The literal turning point has arrived, folks! Washington State in June. Halfway through our ten-month journey, all the way through to the other side of our great nation, and part way through our fifth pound of crab legs in as many nights. It’s a rough life.
Had we more time to wander around the great state of Warshington, Snoqualmie surely wouldn’t have been the initial stop. It’s just outside Seattle, and if you’re sightseeing your way there from Oregon, you’d first run over a couple minor speed bumps known as Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier, two of America’s most storied peaks. Unfortunately, duty called for Mitch — he was due in Chicago for a work event, forcing us to hustle our butts towards the Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
So here we are, settling for Snoqualmie Falls as our proper introduction to the Northwestiest of Northwests. We’d complain, but who’d listen? There’s just us out here, with this thundering 270-foot waterfall, and the ghosts of Twin Peaks‘ opening credits.
As stated in previous posts, we’ve done this Pacific Northwest tour before, so pardon us if we sound like we’re just ticking the boxes for a bit here.
You’ve got your Fremont Troll under Aurora Bridge:
You’ve got your Pike Place Market:
And you’ve got your world-renowned gum wall at Pike Place Market:
Nearby, you’ll also find your first-ever Starbucks (we guess? Is that the point? We still don’t drink coffee):
And who could say no to the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden it overlooks? For the record, if you live in a town of more than 50,000 people, you probably also have a “Chihuly-something”… but Seattle’s exhibit is the most expansive, so don’t sleep on Seattle. Be sleepless in Seattle. Get it? Can we stop now?
Of course, no cookie-cutter tour would be complete without the most-photographed subject in Seattle. Know what it is? If you said “the rotating Elephant Car Wash sign”, you’d be both correct and in need of better things to do with your life than memorizing duckboat tour trivia.
Now as we said, Mitch would have to leave Hailey all alone for a few days. Surely the lack of a 24/7 companion would have paralyzed her with fear, given that the two of us hadn’t yet been apart for much more than a bathroom break over these first five months.
So, did Hailey panic? Did she start crying and running naked through the streets while holding locks of Mitch’s hair she’d previously snipped in his sleep? Turns out we’ll never know, because no sooner did Mitch leave than Hailey’s mama Paula touched down in Seattle for her second Rogue Trip visit! To the Ferris Wheel, posthaste!
Hailey and Paula also hit up the Space Needle, and managed to take the absolute worst photo of all time there. Not a photo of the Needle, nor a photo from the observation deck of the Needle… but a green screen photo while inside the Needle, on a day when they were both wearing a color close enough to the green screen’s hue that proved to be too much for the simulated backdrop image to handle.
Y’all are straight up lookin’ like Back To The Future in here.
Alas, redemption awaited at the top of the needle with a non-green screen background of the actual city:
Meanwhile, Mitch’s flight back offered some much more well-composed photo ops, including this magnificent mountain poking out above the clouds (top right.) Not sure which one that is… looks like Glacier Peak? Anyone here a regular on flights to Seattle? There’s no prize for having the right answer, but the smugness you’ll feel from correcting us is its own kind of prize.
Not content to let Paula take the crown for most run-ins with Rogue Trip, Hailey’s co-worker Aaron (of Pit Stop #17) popped up yet again to party with the crew! He even brought a seasoned local along to help us hunt down this great spot for drinking and mini-golf, Flatstick Pub.
We forget who won the golf match, which means it obviously wasn’t one of us. Thanks again for being a part of our journey, Paula and Aaron!
Now that the dynamic duo is back together, let’s get out and see some natures, shall we?
You know what Rogue Trip hasn’t had much of? Unpleasant driving surprises. It’s been pretty easy for us to roll into any given town or desolate wilderness and navigate our way through like locals without much ado. In fact, it’s been too easy. Something’s fishy, and it ain’t just Pike Place Market.
Ah, here’s the reality check we’ve been overdue for! A total whiff on bridges crossing the Puget Sound, leading us to a ferry in Edmonds that had commuter cars lined up for hours. Touché, Seattle. We holed up in a local cafe until sunset, when the traffic lightened up and the sky dimmed down.
Yep, that’s a 9:30pm sunset alright. No complaints here.
Olympic National Park
The freshness is overwhelming! The Olympic Mountains have the size and organization of smaller, eastern U.S. ranges, but boast that lovably craggy, snow-capped look of the Rockies. Can’t do much better than this juxtaposition:
Here’s roughly the same image, but with us instead of flowers as the foreground. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Next up, a hike along the Elwha River. Is it really this blue?! Let’s say this: it’s close enough that whatever photo editing we did was for your sake as somebody who couldn’t be there to see it in person.
One of Olympic’s notable traits is its complex layout. For whatever reason, many of the roads into this park are dead ends, leaving you to dip in and out of the park’s core and circle around to new entry points. Anyone know why they did that? Put your hand down, guy-who-knew-the-airplane-mountain-question… let someone else have a chance.
On the bright side, having to circumnavigate the park means you’ve got no reason to miss Cape Flattery, the most Northwestern point in the contiguous United States. It’s also a really, really well done trail. The kind of trail you’d build if you were a 12-year-old who wanted a treehouse and your dad was Bill Gates.
Look and you’ll see Canada. Listen and you’ll hear shorebirds. Smell… and you’ll smell seals. Maybe skip the smells.
Cape Flattery actually isn’t in Olympic National Park, but on the Makah Indian Reservation. Similarly, the coastline moving south from Cape Flattery isn’t part of Olympic either, but you’d be equally as foolish to miss it — namely, Second Beach.
If you’re a child full of wonder, or Hailey, this beach is better than any aquarium visit.
Gear up for a walk through some frigid surf, and make your way out to the sea stacks. Look down. Start poking stuff. Repeat.
Okay kiddies, back in the car. Next stop is Hoh Rainforest, back in the park. It’s only a tad less majestic than western Oregon hikes, but it beats your typical nature walk by a wide margin.
Just outside this area of the park, you’ll find the sleepy, unimpressive town of Forks. But boy oh boy, do they have a claim to fame: (some of) (one of) the Twilight movies was filmed here! Remember that? Twilight? K.
On the way back to civilization, we managed to pick up a souvenir. Our first window crack of Rogue Trip:
We eventually circled back to Seattle in order to catch up with Mitch’s college friend Jenn, eat some donuts, and see what this establishment below had to offer. Could it be massages? Six instances of the word on the storefront aren’t enough to be totally sure.
From there, we zoomed east. We’d scheduled two weeks off work to get our asses from Seattle to Omaha, knowing full well that what lie between was no country for good Internet. If there’s much to be seen in central and eastern Washington, then we apologize in advance, because this is the lightning round.
Carey Lake in Ellensburg, with Hailey in the pose Mitch now requires every time we find a lake:
Spokane, a decent city. Not sure if that’s their official slogan or not. But here’s one of the more appealing elements: the Spokane Falls city walk, with what appears to be huckleberries… if our berry training serves us correct.
Spokane does have something you don’t: a house-sized Radio Flyer wagon, and kids who need to hit the gym if they expect to wheel that thing around.
And with that, we cross into the void: a bunch of America’s most far-out states, the likes of which neither Mitch nor Hailey (nor most of you) have ever visited. Keep your pants on though — the next blog post is yet another mind-bender as future us recaps our 3rd quarter budget. Can’t handle the time travel? Stay up to date on Instagram.