Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 6 NPT Pacific NW

We were supposed to be in California.  Julia surprised us all by coming home one afternoon and saying, "I think I will try out for cheerleading!"  She made it and mandatory camp put the kabash on our Southern California tour so Jeff quickly planned a shorter trip.  Washington with its three lush National Parks was a fine substitute. It was our very first time renting an RV and we loved it.  

We let the kids sleep in while we went and picked it up and this is our happy selfie wake-up-call/text we sent the back to the hotel.  Jeff is being a good renter RV driver and watching the road.  



And here we are after picking them up ready for our grand RV adventure.  We took our time getting out of Seattle because we knew there were some things we wanted to see.  We made a few stops, bought dinner to grill that night, peonies to lovely up the RV, a quick Wal-Mart run, a sugary concoction from the Blank Space Cafe and a quick stop at the Secret Soda Machine {no one knows who fills it up and no one knows what will come out of it....} .









Our first park stop was....


North Cascades wins the Best National Park sign award from us.   Yes, the snow is fake but who wants a picture with dirty snow?


All three of these parks in Washington had the best campsites-- all green and lush and wooded and cozy and private.  Fires were a necessity EVERY night and EVERY morning.



I just loved all of the trees and the ferns and the moss-- maybe just all the shades of green.  Every park was like this.  Almost all of the hikes led us to some gorgeous water feature.



The WATER!!




This is one of my favorites-- us far away but they knew I was still snapping.  Dancing like teenagers or something...



My favorite park guy.  Looking all park-y and woodsy.  



Tickling the daylights out of Jeff... oh, those collarbones...


Same picture-- just more perspective



I found yummy scones here and great park recommendations.
On to whale watching.... or watching for whales.... ; )







We changed our route midstream here as we found out about this ferry.  It saved us HOURS of driving and I was able to call in a pizza order and pick it up on the other side.  Music to B's ears.



And no vacation is honestly depicted without kids on screen time.  Just under a year ago, he was still on a Kindle.  Sigh..... those were the days.




We pulled into this site after dark but we awakened to this.  Loved this landscape.  And these cold mornings with coffee are certainly a highlight of my day.



Moss on the trees everywhere.  I felt like we were in Hobbit Land.










Prepping dinner like a champ.






Olympic National Park takes in the Pacific Ocean so we didn't miss that side.  It was worth the drive.








We saw lots of these colorful starfish.  


Any picture I post of B and me together is a rare find.  I post EVERY one almost just so we have them documented. 




Not quite ready for the selfie ; ) 

So we TRIED to take maybe a Christmas picture with our self timer.  Well.  I messed up the settings, obviously.  BUT we had fun trying so I had to add a few to remember.  







And as I was trying to get the camera aimed in the right place, Jeff decided to exercise his dancing skills.  Now, for your entertainment...




You're welcome.



This park earns Worst National Park sign.  Maybe there is a different one but we didn't find it.


HOWEVER, we would rate Ranier with one of the coolest lodges.  



At this point last summer, these were the largest snow covered mountains we had seen.  Because of the weather, I am not sure we ever saw the top of Rainier.






Costco coat-- always for the win.  And NEVER have we ever taken a hike and thought-- why did we do that?  Just beauty-- everywhere.  Lots of water features here too.




Again-- best camp sites ever.




Jeff and his mix of crescent/warrior pose-- trying to relieve his back for more walking-- and more importantly, trying to embarrass us!


Already wearing his Rainier swag.


My favorite tree hugger





We had all sorts of middle school humor fun with this picture as we showed it to Brighton as he RAN ahead of us and missed the fun. 


But his running ahead got me this picture which is one of my favorites. 



He is still enjoying the Junior Park Ranger Programs--the PINS/BADGES are WAY COOL. ; )



So, I'd do the RV again and again.  I loved it.  The kids swapped sleeping on the convertible table/twin bed space and the space over the driver.  I liked having snacks on board and a refrigerator to keep all kinds of things in.  However, a permanent memory is things flying everywhere often as Jeff would make sudden stops or turns.  I loved sleeping IN the parks and waking UP in the parks to enjoy the quietness of the woods by a fire.  I just liked having everything we needed right with us wherever we were-- especially extra layers when you drive an hour and the temperature changes dramatically.  {Momma don't like being cold!}  Nights were fairly quiet-- making dinner, playing Spades, watching a movie, reading books, catching up on our phones if we had a signal-- which is rare and frustrating and glorious all at the same time.

These trips have been so fun for us