Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village
I'm so far behind wiht posts that I'm going to start just throwing up pictures until I can get caught up!
There are two main routes into Leavenworth from Seattle - US-2 and US-90. Being that it was drizzling out and we were still new to rv driving, we opted for the wider interstate with fewer twists and turns (US-90), though if you happen to be traveling by car, I hear the more northern route (US-2) is supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the area.
Walking into Leavenworth is kind of like entering the alpine version of Solvang, CA - every sign is painted using a Barvarian font, hanging flower baskets everywhere, and all kinds of cutesy buildings selling bratwurst. But Leavenworth wasn't always the Barvarian-themed winter playland you see today. The town took some majors hits in the 1920's - the sawmill closed down after after the railway was completely rerouted around Leavenworth. Thankfully, just before the town could turn into a ghost town, the community leaders of the 1960's came up with the idea to transform this bust town into a Barvarian village that would attract tourists from all over (even from as far as Los Angeles). The shopkeepers of Leavensworth rallied together and remodeled all their storefronts to fit into this new theme. And what do you know... the town attracts thousands of people all year long to come skiing, shopping, ziplining and innertubing down the river.
Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hachery
Since we took a family trip to Seattle just a couple summers ago, and the weather forecast was calling for more rain, we decided to skip town. We had originally planned to head north into Canada to see Vancouver and Lake Louise...then drop down into Glacier National Park (Montana), but with days of rain and snow/ice in the forecast for those destinations, we decided to try our luck heading east instead.
We made a quick stop at the Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hachery about 30 minutes east of Seattle. I took the long way, by getting on a bridge going the wrong direction. Doh! But at least I was just driving the car and not the rv (Matt and I split up since it was raining and we had some mountain roads to drive). We hit the fish hachery at a great time of year, since the salmon were swimming upriver to spawn. From this bridge we could actually spot a few of the beat up reddish colored fish slowly trying to make their way upstream.
Mercer Island, WA
Good morning Seattle!
I thought I was being all productive getting up at the crack of dawn to take some photos... little did I know that dawn wasn't until almost 8am. After a little over a week living in the rv, we were lucky to have our old neighbors and friends host us at their beautiful new home on Mercer Island. We were also lucky to share some yummy dinners, have great conversation and ooo... a shower where I didn't have to wear flip flops! (A side note: You know that fuzzy bath mat that keeps you from slipping on the tile floor as you step out of the steamy shower? That soft bath mat that makes the transition from the steamy warm shower to the colder expanse of the bathroom more bearable... oh, that's one of the things I miss most taking showers at the rv parks.)
Check out the morning view from our friends' kitchen window!
Tillamook Forest Center
Rain rain go away! Welcome to the Pacific Northwest. I guess the rain is what keeps this region so pretty and green. And apparently all the fresh green grass is great for the dairy cows and their milk-making. From the little town of Tillamook, we drove about 30 miles up into the mountainsd (in the rain) to visit the Tillamook Forest Center. This free musuem had a bunch of new hands-on exhibits that taught about the forestry and fire history of this area. I just happy be out of the rain! This would be a great little spot for a picnic on a sunny day. Be sure to climb up the 40' fire look out tower!
Lincon City, OR
Lincoln City KOA
House on wheels. The sixty minute drive from McMinnville out to the coastal town of Lincoln City, OR was our first adventure with everyone in the rv and with our tow car attached. Matt drove it like a rock-star. I, on the other hand, tried to keep my eyes down on my phone trying not to look at how much of the lane we were taking up. At one point going across a narrow bridge, it looked like we had two options - go up a 6 inch curb on the passenger side or lose a side view mirror on the driver side. Ack! Somehow Matt managed to save our tires and mirror and I returned to looking at the map.
Evergreen Aviation and Space Musuem
After our relaxing hotel breakfast, we drove I-5 up through Oregon to Salem and then turned off on some smaller country roads to get to our new town of the week - McMinnville. The rv park where Matt and Jack had parked the Winnebago was right next door to this super huge plane and space museum. Good thing we brought along Emmett's orange astronat costume! The kids were excited to see each other, but Emmet and Kaylie were even more exited to see their new "rooms."
My old eyes don't care for driving on the freeway at night anymore (I totally get you now Grandpa John), so I had to find a place to stop in Oregon before it got too dark. On a great last minute recommendation from our friend Tim, we made the smart decision to spend the night in the college town of Ashland, OR. After our stay at the Poor Choice Inn and knowing we'd be spending the next year in an rv, I was inclinded to find a hotel/motel room with nicer linens, a sparkly bathroom and maybe even a hot tub...still on a budget of course.
First stop in town was Lithia Park. The kids got to run around, meet other kids and play. This picturesque park was right to a little creek (took all my might to keep Kaylie out of it so she wouldn't be all wet for dinner). It had an updated playground with fun things for both kids - the both liked trying to climb up this big man-made rock. One dad was there teaching his 3 year old real rock climbing techniques.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park
After having a typically awful free continental breakfast at the Bad Choice Inn (uh, Stage Stop Inn), we hit the road again and drove ninety minutes north to Turtle Bay Exploration Park. What a cool place to stop with kids. Kaylie and Emmett ran over Sundial Bridge (with glass bottom) while a few fishermen below tried catching salmon from their small motor boats.
The 4th graders at Kaylie's school take a one day trip to Sacramento (it's an extremely long day...even longer if you're a chaperone). They fly up to Sacramento on the first Southwest flight of the morning and take the last flight home at night. Even though our entire family could spend a week in Sacramento for the price of one of those trip tickets, I still felt sad that Kaylie would miss her class trip. Jack made me feel a little better thought when he told me how great the flight was...and the pizza. No plane ride with friends or pizza...but here's the Capitol, and how about some Chinese food?
If we had driven I-5 all the way from Los Angeles instead of navigating a super long detour through San Luis Obispo, then we might have been able to make it to where I really wanted totay for our first night. The Railroad Park Resort looks like one of those places where parents take one for the team and let the kids have their choice of hotel for the night. Come on, how cool would it be to sleep in a caboose?!
I'll be sharing our travel plans, some reviews, cooking ideas (because I know you are all jealous of my easy-bake oven), and ... oh who am I kidding?! I'll be lucky to get our photos posted!