Here is our route through the Northwest! We wanted to do a sampler platter type trip to discover our favorite spots to revisit and explore more later. Also, we love road trips with the kids. The first day is always rough adjusting to close quarters in the car for long hours, but once we settle in, we play games, sing songs, and enjoy our family.
We've traveled this road a lot to family reunions, but this was our first time to see the llamas at a gas station.
It was actually really sad. The llamas had limited space, and were obviously there for show.
Tyler's awesome cousin Ann let us crash at her house in Boise, where we saw an intense lightning storm. She made an amazing breakfast to send us off on our way and was very hospitable.
Washington is BEAUTIFUL! I could absolutely move and live there forever if it wasn't so far away from family. I love the agriculture!
Unfortunately, Washington has a lot of fires this year even right next to the freeway.
This is the Columbia River Washington Temple. It is one of the smaller temples, but still beautiful.
Our second stop was at this quaint cabin outside of Mt. Rainier. This is one of our "must go again places". The river ran along the side, and the cabin was rustic but comfortable. There were puzzles and games inside which we did and the kids had a loft all to themselves.
The river in the morning
This is the east entrance into Mt. Rainier. We were so excited to see the mountain and do some hiking.
Unfortunately, the day was cold, rainy, and super foggy. We never saw the mountain. According to the movie at the visitor center, many visitors to the mountain don't actually see Mt. Rainier.
Still, it was magnificent. I can only imagine how amazing it looks when the fog is lifted.
Seriously, the fog was annoying!
On our way out, we did get to see this wonderful waterfall.
This is our cold, wet, not so flattering family picture taken by a European lady. We were seriously under prepared. Since it is July and hot in Utah, I didn't think to pack any jackets, long sleeve shirts or hats and umbrellas. Our first stop in Seattle was the Goodwill for jackets. I was so glad we stopped. We used them the rest of our trip.
This is Mt. Rainier's old fuel station. We were able to walk around the lodge and visitor centers. The fog and rain were much lighter on the West side of the mountain.
We finally made it to Seattle were we stayed with Tyler's Uncle Brent and Aunt Kelly. They were fabulous hosts who would be great tour guides! This is another "must do again place". The kids picked berries in the backyard and ended the day with s'mores on the fire pit. Rachel loved doing a puzzle with Uncle Brent and cooking muffins with Aunt Kelly.
We eventually saw Mt. Rainier from the door step of the Nash's. It is so grand!
Welcome to Seattle! We passed by the Space Needle several times but didn't want to waste our time fighting the crowds to go to the top. Not worth it.
We did, however, stop at the Pacific Science Center which was originally the site for the World Fair. We loved playing with the kids. It is so fun to see their eyes light up at discoveries.
The Butterfly House was a must see. We spent most of our time here. Rachel could have spent her entire day watching and identifying butterflies. They were huge and so pretty.
They never landed on Rachel, but she was sure to get a picture with one anyway. She is a girly girl, but she loves her some bugs.
At the Science Center, we stopped to see this presentation of the "Physics of Bubbles". Wesley and I had just been reading about bubbles, so were both thrilled to see this program. Here, the scientist is lighting bubbles on fire by using a balloon to make a bubble and a candle to explode it. Yes, Wesley loved it!
We also visited several other exhibits and extremely enjoyed our time playing together.
Even Miss Edee had some play time with water toys.
After lunch on the waterfront with Tyler's friend Liz, we walked to the Aquarium which is also on the Waterfront. It is convenient to have an ocean nearby an aquarium. Again, the kids LOVED to see the animals and touch them and learn a few things. Edee was a handful to keep up with and the kids were starting to get tired, but we pushed through it and had a great time!
Of course, we had to visit Nemo-
... and Dory-
We really wanted to ride the ferris wheel out over the water, but it cost a fortune. Maybe next time.
My favorite spot was Pike Place Market. I love farmer's markets, discovering new and trendy things. The seafood and flowers were outstanding. I wish we had the appetite and time to sample all the ethnic and side street eateries.
After our Seattle fun, we took a ferry across the water to Victoria, British Columbia. Besides the wind and cold, we loved it! It took about an hour and a half to cross. Even going through customs was a neat experience.
Another "must visit again place" was Victoria. It was grand and romantic and a great place to take the family. This is the Empress Hotel. It was too grand for us to stay in, but elegant and charming. During our visit, Victoria had a festival of street entertainers. There are numberless street entertainers with so many interesting and skilled talents. We watched a unicyclist and a Latin soccer ball juggler.
We could not go to British Columbia without stopping for Afternoon Tea. I personally hate tea, but once Rachel got word of a "tea party," it was a must do. We found this charming place in Chinatown. The set-up was perfect for a little girl. Our seating and table were frilly, and the food was tasty and petite. Our little hour together was priceless. (Rachel did think Makelle should attend next time.)
The boys and Edee opted out of the Afternoon Tea and went to a miniature Museum that told the history of the area in a small but wonderful way.
We all met back together in Chinatown to walk the island and shop.
Then, back on the ferry we went to come back to America. Even though we were only just outside America. It felt great to come back.
To make our way back to Utah, we took the coastal route to see beaches and Olympic National Park. The landscape on our drive through was more than impressive. I have never seen so many trees and greenery outside my car window. It is a place everyone should see.
We ate lunch in this lodge off of Crescent Lake. Even with all the people, it was peaceful and another "must visit again place."
The beaches were perfect. The kids could have spent hours playing in the sand and water.
Ruby Beach was as beautiful as youtube said it would be. We were a little too early for a low tide to see any tide pools, but we still loved to see the ocean and play.
If Edee's head wasn't in the way, this would be a cute picture to hang on my wall. I love how these road trips build our family unity and a positive culture within it.
We made sure to build our rock piles that symbolize balance in our lives. Too bad mine fell over!
The Portland Temple was closed, but it was so harmonious. It is nestled in tall, green trees next to a walking trail. It was wonderful to see walkers and runners admiring the temple as they passed.
I could also live in Portland.
Just outside of Portland is a gigantic waterfall. It was a little crowded, but a must see. We wanted to hike to the top, but I forgot my tennis shoes in the car and Edee's stroller. Maybe next time!
Our annual family road trips require some planning and a bit of money, but the relationships we build and the family identity and morals we cultivate are beyond value. I know Rachel, Wesley, and Edee wont necessarily remember everything we saw and did, but I do believe they form bonds and feel ownership to something extraordinary-our family.