The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017


We are home-based in Northern California but just up Interstate 5 about 600 miles is a wonderful RV destination -- the State of Washington.  Today's "A to Z Challenge" blog letter of the day is "W" so we'll explore WASHINGTON.


Over the years we have made many visits to -- and through -- Washington and we have lots of reasons to go back.  On May 7th, for example, I will actually be flying to Seattle's SeaTac airport to start an Alaska cruising vacation with family. From Seattle we'll cruise to Vancouver, British Columbia and then North to Alaska.  I plan to share my tourist time in Seattle with the family members new to the area.  

Last summer we were in Washington visiting long-time friends in Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon and then went north to Port Townsend where my nephew and his wife were building a house.  We will repeat those stops in late June and then we'll take lots of time to re-visit more of the Evergreen State.

I felt welcomed at Safeway
With its maritime heritage, artist spirit, and a touch of urban chic, Port Townsend is an easily accessible base camp to the Olympic Peninsula and beyond. Whether on land or sea; indoors or outdoors – Port Townsend has activities for every taste. 
The local deer are common on the lawns in downtown Port Townsend
Our "rolling condo" being towed
Unfortunately, our trip home involved a detour to a Freightliner repair service center in Tumwater, WA when the power steering fluid hose broke and forced Luke to steer the 40' motorhome without power steering a short ways to get off the very narrow and winding Highway 101 into Triton Cove State Park. Ah, the memories of a 65-mile towing. 

A geocache was found on this sign while waiting for our tow truck.


Loved Taylor's happy face
In 2012 we convinced our then 12-year old grandson to take a solo trip with his ol' grandfolks in the motorhome.  Our goal was to take him to the Microsoft Visitor's Center in Redmond, WA and to the Boeing Manufacturing plant in Everett, WA.   He warmed up to RVing with a whitewater jet boat trip on the Rogue River in Oregon and then a stay at a kid-friendly KOA campground in Kent, WA.  He loved the flight simulator rides at Boeing and then challenged himself with numerous roller coaster rides at an amusement water park.


Pike Place Market Fishmonger tosses fish over the counter
A visit to Seattle means a visit to the iconic Space Needle Tower and a variety of nearby attractions you shouldn't miss.  CLICK HERE to visit a list of the Top 10 things to do while in Seattle. Among our favorites are Pike Place Market with the fish tossing merchants, the Ride the Duck land and water tour amphibians, the EMP Pop Music and Science-Fiction Museum, and the unique Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe.
Tour Seattle by land and by sea with crazy drivers that will keep you entertained.


Before driving to the far Pacific Northwest from California and Oregon there are multiple routes through Western and Southern Washington to choose.  We have only spent limited time in the popular Coastal communities of Astoria and Long Beach.  Those were extended stops that did not happen last year when the motorhome broke down.  There is time to spend at the World Kite Museum and the Cranberry Museum so maybe this year we'll do more than just drive through. 

We have passed through and stayed at different parks in the Tri-Cities area of Southeastern Washington. The cities include Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco and they meet at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. Much of the area is surrounded by semi-arid agricultural lands.
In 2007 we had the fun experience to meet up with an internet friend visiting from Mazatlan, Mexico on the 4th of July. Her son was the local school principal and a volunteer fireman and we all sat together watching a real down-home 4th of July Parade.

Olympic National Park - Washington

Olympic National Park, located along the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, is a very diverse region, with four distinct biospheres: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, west side temperate rain forest and east side temperate rain forest.
The park covers about 922,000 acres and was named Mount Olympus National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 and then designated a national park by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938. Native Americans like the Quileute and the Hoh still make their homes in parts of the area.

Such diverse land makes for a variety of outdoor opportunities, including hiking, backpacking, biking, river rafting, and more. Especially unique to this U.S. national park is the opportunity to participate in whale watching off the coast in the Puget Sound of Washington. River rafting along one of the park’s many rivers allow participants to view the beauty of the park while at the same time experiencing the thrill of riding the river currents. Differently rated stretches of river make it so beginners and experts will find a thrill level that meets their skill level.
In 2009 our friend Terry Webb (red jacket) had us tag along with his photography buddies on a wildflower shooting adventure atop Mount Olympus.  We could actually see British Columbia, Canada across the straits from where we stood. 


Washington has beautiful mountains.  Even flying over the state you can see Mount Rainier, Mount. Baker, and Mt. Saint Helens all at once.

Mount Rainier

Mount Baker
Mount St. Helen erupted on my birthday, May 18, 1980


In 2011, on our return motorhome trip from Alaska we were introduced to Central Washington and the communities of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee where we met up with our former neighbors.
The city of Wenatchee shares its name with the Wenatchee RiverLake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee National Forest. Wenatchee is known as the "Apple Capital of the World" due to the valley's many orchards. The city is also sometimes referred to as the "Buckle of the Power Belt of the Great Northwest". The "Power Belt of the Great Northwest" is a metaphor for the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. Rock Island Dam is located nearest to the middle of this "belt", and so was labeled the "Buckle".
Wenatchee calls itself the 'Apple Capital of the World'

Not far from Wenatchee is Levenworth, a community that opted to rebuild itself into a quaint Barvarian Village that now attracts millions of visitors a year.

Our friends took us to lunch at a restaurant upstairs and across the street from the flower park


Here's how Wikipedia describes this area:
Eastern Washington is the portion of the US state of Washington east of the Cascade Range. The region contains the city of Spokane (the second largest city in the state), the Tri-Cities, the Columbia River and the Grand Coulee Dam, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and the fertile farmlands of the Yakima Valley and the Palouse. Unlike in Western Washington, the climate is dry, including some desert environments.
Heading east from Central Washington we drove through a diversity of landscapes quite the opposite from the green and wet western coastal area we associate with the Pacific Northwest.  High, dry rolling desert hills merge into a colorful "patchwork" of agricultural areas known as the Palouse.

Colorful farm lands contrast to the Eastern Washington desert

Our final camping destination before driving into Idaho a few years ago was Spokane.  We stayed at the Fairchild Air Force Base, just minutes from the Spokane International Airport. That was a handy departure place when Grandma needed to fly back to California to baby-sit the grandsons one year. Grandpa and the GSD stayed on base in the FamCamp.

For our trip to Alaska in 2011 we opted to miss the congestion of crossing into Canada near Vancouver, British Columbia and chose to enter at the Sumas / Abbotsford Crossing. It was a quick check into Canadian Customs and we were on our way.

Inspection Booths are always a tight fit for recreational vehicles.


We are planning our return trip to the Pacific Northwest this summer and you can bet we'll see alot more of Washington state.  To keep you busy, CLICK HERE FOR FUN WASHINGTON STATE TRIVIA

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