Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Trip to Japan...NOT! (Part 2: Mt. Rainier & Olympic Peninsula)

Once we rented the car, we decided to head down to Mt. Rainier.  But before that, we called Grant's mom to find out the address of her childhood home.  When we found the house, I couldn't believe how cute it was!  The whole neighborhood was just really picturesque.  It was cool to see a little bit of family history there, and have Cami see her grandma's house.  Kendall was asleep in the car.  Oh, and something cool happened right before we were about to leave.  A few houses down, there was a guy sitting outside reading the Sunday paper.  We looked a little suspicious, so he asked what we were doing.  When I told him that my mother-in-law grew up in the house a few houses down he said, "Was that the Berg family?"  Apparently, he moved into his house about a year before Grant's grandma died back in the mid-90s.  It was cool that he actually knew her!

After that little visit, we made our way to Mt. Rainier.

As you can see, there was quite a bit of snow leftover from the winter.  We took a break from the cold and hung out in the lodge for a bit.  The Paradise Lodge is absolutely beautiful - but really, what National Park lodge isn't?

Unfortunately, we didn't get great views of the mountain while we were there.  And after being there for a while, we decided to start making our way back towards the Seattle area.  Since we didn't have a plan for this, we were really following our noses.  So we decided to stop in at the Air Force base that's around Tacoma to see if they had any availability at the lodge.  After getting lost trying to find the base, when we finally found it, the lodge was full.  So, we had to just kind of figure out spur-of-the-moment what to do. 

We knew we were going to spend the next day on the Olympic Peninsula, so we started heading that way.  As we were driving, I was pulling up hotels on my phone (by the way - thank God for smartphones!) to see if I could find any reasonable rates.  I found this one hotel that looked great, right on the water, for a good price, so we ended up going there.  It was the Silverdale Beach Hotel, and we had a room that looked out over the water.  It was awesome!

The next day, we made the trek through the Olympic Peninsula.  Being a Twilight fan, I figured since we were so close to Forks, we had to go there.  But close isn't exactly the right word to describe it.  It's on the oooooother side of the peninsula, so it took us a while to get there.  I would say that one of the highlights of our trip was driving along Crescent Lake - one of the most beautiful lakes we've ever seen before!

When we finally made it to Forks, we actually drove through it, because the girls were sleeping, and we wanted to go to this rainforest, which was about 12 miles past Forks.  Well, right when we got through the town, Cami woke up - and not too happy.  She cried until we got to the turn off for the rainforest, but as soon as we turned, there was a sign saying it was another 14 miles to the entrance!  We decided it wasn't worth all those extra miles, so we turned around and went back to Forks to get some lunch.

Forks.  My goodness.  The only thing this place has going for it, is that it's where Twilight was set (and, by the way, none of the movie was filmed there).  And the whole town was seriously Twilighted out!

After eating and taking some pictures, we decided to start the several-hour drive back to Seattle.  We had to get back that night, so we'd be able to try for Japan again early the next morning.  To save time, we ended up catching one of the ferries from Bainbridge Island to Seattle, which was a lot of fun, and a little windy!

We finally made it back to Seattle, went back to the hotel we went to on our very first night, and got prepared for the early morning.

More later...

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