Beach treasures

It is pretty easy for us to spend a whole day at the beach and stay entertained the entire time.  The kids love to play in the waves and dig in the sand.  And all 5 of us can spend hours looking for cool little treasures to collect.  I wish I had done a better job recording our finds on film because we have been to many beaches.  We’ve been to Mustang Island, Galveston Island, Dauphin Island, St. Andrews and St. George beaches.

St. George finds

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Hard Rain Cafe

Back in Three Forks Montana Steph and I spent some time making more reservations for our trip.  She put me in charge of the Olympic Peninsula and I found the Hard Rain Cafe.  It was one of the few places in the area that had reviews on Campendium, confirmed Verizon 4G coverage and was centrally located to both the beaches and the Hoh rainforest.  And they had room for us.  And it was a bargain at $25 per night!!  On the phone the lady assured me they had plenty of room for our 38 foot 5th wheel and some Google reviews agreed with that while others said it was super tight quarters and big rigs should avoid.  While they took a one night deposit I sort of got the feeling the reservation was only taken in the receptionist’s head or maybe a sticky note at best. I called to confirm the reservation the day before and I could almost hear her searching through a stack of post it notes to find the one with my name on it.  I was a little nervous about what the place would be like and being so close to the 4th of July I was worried that there would be no backup options.
Door sign
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Happy Forks of July

It’s the 4th of July and to celebrate our independence we’re going to the town of Forks Washington for their old fashioned 4th of July festivities.  Everyone we talked to said the parade was something not to miss and that we just HAD to enjoy lunch from the traditional salmon bake.  We pulled into town only about 10 minutes before the parade started so thought for sure all the parking would be gone.  But we easily found a spot just across the street from the city park where the parade ends and the salmon bake begins.
Happy Forks of July
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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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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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