Heyo! I know, it’s been a while. It’s so hard to keep up with the past because the present just keeps on going! But really, we need to catch up big-time. The truth is, I’ve been putting off writing about Washington because it was a little rushed and a little unconventional. It didn’t get enough of our time- but dang it, we still saw some gorgeous stuff and caught up with a few friends to boot.
One of the hardest things about being far from home is being away from friends and family. We can keep up online, but it’s no replacement for spending actual, in-person time with your favorite people. We can only see so much of just each other! I think we might be developing split personalities just to keep things FRESH. Luckily, we knew a number of people in the Seattle area. With the short number of days we had in Washington, we prioritized seeing friends (with a little natural beauty thrown in, too.)
Hitting as many National Parks as possible has become an obsessive challenge for us- therefore, we had to go to Mount Rainier. And I sincerely hope that this is the last time I admit to having misjudged the weather. We encountered buckets of snow where we expected green grass and wildflowers. D’OH!!!! When will we learn?! It was warm enough down by the campgrounds, but snowy up on the mountain. We only had about 24 hours there, so we rushed through it. We camped overnight in the forest and did a hike on the mountain the next day (but we didn’t get very far with our unprepared feet. We found out later that the gift shop rents snowshoes- a note to the wise!)
We hurried through Rainier because we needed to find a place to stash our van and trailer so that they’d be safe while we traveled to Alaska and Hawaii. We flew in and out of Seattle, so we needed something close. We finally found a cheap place in Olympia and wasted no time getting ourselves parked, packed and ready to go.
It was a relief to know that the trailer and van were safe in a lot, but this meant that we no longer had an easy way to get around. After saying goodbye to the vehicles, we embarked on an epic trip to Seattle (which, by the way, is only an hourlong drive if you have a car of your own- but it turned out to be an epic saga of 4 hours worth of changing local busses with huge, heavy bags.) It’s so easy to take your car for granted!
It was actually kind of funny to be traveling with big bags- everyone kept asking us where we were going and how long we’d been on the road. Normally, our stuff is all back at the trailer where we’re camped- apparently, we don’t give off strong ‘traveler’ vibes- so we rarely get into conversations about our trip unprompted. But having an enormous backpack invites plenty of comments and questions. Someone even asked us if we were walking across America. Ha!
Our trek to Seattle was a little longer than usual because we were headed even further than the city, out to Bainbridge Island to visit a friend. We had a ferry ride on top of all those busses! By this point in the day, we were scarfing down smashed Kind bars and watching our upteenth episode of Star Trek on the ipad.
At last, Bainbridge Island! Carl’s friend from high school, Dave, has been out West for a few years (first in Alaska and now in the Seattle area). He is a super cool writer and we aren’t worthy of him. He and his wife Natasha were kind enough to take us in for a night at their adorable little house in the woods. He made us awesome taco salads and gifted us with a prized vial of hand-harvested sea salt (because that’s the kind of person he is. He makes his own sea salt because, as he says, he has “no room for a chicken coop and has to do some kind of urban farming.”) SAY WHAT. We are still sprinkling it on our eggs in the morning.
Unfortunately, with very limited time in Seattle and lots of people to see, we had to leave Bainbridge in the morning and head back to the city.
Then we went to see our other friend Juliana, a former coworker, who moved to Seattle a while back. She is also the sweetest. She showed us around the international district downtown where we drank bubble tea and browsed Japanese books. We then took a field trip to Rattlesnake Ridge. Juliana hadn’t been there since moving to the city, so she was game to trek up the hill with us. We barely made it up before sunset, but we got lucky (and the views were spectacular!)
Juliana was kind enough to give us a place to sleep, and even drove us to the airport in the morning (only after making us the world’s BEST avocado toast). We are forever indebted to you, girl!
So then, we went to Hawaii and Alaska! I already wrote about those, because it was way easier than explaining this Washington part of the trip. Think I’m overreacting? Well, close your eyes, fast forward 3 weeks.
We’re back! In Washington! Hawaii and Alaska were so great, no?! Loved ’em. But then, ANOTHER friend (jeez how popular are we? Can’t handle it.) – Dallas, was passing through Seattle on his way down to Portland. Yet another friend (Joe) came out, too, and serendipity placed us all in Seattle on the same morning. We had coffee and donuts and caught up on all of the crazy happenings in our lives. Dallas even took us back to Olympia, so we didn’t have to jump from bus to bus. You are the bestest ever, dude! THANK YOU!
So we finally had our vehicles back, and the honeymoon (so to speak) was over. But wait! There’s more! Idaho beckoned with some family plans, so we left the Seattle area to meet Carl’s parents for a week in Couer D’Alene. After staying the night at a Washington Walmart, we met them at their hotel in Spokane, just across the border from Idaho. Normally this part wouldn’t make the blog, but their hotel was crazy amazing!
The Davenport Hotel opened in 1914, and served as a cultural focal point for turn of the century Spokane. It had several gorgeous rooms, ballrooms and ornate details! It was renovated in 2000 but many of its structures are original to the hotel.
So finally, FINALLY, we left Washington for Idaho. It was a long and windy trip, and kind of hard to explain. It doesn’t fit neatly into one blog. But hopefully you got a taste of what we found in this gorgeous state!