The Hockers Go To Washington

After leaving Seaside along with some good friends, we soon left Oregon behind also and begun our adventure through Washington State.  We started with a detour to Mt. St. Helens which looked so fogged in on the road up there that we thought it might be all for not.  But the skies cleared above 4000' and the view was majestic.  We learned the history of the volatile volcano and watched some video footage of the devastation.  The surrounding forrests are now lush and green.  We, then, headed on up the highway to Mt. Rainier National Park.

This place is literally called Paradise.

The kids look so excited because we are heading to Seattle (which they thought was the essence of this trip.)

In Seattle we stayed at a KOA so we could be near the city and could also have some amenities.  Mike and I thought the trade off was not so great to the space, quiet and nature sites we'd been in recently but the kids were thrilled there was a pool and I guess we did need to do some laundry unless I wanted to try washing by hand in a freezing cold creek. That's how they did it on Little House in the Big Woods, which happens to be our audio book for the trip and the kids request it enthusiastically.  The older ones listen intently and quietly and it puts the little one to sleep faster than anything else we tried (see picture above).  So, it's a win,win. 

We had authentic Nepalese pizza and gelato for desert and then rode the escalator a few times for a true inner city experience.  We walked a few blocks to the Space Needle and only viewed it from the ground much to Eli's chagrin.  But alas it was getting late and again the kids were in bed after 10 o'clock (but what else is summer for than to stay up late?)

We packed up in the morning and filled our gas and propane tanks and headed straight into rush hour traffic (in Seattle I think rush hour is all day long).  After parking our trailer at a local church we went to a 12:30 baseball game  and watched the mariners pretty much lose the game within the top of the first inning.

We headed to the famous Pike's Market to grab some fresh snacks before saying good-bye to Seattle for now.

We had to take the last ferry out which was 8 PM.  It turned out to be the best one in my opinion because the sun was setting and the light that reflected off the water and the wisps of pastel clouds was breathtaking.  The air was crisp and refreshing.  I was only worried that Ruby would have a tough time because she only napped for a total of 45 minutes that day.  I needn't have worried.  She loved the ferry and was not only entertained by the stairs, the bathroom. the outdoor deck, the tables and puzzles, but she entertained us and others on board in her own hammy after dark ways.  The other downside is we got to our campsite around 9:45 and had to set up in the dark.  Well, I love adventure vacations the best; and this day sure put this vacation on the map, so to speak.

While at Three Lakes we applied sunscreen, swam in  one of the lakes (Corinne really picked up the pace in her swimming skills.  Way to go!), rode bikes around the another lake, explored the island and the American Camp, frequented the camp general store, walked downtown, sat out in the sun, applied more sunscreen, tie-dyed some T-shirts, played bocci ball, and had a blast spending quality time together.

We booked a whale watching trip hoping to see some Orcas in the wild, but no such luck.  We saw lots of bald eagles (I think Eli counted 14), and some seals and fallow deer and some kids of long horned sheep.

This is the scenic route through the middle of Washington.  We took HWY 20 from Sedro-Wooley to Winthrop and it didn't disapoint.  We took 2 days to explore, hike and see God's wonderful creation.

This is a picture of Ruby on a bridge crossing Ruby Creek.

Rainy Lake

The Liberty Bell

An homemade ice cream shop in the cute town of Winthrop

After Winthrop we headed towards Spokane to meet my parents and all the cousins for 2 fun-filled days at Silverwood Theme Park.  It was pure luck that our arrival time were in sync and we pulled up right behind them as we turned off to the hotel.  Weird!

The grandparents with ALL their grandchildren.
Left to right:  Brooklynn age 5, Corinne age 5, Derrick age 9, Hayden age 10, ruby age 2, Ella age 8 and Eli age 8.

The scariest one of all.  I can't believe Corinne tried it and loved it.  Kudos to Ella for also trying it and my Dad who, I think, almost had a heart attack.

Ruby's I survived to carousel face.

We did the water park in the afternoons and it was a big hit.  It brought me back to my childhood where we hit the water park for an entire day and loved every minute of sun kissed skin and ever dripping hair and swimsuits.  I took 2 waterproof disposable cameras with me.  But, just like the good ol' days, I haven't even taken them in to get developed.  It was fun trying to get pics of the bigger boys getting racked by waves and the groups of us tubing down the green tunnel slide.  We'll see if any of them turn out.

Ruby borrow Corinne's underwear after a little accident.

Sad faces!  We hate to leave the park and our cousins too!

Thanks Kara and Pinterest for the idea.  It kept the kids in the loop with where we were heading and "how long until we get there."  I had them draw pictures of things they saw or did after we had been at each place.  It kept them involved, interested and occupied.  The things we saw and did were spectacular and some of them were captured on with a camera, but there are some moments we spent together that will always only remain treasured in our hearts.