Sarah's Childhood, and Island vs City Life

We arrived on Whidbey Island later in the evening, and somehow managed to back up the hill in the dark, after quiet hours, and got connected and mostly level. I don't talk too much about the technical parts of this RVing trip, but this was a spot that really tested what I had been learning. Sarah was never quite happy about how it was sitting and kept saying it felt like it would roll, but it was secure, and never did.

The first day we explored the Island. We drove to Oak Harbor and past the house Sarah had spent a few summers. She isn't typically fond of her childhood memories, but this one seemed to make her happy. She told the kids about all her activities there as a kid, and they got to know more about their mom in the process. It was a fun day. It was nice to see everyone move so much slower on the Island, especially when contrasted to what we were about to see the following day.

The next day, we drove into Seattle. We parked the car in a garage by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation at the base of the Space Needle, and walked from the garage to the MoPop. We didn't go into the Museum featuring a Jim Henson Museum, or up the Space Needle. It all seemed a little crowded and commercial, plus crazy expensive for 6 people, considering what it was. We looked around and walked to the monorail for Pike's Place.

Pike's Place was the main reason we were excited to see Seattle. The monorail was fun, and pretty short. We were excited and instantly saw the crowds of people and the cities culture. As we walked toward Pike's Place it just got thicker. More smells, more noise, more people. By the time we got to the actual Market, my kids were ready to go! They are all a bit claustrophobic apparently, and the tight space of the actual mall and shops and everything was putting everyone on edge.

We stood in line for a Russian bakery Drew really wanted to visit, and bought some delicious meat pies and rolls. It had a long line, but it moved quickly and the food was very good. We then strolled to where I could see the ocean, and discovered we weren't on the water at all. Pike's Place was a mall! It was like 7 or more stories tall. We had only walked halfway along one floor, before everyone wanted to get out. Sarah and I managed to talk everyone to go see the other thing we had came for, the gum wall. We got there with our gum ready, and had fun sticking it on the wall. We then ventured through one more corner of the mall, before heading back to the car.

Pike's Place was really pretty amazing. We had found a spice shop, selling every kind of spice known to man. We also bought some coconut almonds, at a small nut shop. In the end I will come back with Sarah one day, but it was a bit too touristy and crowded for my family crowd.

We left the Island and decided to save time, and see more of the ocean, by getting on a ferry with the whole Tahoe and Trailer. It cost about 80 bucks, but the ferry ride was fun. It was a first for everyone but Sarah, and dropped us off at Port Townsend, on the other side from Seattle. It was well worth it, and a nice driving break for me. After that, we drove down the 101 all the way to Seaside, OR. It was a long drive, but beautiful. If I hadn't been pulling the trailer, I would have really enjoyed it. As it was, it was still a nice drive.


A few Washington State Essentials. :)

Coeur d'Alene, ID and The Lake

After leaving Montana, we intended to drive toward Seattle. It is of course too far for us, so we stopped in Idaho about midway there in a city called Coeur d'Alene. It's that small stretch of Idaho, maybe 60 miles wide, in between Montana and Washington. It is really quite beautiful, especially compared to some of the plain parts of Idaho, so it was really popular as an Idaho escape destination. We stayed at a place right across from the college, right on the river at the mouth where it enters the lake. We decided to take a break there, and maybe see the lake a bit so we booked two nights.

The stay was peaceful and beautiful. The people were amazingly friendly on our brief venture out of camp. The water was still way to cold to swim, so we decided to skip any water activities and just explored the camp trails. Even our dog Daisy got to explore. It was a nice break in the middle of all the more tourist style stops we had been hitting earlier. Next will be Whidbey Island, WA


Glacier National Park and the Drive to Get There

Thankfully it was a short drive to Missoula from Yellowstone, because I was still recovering from the driving there. We stayed at a Jellystone RV park. It was our first time with the chain. It was Yogi Bear themed, and the only bear I had hoped to see at Yellowstone anyway. The kids looked at the mini golf course but everyone was tired and just enjoyed the slower pace of the shorter drive. We decided to head toward Glacier National Park the next day. It was a long drive there, but we knew we would likely never be this close again, since it was literally on the Canadian border. It was a two hour drive to the park. We hit the visitor center and drove the "Highway to the Sun" it still had a section closed due to snow still being removed, but we went as far as we could. We stopped at the pebble beach lake Destiny wanted to see, and the rocks were amazing and colorful as expected. We hiked the avalanche falls trail, and saw the beautiful waterfall that my photos will never do justice. It was a multi level fall and the depth between is hard to capture along with the scale. It is a sight to see in person.

We found a few walking sticks and bagged a few beautiful rocks for our collection. We then drove back to camp along the other side of the lake. The way up was prettier on the east side, but faster on the west side. Most people slept on the way back so it was good it was not as pretty anyway. Tomorrow we head toward Seattle and will see how far we get.


Bears and Volcanos

We traveled to Yellowstone, and stayed at a camp in Livingston. It was just north of the North entrance to the park. The KOA camp was great, and it has become one of our favorites.

Yellowstone is huge, so we decided to stay a few nights to see as much as possible. We had two days in Yellowstone, so we got out and saw a few sights, but it was mostly a driving, sightseeing excursion for us. We didn't have time for that much hiking.

I was amazed at how big the park was. After passing the gates to enter, there were several park ranger stations each with souvenir shops, gas stations and stores. The park itself had five entrances we learned of, from several different states.

Our first day in the park we stopped at the Mammoth Hot Springs. It smelled like rotten eggs, and everyone started to get a bit of a headache eventually and we moved on. The sight was pretty amazing though. It was such beautiful landscape that suddenly transitioned into what I can only describe as an alien world. With colors, smells, and textures of a planet that could only support bacteria and amoebas. It was truly amazing to see and experience.

It was getting late, so we didn't have time to get all the way to Old Faithful on the first day, so we just decided to make the small loop, and see what animals we could see as we drove. We weren't disappointed. We saw buffalo, elk, animals that resemble a deer and tons of birds.

There was some stress, I should mention, from Drew. He was concerned that we were in the Kill Zone. Since Yellowstone is essentially a volcano, he was sure it would blow while we were there. We needed to be out of there as soon as possible, and he wanted to get past the ash zones as well. Since that was going to be somewhere in Washington...he had to wait. But he had a hard time letting his guard down, and everyone was pretty tired of hearing about it after the first few hours.

Another odd experience the first day, was what started as a beautiful sunny day, suddenly got cloudy, and as we drove over one of the mountain areas in the park, to get back to our entrance, we literally hit a blizzard. I'm talking about snow falling, on winding roads with minimal visibility, and it was nearly dark. I was nervous, and when that was combined with all the back seat drivers in my car and Drew's volcano explosion it made for a stressful drive. We did stop once to get out and see and experience the snow. My daughter Delilah loves snow, and was probably the only one not scared or stressed. I wish we could have stayed in it longer, parked, but the sun had set and the glow was fading fast. I wanted to get off the mountain and back out of the snow as quickly as possible. We loaded back into the car, and drove quickly and safely off the mountain. The snow stopped as we drove down, and it was dark, as we left the park. I drove back to our camp and we all slept well, except for Drew. We were still too close.

The next day, we drove all the way to Old Faithful, cut through to Yellowstone Lake, and then back up and over the snow mountain from the day before to exit the park.

Old Faithful was quite a tourist spot. Benches and wooden walkways all around it. Hotels and shops were also all there. We waited till it fired, saw the fountain, and made our way to the gift shop, then the car. It was definitely amazing, but I think it would have been even more amazing to stumble upon the wild area, without all the build up. It must have been quite a sight to see, in it's early years.

We drove past the Lake and saw lots of Animals along the way. We made a few minor stops a various labeled pull outs, and eventually made it back up to the snow mountain. There was really no more snow, and Delilah was disappointed, but I was thankful for the visibility and the daylight. We headed back to the camp, and enjoyed the site.

The next stop for us should be Missoula, MT. It will still be in the Ash Zone, but Drew will just have to deal with it.