Monday, October 18, 2021

From Portland To Seattle (And Everything In Between)

My favorite part of taking road trips is being able to explore every part of every state we wish to. We've been able to do some really cool things because of road trips. Naturally, we thoroughly enjoyed the drive from Portland to Seattle and everything in between. We made stops at Mount St. Helen's and Olympia before getting into Seattle to be with family for the weekend. 

I'll be honest, Mount St. Helen's was a drive. Small, two lane, curvy highways through the mountains take awhile, but it was loaded with amazing views. I'll never quite get over how amazing it was coming around a bend and seeing Mount St. Helen's in the distance, snow covered with it's top blown off. Maybe it was because I studied the volcanic event in school or maybe it was because the minis and I watched a documentary on it last school year, but it was a powerful sight. 

We weren't able to do any hikes since dogs aren't allowed on the trails due to regrowing the landscape (it's still very bare 41 years later), so we stopped at as many lookout areas as possible. The youngest and I did the beginning portion of a trail while the boys and dog stayed back on the paved portion, but this would be an interesting area to hike. There appeared to be tons of trails going around the mountains surrounding the volcano with excellent views of Mount St. Helen's. However, the park service is very finicky about staying on the trails only and not going beyond that due to the regrowth.

We stopped at a fun rest area/visitors center. The visitors center wasn't open (as many in the area currently are not due to Covid), but we were treated to stellar views and a fun playground before hopping back in the car to get to the next lookout area (for us).

A big shoutout to my car photographer, Max. He was ready to go with pictures out the windows as we drove. 

Our stop in Olympia was needed for many reasons. One, we were ready to get out and stretch our legs, which we did on a trail at Watershed Park. Two, I had a grocery order to pick up before we got to our Airbnb in Seattle. Grocery pick ups saved me during the trip. Since it was a moving, solo parent trip, getting into a grocery store, or any store for that matter, was a challenge with a dog and three minis in tow. If I had to go into a store every few days for snacks and car foods, we would have had a lot less time to explore and adventure and spent more time within a store. Boring! We lived by Walmart grocery pick ups. I just had to be sure to change the pick up location since we switched cities so much.

Back to Olympia. It seems like a gorgeous city with a great vibe! We only spent a couple of hours here, but I loved their capital area and parks. I'm told they have great farmers markets as well. The coolest part was seeing the rainforest. Olympia sits on the southern edge of the Olympic penisula, which (in case you didn't know) has Olympic National Park that is part rainforest. In the forests around Mount St. Helen's there were pine trees and typical forest plants. As soon as we got into Olympia, moss, ferns, and humidity surrounded us while we hiked. It was very cool to experience such a diverse landscape.

Picture courtesy of Elizabeth, who cut off the top of my head.

The drive from Olympia, through Tacoma, and into Seattle was around an hour and a half. It was a simple drive with traffic. We got settled into our Airbnb and had my cousin and sister over for dinner. A little back story to this trip: my sister and I were supposed to go visit our cousin who lives in Seattle in April 2020. Between work, homeschooling the minis, and my husband's work schedule, it was impossible to find a time for a long girls weekend. So, the minis and I drove out with the dog, my sister met us in Seattle, and we all got to spend time with my cousin. It truly couldn't have worked out any better than it did!

My sister and cousin brought dinner over to the Airbnb, where we chatted and played games all night long. 

I snagged the perfect Airbnb in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood. It was a fairly basic, ground floor apartment, but we LOVED the neighborhood. Plenty of street parking, easy access to nearby parks, and wide sidewalks to take the dog on long walks. Plus, the neighbors embraced Halloween, so we had a lot of decorated houses to view while we walked around.