Monday, June 27, 2016

25th Anniversary Trip to WA State: Leg 1

As mentioned in my earlier post, Dave and I went to the Olympic Peninsula a couple of weeks ago to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  We had such an amazing time.

(There were poppies everywhere. They're such a pretty little flower.)

I’ve decided there are several kinds of ‘trips’; there are work trips, family trips, vacations, and adventures, just to name a few. Most people go on Vacations. Vacations are relaxing trips where you go to a place and rest and relax and recharge; like a beach, or resort, or a mountain cabin.

We Staalsens do not vacation. We adventure.  We had a lot to see and do in a short time so we kept moving. We were in a different hotel every night as we made our way, counter clock wise, around the Olympic Peninsula.

We landed in Seattle and quickly hopped the ferry and got out of the city and onto Bainbridge Island spending our first night there.  From there we drove to Olympia, but instead of taking the quick way we went up and around the 101 driving alongside a fork of Puget Sound to our east and Olympic National Park to our west.  It was worth it. It was such a beautiful drive.

(View of Seattle from the ferry across Puget Sound)

From there we drove to Ocean Shores, my first time to see the Pacific Ocean!! From Ocean Shores we drove up to Forks where we stayed in a Bed and Breakfast. From there we drove up to Neah Bay for the day, (I wish we’d stayed a night here, it was unbelievably beautiful!) and then went to our hotel at Port Angeles. Next we hoped over to Port Townsend, then from Port Townsend we took a ferry to Whidbey Island and stayed with some friends who recently moved up there, and from Whidbey Island we drove to Seattle and flew home.

(Our very conspicuous rental) 

You guys. I people watched the heck out of Washington State. It was so interesting! Let’s start with Settle. Oh boy. Seattle is a typical American city in most ways.  Everyone’s in a hurry and there are a LOT of people. There is a great deal of pedestrians in Seattle. I’m guessing the not 100° temps encourage that.

(Bainbridge Island Marina selfie. Yes, we were those obnoxious tourists.)

One odd thing about Seattle in particular, and Washington State in general  that we noticed is that they honk, a LOT, but they are fairly friendly drivers and don’t seem to exceeded the speed limit. This was quite a conundrum for Dave. He kept looking around for traffic cops because everyone was going at or under the speed limit. That was very strange for these Texas drivers. Here you go 80 or you get run over, but rarely will anyone ever honk at you.

(Bainbridge Island Marian. This was the view from our table.)

The first day of our adventure was filled with transportation; lots of different kinds of transportation. We flew into SeaTac, walked quite a distance to the light rail, took the light rail downtown. (Thanks for the tip, WA friends, to rent the car away from the airport. That saved us a lot of money and the hassle was minimal.) Walked 3 or 4 city blocks to our rental car place, drove the rental car to the ferry, crossed Puget Sound from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and finally drove around Bainbridge Island until we found a place to eat and our hotel. Let me tell you, that’s a lot of traveling for this homebody!

(Dinner on Bainbridge Island.)

We ate dinner in a cute little restaurant bar that had a patio overlooking the marina. We were dumbstruck at the beauty at this point so we took several photos of the water, the cute little sailboats, the huge trees (turns out, these things were nothing compared to what we would see later in the week).  We were such tourists, y’all. While people were kind, I’m pretty sure they were inwardly rolling their eyes at our touristy obnoxiousness.

(This tree was so HUGE.)

We were pretty tired at this point so we headed to our hotel thinking we’d watch some tv until bedtime and then go to bed early. We had a big day the next day. Funny thing was, after we watched tv for a bit we were both super tired but the sun was still up. Finally I glanced at the time and it was 10pm and the sun was finally going down. I didn’t realize how light it stayed in WA! That first night, we slept like the dead.

(It went up for miles.)

Here are a few of my general observations from Leg 1 of our trip….

1. Make sure your suitcase’s wheels work properly or you will be that crazy tourist lady who is dragging an unwieldy suitcase all over the city. I was quite a spectacle trying to get that dumb thing through the less than even city streets, up and down escalators, and in and out of planes, trains and automobiles. It was lovely.

2.  WA is lacking in good BBQ. Our rental car guy told us this. He’s from Tennessee. He said, “Here is some advice from one southerner to another. There is no good BBQ here. You may see a sign for BBQ, but trust me, it’s not BBQ. Do not eat it. If you want good BBQ wait until you get home.” We took his advice.

3. While WA is lacking in BBQ, they are flush with Asian food. We had some of the BEST Thai and Indian food on our trip, and we also got to have some actual Indian, as in Native American food!

4. While having a cool convertible was fun, I would have chosen a less flashy one had we been given a choice. We’re already tourists who have no idea where we’re going or what we’re doing, getting a canary yellow Camaro convertible is just overkill. There was no being stealthy. You were not going to miss us coming or going.

5. Some states seem annoyed by tourists (I’m talking to you Colorado), the people of WA seem to enjoy them. We met some really friendly locals along our journey. They would ask where we were from and give us advice about what to skip or what we should not miss while in the area.

(Snapchats from Leg 1)

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