Monday, September 7, 2015

Hitting the Pacific Northwest Right After Summer

My wife and I decided that if one trip to the Great Out West was a good idea, then it must be followed by another. This time we decided to start from Seattle and work our way down the coastline, stopping for the occasional foray into the mountains. What followed was a little bit different that what we expected...
The first part of the plan was to fly in the week after Labor Day, so the crowds would be gone and we would have our way with accomodations, negotiating with empty hotels over their prices and taking our pick of which room we would want, after checking the view from the windows.
Next time we go on a trip, I will have my wife double-check me concerning the actual day of the month that we celebrate Labor Day, since we ended up in Seattle in the middle of Labor Day weekend. My thoughts were, driving into the city on that Sunday was that every hipster in the USA had decided this was the place to be. Even the most expensive parking lots, the kind that advertise $10 a day and then in small print: if you get here on a weekday before 7am,  were full and there was not a street you could turn on that there would not be 3 more cars following you closely, hoping you knew some secret spot to stop. We finally gave up the possibility of seeing fish tossed about in the market and headed off in search of Mount Ranier.
We drove south, heading to Puyallup, a small town on the way to the national park. I tried my best to learn how to say that name, but it seemed that everyone pronounced it differently. If only we had known then what we know now....that was the nicest hotel we were to see on the entire journey..
We were excited about getting up at first light, and by the way, one great advantage of a trip to the Great West, is that with the time change, my wife and I are almost on the same page with getting up in the morning. I'm up at 5am and she is up by 5:45! We are out and on the road before most westerners are even smelling the coffee. The downside is that we are tired on our feet by 7pm and can barely drag ourselves to bed at night.
Unfortunately, the early rising was of little use for Mount Ranier. There are many days when the mountain is shrouded by fog and this was one of them. The park is beautiful and worth the trip no matter what, but I'm sure it was less crowded due to the weather forecast.
The strangest part was as we were driving, sometimes the fog would part for a moment and you would see this giant mountain almost right in your face!

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