Posted in Travel

Road Tripping – West Glacier, Montana

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Well here we are in West Glacier, Montana.  For this stay we opted for the West Glacier KOA between 7/3-7/7/2017.  What a beautiful RV park.  Our site was in the back, quieter section which I much appreciated.  Look at our view!  This park was voted the #1 KOA of 2017.

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Glacier National Park was the goal of our month long road trip.  Our first day exploring was by car driving the Going-to-the Sun Road .  We were very lucky since it had just opened up fully the week before.  Below are pictures from our drive.

 

Hidden Lake Overlook

This was by f2014-08-27-013-1ar one of my favorite hikes.  The trail difficulty is rated as easy if you just go to the overlook.  It was 3 miles round trip at about a 7200 foot elevation.  From the pictures I saw, you walk on a guided path through beautiful meadows to get to the overlook. It started out this way. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

As we progressed, our hike took on a much different look!  Snow, and a lot of it.  We were totally NOT prepared (foot gear wise) for this hike.  As you can see from the pictures below, the guided path was practically non existent.  A pair of hiking poles would have really come in handy.

We started up a gradual incline which kept going, and going, and going.  I'm not used to walking up hill ….with sneakers…. in the snow.  LOL  My husband taught me how to herring bone which is walking with your feet pointing out at an angle and digging the inside of your feet into the snow.  It really helps with traction, but not really a good thing for the knees.  One of my goals was not to fall on my butt.

We were surrounded by a lot of other people on this hike.  I usually like to hike in solitude with my husband, but this was different.  Everyone was giving each other encouragement going up the snowy slopes.

Once we arrived at the overlook you looked out at the most incredible vista.  Most of the snow was gone in the area where we were standing, but looking down at the lake you could see that it still had ice on it.

As we were resting and enjoying the views I was talking with two women.  All of a sudden this happened.  This goat just appeared!  He was curious and not the least bit shy.  I was able to snap a couple of pictures, but also wanted to respect his privacy.

Now for the trek back down.  My goal was the same…not to fall on my butt.  I'm happy to say I was successful.  I just pretended that my feet were little skis!  It was a fun journey.

Driving back we stopped at this waterfall (one of the many).  If you look closely there are a series of falls up above as well.  We also came across an extremely friendly and curious Marmot.  It was apparent from his rotund physic that he was used to being fed. Something that I don't condone.  If we allowed him, he would have come right up to us.

 

Avalanche Trail

Our adventure the next day was hiking the Avalanche Trail.  The trail difficulty was rated as moderate.  Roundtrip the hike was 4.5 miles and about a 4000 foot elevation.  The trail is easy to follow (no snow at this elevation!  LOL) and you are surrounded by beautiful pines and ferns.  The trail parallels a river with a waterfall and rapids.  About half way in, we came across some fresh bear scat!  Yikes!!  It absolutely raised my awareness during this hike.  There were many people around taking this hike too, so I felt somewhat comfortable.

Once you reach Avalanche Lake it is peaceful and serine.  We stayed here a while to take in the all the beauty.  You had a panoramic view of mountains, waterfalls, and forest, not to mention the beautiful lake.  I must say that this hike tired me out, but it was definitely worth it.

If you are able to make it to this beautiful park, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I will definitely make it here again in my travels.  So much more to explore here!

 

Posted in Life in General, Travel

Road Tripping – Seattle, Washington

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The Space Needle. Perfect cover pic for Seattle

 

I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 17 years and have never made it up to Washington!  Time to go!

When planning our adventure in Seattle, I settled on an RV park called Lake Pleasant RV Park.  If we stay at a place that we really like, I will always post about it.  We were here for four nights and it was definitely worth it.  Lake Pleasant has full hookup sites, cable and limited wifi.  Campsites surround a beautiful lake that is filled with fish with many geese and ducks.  Bailey was very happy here and couldn’t understand why the wildlife didn’t want to “play” her.  When we return to Seattle we will definitely stay here again.

If you are going to do the “tourist” thing in Seattle like we did, I definitely recommend purchasing a City Pass.  For $79 (adult) this is what you receive:

Your CityPASS Includes

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It is absolutely worth it and we took advantage of every penny.  Our first stop was to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum named after Dave Chihuly.  He is a glass blowing extraordinaire.

“His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Below are some shots taken inside the museum.  It’s tough to get a picture that do these works of art any justice.

The outside gardens were just breathtaking!  Each garden area had glass accents that enhanced the garden colors.

Our next stop was the Space Needle.  I really wanted to “get this over with” for lack of a better phrase since I have an acute fear of heights.  I mean sweaty palms, rapid heart rate, shaking…pure full on panic mode.  I had to get in the right mindset and it was now or never.  The Space Needle is 605 feet tall.  The only way up is via elevator and takes approximately 41 seconds to get to the top.  The line was not that long and I was surprisingly calm.  When it was our turn to enter the elevator I noticed there were glass panels so you could view the ride.  Hmmm…. Once we made it to the top I was fine.  The whole area was enclosed. What fabulous views!  As you can see from my smiling face I’m having a good time.  Even if you are afraid of heights, it’s really not that bad getting up to the top.  I highly recommend it.  Check that off the Bucket List.

After the Space Needle we went to the Museum of Pop Culture.  You have a choice of between the museum or the Woodland Park Zoo.

The Museum of Pop Culture is a leading-edge nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture. With its roots in rock ‘n’ roll, MoPOP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through our collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower our visitors.

I thought the museum was pretty underwhelming; at least for me anyway.  One thing I thought was cool was this guitar structure.  They had an interesting Star Trek and Wizard of Oz exhibit as well as a tribute to Jimmy Hendrix.  However, next time I think I will opt for the zoo.  Just personal preference.

NEXT DAY

Today’s adventure includes the Public Market, a harbor tour, and the Seattle Aquarium.  It’s no secret, at least to those who know me well, that I hate large crowds.  On a scale 1-10 of “crowdiness”, this place is off the charts.  I really wanted to see Pike Place Fish Company.  You hear about these guys throwing fish around to entertain the crowds.  I managed to elbow my through the crowds to get a picture.  Okay…check.  Next, I felt like I was part of a cattle herd headed back to the barn to get milked.  OMG get me out of here. I wish I could have seen what the market had to offer, but it was impossible.  We visited during the week, not a weekend.  I can only imagine what it’s like on a Saturday or Sunday.  If you plan to visit the Public Market, just go with the mindset that it will be crowded and accept it.

Our next stop was Argosy Cruises.  We thought an afternoon harbor cruise would fit the bill.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, which we were told is not the norm for Seattle.  This was a one hour hour harbor cruise with great views of the  city. Our tour M.C. was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot of Seattle history.

After our harbor cruise we visited the Seattle Aquarium which was just down the block.  It is a small aquarium, but definitely worth your while.  They had touch pools, a giant 120,000 gallon exhibit with a plethora of marine life, and a sea otter exhibit just to name a few.  They had many volunteers that could answer questions or just input their knowledge.

The next day we decided it was a chill day.  We needed to get ready to head out to West Glacier which meant laundry, grocery shopping, etc.  We really loved Seattle, however the down side was the traffic.  I thought traffic in the Bay Area was bad.  Anyway, the traffic will not deter me from visiting again and definitely will take advantage of the City Pass.

Posted in Life in General, Travel

Road Tripping – Portland, Oregon

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I took this picture during our travels and thought it was just perfect for a cover.

Well we made it to Portland!  Woo Hoo!  Nothing but sunny skies.  Unusual I know.  Portland is known for its unpredictable weather.  Usually when we get to a destination after a day of Rving, we just take it easy and hang out.  We plan what we’re going to do for the duration of our stay.

The next day was really hot.  Triple digits to be exact, but that didn’t stop us.  Meanwhile we’re thinking to ourselves, “We left triple digits in the Bay Area when we started out.  Guess it’s following us!”  Go figure.  The Portland Saturday Market is always a fun place to visit.  It’s huge market with many vendors where there is something for everyone.  There is also an extensive food court.

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We moseyed our way into the Pearl District and found ourselves in an area of warehouses that were converted into restaurants.  I thought this was an excellent way to repurpose  buildings that would have otherwise been torn down.  We decided to eat at Tilt.  This is super casual dining.  You order your meal and they give you a light up buzzer to let you know when your food is ready and you pick it up.  The menu includes burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a variety of sides.  We opted for a turkey club and jalapeno tater tots to share.  OMG!  The sandwich was ginormous easily feeding four comfortably.  Glad we decided to share!  The tater tots were to die for.  Crunchy on the outside and mashed potato like on the inside.  The jalapeno flavor came through just enough to get a kick. Yummy-ness.

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We need to walk off this lunch…Geez.  About 2 miles later we find ourselves in the Alphabet District.  The streets are laid out with letters of the alphabet.  It’s an urban area with tons of shopping and restaurants. Definitely a place you can loose yourself for a day.

Where do we find ourselves?  Ordering ice cream from Salt and Straw and not just any ice cream.  This ice cream joint has very unique flavors.  They will let you sample all flavors with a smile if you want.  If you don’t want 2 scoops of ice cream, they will combine a 1/2 scoop of each flavor into one scoop!  Score.  I played it safe and had a 1/2 scoop of Honey Lavender and a 1/2 scoop of Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons.  My husband on the other hand did not play it safe.  He chose a 1/2 scoop of Celery Root and Strawberry and a 1/2 scoop of Toasted Baguette PB & J.  We shared our flavors and all were absolutely delicious.  I was so excited to find out they have locations in San Francisco.

Well what do you know!  On the other side of the street, kiddy corner to Salt and Straw was Blue Star Donuts .  We told ourselves this would be dessert after dinner.  Of course we would walk off the ice cream when we trek back to the car.  Blue Star Donuts prides itself with quality over quantity.  There were two people working in the shop and no line out the door like cliche Voodoo Donuts.  “Why not?” we asked ourselves.  We each decided on two flavors.  Starting in the upper left of the picture below and going clockwise: Valrlona Crunch (filled), Mexican Chocolate, Blueberry, and Meyer Lemon (filled).  Words can’t describe these donuts they were that good.  I think it’s fair to say we ate ourselves around Portland today.

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The next day after a good nights sleep, we headed out to the Rose Garden .  This beautiful garden has over 500 varieties of roses and over 7000 plants.  It was absolutely breathtaking and these pictures do not do it justice.  Just rows upon rows of beautifulness.  You really need to go and experience it for yourself.  This is a test garden, so any variety that does not make the cut gets destroyed.  That made me somewhat sad.  Tip:  Parking can be tricky.  We parked in the residential neighborhood right before the grounds for free.  There is also a Japanese Garden that we passed on.  Too long of a line and only a certain amount of people could go in at one time.

We decided to tour the Pittock Mansion.  This mansion was built in 1914 by Henry Pittock and his wife.  Both arrived to Portland in a covered wagon!  Pittock was the owner of The Oregonian Newspaper.  I love touring old mansions.  So much history.  When I do things like this I try to picture myself back in the day.  What happened in this room?  What conversations were had?  I’m really a nerd when it comes to old mansions like this.

After our self-guided tour through the mansion we were able to tour the grounds.  In the back of the property there is an outlook with a beautiful view of Portland.  What a perfect way to end the day!

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Posted in Travel

Road Tripping – Ashland, Oregon

Well we’re off!  It’s Mike and Wendy’s Great Adventure.  We’re traveling in our 32 foot RV with our dog, Bailey for about one month.  Yikes!  I’m really very excited for this road trip.  Our first stop is Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival.

We always stay at Holiday RV Park .  It is a small park just north of Ashland.  I always request a site near their brook.  It’s very peaceful with the sound of the water and lush grass.  We have tickets for two shows at the Shakespeare Festival for Thursday and Friday, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Odyssey.  What I love so much about this experience is that the theater is outdoors.  You need to be mindful of the weather.  This year it was quite warm, however last year it was just the opposite in coldness.  The following pictures give you a look at the vibe right before the shows.  Both shows were fabulous, but over three hours in length!  Be prepared.  This is such a fun venue and I highly recommend it.  As always we enjoyed our stay in Ashland.  Our next stop is Portland, Oregon.  Stay tuned!