Yes, we are back! Back in the lower 48 and back to blogging. I must admit that we needed a break after our Alaskan adventure. Time to rest, a break from driving and visiting places, and a break from blogging. In fact, this is the longest gap we have had from blogging since we began doing it three years ago.
We also needed some time to reflect. In September we marked our three-year anniversary of being “on walkabout”. What an amazing adventure we are having. This was to be the end of the journey as we had planned it but we are extending for a year. So this will be a transition year as we decide on the place to begin our next chapter, and yes, there is another sticks and bricks home in our future. And there will be more adventures as well.
Upon reaching the lower 48 there was lots to do. Every inch of Island Girl was dirty inside and out, and she had a couple of service issues. The Coquí was also filthy, as were our bikes and kayaks and there was the matter of our broken windshield and sunroof.
We have now made it to Portland and taken care of most of Island Girl and the Coqui’s issues, rested, and (loosely) planned our drive south for the winter. We also flew across the country to visit family and friends in Miami, while Island Girl and Angel remained with friends in Portland. Not exactly restful but it was wonderful. But more on all that later.
So where have we been since leaving Canada? We crossed the border from Osoyoos, British Columbia, to Oroville, Washington. Our plan was to drive the Cascades Loop and visit the North Cascades National Park on route to Seattle.
We scouted several National Forest sites searching for a campsite. And saw firsthand the after effect of the Okanogan fire, the largest in Washington state’s history. One campground had lots of trees down, some on the campsites. At times we could still smell the fire in the air. But now that and the other wildfires have been eradicated, thanks to those who risked their lives (and some who lost their lives) to contain the wildfires.
After searching a while we found a perfect spot, the Kenneth W. Pixley Sr. Sportsmens Park – Sweat Creek Campground, part of the Washington State Forest, which is actually a hunting camp. The campground is basically a clearing in a pretty forest with some fire pits and a shelter, was donated by Mr. Pixley for use by sportsmen and is free.
This was the very end of hunting season and there was only one RV at the campground, along with one tent. And they left on our second day, so we had the place to ourselves. Just the peace and quiet we were seeking. We stayed put for several days. Check out my review of the campground here.
We ventured out briefly to a couple of nearby towns, including Winthrop, a Western-themed town, and also headed out to see the red moon one night. It was tough to find a perfect viewpoint, but we did see the eclipse and the stars were beautiful that night.
We were still a bit far from the North Cascades National Park so we moved to another campground, the Grandy Lake Campground. Check out my review of this campground here.
We drove the “Cascades Loop” and found delicious homemade ice cream at the Cascadian Farm Fruit Stand, along with a scarecrow-making area (although tempting, no we did not make a scarecrow). Even though we just did not have the energy to do the National Park justice it was really nice to stop for a bit.
So we continued our drive towards Seattle. After spending time in very remote areas this summer, it was a tough transition to the big city. So many cars, so many people. We camped at a casino about an hour from Seattle that was recommended by various other fulltimers, the Tulalip Casino. Check out my review of the casino here.
It was also time for laundry (lots of it), stocking up on groceries, trips to Costco and Target and for other errands. And scheduling windshield and sunroof replacement.
And we did make time to see a few of the sights. We absolutely had to visit Pikes Place Market. Although it can be very touristy and somewhat expensive, there is lots food and cool stuff on offer there, and the people watching is lots of fun.
This area is always very entertaining. Fish mongers who throw fish, all sorts of interesting foods, little restaurants throughout, and lots of hustle and bustle.
We also made time to see some friends. We met with my friend Veronica and her husband Carl at a brewpub and caught up on our lives since we saw them last year. Afterwards we walked around downtown Seattle and had an absolutely fabulous Turkish latte at a local coffee shop. Our time together was short but fun.
He always says that Angel is a real chick magnet 🙂
We also cruised the waterfront for some night images of the Seattle Great Wheel.
Note: I began to write a summary post of our Alaska adventure, but it quickly became very long and cumbersome post. I am now thinking about writing an e-book about Alaska, something I considered before the summer. The book would include information about our route, our experiences, tips and more. I would love to hear any thoughts that you blog readers have on this idea.