We Are Back!

Washington-15Yes, 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.

Washington 5Washington 3Washington-2Washington 9Washington 4Upon 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.

Washington 11After 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.

Washington 12Washington 10Washington 8We 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.Washington-4Washington-12

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.Washington-20Washington-19Washington-16

Our tour of the National Park was brief: we took Angel out to Washington Pass, which has a few developed walks that allow dogs and also took a drive to the Diablo Canyon Dam.Washington-17Washington-11Washington-10

Washington-18Washington-7Washington-9We 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.

Washington-22Washington-21Washington-23Washington-5Washington-3Washington-66So 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.

Washington-52Washington-51And 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.Washington-55Washington-61

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Washington-50Washington-54There are also some great little grocery stores, including a Caribbean/Latin market where we found some guava paste and other goodies including a vast selection of hot sauces.

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.

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Washington-72We 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.

Washington-71Washington-73I also got a much needed haircut, while Hector took Angel to the botanical gardens.

He always says that Angel is a real chick magnet 🙂

Washington-75Washington-81We also got together with my friend Denise, who used to live in Denver and has been in Seattle for several years. Her friend, Marisa, hosted dinner at her home in West Seattle.

Washington-77Washington-76It was wonderful to catch up with Denise, meet some great local ladies and spend time in a real neighborhood and not a tourist area.

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Washington-89And of course, Hector had to get some photos of the Seattle cityscape. Our friends had told us that Kerry Park on Queen Anne Hill was the best place for a view of the skyline.Washington-86

Washington-84Washington-88Washington-85Washington-92We headed up there, and, indeed, it was a fantastic view. It was a beautiful night, and Hector captured lots of images.

We also cruised the waterfront for some night images of the Seattle Great Wheel.

Washington-91Washington-93It was a brief but fruitful visit to the city, but we had a bit of a time crunch to get to Portland to catch our scheduled flights to Miami. So we moved on towards our next stop, Port Townsend.

~ BrendaWashington-90

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.

40 thoughts on “We Are Back!

  1. Welcome back!! Love the notes on the North Cascades Park, Winthrop, Cascadia Farms and Seattle. All places we’ve visited too! The cityscape pictures of Seattle’s skyline are beautiful!

    Con

  2. We are currently taking a year off from RVing but a trip to Alaska is in our plans. I followed your trip this summer and an ebook about your trip and experiences would be very useful.

  3. Welcome “home” and back! Joe and I were just talking about you yesterday AM. Will fill him in. Eager to hear of your travels for winter and where you might be roosting, in case a short rendezvous works out. You three look FAB!!!!!!!! Love and miss you. In peace, Friends!

  4. Boy, I really understand the need for a break after Alaska. It took me about a month to digest our experience. I kept dreaming about it. Finally the dreams stopped and I could move on. And sometimes I need a break from writing too. If there are too many words (blah, blah, blah) running around in my head I have to wait until they quiet down. On the other hand, sometimes I get an empty head and can’t think of a thing to write.

    Good luck in your search for your landing place.

    • Glad you understand, it’s hard to explain. I think I had writer’s block for a bit, but am happy to be blogging again. It promises to be an interesting year with our search.

  5. Yep, we figured you were taking a break. Welcome back. Your writings and photos are very enjoyable, so you were missed.

    Your latest post makes reference to several reviews, etc. to check out “here”, but there are no links, at least at my end. Just wanted you to know.

  6. Good to have you back in the blog world:) Looked a wonderful trip to Miami to see family (from facebook photos). Hector, the night skyline of Seattle is just spectacular! Brenda, I do believe an ebook on your journey would be great idea. You certainly have lots of advice to offer to those planning this journey. Go for it!!

  7. Go for the e-book ! There is a lot to know, to learn and understand and be prepared to go on an Alaskan Adventure. Especially that you have so many experiences (good and bad) and great photography to accompany along with your stories.

    I can relate about the transition from Alaskan wilderness back to traffic and people and noise in the lower 48.
    We are in AZ for the winter, where will you be?

    • Thanks, Mona Liza. Wonderful that you are going to be in AZ! We are in San Diego until January 21 then headed to Arizona – starting in Quartzsite, and Yuma for a few days, then an extended visit to Tucson for sure. We also love Sedona but it may be too cold to visit in winter – maybe in spring. Let’s plan to get together!

  8. Welcome back! 🙂 I always feel a bit of culture shock returning to the mainland after a couple of months on Lopez Island each summer, so I can only imagine what a shock the big city must be after all of those months traveling in Alaska. Excellent nighttime photos of Seattle’s skyline!

  9. Welcome back! You put so much effort into your Alaska posts that I have no doubt you both needed a break. Hector’s pictures of Seattle are fantastic! And I’m glad to hear Angel is doing well ????

  10. With your blog writing and those great pics I am thinking TABLE book! Something to share with friends and dream about.
    Love the pics and of course, welcome back. Under the red moon picture, is that a picture of the Milky Way???? Terrific.
    See you soon I hope and welcome back!

    • I think we will warm up with a more modest book first, but thanks for the vote of confidence. Yes that is the Milky Way. Hugs to both of you!

  11. Les echábamos de menos. Bienvenidos a vuestro país y mucha suerte.
    Nosotros por ahora no iremos para allá hasta febrero o marzo. Tenemos el RV en Myrtle Beach, Carolina del sur.
    Un abrazo para los dos.

    • Gracias! Nosotros estaremos en San Diego en Diciembre y seguiremos hacia Arizona en el invierno. Creo que vamos a estar bastante lejos, que lastima.Si acaso regresan hacia el Oeste, nos avisan. Un abrazo.

  12. Welcome back! I love the idea of an e-book! It would be helpful to so many others planning an Alaska journey.

    I can relate to the need for rest after your summer in Alaska. Once we left Hyder all we wanted to do was get back to the lower 48 so we booked it as much as we could going through British Columbia until we got to Oroville, WA. We chilled there for two nights and then continued all the way back to Georgia as fast as we could.

    Enjoy this year of travel and good luck finding your new home. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures!

    • Thanks for the feedback, I’ll announce plans on the blog. Wow, I can’t believe you drove all the way to Georgia after returning from Alaska, that is quite a feat!

  13. I’ve missed you! However, you certainly deserved a break from posting those sensational photos & blogging about your adventures. I think the Alaska book is a wonderful idea – it would be a keeper in my bookcase. Best wishes.

  14. I love the idea of an e-book about your Alaska experience! As someone who is thinking of taking a similar journey I would love to have all your useful information and tips in one place. Hope we can cross paths with you guys again this winter 🙂

  15. Table book gets my vote! I’d even buy a table to put it on. : ) I almost was going to send out a search party to find you guys. Glad you are back to posting, but understand needing a break after that incredible adventure. Hope to see you sometime in Jan. in San Diego or Tucson later. Enjoy the day! Karen

    • We are not quite ready for a table book, planning to start with a simple ebook, and maybe later on a table book. Will let you know our plans after San Diego soon.

  16. Had me worried there for a bit, nice to have you back and writing.

    In Salineno, Texas for my first volunteer gig at a birding station on the Rio Grande River, Nov. 1 through mid March. Stay in touch!

  17. Brenda and Hector,

    You remind me often what an amazing, gorgeous place the world is. Thank you! You’re both sooo talented; I think the e-book is a super idea!

    A big hug,
    Rebecca

  18. Love the photos of downtown Seattle the Market. I spent many hours walking the market, and up and down 1st Street, and Post Alley. Brings back great memories, thank you. Love your photography
    Phil

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