Vacation; or, We Attack the Pacific Northwest

N.B.: I’m stealing the format of this post from Tammy, because it’s a great way to do this quickly given that we took about 4,000 pictures.

We drove from Pocatello to Port Townsend, WA (1,700 miles) to visit Grammy and Grandpa for 2 weeks (the kids staying an extra third week). We hadn’t been to Washington before so this was a great treat. Turns out, Anthropapa and I discovered it was ideal there, and we now have a 5 year plan to relocate to the Seattle area! Must get master’s degrees first, though.

A is for public Art. This was at the Seattle Center, and even had one tube the kids could climb inside:

B is for Beach. Grammy and Grandpa live above a private beach, complete with a sand dollar colony and 40 bazillion shells. This picture is from a day trip to Dungeness Spit:

C is for Clouds. We had beautiful weather except for one cloudy day, but the sunsets were gorgeous. This is the view from the back deck:

D is for Doughnut machine. SillyBilly has been reading Homer Price by Robert McCloskey, which features a doughnut machine run amok. We were thrilled to see this one in the Public Market on the waterfront in Seattle:

E is for bald Eagle. Grampa says there are one or two bald eagles flying by quite often, perching over the sound watching for fish. They are awe-inspiring. Sorry, I have a very lame camera. Squint a little:

F is for Fourth of July. We went up to Port Townsend to sit on the beach and watch the fireworks at Fort Worden. We could see fireworks from at least three other spots around the sound. The Fort Worden show was simple, but lasted much longer than any show we’d seen before:

G is for Columbia Gorge. We drove up the gorge on both ends of the trip. Coming west we kept seeing Mt. Hood peeking out at us. Going east we had a slightly less fun time (went the wrong way on the highway, before we could get off we saw a tanker truck on its side blocking the entire westbound side, had to backtrack all the way to Portland, two-hour delay leading to being on the road 12 hours). But we won’t blame it on the beautiful gorge. This is the view from the Washington side, westbound:

H is for Hat. Though the temps were cool, the sun was very strong and I needed my hat! I almost forgot it in the ferry terminal leaving Seattle that day. I remembered at the last minute, and when we went to get the hat from the bench where I’d left it, we found a young man trying it on! I waited to see if he really wanted it (I would have gladly left it behind, even though I like it) but Anthropapa ended up asking for it and the man gave it back a bit sheepishly. Now my little blue hat has a story:

I is for Interesting. Anthropapa and I snuck away one day to Seattle while the kids stayed with their grandparents. We had lunch with old friends (Hi Erin and Kensuke!), found some treasures at a Tibetan store (certainly none of that in Pocatello), parked ourselves for a few hours at the awesome Elliott Bay Book Company, and saw some amazing installations and exhibits at the Seattle Art Museum, including some Helga paintings by Andrew Wyeth, beautiful Northwest native weavings, and this installation in the lobby, which inspired some interesting conversations about meaning in modern art:

J is for Joy. So many things to be happy about on this trip! Being with Grammy and Grandpa, discovering things large (the Seattle Aquarium) and small (the Port Townsend Marine Science Center), seeing wildlife (seals, eagles, deer, elk, sand sharks, sculpin, crabs, sand dollars, goldfinches, gulls, jellyfish) and many wildflowers. This is a tiger lily among lupines up on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park:

K is for Kids playing. Lots and lots of that. This was at the Seattle Center:

L is for LEGO Liberty, also at the Seattle Center:

M is for Multnomah Falls, which Anthropapa and I stopped by to see on our way home. So beautiful!:

N is for Nibblers. We saw deer in the backyard, deer in open fields, and a few rather saucy deer who were clearly looking for handouts at the visitor center at Hurricane Ridge:

O is for Olympics. Truly awe-inspiring. Next time I hope we have time to explore more. We just had time to go on a quick hike,  a little taste of the beauty of these high mountain peaks:

P is for Playground. Even on vacation, sometimes it’s nice just to take a little swing:

Q is for Quiet. So often we had the beach to ourselves, or sat on the back deck watching for sailboats with just the birds to accompany us. Even on our hike on Hurricane Ridge, with lots of other people there enjoying the sunny day, it seemed quiet. Maybe it was the beauty all around us, like this avalanche lily:

R is for Rivulets on the sand. We went out on the private beach during low tide to explore the sand dollar colony and go beachcombing. I was entrance by the shapes the retreating water had made in the sand, and realized later that I saw very similar shapes in eroded mudflows by Mount St. Helens:

S is for Seattle Skyline. We went over twice on the ferry from Bainbridge Island. What a fun city, not too big or small, quite clean, and with friendly people. Lots of culture as well as amazing outdoor opportunities. We’ll be back, for sure:

T is for Transportation. We took several ferries, and rode the bus, a monorail, and a trolley. It was great fun to take the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry, seeing lots of sailboats, container ships, and even some jellyfish!:

U is for Unusual. We did many unusual things (for us), including staying up late, eating fried clams, watching movies, and playing with light-up light sabers on the Fourth of July:

V is for Volcano. Anthropapa and I scouted out Mount St. Helens National Monument on our way home. Yet another awe-inspiring mountain! I’ve always been interested in geology, and we both clearly remember the 1980 eruption (Anthropapa even remembers the ash fall in Montana). The visitor center has some great displays, and a rather frenetic film, but the star of the show is the mountain herself. Pictures really do no justice in this case:

W is for whirlpool. One day we noticed these beautiful water forms as the ferry left the terminal:

X is for eXciting! For the kids, even simple things were so very thrilling. Grammy took them fishing off the nearby dock several times. The first time, Napoleona almost immediately caught a sand shark! She couldn’t keep it (all six-gilled creatures must be released back) but was so amazed at herself. She and SillyBilly went on to catch several sculpin. Unfortunately, though they are edible, they are almost all head. Nobody wanted togut and clean them! They might look calm and cool, but really they were quite thrilled:

Y is for Yikes! As Anthropapa and I left Seattle on the ferry, we noticed this boat following us, resplendent in jaunty red and accented by a machine gun! The public address system notified us a few minutes later that this was a routine Coast Guard escort. Hmmm. Funny that we hadn’t seen one before! One time we watched the boat almost stop to intercept a sailboat that was unwisely heading toward the ferry. They wisely turned away, as I’m sure they noticed the nice man with the big gun out front:

Z is for blast Zone. The ridge where the Johnston Ridge Observatory now sits across from Mount St Helens was directly in the path of the pyroclastic flow in the 1980 eruption. It’s hard to conceive of that much earth moving so fast and so far. These trees, several feet in diameter, were simply snapped off at the base by the force of the blast:

And if you’ve read through all this, you deserve an award 🙂

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Filed under art, Books, Family, Food, friends, Napoleona, Nature, papa, play, Science, Silliness and Mayhem, SillyBilly, travel

23 responses to “Vacation; or, We Attack the Pacific Northwest

  1. I loved seeing and reading about Washington from your perspective! I really do love living here, and I’m glad your trip was so wonderful. I didn’t know about the machine gun escorts for the ferries. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve taken one. I wonder it that’s new?

    • There was so much I didn’t mention here. The beautiful Blue Mountains and Palouse region of NE Oregon (our hotel room view in Pendleton was a wheat field), the gorgeous drive up the Hood Canal on the Olympic peninsula, driving across the Bridge of the Gods into WA to have dinner in Stevenson, the incredible rock formations along the eastern Columbia Gorge, eating cardamom ice cream at Elevated Ice Cream in Port Townsend, and so on.

      I think the ferry escort is probably a post-9/11 thing, and while it was described as “routine” on the PA system, we only saw that the one time, so maybe it’s semi-random whey they do them.

  2. Looks like you had a fabulous holiday. Love all the pics, especially your boy with his light sabre on the beach. I think this is a great format for a post.

  3. Loved the pictures and the post! The two weeks of checking your website and finding nothing new were frustrating, but it was worth the wait!

    • Aww, Scott, sorry to frustrate you! Next time I’m going to try to blog during the trip, as you did from Italy. Seems more manageable, and I’d probably say and show a lot more that way. The secret will be to plan a trip where I don’t have to bring work with me….

  4. I think I’d like to live in the Pacific Northwest as well. Great photos!

  5. jumbleberryjam

    Oh no! I missed you!! We’re on the Peninsula right now. Just 45 minute drive from Pt. Townsend (I do love it there). Yes! Come. Come to this place of wonder and beauty!! 🙂

  6. Nana

    well, since Nana does not do well when it gets hot (and it has been in the upper 80s for the past 10 days) she is seriously considering relocating to Washington upon retiring. Nana also loves the rain.

    Having said that, please send me hard copy photos of my brilliant, beautiful grandchildren. Make Nana oh-so-happy with the shot of Silly Billy on the hike, Napoleona on the swing, both of them on the ferry, and the boy turned Jedi.

  7. Love Homer Price. Love Multnomah Falls. Love that you all had such a nice trip. Next time you can swing through Twin Peaks.

  8. Lisa Zahn

    Great photos, and great format for your post. I was in suspense the whole time wondering what you’d do with “X”!

    Looks like a wonderful trip.

  9. I enjoyed your post very much. It took me way back to the years when Jim and I lived in Bremerton and I used to get up to Port Townsend on a regular basis. The Puget Sound area truly is God’s country.

    I loved Dungeness Spit and still have a rock from there.

    By the way, we moved there from California, and I was shocked to learn when I did that most of the beaches in Washington are private beaches, rather than the other way around as it is CA.

    • And opposite to Oregon, where the public has pedestrian access by law to all beaches, even if they are privately owned.

      I missed the day trip to Dungeness Spit, having needed to work that day. But all the beaches we saw were amazing. I’m not a big “lay out on the sand and fry” kind of person, so I didn’t mind at all that it often got chilly or if there were lots of rocks everywhere. (I thought of getting you a rock, but figured you had that region covered already!)

  10. Oh yes, this is the ONLY way to document a trip, lol! Vacations are wonderful, but they are so tiring. I loved reading this and looking at the photos.

    Y for yikes…um yeah! lol. I bet the kids enjoyed the drama of it, though.

    • Luckily that was the ferry ride with just Anthropapa and me. Otherwise we would have had some ‘splainin to do.

      I thought of you as I remembered another thing from our trip: making smores on a barbecue at the beach on July 4. The kids got to make their own — Grandpa got really long hot dog forks that were safe for the kids to use and worked great for marshmallows too. Your solar oven experiment was way more cool, though 🙂

  11. Light sabres. Very important.
    I’ve never understood how people could own large chunks of beach – the worst instance of that has got to be Land’s End in the UK at the most westward point of Cornwall.

  12. Wow — I live here, and I haven’t done most of this stuff. I’ll have to refer back to this post for my own recreational plans!

  13. I used to be more than happy to find this web-site.I wished to thanks on your time for this excellent read!! I definitely having fun with each little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

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