Thursday, June 12, 2014

Washington Trip 2014

We just returned from our family vacation in Washington state.  It was our first time to Seattle.  We went to visit my brother, Derek and his family, and my sister,  Holly.  Back in January there was a great sale on plane tickets so we bought them right away.  We flew all five of us for less than $900.  We had great weather; it didn't rain once.  It was really nice to visit Derek and Holly's homes, see where they work, and get a more personal glimpse into their lives.  The cousins enjoyed each others' company.  We did LOTS and had a great time. 

Trees of Washington

The trees and forests of Washington are amazing.  They's so big and plentiful and interesting looking. 

 This tree had bark that was horizontally striped.

The moss hanging off the trees was stunning.  It reminded me of Dr. Seuss trees.

Day 2: Snoqualmie Falls, the temple, & Seattle City Center

On the 2nd day of our vacation,we saw the sights of Seattle.  Evan and Greta are still in school so we did a couple of things in the morning and then they met up with us at lunch.  Holly took us to Snoqualmie Falls.  It was very pretty.  Not too far away is the Seattle Temple.  We walked around the grounds there. 

 Adam and his silly sense of humor.
Afterwards, Alexis, Evan and Greta met up with us and we drove into downtown Seattle.  We ate lunch at Ivar's--great fish-n-chips, right on the water.  The kids threw the french fries in the air and the seagulls caught them. 
Next we went to the gum wall.  We each chewed a piece of gum (minus Holly) and stuck it on the wall. 
 Pretty GROSS!!!
Next we walked to Pike Market Place and saw the famous fish throwing. 

 While there, we bought some yummy, mini doughnuts, from this Donut Robot. 
Then, we drove over to the Seattle Center to see the Space Needle.  Before reaching it, the kids saw the fountain and made a mad dash for it.  It didn't take them long to start playing in it.  The test is to touch the fountain without getting wet.  They were quickly soaking wet. 
 Evan, Matt and Greta
 Evan, Gavin and Matt
 Then all the kids tried to drag Holly into the water.

 After drying off somewhat, we drove up Queen Anne Hill to see the Seattle skyline.  It was very pretty.

 Mt. Ranier is visible in this picture.  It looks like it is floating in the sky.  The locals would say, "the mountain is out today". 
By the time we finished all of this, it was rush hour.  So, we experienced the notorious Seattle traffic.  It took 90 minutes to get home.

Day 3: Great Northwest Trek & Montesano, WA

This day we decided to drive an hour or two south of Derek's house, close to Mt. Ranier.  We went to the Great Northwest Trek park.  It is a wildlife refuge.  We took a tram tour of the park and saw lots of animals.  We were there for quite a few hours.  Afterwards we drove to Holly's house in Montesano.  Her town is on the Olympic peninsula.  It is very charming town. Derek, Alexis, Evan and Greta met us there that evening for the weekend.  Holly's backyard is really big so the kids had fun playing.  That first night Derek, Evan and Holly slept there in a tent.  The next night Alexis and Greta joined them.  This helped because Holly's house is only 2 bedrooms, and with 10 people there it was definitely full.  We had a weekend slumber party--lots of fun.

Day 4: Astoria, OR and Long Beach, WA

We left Holly's house early, 8am, and drove to Astoria, Oregon.  It is across the Columbia River, from Washington.  In the first picture you can see the bridge we drove across.  It was 3.6 miles long.  This is the point where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean.  It was a very cute town. 

 Container ships in the Columbia River.
 We visited the Astoria Column, built to honor the explorers, Lewis and Clark.  They ended their expedition near here, when they made it to the Pacific Ocean.  We climbed to the top.
 This was at the column, too.  I think it represents a canoe Lewis and Clark used.
 Cousins Gavin and Evan.  The other cousins, Matt, Adam and Greta are running down the hill.
 This is a famous house in Astoria. 
Two clues:  truffle-shuffle and Sloth.
I hoped you guessed Goonies. 
This is the house that was used in the Goonies movie.
 Then we drove 20 miles further into Oregon to see Ft. Clatsop, the final fort of Lewis and Clark. 
The kids had fun checking it out.  See Gavin running back and forth.
 Adam, Alexis, Derek, Holly, Evan and Robert
 One of our musts for this trip was to eat fresh seafood.  This was the fish-n-chips place we ate at in Astoria.  It was a 30 minute wait in line.  We ended up eating fish three times on our trip.  My favorite was Ivar's, in Seattle.
In the afternoon we drove back to Washington, to Long Beach.  This is the longest beach in the U.S., 26 miles, hence it's name.  The kids brought their swimsuits.  It was cold water!, nothing like Miami.  But that didn't stop them.  Matt played a ton in the water.  Later, he nearly froze to death.  I was brave enough to walk in the water, but it was cold.

 Robert, Holly freezing, and Derek taking Evan and Greta out. 
 Adam had fun, too.  He took a little stroll and then played a bunch in the sand.  He covered himself in it.  This required him to thoroughly wash himself in the cold water--not a fun task.
 Evan, Greta and Gavin enjoyed playing in the sand.  Evan and Gavin were intent on building a moat, but the tide was coming in and kept collapsing it.  The sand was gray in color--very pretty.

 Here's an elevated view of the Washington coast.
After playing at the beach, we drove up to a lighthouse.  We got there too late to go inside but it was fun anyway.  We could feel the cold ocean spray and wind. 
We ate dinner in the beach town of Long Beach--fish-n-chips, of course, and then drove home to Holly's.  We were all quite tired.  We slept in a bit the next morning.  That was nice because we had a more relaxed day.

Day 5: Quinalt Rain Forest

On Day 5, we drove from Holly's house up the Olympic peninsula to the Quinalt Rain Forest and lake.  Who would think there was a rain forest in the U.S.  It is a temperate rain forest.
  It was a really fun day.  The weather was great.  The kids had fun exploring the rain forest.  After, we had a picnic lunch at the lake, surrounded by mountains.  We stayed there a couple of hours, just relaxing and playing.  Then we went to the see the largest sitka spruce tree in the U.S.  Sadly, my camera battery had died by then and I don't have a picture.  But I'll just say it was HUGE!  That evening we drove back to the Seattle area, to Derek and Alexis' house. 

 You can see how enormous the trees are compared to everyone--
Derek, Evan, Robert, Alexis, Matt, Greta and Gavin
 This picture also represents well the scale of the trees. This was the base of a tree.  See how big it is compared to Holly and Gavin.
 Five, little, speckled cousins--sittin' on a speckled log!
Adam, Evan, Gavin, Greta and Matt
 Derek and Adam standing in front of a fallen tree.  Amazing how big the root base is.
 Derek, Adam and Robert peering through a hollow log.
 I called this a fern wall.  The side of the hill was covered in ferns.
Adam is standing by a nursing log.  The tree on top has grown from a fallen log.  It gets it's nutrients from the fallen tree, thus it is known as a nursing log. 

Last Day of Trip: Pacific Science Center & Fremont Troll

For the last full day of our trip, we went back into Seattle.  We took the boys to the Science Center.  We figured they would enjoy this.  Adam loves museums and wants to read and do everything. 
 Matt and Gavin sitting at the giant table.
 Seeing the Space Needle through the window. 
 Playing with water!
 Run, hamsters, run!!
This is the troll under the Fremont Bridge--a unique and quirky attraction.  The boys had fun climbing all over it.  See Matt picking it's nose.