Our family made the flight to the NW to visit family friends. Grant’s good friend from college was in the Seattle, WA with his family working as a traveling nurse. Our families get along great and have kids with similar ages, so we were really excited to see them.On our Seattle trip we also checked out cities like Tacoma and Portland so that was a bonus as well.
The Pacific Northwest also has beautiful natural landscape. We saw the Olympic Mountains and also Mount Rainier in the Cascade Mountain range. The drive up Mount Rainier was crazy! As you might expect, it was rainy for much of the trip, but on the way up Rainier, that rain turned to snow. For most of the drive everything was fine, but as we entered the national park, the snow started. And not long after that, as we got higher, the roads started getting bad. We were in a two-minivan caravan (and didn’t have chains on our tires!) and started getting to a point where the road had a solid layer of ice. There were huge snow plows (and they didn’t slow down much when passing) but they couldn’t keep that layer of ice off the roads at that elevation.
Rainier isn’t as tall as the mountains in the Rockies, and in some ways seems smaller. But in other ways it seemed to have more snow.on our Seattle trip we were told that people ski there (there’s a ski resort called Crystal Mountain that is close to Rainier) sometimes into June or even July. From what we saw, the snow (and therefore powder for skiing) was daily and a lot!
The high temperatures were in the 50s almost everyday, and we never knew when it would rain. The lows were only in the 40s. So in the morning, it wasn’t that cold. However, when we were outside for awhile, walking around Seattle for example, and it was raining, it was still definitely cold.
We walked through Pike’s Market and ate some clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder. Definitely recommend the New England clam chowder! We tried some other flavors, didn’t like them as much. We also stopped at the original Starbucks and saw the alley with dried gum stuck all over the walls.
Our friends let us stay with them in their Airbnb, which was awesome and saved money! At times it was a little cramped, but actually it ended up being maybe the highlight of the trip, just hanging out there, and our kids really, really loved it! We spent a day in Portland (about a 3 hour drive), but our friends didn’t come with us on this part of the trip. Of course we were interested in checking it out, but for our kids it was a different story. They just wanted to get back to our friends and hang out in the Airbnb!
The last day we took a ferry into Seattle. It was an amazing ride. It was actually clear for a bit of it, so we saw almost everything… the Olympics to our left at the beginning of the trip, Rainier to our right in the middle of the trip, and downtown Seattle and the Space Needle as we got close. The trip was about an hour long. We did drive our rented minivan onto the ferry, it all worked out pretty well. There was a little coffee shop in the top of the ferry, but we were mostly running around the ferry and going outside to see the scenery, when we could stand the crazy wind. Our friends were staying in Gig Harbor, which is a little harbor town on the west side of Puget Sound (we kayaked on Puget Sound!). Tacoma is on the sound end of Puget Sound, Seattle is on the east side. So to get to Seattle, we had to drive down around the sound and through Tacoma to get to Seattle, or we could take a ferry across the sound.
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