After over a month of bad internet, I’m finally in a good spot and ready to go with some updates! Since the Montana post we have been to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. I have a lot to catch all of you up on!! So, here goes.
Let me backtrack for one second and share a picture. This is our suv headlight with what appears to be a dead monarch butterfly in Glacier National Park. Now, I’m not superstitious, but accidentally killing an endangered species in a National Park cannot be a good thing.
Fast forward a few days. We had planned to leave Montana at around 4 am so we could make the long (about 12 hour) drive to Olympia, Washington in one day. We were up at 3, packed, and ready to go on time! We pulled out of our campsite and headed toward the campground exit. That’s when Louie realized he lost his phone. He jumped out, looking in the suv and his pockets. Nothing. He walked about a 1/2 mile back to the campsite in the dark. While he did that, I jumped out of the car to make sure he hadn’t left if on top of the camper. And there it was sitting on our battery case at the front of the trailer. So, Lil Louie ran to the site to find Louie to let him know. Disaster averted. Well, one anyway. So we pulled up to the exit of the campground. The exit was on a slight hill and turned onto a major highway with a 70 mph speed limit. I hit the gas to pull out…and started going backwards. What?! The electric brakes were NOT working!! Well, they WERE working… at 100% because there was a lost connection and it was pulling us back. Here we are, in the middle of nowhere in Montana, at 4 am…stuck. We panicked and drove back to our campsite. We messed around with our trailer plug a little, and suddenly the electric brakes were working again. A short in the wires? Maybe. So, we took off. By this time it was almost 6 am and the sun was up.
Driving along, about 15 miles down the road, we heard Simon meow from the backseat. Then, a huge diarrhea poop dropped right on Lil Louie and his blanket. Oh my. We pulled over to the side of the road. Simon let out another meow and we quickly took him outside the car on his leash and he immediately did another diarrhea poop next to a random farmer’s field. We apologize if it was your field. But Simon did try to bury it! So, now we had brake problems and a cat with diarrhea.
As I went to take off from the side of the road, I realized the electric brakes were again not connected or working. Ugh! So, we drove to the nearest gas station. Louie got out and opened up our 7 round blade plug. Good thing he is handy with electronics! He noticed that one of the wires had come out of the hole and was no longer making the connection. He pulled it up and fixed the problem. Such an easy solution to the problem! And…no more diarrhea from Simon (we think he may have eaten a weird waxy bug). But now we were almost 4 hours behind. It was 8 am and the campground we had wanted to stay at in Olympia closed at 8 pm. There was no way we were going to make it in time. I call that morning “The Curse of the Monarch Butterfly”.
We also had our first day of heavy smoke from the wildfires that at the time were burning in Montana and coming down from Canada. It was a sunny day and should have been a blue sky, but instead the sun was a strange orange color and the sky was a haze of gray. You couldn’t see more than a few miles in the distance.
We decided that we would spend the night in Spokane and make our way to Olympia the next day. We spent the night at the North Spokane RV Campground, which was almost in the middle of the city. All of the spots were paved and had a nice grass area. The bathrooms were very clean. Only a few negatives: no campfires, the sprinklers turned on in the evening without our knowledge and soaked everything on our picnic table, and it was a little pricey. We paid a little over $60 with our Good Sam discount. It would be a great place to stay if you are wanting to visit Spokane, but it was expensive for an unplanned stop and not using any of the amenities. Also, be careful of the glass window in the office. It looks like an open door. I ran straight into it in front of a group of people. Yup. The curse….but more likely just my usual clumsiness!!
The next morning we FINALLY left for Olympia! Yay!! We chose to stay at the Olympia Campground and Texaco. We really liked this campground. First of all, the price was great! We paid $33/night for our site. The site we had was large and shaded by towering pine trees. It was beautiful and quite private. The walk to the bathroom was a bit long because the bathroom near us was under construction, but it was a pretty walk through the trees. The bathrooms were decent and cleaned daily at 11 am. Louie and Lil Louie enjoyed the outdoor pool and game room. The campground has a lot of full time residents in the park, but it was quiet and nice. The main building is also a Texaco gas station which was very convenient. And it is very close to many stores and restaurants in Olympia. I would recommend this campground if you are in the area.
I was so excited to take a day trip to Seattle! It has been our dream for a long time to visit Seattle. The cool temperatures, the rain, everything about Seattle appeals to us. Unfortunately, the west coast was in the midst of a dangerous heat wave. While temperatures were supposed to be in the 70’s and a little rainy, we ended up getting 90+ degree weather and sunshine. But heat or no heat, we couldn’t miss a trip to Seattle! So, we made the drive to Bainbridge Island to take the ferry into the city. This was my first experience on a large ferry and I loved it! You do not need to pay for the ride into Seattle, only the ride back, which is $8/person. I thought that was a great deal for a day in the city without the hassle of driving! Parking at the ferry terminal is $12. We were walking up to the machines to pay for our parking space when a woman offered us her already paid space. She had paid for parking but missed her ferry and didn’t want her $12 to go to waste. How nice! So we moved our car into her space and we were good to go!
The ferry was so much larger than we were expecting. We have a little ferry here in Wisconsin that crosses the river, but it was nothing compared to the size of this ferry. There was even a cafeteria on board! Louie surprised me with a local drink to celebrate our ferry ride. The water was beautiful and the ride was very smooth and quick…about 30 minutes. Because of the wildfires, the skyline was obscured by smoke but was still very exciting to see as we got closer. Seattle has a very beautiful skyline.
We disembarked and headed towards Pike Place Market. It is only a couple of streets away from the ferry terminal. Now, I never realized how big Pike Place Market was! I thought it would be one long hall of booths selling goods, but it’s a building many stories tall with HUNDREDS of shops and restaurants!! And, it is built on a hill, so you have to hike up many steps to get to the top area. Whew! It is a really energetic and fun atmosphere. We didn’t make any purchases, but it is worth the look around. The restaurants smelled delicious, and most of the food was fresh from the market each day.
A fun fact about Seattle: it is full of hills. I seriously never knew how hilly Seattle was until we tried walking the city in 95 degree weather. We had planned to go to the Space Needle, but were still miles away when we had to stop due to the heat.
We had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. Normally, I would have loved to have eaten at a local restaurant. But I have this thing about Hard Rock Cafes. I am on a quest to visit and eat at every single one that I come across. I have been to Orlando, Chicago, Nashville, New York, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, and Nassau, Bahamas. So, we had lunch at Hard Rock. It was typical Hard Rock Food.
Around 5pm we could not take the heat any longer and decided to catch the ferry back. This time we had to buy tickets and use them to board. The ride back was just as beautiful.
Lil Louie’s 15th Birthday occurred while we were in Washington, so we let him decide what he wanted to do for the day. He decided on lunch and bowling. I knew that he loved seafood, and what better place to get fresh seafood than in Washington?! So I checked Trip Advisor (my go to planning guide) and found the #1 seafood restaurant in Olympia, which was Anthony’s HomePort. We requested to sit outside on the patio next to the marina. It was a beautiful view of the boats and in the far distance was the capital building. The food was okay. I ordered a BLT because I do not eat seafood. The BLT itself was decent, but the coleslaw that came on the side was not so great. And I usually love coleslaw! But Lil Louie enjoyed his meal of dungeness crab toast, and that is all that really mattered. I would not personally eat there again, but if you enjoy seafood, give it a try. It does have great reviews.
I, of course, won our bowling game. Well, okay. I am probably to world’s worst bowler and I did not actually win. The pins got stuck on the first frame and the worker had to manually input my score into the computer. I jokingly told him to enter my score as a strike, and he did! So, on paper I won…but in reality I cheated. It was a really great birthday celebration though.
The next day we decided to make the almost two hour journey to see Mount St Helens National Monument. I am so fascinated by anything to do with nature and natural disasters, so I have watched many documentaries about the eruption of Mount St Helens in 1980. It was so neat to be able to visit the actual volcano and see where the destruction took place. As you drive near the park you see signs that tell you that you are entering the “blast zone”. Although it has been quiet for some time, it is still a little unsettling to be so close to an active volcano. There is a large visitor’s center with facts about the volcano, information about the eruption, and even a tree inside that was in the eruption and shows the power of the blast. There is also a short video that replays every so often. The windows in the visitor’s center are huge and look out over Mount St Helens. Then, once outside, you have a perfect view of the volcano and the surrounding land. It was a really great place to spend the day and the views were beautiful. It is well worth the drive.
One last thing about Washington. Recreational marijuana is legal in the state and this is the first state that we have been to that had legalized marijuana. It is very weird to see signs everywhere advertising different dispensaries and also hearing ads on the radio. It is almost a culture shock. But besides the signs and ads, you would never guess that it was legal. It is kept very private in people’s own homes.
We absolutely loved our time in Washington. We agreed that we need to go back again when the state is not in the midst of a heatwave and explore more of the cities, especially Seattle. We would also love to visit Olympic National Park, which has some beautiful rain forests and beaches. I didn’t feel like we had enough time or energy to do everything that we wanted, but what we did accomplish was so great, Don’t forget to check out our Youtube channel with video of each of our adventures! On to Oregon!