MISSION: To visit every state and territory in the U.S. For my mission a visit is greater than a stop over; I wish to explore the natural and cultural environments of these areas. Each of these locations has a story to tell, and I want to find it.

As of February 2018 I have visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico and 2 island in the US Virgin Islands) at least once.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Beginning of An Epic Adventure in the Pacific NW

My annual trip out the Pacific Northwest was a bit early this year.  If you plan on visiting the San Juan Islands with your best friend, you have to make the summer venture.  Who wants to visit an island in the northern most corner of the Pacific Northwest when the temperatures start to drop – not I!
We started talking about this venture on the way home from last year’s girls trip to Victoria… and, again, I left the planning to her.  Lesley runs an amazing website for information on NW events, locales, and general fun.  WhatsupNW.com has really exploded and places we go are excited for her to visit and to be featured on the site.  That means, she has all in the “ins”.  I am just along for the ride – I get to help her interview amazing people in various fields, and we have a blast together.  Honestly, her moving sucked, but we make our visits count.  She travels like I do on solo trips – packing in much in as possible… so together, we power-tour and document for her site, take tons of pictures and soak in as much as humanly possible.
For once the weather was going to be perfect.  There was minimal rain in the forecast.  I was itching for a vacation.  And then I got sick.  I am not talking a little summer cold either.  By the time I landed at SeaTac, I felt like I wanted to crawl into a ball and sleep for a week.  I had no energy, I spike a fever 2 nights before, my nose would not stop leaking, and I was a sneezing mess.  I looked and felt great to see my gorgeous best friend (Jersey sarcasm).    She picked me up; I took some Nyquil and had to apologize to her doggies that are used to me rolling around to play with them on visits.  She let me sleep the first day before she and her husband took me to the small town of Leavenworth.  This place is in the south-central Cascades and completely Bavarian themed.  We walked the streets, and I stopped at a few adorable shops looking at things that caught my eye.  Outside town we stopped at the river dam to walk the salmon ladder and watch some fish jump their way through the waters (and a kayaker navigate the falls) and then headed to a state park to take in a gorgeous lake and mountain views.
The next day, we had a girl’s day with some of her friends (and mine) in Seattle.  Lesley was invited to the VIP rooftop lounge at the Hard Rock.  I rallied and we headed towards Pike’s Market.  The lounge over looked the market!  Incredible space!  We had a blast, eating lunch, grooving to music and playing with beach balls… and it’s all fun before someone gets hurt.  And our story ended not with someone getting hurt, but someone’s expensive bag getting doused in beer.  She was fantastically nice about the whole thing and the staff moved quickly to clean everything up.  We took our own ball away and went back to couch dancing.
After a few hours at the Hard Rock, we walked through Pike’s Market.  I love the market – the colors, the venders, the hassle and the flying fish.  So much to see… more so after the latest expansion.  From the market we played the largest game of Pac-Man ever… it was seriously wall-sized.  And wandered into Gum Wall alley.  Ewwww is the right word here.  It is colorful and uniquely Seattle, and as long as you don’t overthink it, it can be amazingly neat to look at.  Some people just stick some gum on the wall, others make something with it… me?  Andrea and I pooled our gum and made a peace sign… we can all use more of that sentiment today with the situation in North Korea looming out there.
We had an early evening because the real trip was kicking in (and man was I still sick).  We hit the road by 5:30am to make the drive to the port.  This was Lesley’s first trip on an auto-ferry and she was not messing around.  So, we made it to port by 7:30 and were on the water by 9am.  The ride over was seriously cold (this is the northern Pacific NW) and stunningly gorgeous.  The waters were calm, since they are protected by Vancouver Island.  Smooth sailing, clear skies and fantastic scenery meant we were docking in Friday Harbor in no time.   Bucket List trip… here I come.

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