9/2/17 – 9/15/17, Washington (Part 1)


In Washington, we renamed Spokane to Smokane during our stay. The air quality index codes are green (good), yellow (moderate), orange (unhealthy for some), red (unhealthy), purple (very unhealthy), and dark purple (hazardous). When we arrived, Spokane was in the orange range, 2 days later when we left, it was in the purple range. This was due to the fires in the area. We stayed at the Wild Rose RV Park and Loni was a great host. It had a veggie garden that campers could pick from so we enjoyed beets, kale, and corn on the cob. It also had a community kitchen that we enjoyed baking chocolate chip cookies.

Loving the veggie garden at Wild Rose RV Park but not the smokey air

In town, we walked along the riverside and came upon a food festival to experience some of the local food truck tastes. Nearby was Manito Park which has amazing gardens filled with collections of roses, dahlias, wildflower meadows, formal corridors, Japanese garden, and a greenhouse. Definitely, a favorite garden to revisit in the future!


When arriving at a new area we use friend suggestions or web rankings to find out the best places to explore. Then each of us might choose a spot. Lisa usually picks a garden, Bob goes for parks or food-related activities, and Alyssa will find something unusual or different to do. Seattle had something for all of us!

Bob’s pick was Pike Place Market which was downtown near the Piers. The fish markets had incredible displays along with the farmer’s market produce and flower bouquets. We enjoyed some meat empanadas of some sort while walking around.

Lisa’s pick was, of course, the Chihuly Garden and paired it with the Needle. The outdoor gardens were beautifully designed with the Chihuly glass. It was fun to overlook the city at the top of the Needle, however, it was a bit pricey and the visibility wasn’t great due to the smoke in the area.

Alyssa’s pick was MoPOP (Museum of Pop culture) which was featuring a Jim Hensen exhibit. Since we recently watched the Dark Crystal movie, it was cool to see some of the characters on display. The museum also had an amazing fantasy room and sound lab where you could try out different instruments with guided instruction.

We all voted to meet Bonnie (my co-worker from New England Wild Flower Society) at Bellevue Garden. It was great to be reunited after many years and it felt very familiar walking through the garden paths together looking for butterflies and recognizing plant species. We were lucky to be there for an Ikebana exhibit and were invited to enjoy some matcha green tea and watch a demonstration of the artistic flower arranging. Thanks for the fun day Bonnie … we all enjoyed seeing you!

Another day we went to Snoqualmie Falls which you could view from above or hike down to the bottom area. Both views were beautiful! Went to the town where they had old train engines and boxcars. It’s amazing how rusty metal and broken glass can look so cool.

We stayed at Tall Chief RV & Camping Resort in Fall City which had nice private wooded lots, a pool, hot tub, and clubhouse with great wifi. It was a great spot for Alyssa to hang out and Skype with friends.

Mt. Rainier National Park

Onto another National Park … Mt. Rainier. Each park is unique in its own way and Mt. Rainier is massive with snow-covered peaks and amazing views.

Hiking along the Grove of the Patriarchs trail we met a woman (Tina) and talked for a while by the river stream. We continued talking/walking with her along the trail to view the huge old Douglas Fir trees, then said goodbye when we finished. We then went to Misqually Vista to see a waterfall and bumped into her again. Next, we went to the lodge, Tina was also there. After that, we found her waiting along the road for sunset. We crossed paths so often that we started feeling like old friends. Meeting nice people like Tina along the way is the fun part of traveling.

The next day, we went to the visitor center at Sunrise Peak and hiked to Shadow Lake which was emerald green and very reflective. After that, we took the high trail up to Frozen Lake which turned out to be a disappointing small unfrozen puddle. The higher elevation views were amazing, however, the temperatures dropped and we weren’t dressed warm enough, so we hiked back down. Lesson learned…be prepared.

Shadow Lake

One evening we went to a nearby town called Morton to the historic 1937 Roxy movie theater. It’s a great place that has live shows and the latest movies. We saw “Logan Lucky” which was a fun comedy/action film. Two thumbs up!

Quick Trip Home

On 9/15, I learned that my dad had a stroke and immediately booked a flight back home. In the hospital, he was well taken care of and surrounded by friends and family. I arrived when dad came back from the hospital to help out at home. Actually, Mom and my brother Cliff were managing everything smoothly so I was just there for support and to be with the family. We are very grateful that Dad’s stroke was mild and only affected his speech slightly which he is getting therapy for and making great progress. It was wonderful to be together again and the week went by way too fast. It was difficult to leave, but my Dad’s progress is inspiring and Mom’s caregiving skills rival any RN.

While heading to Logan airport, I took a quick side trip to the North End for a delicious lunch with Karina, Guy, Eileen, and Donna. It was great seeing them!

North End lunch was wonderful

Now back to Washington to find out what Bob and Alyssa have been up to.

Bob and Alyssa’s Adventures

(Bob): We were lost without our leader but we did manage to do a few things…

We had some great tiramisu at Hillbottom Pie.


We also enjoyed Port Townsend.


We walked the beach and Dungeness Spit. And just relaxed.


Up next … Washington Part 2 … Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, Butchart Gardens, and Forks.