Coastal Washington, the Olympic Peninsula & Leavenworth
08.07.2014 - 10.16.2014
Our first Washington campground was just outside the coastal town of Ocean Shores where we checked out the Lytle Oyster farm, made friends with the locals at the Green Lantern and the Pirate's Cove, went to a bike rally and even rode our bikes on the beach!
From there we had an overnighter on the Olympic Peninsula to Sol Duc Hot Springs resort where we hiked and soaked. We explored Rialto and Kallaloch beaches and met up with Brad's 2nd cousin Ashley as she was vacationing with her friend on the peninsula. We had lunch together at the beautiful and rustic Quinalt Lodge. We took in the ancient yellow cedar stand with the oldest being somewhere around 2000 years old. These groves have not burned for more than 1000 years and contain the oldest trees in Washington.
The weather was fantastic and the oysters were delicious! We bought them by the quarts and had oyster casserole, fried oysters and bbq'd oysters baked in the oven in muffin tins!
La Conner, Seattle & Birch Bay, Washington
We traveled to the picturesque town of La Conner on the Swinomish Channel where we explored the surrounds including Whidbey Island, Deception Pass, the Oyster Bar restaurant (best oysters I've ever had!) and Taylor Oyster farm. We made a trip into Seattle to visit Tom & Ally and stayed in a lovely B&B in the University District. Later, we had Tom & Ally out for a visit to La Conner and rented them a cabin for the weekend.
Spot prawns were our favorite lunch, steamed daily at the local fish market!
Blaine, WA and Vancouver, BC
Traveling north our next three weeks were in Blaine, Wa known as"The Gateway to the Pacific Northwest" on the border of Canada. We enjoyed the campground of Birch Bay filled as it was for Labor Day and we explored the area including a day trip into Vancouver to visit Chinatown for some wonderful food.
Mt. Baker, northern Cascade mountain range. Elevation10,781 ft
As we drove around we could see Mt. Baker in the distance (approximately 100 miles east) and we decided to go up for a hike. We were rewarded with many beautiful vistas, a waterfall and a good hike in the Mt. Baker Wilderness as it's called.
Shelton, Washington Oyster Fest!!!
Finally, the crescendo of our 'Summer of Oysters', the Shelton Oyster Festival home to the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship and the Washington State Seafood Festival! Held at the Shelton fairgrounds the camping area was more of a free for all with tents and big rigs sprawled in no particular order and parties (and partyers!) overlapping! The seafood (not just oysters) was so delicious we made a valiant effort to try it all along with downing pints of micro brews and taking in the crowds and the live music. We did our best to keep up with the other revelers but by Sunday afternoon we were spent and in need of a nap, boy those folks can party! After all, this was our first year at it but we'll be back next year to celebrate again!
Leavenworth, Wa & Octoberfest
After limping away from the campgrounds in Shelton it was time to head up to the mountains and prepare for our 2nd weekend of festivities; Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Wa. We had visited Leavenworth 4 years earlier on the maiden voyage of our 5th wheel but had missed the world renown festival in the alpine town by a week. We vowed to return and this was our year! The Bavarian village of Leavenworth is nestled in the Cascade mountain range and home to Oktoberfest the first three weekends in October, with Oom-Pah-Pah bands, lederhosen, dirndl girls, veal & sausages and of course the beer! We camped nearby but stayed for 2 nights in Icicle Village (the downtown area) of Leavenworth to avoid driving and therefore indulge ourselves entirely. The venues were large to accommodate the crowds and the music was lively with several bands playing all the time. The hearty joviality was infectious with everyone singing, swaying and toasting! The town was all dolled up and the quaint shops doors all open & welcoming (wellkommen!). We hope to attend many more Oktoberfests, maybe come early to explore the picturesque area more but after 2 weekends in a row of major fun we were ready to head south once again.
Eugene, Oregon and back to California
As our 'Summer of Oysters' came to a close we beat feet back southward. We made a quick stop in Eugene to visit a dear friend that I had not seen since my days in Alaska, 20+ years ago! We had good (quiet) fun with Cher and again hit the road southbound to California.
In closing this post I'd like to add that I'm happy to have gotten it down (and uploaded) before the close of the year! I hope to be more diligent about posting regularly, maybe even get the man for whom it's named to post occasionally! Happy trails to all our friends in the New Year!