Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Home Again, Seattle and Beyond.


Since we have been on the road, we have returned to Seattle every year except 2017 when we stayed on the east coast. It was great to skip a year between trips because we found ourselves really looking forward to returning this summer. In fact, we intended to spend a couple of months there, but last February when we tried to make reservations at the places we wanted to stay, we found most were already booked up! We knew to do it earlier, we just didn't get around to it!

We wanted a month at Lake Pleasant RV Park in Bothell, because it's only six miles from Zoe and Dan, but we only got two weeks and had to change sites after the first week. We wanted to return there in July to attend the birthday bash of our friend Tammy, but no joy. Our favorite place, Salt Creek? Booked. We did get a week at Fidalgo Bay Resort in Anacortes, and found a wonderful city park in Sedro-Woolley near Zac that was practically empty the four days we were there. It's 70 + miles from Seattle, but right in the foothills of the Cascades Scenic Highway. Perfect!

In the end, we reduced our stay in Washington to four weeks total. We'd be in and out by mid-June leaving the rest of the summer, my least favorite time to travel, to be on the road. This is when we decided to visit the last three states missing on our travel map, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Our time in Washington shortened, we made the most of it visiting with friends and family. Even though our kids are young adults with jobs and busy lives, they made a big effort to spend loads of time with us and we were thrilled about that! My dear friend Virginia organized a pot luck night at her home for some of our Sammamish friends. This, in spite of the fact that she'd recently injured her foot, had surgery and was scooting around on a knee-scooter! She's amazing and it was wonderful to see everyone. Afterward, we got a tour of our friends Rich and Emma's new travel trailer. This is their third, the first being our beloved popup, Alfred Hitchpop. Emma blames us for this obsession, which thrills me to no end. :) Happy travels, guys!

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Cherolyn and Virginia, part of my Sammamish posse.

Upon our arrival at Lake Pleasant in Bothell, Zoe, Dan and Zac joined us for dinner. We made plans for the following week, which included making a trip to Sephora where Zoe's works, and a day in Seattle with Zac. Though we've been to most of the city sights several times, we thought this time it would be fun to be tourists in our own town. It was especially fun to have Zac along, as he was just a kid last time he was in many of these places. I think he enjoyed a day in Seattle as much as we did. Steven put a video together of the day’s sights. You can click here to watch it on YouTube.

The view out our window at Pleasant Lake RV Park.

Our traveling mascots, T. Rex Tillerson and Bo Barky enjoy the lakeside view!

With Zoe and Zac at Pleasant Lake.

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When your daughter works at Sephora, you get some stuff. Good stuff. And a facial from her coworker, Mary!

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No matter how many times we go to Pike Place in Seattle, it’s always a lot of fun!

Zac be all, like “Mom, this is the 47th selfie we’ve done today!!”

Down by the waterfront in Seattle. We chose not to ride the Ferris Wheel.


One of the best views of the Seattle skyline! On a clear day, you can also see Mount Rainier in the background.

Steven and I returned to the city by ourselves intending to take the Hop On, Hop Off tour, but I spontaneously suggested we instead board the Argosy Locks Cruise. LOL, we've done this cruise at least three times before, and multiple Harbor Cruises as well, but taking an Argosy Cruise is one of my favorite things to do in Seattle. As luck would have it, one  was departing within the hour, so we hopped on! Over the years the narration has changed. I recall on several earlier trips the narrator talked about the television show "Frasier", and how there is no condo or apartment building with his downtown view of the city. On this cruise, there was no mention of "Frasier", instead, it was all about "Grey's Anatomy". Times change!

Steven put together a video of the highlights of this trip too and you can also view that one on YouTube by clicking here.


Puget Sound and inside the lock.

Our two weeks at Lake Pleasant went by quickly and before we were ready, it was time to move on to the little Riverfront Park in Sedro-Woolley. Zac works about 20 minutes or so from there, and it was the closest we could get to him. It turned out to be a very comfortable and restful place to stay and we weren't lacking for things to do. Not only did we see Zac everyday, but we were also able to drive to take a trip to Mount Baker and to Diablo Lake, two of Washington state’s most beautiful areas. And, Zac took us on a tour of the marijuana growing facility where he works. Times change, indeed!

Our campsite at Riverfront Park in Sedro-Woolley.

Zac’s workplace.

Zac gives us a tour of the joint (pun intended)

At Diablo Lake in the North Cascades.

The views are hard to beat even on an overcast day.

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Mount Baker. The lodge below was not open yet.

Nooksack Falls, near Mount Baker.

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The river near Nooksack Falls

Soon we were off to Anacortes for our stay at Fidalgo Bay RV Resort. This is one of our favorite campgrounds, but only if we get a spot on the water. I remember camping there in Alfred Hitchpop when the kids were younger. All around us were these huge Class A rigs and I would just gawk because they looked so awesome and shiny. I don't think it ever occurred to me that one day that would be us, but here we are.

The good old days, circa 2011 at Fidalgo Bay.

As a family of five, we have not been together since Zoe's graduation in 2015, and even then, just a few hours. So, in reality it's been much longer than that.  I thought it would be a fun idea to have a sleepover while we were staying at Fidalgo Bay Resort. In Scoopy. LOL. I know, absolute madness on my part. I hounded the kids, reminding them of the dates over and over, telling them "you have to come, we'll all be together!" Of course, being all together meant Tara had to take time off work and fly to Seattle from San Diego, but I considered that just a minor detail. It came down to the wire, but bless her heart, Tara pulled it off! Believe me when I say I used up all my "Mom Card" credits just to get everyone to agree to sleep over! And yes, it was very crowded, but it really was so wonderful to have my family together.

Our campsite at Fidalgo Bay.

Zac, Tara, Steven, Dan and Zoe on the trail at Fidalgo Bay.

We’re getting the band back together!

The sleepover…enough said!

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Yay, a new family portrait!

The oil refinery across from us at Fidalgo Bay. It was ever-changing and fascinating to watch.

Our last two days in western Washington were spent with our dear friends Dan and Sherrie. We joined them the first night for a happy hour with two other couples, one of whom are fulltime RVers! It was fun to compare notes of places we've been. We enjoyed ourselves so much, we abandoned Scoopy for a night and stayed over in Dan and Sherrie's beautiful home overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The following day, we went into Coupville and enjoyed delicious food and wine, then returned home to spend time snuggled in blankets on the deck, with more wine, of course. After a fabulous dinner prepared by Dan, we said our goodbyes and made our way back to Scoopy to prepare for our morning departure.

Dinner, courtesy of Dan’s amazing culinary skills!

With Dan and Sherrie on Whidbey Island. We love spending time with them!

It doesn’t get much better than hanging out on Dan and Sherrie’s deck with fabulous views of the Strait.

Steven thought Sherrie and I looked like garden gnomes with our cute hats :) It was sunny, but chilly!

We are not done with the Pacific Northwest. In fact, after our visit we both felt as though we'd been "home", and it felt good. We decided to alter our usual fall and winter holiday travels and instead of returning to the ranch, we're going back to Portland and Seattle. Naturally, the Seattle campground was already full, but we hounded them every day for a week until they finally found us a spot. Hallelujah!

NEXT UP: Fabulous U.S. Highway 2


  1. What fun! You’ve given me a few ideas for camping there next month! Beautiful family! Congrats on the family sleepover! I tried and tried but could not get our 4 kids to come up. Live the video too!

    1. Enjoy Washington, it's beautiful! I'll be following along to see what trouble you guys can get into. :)

  2. When our son lived in Bothell we also used Lake Pleasant, great location and easy trip to the beach. He's since moved to my home town of Kirkland and we can now park in his yard. Great photos of the old home front. Thanks!

    1. How wonderful that you have a place to stay when you return! It's so expensive around Seattle. Of course, there are a couple of exceptions, but hard to get into and too far away from our daughter! Still, it's good to go home every now and again, right? :)

  3. Looks like a great time with the family. We have yet to get to Seattle but would like to visit it and Pikes at some point.

    1. Soon as you finish working on your property you can hit up the west coast, then the east coast! You've got a lot left to see and a great home base to start from!

  4. The Pike Market never got old when we lived in downtown Seattle. The hills back home were always steep too. Got to use the mom card as needed.

    1. How fun to live downtown and to be able to visit the market anytime. Easier to avoid the crowds that way, I'm sure. We were in Sammamish so it was a trip for us to come in to town!

  5. With Jeff moving back to Seattle in January we'll be back as well. Will have to take the cruise - it looks fun on the video :-) Getting a family photo is such a big deal!! It usually takes individual acts of Congress, God and Mother Nature. Your family is beautiful and the sleepover had to be fun! We've yet to be able to get into Lake Pleasant :-(

    1. Well, here's a tip on getting into Lake Pleasant - call 6-8 months out. Also, if you ever think you might want to stay a full month, call 8-12 months in advance. It's half price if you manage to get a spot!