From sea to shining sea

Today we went to Rialto Beach, our most northwest point on this trip.  Some 2826.77 miles as the crow flies from the other corner of the United States we visited last year!  If you drive directly between the two it is 3,640 miles.  We have covered a lot of ground!!

It was pretty thrilling to stand at this edge of the US and recall all of our time along the south and east edges of the US.  We have made so many memories between the coasts and there are many more to be had.  I hope that these travels will inspire the kids to explore the world on their own someday.  Whether it is exploring new places near home or in some distant land I pray that they remain curious about the diversity of the land, animals, weather, people and experiences that await them around the next corner.

Ok, enough of the deep thoughts from Jack Handy…let’s get on with the beach!

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Ruby Beach

Our neighbors at the campground are from Washington and visit the Olympic Peninsula regularly.  According to them there is no beach better than Ruby Beach which was already on our short list.  So after our morning in the Hoh Rainforest and a late lunch back at the rig we added Sheba to our party and headed to the beach.  All the beaches in Kalaloch, including Ruby Beach, allow leashed dogs!  We were anxious to see how Sheba would react to the sand and waves!

As we had descended from the campground to the coast we entered some low lying clouds that presented more of that misty Pacific Northwest feel.  We knew we had missed low tide by a couple of hours but thought this would help us avoid some of the crowds who come just to explore the tide pools.  Wrong!  Parking lot was packed and cars lined the road all the way into the lot.  But after one lap we found a spot big enough for the Beast and we hopped out to explore.  We were all a bit surprised at the difference in weather and temperature down on the beach compared to 20 miles away from the coast!
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Downtown Seattle

Everybody was feeling good this morning so the day started off great and we had a busy day planned.  There was a lot we wanted to see downtown and one of those was an 11:00 tour of the “underground” with our friends the Tillery’s.  You may remember that we met up with these neighbors of our back in Banff when we hiked Johnston Canyon together.  It’s been fun stalking meeting up with them during our travels.

Yesterday it had been so easy to find 4 hour street parking that we decided to drive again instead of taking the bus. Bad, bad, bad idea.  Cities are made for walking.  Ride your bike if you have to.  But never, ever, ever drive in a city like Seattle, Denver, Austin, etc.  So yeah, any money we saved on bus fare we spent on parking and diesel as we idled around the streets being passed by a one legged guy hobbling along with his walker.  But we found parking and we got the “early bird” price which saved us $5.  Then it was off to Pike Place Market.
Something is fishy
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Combing the beaches

Our first day in the Seattle area did not start off so great.  Caden’s stomach was hurting.  He can usually tough it out pretty well but this was bad.  We had planned on checking out several of the area beaches including the Alki area since I’d read that beach glass could be found there.  Last year when we were in Niagara we spent a whole day on Lake Ontario finding beach glass and had a ball.  Even though Caden was feeling crappy he decided to try to go along.  We packed a lunch and headed off to Alki.  The weather was gorgeous, we found parking without any troubles and headed straight to the beach.
Searching for sea glass
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The Tale of the Traveling Trees: A Tragedy

Once upon a time, in a small village at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, there lived a blue spruce named Bruce.  Bruce lived in the corner of a yard owned by a very nice family who found the tree to be very lovely and also a good place to hide their lawn mower from the view of passers by and from the rain and snow.  Bruce grew every year getting taller and taller.  But at the same time he was getting fatter and fatter and before long he had outgrown the little yard.  One day Bruce saw Mr. Macias the tree man coming with all of his tree cutting tools and Bruce knew it was time.  All trees know that someday they will become either pencils, popsicle sticks, 2x4s or firewood.  Bruce loved the family so much that his only hope was that he become firewood that the family use some day as they were making memories together roasting s’mores.

Bruce’s big trunk was chopped up and hauled off by Pastor Michael who would use it to heat his family’s home and this made Bruce very proud.  Many of Bruce’s little limbs were chopped up and stacked neatly in the family’s yard.   Bruce’s wishes had come true…he had not been turned into pencils, or popsicle sticks or 2x4s…he had become firewood for the family to use when making memories together roasting s’mores!

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Back in the USA

Today we would be returning to the USA.  Our stops in Canada were short but we had fun and left plenty of stuff to do the next time we visit.  We had close to 6 hours of driving per Google which for us means closer to 7 hours.  Plus, we had to cross the border.  But I had learned my lesson earlier about stressing over the border crossing.  This time I was cool as a cucumber!

We left Kewlona and started driving uphill.  We drove up and up and up.  I have never gone up hill for so long in my life!  Our destination for the day was Seattle which, last I checked, is at sea level.  So I though that it would be a net downhill day.  I can’t be sure, but if Seattle is at sea level then Kewlona must be several thousand feet BELOW sea level considering all the steep hills we climbed today.  But the Beast did his job and trucked along just fine.

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Urban Farming

A few generations ago growing your own food was a part of life.  Today it seems like it is a lost art.  It is an art form that definitely intrigues me.  Our family travels have not been good for the honing of my green thumb but I keep trying to grow a variety of different veggies and berries on our little piece of downtown Longmont.  One day this spring I was out in our garden that sits between the sidewalk and the street working when a lady came by and said, “your farm is looking good!”  Wow, she called my little plot of veggies a farm!  Which means I am a farmer.  An urban farmer!

So, when Steph said she found an urban farm in Kelowna British Columbia that was also an RV park, I was super excited to check the place out.  We arrived at the park in the heat of the day but pulled right in to site #9 as instructed by Tyler, the owner, who called us earlier in the day.  He just opened the RV part of the farm in May so the sites are freshly landscaped and look really nice and clean.  Spots are a little on the tight side but not impossible.  I noticed about  half of the sites had rigs as big as ours and all our trucks were sticking out beyond our official spot.  All the spots are full hook up and the WiFi is super strong and snappy!
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In hot water

After a busy day of driving and hiking yesterday it was nice to just relax today.  We took plenty of walks around the campground, read, played frisbee and horseshoes.  I called my dad to wish him a happy 82nd birthday and had a nice chat with him and my mom.

Our campground was just a few miles from the town of Radium Springs which is home to a hot springs pool.  But it was a blistering hot day so we decided to try out the pool after the temp cooled down a bit in the evening.  So after dinner we drove the short distance to town.   Before going o the hot springs we stopped to check out the stations of the cross they have on a hillside in town.  I don’t think I have ever done the stations of the cross so this was a very neat experience and we counted it as our church for the day being a Sunday and all.
Stations of the cross
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Beautiful Banff

As Steph was researching where all to go on our summer trip she reached out to many friends asking for advice.  One of our friends from the ‘hood were also heading in that direction and it seemed would be in the Banff area about the same time we were.  So we made sure to align our Canadian Rockies visit with the Tillery family.  We decided to meet up for a hike in Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park at 0900 to try to avoid at least some of the crowds.  Being a 1.5 hour drive from our campground to the the trailhead meant a super early morning for our family.  But we made it and were able to find our friends in the sea of visitors.
The whole gang
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