our personable pilot. Our helicopter pilot , Patrick Hall was not only informative but he worked hard to customize his presentation and questions to meet our family’s needs. Mr. Hall maneuvered the helicopter to many great positions to help us get our photos and videos in the best way possible. A huge bonus was that unlike every helicopter ride we’ve had before Applebee’s helicopter featured slightly open windows so our photos and videos didn’t have any glass reflections or obstructions.


If you’re not planning to hike into the crater area (not easy but it can be done) or take a helicopter to the volcano or , don’t worry because Mount St. Helens has several viewing/educational centers located near the volcano that are very good. The best and closest one to the volcano by car is called the

The actual story of Big Foot originated around Mount St. Helens in the early 1900's. Loggers started the legend.

Johnston Ridge Observatory, which sits on a bluff just 5-1/2 miles from the crater at an elevation of 4,300 feet. It offers grand views of Mount St. Helens and much of the 1980 blast zone. Although we didn’t go Here you can enjoy spectacular views of the lava dome, crater, pumice plain and the landslide deposit.


Besides being the most reliable place you can stop for food anywhere in the country, McDonald’s restaurants are usually the cleanest and safest places you can stop for bathroom breaks.

The PapiMobile (aka 2010 Chevrolet Traverse) proudly poses in front of Mount St. Helens.

When in doubt, especially in cities or neighborhoods that are not clearly great places to be, look for the Golden Arches. McDonald’s restaurants follow strong codes for cleanliness and safety that will give you much needed peace of mind.

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