Saturday, December 10, 2016

Olympic Peninsula

 Post by Henry

We've been told every place we go is our new favorite place to be. I guess that's just part of traveling fulltime in our RV. When we first started out I told people that our trips prior to retiring were one week vacations and wherever we went we were just barely scratching the surface of what to see and do. Now we were going to try and spend a month or more to get the full experience.

And you know what?

We're still just scratching the surface. We've been to many great places that we need to go back to while our list of places we haven't been keeps getting longer.

In mid-August our travels brought us to Chimacum, Washington, which is a small farming town just south of Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. We spent two (2) months here and we know we'll be returning probably sooner than later.

Our Hometown for Two Months

First, there's the gorgeous Victorian seaport of Port Townsend with it's scenic harbors and snow capped mountain views across the surrounding waters. Strolling the streets of the historic downtown area there's plenty of shops and eateries to check out.

Boats in the Harbor

Victorian Style Building

Mount Baker in the Distance

 The Farmers Market on Saturday mornings is hands down the best we've ever been to with colorful booths boasting locally grown organic vegetables, crafts, seafood, baked goods, coffee and more along with live music.

Saturday Morning Farmers Market

Cooking Up Some Delicious Paella 

Colorful Carrots

Music to Shop By

There's no shortage of charming, historic towns to visit on the Olympic Peninsula. The town of Poulsbo, also known as Little Norway, is home to Sluys Bakery, which became a favorite stop of Loretta's.

Mural in Poulsbo

Yummy Sluys Bakery

Further west is Sequim with it's Lavender Farms and the 5.5 mile long Dungeness Spit jutting out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The spit is a National Wildlife Refuge with good birding. From here you can gaze across the strait and see Vancouver Island on the horizon and can hike the 5.5 miles (one way) to the lighthouse.

Lavender Farm

New Dungeness Lighthouse

Surf Scoter

Unidentified Bird at Dungeness Spit

Continuing west is Port Angeles, which is the gateway to Olympic National Park.  A short drive into the park takes you up over 5000 feet elevation to Hurricane Ridge, with it's spectacular mountain views.

Mountain View from Hurricane Ridge

Dungeness Spit from Near Hurricane Ridge (Look Closely)

From Port Angeles, we caught the Black Ball ferry to the stunningly beautiful city of Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. We only spent a day here which wasn't near enough time to take in the incredible architecture of the buildings plus the shops plus the eateries plus the bustling little harbor..............


Flower Garden at Parliament

Streetside Cafe

More Beautiful Architecture

Lots of Action in the Harbor

Out at the Pacific coast we made a several day tent camping trip to Lake Ozette, which is the largest natural lake in the state of Washington. From here we did a hike out to the western most point in the lower 48, Cape Alava.

Ranger Station

Trail to the Cape

View from Cape Alava

We also ventured out to Cape Flattery which is the northwestern most spot in the contiguous US.

Pacific Ocean at Cape Flattery

Deactivated Cape Flattery Lighthouse

That's a lot of stuff, huh?

Again, in two months we didn't even put a dent in all there is to do in the area. We were tempted to make a several month reservation to stay here next summer but, we held off.

We've got to get to some of those other places on our ever expanding list.

There's no end in sight on this journey we are on and that's a GREAT thing!

Enjoy More Pics from the Olympic Peninsula Below.

Hotel Entrance

Pies Anyone?

Bed and Breakfast

Port Townsend Courthouse

Closeup Of Parliament

H2O Taxi

Serene Scene

RV Henhouse

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lisa's Visit

Post by Loretta

Shortly after my granddaughter, Jessica, came to visit us in Washington, her mom (my oldest daughter) came for a visit.  We picked her up at the Seattle airport, and dropped Henry off there to meet up with his backpacking buddies, who were flying in from Georgia and Florida.  It all worked out just right.  Lisa stayed the week with me and Henry spent the week backpacking.

As soon Lisa and I got back to Chimacum, we unloaded her bags and went to the local Finn River Farm and Cidery for the evening.  This was a happening little place, complete with live bluegrass music and dancing, brick oven pizzas, and fresh brewed hard cider.  This was a great start to her visit.

Finn River Farm and Cidery

The next day was a little drizzly, but that did not stop us from making a day trip to Olympic National Park - Hurricane Ridge.  Once while stopped to admire the view, a deer casually strolled right by Lisa as though she wasn't there.  Almost tame and a magical moment!

Hurricane Ridge Deer

The following day was an overnighter to Mt. Rainier.  We stayed close to Mt. Rainier so we could go to Mt. St. Helens the next day, making one big loop.

Mt. Rainier

As we headed toward Mt. St. Helens, we passed this farm with row after row of vibrant flowers.

Flower Farm

Once Mt. St. Helens came into sight, we stopped at an overlook to get a better view.

Mt. St. Helens from Afar

Mt. St. Helens
A Little Closer

Another highlight of her visit was our trip to Victoria, Canada.  This requires a ferry ride (and a passport).

Parliament Building
Victoria, Canada

Rotunda of Parliament Building

Where Parliament Meets

Ornate Stained Glass Windows
Parliament Building

Everywhere you turn in Victoria lies another spectacular building or scene.

The Empress

After touring the Parliament and walking the city, we were ready for lunch.  Lisa chose a wonderful restaurant, and we had a totally fabulous meal!  The setting and decor was rustic Italian, with several real fireplaces burning, which created a very welcoming and warm ambiance. And the food was a culinary delight!

Il Terrazzo

After our meal, it was back to the harbor to catch the ferry back to Port Angeles.

Beautiful Victoria Harbor

Washington State has so many quaint, bustling towns. And we visited several, strolling the streets and browsing through the shops.

Port Gamble was one of our favorites, basically one street which had refurbished houses transformed into shops.  And flower gardens galore!

Port Gamble
General Store

Upstairs in the Port Gamble General Store was an impressive collection of sea shells and bugs from around the world. This was fascinating to Lisa, since she is a science nerd.

Treasures of the Sea

Big Bugs!

Poulsbo is a city with a Norwegian heritage, which is apparent in the architecture of the city. And we found our new favorite bakery!

Poulsbo, Washington

Norwegian Influence

Sluys' Bakery

Another day, we took a ferry to Whidbey Island and visited Deception Pass.

On the Ferry

Fog Over Deception Pass

Whidbey Island View
Lisa and I had a very busy, fun, and exciting time in the Pacific Northwest.  And it was so good to have a mother/daughter 'vacation' in this unique part of the country.  We made memories, and that is something money can't buy...

Loretta and Lisa
Washington 2016