Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Seattle, first weekend

Well, it's been a while since I've been able to get back to posting on the blog, but with all the energy it takes to keep up with a 9 near old grandson and then being on the road in many national park and state park campgrounds with no wifi just kinda got in the way!  Anyway, here I am, at Todd and Karen's kitchen table on Tuesday morning, Aug. 6, with a couple of days back at their house before we hit the road again, so maybe I can catch up a little.

We left Oregon on Saturday morning a week ago, and headed across the bridge into Washington.  It's such a dramatic setting to be in this area of the country, with all the water, from rivers and backwater streams to the estuaries along the coast, to the Pacific itself.  Just such a wonderful scene to see all the timber operations along the water, from the massive logyards with their seemingly endless stacks of pine and redwood logs, to the huge mountains of wood chips waiting for the conveyor belts to load up the container ships.  When we got to Tacoma, the traffic really slowed down around the Tacoma Dome, but Todd later told us this is typically the case, even on a Saturday--always some big event going on there, plus shift changes from the ship yards.  The other thing we noticed around the dome was a number of RV dealerships, lined up on both sides of the highway, one right after the other.  We've never seen anything like this anywhere else, but Todd said they have apparently done some sort of zoning where they all are located in the same area--have seen some cities where they have all the auto dealerships in one area, but had not seen this done with RV dealerships before.

Anyway, we were happy to finally arrive at Todd and Karen's, and to be greeted with the sight of our grandson, John, riding his bike up and down their street, waiting on us.  Todd had called us to say John was constantly asking, "When are Pop and Yaya getting here, Dad??"  Needless to say, we couldn't get here fast enough either!

So, we had a wonderful weekend here with Todd, Karen and John, and Karen's mom and sister.  Later on Saturday afternoon we went to Alki Beach, long a favorite spot with Seattleites, and a hangout for Karen and her family as she was growing up.  Had supper at Spud's, a place John loves to go and Karen's mom has been going since she was growing up.  It was a beautiful sunshine filled afternoon and the beach was full of folks out enjoying the weather.

On Sunday we went to Crystal Mountain for an outing--a ski resort in the winter and a great place to visit in the summer.  Karen worked here during high school, though the restaurant where she worked has now been replaced with newer development.  We rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain where they have a row of deck chairs set up where you have marvelous views of Mt. Ranier.  It was bright and sunshiny, but still a bit chilly up on top of the mountain.  Todd, John and I hiked up to this little knoll where John gave us his best king of the mountain pose!  Saw a group of folks who had ridden horses up to the top and saw some mountain bikers who were riding up to the top.  Trisha and I were sorry we didn't have enough time to hike the whole mountain, since it was so beautiful.

There's a wonderful picnic area on an outdoor patio with lots of gorgeous flowers all around, plus several areas of games, like ladder golf and bean bag toss boards, so we had a great time with that.  Then back home, but stopping on the way at a super fruit and vegetable stand where we got some of the best fruit we've had.  An interesting item we'd never had before was a cross between a canteloupe and a honeydew melon--quite good!

The most exciting event of the day for John, however, was getting a new dog!  They've had Sammy, a chihuahua/rat terrier mix, for some time, but had just found a playmate for her, so we went and picked up Joey, a chihuahua/dachsund mix--a chihuachsund!  Brought Joey home and, though it's going to take some time for Sammy to get used to the idea of a new puppy around, they're beginning to get along somewhat better--sometimes Sammy just looks up like, how could you do this to me--I was the queen bee and now you bring in another dog to usurp some of the affection??  Since Joey is still a puppy, he's very active and it's pretty funny to watch him chase Sammy around the yard, wanting to play, like all puppies, and she's not so much interested in all that.  The two cats are not quite so sure, either!  We took both dogs for a walk after supper and  John was so excited to show the new dog their neighborhood.  Lots of folks out walking and enjoying the park!  Then home to get ready to take off the next morning for a week of Grandparent Camp on the Road!!

Had to stop at one of the many cherry stands along the way just before leaving Oregon--yum!

Coming into Astoria, Oregon, crossing big bridge

Coming into Washington

Love these big spruce trees along the highway!

Tacoma Dome

First glimpses of Mt. Ranier as we neared Seattle

Nothing like a moving car to put these guys to sleep!  Pop and John in the car on the way to Alki Beach.

 Yaya's not too happy, to have her sweet John sleeping on her shoulder!!

Todd, John and Gretchen, Karen's sister, at Spud's on Alki Beach
 Karen and Pop
 The two grandmas!  Trisha and Karen's mom

John, I'm just like Daddy with his sunglasses on!
 Some kayakers out enjoying the day at the beach!
 John, imagining his vast navy fleet, defending the beach!

A homeowner along the beach drive who refuses to sell to all the condo and apartment developers, and who has the most beautiful flowers!

John riding his bike at home

Crystal Mountain ski resort

 Boarding the gondola for the trip up to the top of the mountain

 Some hikers and bikers on the way up the mountain

 Some views on the way up

 Still some snow in spots
 Lovely wild flowers below the gondola

 Approaching the top
Mt. Ranier from the top of Crystal Mountain

  Interesting pine cones on the trees at the top
 Great scene with the clouds above the Cascades
 Love these flowers around the top gondola station

 Just chillin' and taking in the view of Mt. Ranier

Heading off to take a quick jaunt up to the top of this little knoll
 Ski trail map

 I'm the king of the world!

 Any animal in John's vicinity just needs to be petted!  He loves all animals so much, he just may be a vet someday

As we were walking back to the gondola station, they were setting up for a wedding later in the afternoon, so Trisha, Todd and Karen decided to do a quick re-enactment of when she married them 14 years ago!
 Pretty cool backdrop for a wedding venue, huh?

 Beautiful flowers around the patio area at the lower gondola station

 Lunch spot
Let the games begin!

Cute little addition to John's stuffed animal collection!

 Wrapped hay bales in fields along the way home--these look like giant marshmallows!  Back home they rarely, if ever, cover the rolled bales of hay, but here there is so much moisture, it would all be rotted by the winter otherwise!
Yaya's in grandparent heaven!

 Joey, the newest addition to their family!

 Walking Joey and Sammy
 Down at the park

 New little ducklings

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