We arrived at the Cummins Service Center in Sumner, WA, just south of Seattle, early on Sunday, May 6th. We were having a small leak checked out the following day. We wanted to make sure everything was good before heading to Alaska.
Since we arrived early we parked the motorhome at Cummins and then headed out for a scenic drive up to Mount Rainier National Park.
Mount Rainier has an altitude of 14,410 feet and is considered the monarch of the Cascade Range.
We found lots of snow at the lodge. Everything was closed, as it was still off-season.
The temperature was rising though, so the waterfalls were flowing nicely. We climbed down a snowy, and icy trail, for a couple pictures of Narada Falls.
On our way back from Mount Rainier we stopped by this small restaurant in Ashford. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot and the restaurant seemed full so we figured that it must be good. We found it to be excellent, especially the homemade blackberry jelly and pie! http://coppercreekinn.com/history.html
The following day we got the motorhome checked out by Cummins and they assured us that the leak was extremely minor, more like a little seepage. We need not worry about it until well after our Alaska trip.
While we were in Sumner we met up with a friend of mine that I had worked with during my engineering years at Chrysler, back in Michigan. Susan now lives in the Sumner area with her husband and two children. It was great seeing her, as we hadn’t seen each other for over 10 years.
After lunch with Susan we moved the motorhome up to the KOA in Tacoma, WA. We did not care much for the KOA, but we loved its proximity to the city, and the fact that we could catch a bus just across the street to get to downtown Seattle.
We spent 2 days walking around downtown Seattle and visiting Bainbridge Island. We loved the city, the restaurants, the people, the beautiful views and most of all, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. OMG! https://www.starbucksreserve.com/en-us/locations/seattle
I LOVE this Starbucks!! They roast the coffee beans there, have wood-grilled pizzas, a bakery and a liquor bar so that you can enjoy your coffee with any way you choose. You can choose how you would like your coffee brewed. I didn’t realize there were so many ways. We were given a sample of their cold-brewed bourbon coffee. OMG! It was fantastic.
After Charlie pried me away from Starbucks we made our way to Pike’s Market for some people watching, and to watch the fish be thrown around. We enjoyed lunch at Von’s 1000Spirits, close by the market.
We enjoyed sights of the city from atop the Sky View Observatory.
After our long first day of walking around the city we enjoyed a molten chocolate dessert at Hot Cakes. It was delectable.
We spent much of our second Seattle day on Bainbridge Island. It is a short, beautiful, ferry ride from downtown Seattle. We loved the views of the city from the ferry.
We strolled around the small town of Bainbridge Island and spent a little time in the Bainbridge Historical Museum. In the museum we learned that the sport of Pickleball was invented on the island. Apparently back in 1965 a few fathers got together and came up with the game so that their kids would no longer be bored. http://seattlerefined.com/lifestyle/pickleball-a-sport-for-everyone
The museum was very interesting; full of artifacts, stories and history. We were glad we took the time to visit it.
Just north of Seattle proper, across the Aurora Bridge, is the town of Freemont, WA. They have a wonderful waterfront park (Gas Works Park) where the locals seem to migrate on sunny and warm days. While we visited, in early May, it was a rare 80+ degrees and sunny.
While in Freemont, we took a wonderful tour of Theo Chocolates. I highly recommend you check this out if you are ever in the area. We found the tour to be very informative, and the chocolate samples to be plentiful and delicious.
Just west of Freemont, along the Salmon Bay River, are the Ballard Locks. We enjoyed an informative tour of this National Historic Site, provided by the National Parks for free. These Locks are the busiest locks in the nation. We saw quite a few boats going in both directions of the river. http://www.ballardlocks.org/
Unfortunately, the historic Administration Building was closed while we were visiting the locks, as it was the weekend. The building was completed in 1916 and tours are available during the week.
We left the motorhome at the KOA and took Mo (our Jeep Wrangler) to the Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth, along the Cascade mountain range. Leavenworth is about 2.5 hours away from the KOA in Tacoma. We could have done the trip in a day, but we wanted to take our time and enjoy the Cascade mountain range. We also had to make a stop in Snohomish, WA to sign up for RV storage, as we were leaving the RV in Seattle while we flew back East to visit friends and family.
On our way up to Snohomish Charlie had this great idea of stopping by a place called Maltby’s for the largest Cinnamon Roll he had ever seen. Everybody was raving about it on-line. Well, the roll was so large that we could not finish it in one sitting, and it was good! Now, you’re probably thinking that we should be huge by now, considering all the sweets we’ve been eating along our trip. Fortunately, we really don’t splurge that often and we try to walk and hike a lot to offset it :-).
After our sugar splurge and signing up for RV storage we started our journey to Leavenworth, via Hwy 2 through the Cascade Mountains. The scenery was spectacular. We stopped near Index, WA and hiked to Bridal Veil Falls, a 2 mile hike up the mountain, and 2 miles back :-). See, we were already working some of that cinnamon roll off!
Here are a few pictures from the Bridal Veil Falls area.
We stopped along the way to see Deception Falls. The water was rushing extremely fast and the creek seemed to be bursting at the seams. It was quite impressive. We kept our distance though, as I don’t think we would have survived if we slipped, considering the water’s current.
We drove along a small dirt road, just down from the Falls, and found this beautiful spot to capture a photograph of the creek.
The town of Leavenworth reminded me of other Bavarian-style towns I had visited, like Frankenmuth, MI and Helen, GA. Although, I must say, Leavenworth is my favorite. It is a pretty good size town with quaint boutiques and a lot of excellent restaurants, and it is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains. We loved our overnight stay at the Bavarian Lodge. The room was very spacious and clean, the bar tender was quite generous with the wine pouring, and the desk staff was very welcoming.
The manager at the Snohomish Storage place suggested that we eat lunch at München-Haus, if we wanted the best Brats around. She did not steer us wrong. The brats were fantastic!
(Click on the first picture to start a slideshow)
Further East along Hwy 2 is the even smaller town of Cashmere. We found a great Museum and Pioneer Village there. It opened in 1959 and is quite impressive. They have more Native art and artifacts than I’ve seen elsewhere. We loved the Pioneer Village as well. We highly recommend stopping by this place if you are ever in the area. https://www.cashmeremuseum.org/
Just outside of Cashmere we stopped to take in this beautiful view of the Cascades, with vineyards in the foreground.
On our way back to Seattle we took a short side-trip along the Old Cascade Hwy. It was very scenic, curvy, tree-lined road traversing along a river. We stopped along the way to take in the scene and listen to the rushing water.
After a great week in the Seattle area, and Leavenworth, we parked the RV up in Snohomish and made our way, in the Jeep, over to Gig Harbor.
Charlie’s friends, Kathleen & Erik, had offered to host us for a couple of nights and show us around their beautiful town of Gig Harbor, where they had both grown up and still reside.
We spent a little time in their local museum, which is done very well.
We enjoyed dining at some great harbor restaurants, and were treated to a fabulous homemade dinner by Kathleen.
Erik showed us around the Gig Harbor BoatShop and filled us in on its history. It is a not-for-profit organization perpetuating the local working waterfront. They restore, repair and build boats. I was most impressed with their Family Boat Building Program where a family can build a skiff in a weekend. What a great activity for a family to enjoy!
I found Gig Harbor to be a great town. If I lived in the Seattle area I think I would pick this spot as home.
After 4 months of non-stop adventure on the road we headed back home for a visit with friends and family. More on that in the next post.