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Jane Hodges Brings Mineral School Back to Life

Jane Hodges wanted an unusual place for artists to get away and concentrate on their work—to form what artists would call a “colony” or residency where they can get away and focus on their creativity. She found it in the old Mineral School. [see more at LewisTalk.com]

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Two and Two – New and Must-Do in Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

It’s probably obvious by now that we love the Long Beach Peninsula. Every time we go there, there’s something fun going on. We see and do new things but also hit the traditional “must-do’s”.

New

1)      This is the first time we were able to be there during “Sandsations” premier sandcastle and sculpting festival. I expected it to be held down on the beach, where most sandcastle-building events are held, but the professional competition is held in town so that it’s not dependent on the tide. The creations are still as beautiful though, I admire the artistry and am envious that I don’t have that talent.

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

Sand Sculpture at SandSations, Long Beach, WA

Sand Sculpture at SandSations

Kids Got to Play in the Sand, Too!

Kids Got to Play in the Sand, Too!

2)      Out of all the times that I have been to Long Beach – I never knew the giant clam “erupted”! Every hour water spurts out of the top. How did I never know that?! I wouldn’t have noticed now but a boy and a girl and their grandmother came running up and shouting, ‘Is it time? Is it time?” It was two minutes to the hour so the boy set his watch and he and his sister started the countdown at ten seconds – and the squirting began right on time!

Razon Clam Sign, Long Beach, WA

Squirting Giant Razor Clam, Long Beach, WA

Squirting Giant Razor Clam

Must-Do

1)      We have been to the Full Circle Café in Ocean Park before. We wrote a blog about Gary, the Yarn Dude (https://northwestrevealed.com/2012/07/03/the-yarn-dude-of-ocean-park-washington/) who runs the Tapestry Rose yarn store in back. We have always enjoyed the food there, but I had a pleasant surprise this visit. I can’t eat grains. On the menu was a “Crustless Crab Quiche” so I asked what was in it and there was no flour, so I ordered it. Out came this bubbly, golden quiche smelling heavenly, and tasting just as amazing! Then of course, it was time for dessert, most of which I can’t eat. But I saw “Gluten-free peanut butter cookie”. Again, I asked what was in it because a lot of gluten items use rice or potato flour which doesn’t work for me. Oh, the joy when the baker said it contained no flours of any kind! Knowing I can have choices at one of my favorite restaurants on the peninsula is a dream come true!

Full Circle Cafe, Ocean Park, WA

Full Circle Cafe

2)      Josh looks forward with much anticipation when we go to Long Beach – he HAS to ride the go-karts. Imagine his thrill that on this particular Friday night the rides were almost half price! Now, David always says he goes on them just for Josh, but I’m thinking that isn’t the whole story… He was sure smiling a lot and they went several rounds.

Josh & David Ready To Go On Go Karts, Long Beach, WA

Josh & David Ready To Go On Go Karts

 

And They're Off! Long Beach, WA

And They’re Off!

The Long Beach Peninsula. We call it our playground. We love that every time we can count on doing our usual activities as well as know we’ll get to experience some new ones. The Peninsula never gets old!

What’s your must-do when you go to Long Beach?

Full Circle Café: http://tapestryrose.com/full-circle-cafe/

Long Beach Go Karts and Krazy Kars: http://www.longbeachgokarts.com/

 

Categories: Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roaring Falls, a Gondola, a Carousel and a Giant Toy – Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington

Spokane Falls and SkyRide over the falls, Spokane, Washington

Spokane Falls and SkyRide over the falls

Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington is more than your typical city park. Rarely do you find gorgeous, pounding waterfalls right in the middle of a city. But in Spokane, all you have to do is walk a couple of blocks from the downtown core, and you will find the 100-acre park and the spectacular Spokane Falls.

Spokane Falls

Spokane Falls

There are two falls – the Upper and the Lower Spokane Falls. Both falls have diversion dams built on them, but that doesn’t take away from the power and majesty of the falls. There’s a beautiful Riverfront Park located right next to the falls, and don’t for a minute think that you will just check out the park and not go to the falls. You can hear them and see the mist for quite a ways and they draw you to them. You can’t help but walk down to them and view them from several viewpoints in order to see the raging river.

Spokane Falls, Spokane, Washington

Spokane Falls and SkyRide

But if you really want to see the falls, check out the Spokane Falls SkyRide, which takes you across the lower falls. I wish we would have had the time to take the ride to see for ourselves, but just watching the gondola cars through the spray was beautiful to see. I can only imagine the thrill of feeling like you are right in the falls.

This unusual park, which was built for the 1974 World’s Fair, also contains an old 1909 carousel, an IMAX theater, rides and miniature golf, a train ride and an ice-skating rink! All that in one place!

Water Feature, Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington

Water Feature, Riverfront Park

And last but not least – you know how we like roadside attractions! You have to check out the giant Radio Flyer in the park. It’s 12 feet tall and 27 feet long and the handle is actually a slide! Even if you don’t have kids, it will probably take you back to your own childhood.

Giant Radio Flyer, Riverfront Park, Spokane, Washington

Giant Radio Flyer

Spokane’s phenomenal falls and its impressive Riverfront Park with such a tremendous variety of activities should be another must-do when you’re in the Spokane area.

If you’re wondering where to stay while in the Spokane area, check out our article on the gorgeous Davenport Hotel at https://northwestrevealed.com/2014/06/03/spokanes-living-room-the-davenport-hotel/

 

 

 

Categories: Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spokane’s Living Room – the Davenport Hotel

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The Davenport Fireplace

Time travel does not exist. But if you want to see what life was like 100 years ago in Spokane, Washington, all you have to do is make a visit to the gorgeous Davenport Hotel.

Built in 1914 and operated by Louis Davenport, it is located in historic downtown Spokane and contains samples of historical architecture from around the world. Italy, France, Spain, England and Russia – they are all represented here.

Walking into the hotel through the revolving front door and entry way, we were immediately in awe. You can see up two stories to a balcony that goes all the way around the second floor, then on up to the skylights. Medallions decorate the borders of the walls and intricate architectural details can be seen at every turn.

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Details, details, details

In the middle of the room is a fountain with Koi in it.

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Welcoming fountain in the lobby

One side of the lobby holds large chairs and loveseats for guests to relax in. The other side holds tables for a restaurant, and the fireplace. The fireplace is an important piece of the history of this building. Louis Davenport wanted a fire burning in it at all times, summer or winter, in order to make the place feel like home to guests. He called the Davenport, “Spokane’s living room” and wanted all guests to feel at home.

A story we were told illustrates his philosophy. One day when he was up on the second floor balcony, he looked down and saw a “scruffy” looking couple come in with a paper bag. They were planning to eat their lunch in “Spokane’s living room.” Louis saw them and asked one of his staff, “You see that scruffy looking couple there?” The staff person replied, “Yes.” Louis said, “I want you to go down there and put a while table cloth on their table. And I want you to get them some glasses and pour them some cold glasses of water. And get them some silverware.” He honestly wanted everyone to feel like it was their home.

Antique items are everywhere. Even the elevator has an old light system that shows which floor the elevator is on.

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Elevator floor indicator

Downstairs is where the pool is located along with a spa and exercise room (don’t worry, this whole area holds modern equipment.) In the hallway leading to the pool though is an original ornate silver water fountain.

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Original water fountain

The rooms are new and they were large and elegant. Two beds, a desk, chairs and yes, a TV. But there are not the other modern conveniences of a refrigerator and microwave. We didn’t miss them. The bathroom was spacious and felt like a spa with the soaking tub as well as a very large glassed-in shower. Hotel robes were provided for our comfort.

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Josh felt like he was the main character from “Castle” wearing his robe!

You really don’t want to just stay in your room in this hotel. The beautiful architecture lures you back out with the need to explore every inch and look at every detail. It seemed every time we went back out and looked around we would see another new detail. Exploring the Davenport, we were treated to grand ballrooms with elaborate chandeliers, gold filigree, and beautiful wood floors.

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The Grand Pennington Ballroom

The “Hall of the Doges” was most impressive with its gorgeous painted ceiling.

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Ceiling in the Hall of Doges

There were several historical pictures located throughout the hotel. It was an odd feeling to look at a picture from 100 years ago and then look around the hotel and see the exact same details.

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The Isabella Ballroom, 1916

The story of the hotel is a true miracle rescue. It had been abandoned in 1985 and was in danger of being demolished in 2000 when Walt and Mary Worthy bought it. They spent $38.5 million dollars and the love and dedication that went into restoring this piece of history, this “living room” for Spokane, truly shows.

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The Isabella Ballroom

Finally, there is one piece of living history at the Davenport, a piece that connects Louis Davenport to today. John is 84 years old and started working at the Davenport when he was 13. He said that Louis Davenport himself showed him the ropes such as how to set up the tables and chairs. When the Worthy’s finished the restoration and reopened the Davenport in 2002, John came back to work. He has no plans to retire any time soon. So if you’re lucky and it’s one of days of the week he works (currently Sunday through Wednesday), you’ll have a chance to meet this charming, friendly man and learn about the Davenport’s history first hand.

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John and Nancy

People often just drive through Spokane on their way to places like Yellowstone, and we did as well. We had no idea what we were missing. So next time you are driving through Spokane, put the Davenport on your itinerary as a must see. You just might truly feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.

Address: The Davenport is located at 10 S. Post St., Spokane WA 99201

Website: www.davenporthotelcollection.com

Phone: 1-800-899-1482

 

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Washington State’s Own Stonehenge

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Stonehenge at Maryhill

Stonehenge in England is surrounded by theories and speculation. It’s fun to try to think about what the circle of stones really meant and why it was created. But Stonehenge in Maryhill, Washington has a definite known reason and purpose.

This full-size replica of the stone structure was built by Samuel Hill, a businessman, and was finished in 1929. It is however, not made out of stone, but out of concrete. Its purpose is to honor those who died in World War I. The names of soldiers from Klickitat County are engraved on markers. It is also the very first Memorial to World War I Veterans in the entire United States.

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Hill had heard that the original Stonehenge was thought to have been created as a sacrificial place, so he envisioned the Maryhill Stonehenge as a tribute to those who were sacrificed in war.

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There are 40 stones on the inside circle and 30 stones on the outside. As the original Stonehenge marks the solstice, so does the Maryhill one. The Altar Stone is aligned to the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

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Altar Stone in the center

Standing in different parts of Stonehenge the sun throws shadows that look both beautiful and intriguing. It’s interesting to stand there for awhile and watch the shadows move with the sun.

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Shadows

Maryhill Stonehenge sits high on a bluff above the Columbia River in the Columbia Gorge. The view is spectacular every way you look. On the beautiful spring day we were there, the sky was deep blue and the grass was still green, not having turned brown yet from the heat.

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The Columbia River and Gorge

With no mountains to block the view, you can see west to Mt. Hood.

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Sam Hill Memorial Bridge and Mt. Hood off to the left

Looking down on the river you may see fishing boats, speed boats or even barges and tug boats transporting their goods upriver. You can see the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge crossing the Columbia River to the town of Biggs on the Oregon side. In a time-warp feeling of old vs. new, wind turbines can be seen on the Washington hills north of Stonehenge.

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Wind Turbines

There is no cost to visit the memorial and it is open from 7am to dusk.

Directions: On the Washington side of the Columbia River, go east on Hwy. 14 and follow the signs to Stonehenge.

On the Oregon go east on Hwy. 84 to exit 104 and the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge at Biggs, Oregon. Take it north, crossing onto Hwy. 14 and continuing east following the signs to Stonehenge.

 

Categories: Historical, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beginner Snowshoers – White Pass Ski Area

Brandy

Daughter, Brandy, snowshoeing for the first time (Photo credit: David Keaton)

“I love this, it’s like walking,” smiled my daughter, Brandy. “And I like being able to stop myself, not counting on boards strapped to my feet to stop me.” In case you can’t tell, she tried skiing last year. And didn’t particularly like it. Same with me. We’ve decided we have some sort of “hereditary” balance-and-control-challenge. So though we all tried skiing, it was not particularly successful. This year we wanted to try cross-country skiing. Everyone says we’ll like it better and can go on flatter terrain where we would be more comfortable. The only problem was there was so little snow this winter that it took forever for the trail to open. We finally decided to try snowshoeing, figuring it was less expensive plus we could check out this cross-country trail that was supposed to be nice and flat.

So on a recent Saturday we met Brandy and her boyfriend, Jason at the motel in Packwood and headed up to White Pass Ski Area – along with hundreds of other people who were there for the annual White Pass Winter Carnival. But it was actually not too bad, we found parking pretty quickly, and headed to the yurt. While skis and equipment are rented in the lodge, snowshoes and cross-country gear are rented out of the yurt across the street and behind the lodging. We just needed to rent snowshoes for Josh, David has an old wooden pair, Brandy borrowed a pair of Yukon Charlie’s from a friend and I borrowed a pair of Redfeathers from a friend. We noticed that the rental shoes appeared to be all Yukon Charlie’s. We paid $15 for Josh’s shoes, and $15 a piece for our trail passes.

Me Brandy

Brandy and Nancy snowshoeing for the first time! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Then we headed outside to put on our snowshoes – which is where I ran into my first problem. Even though Brandy quickly and easily got hers on and the back strap fastened, I struggle very much with mine, until I had to have Josh fasten them for me.

Leech Lake

On Leech Lake

Then we all headed off down towards the frozen and snow-covered Leech Lake and the trail that goes around it. The snow was not as expected. It was covered with a light layer of ice and so it was frosty and crunchy when we walked on it. As we started walking down the hill to the lake area, that’s when Brandy decided she liked it. There would be no way either she or I would have been able to comfortably go down that little hill on skis.

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Trail along Nordic trail (Photo credit: David Keaton)

By Brandy

Creek peeking through snow (Photo credit: Brandy Kirkendall)

Even though there were so many people up there, there were very few people on the trail. We only ran into maybe four or five other small groups around the entire trail. So we had plenty of space to ourselves. The weather was agreeable and the scenery was beautiful and serene. We took two hours to go around the trail because we kept stopping to take pictures. Snow makes landscape look so different. A creek peeking out through the little white hills. Bare trees with snow-caps caught on the top of them. Everything looks clean and smooth.

Yes, after going down the hill to the lake, the first 1/3 or so of the trail was pretty flat. But then it started slowing climbing, and probably what other people would still consider flat, we decided would still have been too much of a hill for us. See, there’s that hereditary inability to appreciate hills, speed, and skiing..

The walk around the lake took the perfect amount of time (there was a restroom available about ½ way around if anyone needs it).

Potty

Restroom, if you can get to it (Photo credit: David Keaton)

We enjoyed our walk, appreciated the views, felt we got a great workout and worked up a hunger. When finished, we headed back to the yurt to meet Jason for a lunch that we had packed. Time to take off the snowshoes and again I had a problem. I couldn’t get the back strap off and again had to have Josh do it. So bottom line, I would not get the Redfeather snowshoes because I obviously want to be able to put them on and take them off by myself, and Brandy had no problems with her Yukon Charlie’s and neither did Josh.

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Inside Yurt (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Since most of the people visiting White Pass Ski area head to the lodge to eat, we were actually able to get a table inside the yurt to enjoy our lunch. While we brought our own food, they do have some snacks and beverages available. It was also quite cozy and warm and the staff was very friendly and helpful with our questions.

We had such a successful experience that there has been a great follow-up. Brandy bought herself some Yukon Charlie’s, in a kit with the poles and a carry bag – and she bought a set for me for an early Mother’s Day present! How fun is that!

Brandy Josh

Brandy and Josh celebrating successful snowshoeing! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Categories: Outdoors, Skiing, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Coulee Dam – The Largest Provider of Power From Water In the United States

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Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee Dam.  It provides more power from water than any other dam in the entire United States and is located in the north-central section of Washington State. “Coulee” means a deep ravine or gorge formed by water, in this case that water is the mighty Columbia River. It is part of the Columbia Basin Project which covers eight counties!

The first place to go when you get to the dam is the visitor center which was built in 1970. It has interesting interactive displays of items associated with the dam, along with the story of how the dam was built. There are also historical artifacts associated with the Native American tribes of the area and a little bit about their story and influence in the building of the dam. You’ll also learn about the 11 towns that were covered by the reservoir.

Next you’ll want to do the free 50-minute tour of the dam. They take security very seriously because any kind of terrorist attack could be devastating. You can’t even take your purse or a fannypack on the tour, and an armed security guard accompanies all tours. But don’t worry, you can take your camera!

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Make sure you bring a picnic!

You will want to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy when you are finished with the tour and the visitor center because there is a nice little park with picnic tables and restrooms right next to the dam. It’s hypnotizing to sit there and eat and just watch the water fall over the dam and listen to the soothing sounds.

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View from up on a hill

As beautiful as the water is flowing over the dam in the daytime, it gets even better at night. That’s when the laser light show begins. Lasers dance across the white water which acts like a movie screen. The show tells the story of how the dam was built. Music and narration also explodes from speakers located around the dam to add to the experience. You can watch the show from several vantage points around the dam – high up on one of the hills to sitting in the parking lot. Don’t worry about missing the narration and music if you choose to go up on the hillside because it is also available on the radio. The show runs from Memorial Day through the end of September. It lasts just over ½ hour and is free. If you’re able to take the time to stick around town until dark, you’ll be glad you did. It’s so memorable that my daughters remember it from our first visit over 20 years ago!

Besides providing power to such a large area, and for irrigation (over 600,000 acres,) the dam also created Lake Roosevelt, a beautiful 151 mile-long lake that goes all the way up to the Canadian border. In 1948 the area was designated a recreation area and facilities are now operated by the National Park Service. With so much water and shoreline, there is plenty of room for camping, fishing, boating and just plain playing. There are 27 campgrounds and 22 boat launches and 10 beaches for swimming. You can even rent a houseboat and sleep on the lake! Of course there are plenty of motels and other accommodations in the area if camping isn’t your thing.

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Beautiful Grand Coulee Dam

The Grand Coulee Dam and area may seem out of the way and in the middle of nowhere, but it’s well worth the trip. Even your kids will enjoy the history and all the activities available in the area. Make your plans to visit soon, pack a lunch, and be sure to stay for the light show! You’ll be glad you did.

Grand Coulee Dam is located about 90 miles northwest of Spokane, and about 230 miles northeast of Seattle.

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What a Ride! Apple Capital Loop Trail, Wenatchee, Washington

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Entrance to trail at Wenatchee Confluence State Park

Wenatchee knows how to do a bike trail right. I’m new to bicycling. Well, new since I was a kid. I just bought my first bike with any kind of gears this past year so I’ve been trying to get out on it riding trails. I don’t want to do road biking because cars just make me too nervous. But trying to find good, long trails that are mostly easy enough for a beginner and a 50+ year old woman, but also a little challenging in spots to build strength and endurance, has been a little difficult. So I was thrilled when we discovered the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail in Wenatchee, Washington.

The trail is 10 miles long and loops from one side of the Columbia River to the other. It is the longest loop trail in Washington State. There are several access points and we chose the Wenatchee Confluence State Park to enter simply because that’s where we stumbled onto it. There is plenty of parking and you can enter the trail right there. It took us for a short ride with slight inclines and declines until we got to the bridge. Then it was enough of an incline that Josh and I had to walk our bikes up. David was impressive – he rode all the way up it and his bike is a cruiser – no gears!

While this bridge also carries car traffic, the bike trail is completely separated by a concrete wall so I felt very safe. Once on the other side of the Columbia River, you go a few miles along the river and behind some beautiful houses. There are several spots to pull over and look out over the river, some with benches to sit on. There are two access sites, one at 27th Street and one at 19th Street. The one at 19th has a restroom, water fountain, and even a place to put air in your bicycle tires.

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Water over trail

The inclines and declines on this part of the trail are perfect. Some places they are steep enough that going down them there is a 10mph sign. One small part even shows a 6% downgrade.

On the day we rode, the river was quite high and even went over parts of the trail. That was really fun as we were already pretty warm by then and the little bit of water cooled our feet.

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Old RR Bridge Part of Trail

About five miles down that side the trail then goes back over the Columbia River via an old railroad bridge, and is for bikes and pedestrians only – still no worry about cars. Going down the other side takes you into Wenatchee and along the riverfront. There are a lot of trailside rest areas, creative works of art, and colorful gardens.

A little further on you have the opportunity at Wenatchee Riverfront Park to take another bike/pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks and on Saturdays, stop at the farmers market. If you get to this spot after noon, take a break and stop in at the Saddle Rock Pub and Brewery. They have an impressive number of microbrews, a fabulous Chicken Caesar Ranch Wrap, and their own Wenatchee Pizza which has bacon and apple slices on it. A tasty alternative to the usual Hawaiian pizza.

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Bridge over the RR tracks from trail to Saddle Rock Pub and Brewery

Bike back over the bridge and ride through the Riverfront Park, which has more restrooms and water fountains. The trail then goes through Walla Walla Point Park, where there is a lot of activity going on such as sports fields, stand up paddle boarding, kayak rentals, etc.

Not too much farther until the trail enters the other side of the Wenatchee Confluence State Park, through the manicured lawns of the camping sites and soon back to the parking lot.

The ride took an hour and a half (not counting stopping for lunch). It was the perfect amount of time, a ride that was easy enough most of the time, yet challenging in spots, incomparable scenery, and safe from car traffic. The Apple Capitol Loop Trail is the perfect ride for beginner cyclists, young and old!

Map of the trail: http://www.chelanpud.org/documents/Apple_cap_Rec_loop_map.pdf

Categories: Bicycle Trail, Outdoors, Parks, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bicycle Riding on the Pt. Townsend to Whidbey Island Ferry – Washington

Ferry

Ferry Kennewick

Having recently bought decent bicycles, one thing we have been talking about doing is taking our bikes on the ferry  system. So while vacationing in Port Townsend, Washington, we decided to start small and go on the Pt. Townsend to Whidbey Island ferry.

Nothing we do seems to be without adventure of some sort. We got up on an overcast Friday morning, checked the ferry website to make sure the ferry was operating on normal schedule. It was. Well, OK, the website just didn’t mention there was a problem. We took our car to the Safeway parking lot in town to park. We could have chosen to ride public transit down to the ferry dock but decided just to ride. When we got there we found out the ferry was broke down. They said it would be out the rest of the day and the next day was questionable.

Disappointed, we decided to ride around downtown Pt. Townsend. We had lunch at a little restaurant on the water and when we told the waitress about the ferry, she said, “Oh, yeah, that happens a lot.” Gulp – I’m not sure I want to go on a ferry that breaks down a lot! We continued riding, looking at the detailed architecture of the great old buildings, bought some delicious cupcakes at a little cupcake store, then rode up a hill to look out over the water. There we saw the ferry moving around so we went back down to check it out and it was fixed. David was excited to be able to go on it. I was still nervous that it would break down again. But of course, we bought our tickets.

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Pt. Townsend

While waiting to get on, I went into the little building that amounts to a “terminal” and saw three young girls just staring at the vending machine. Turns out they had come over from Whidbey Island the day before, planning to spend just two hours there. Anyone remember Gilligan’s Island? Well, they decided to have dinner and by the time they were done, a storm had moved in, kicking up high winds, so the ferry was cancelled. Of course, they had to spend the night in Pt. Townsend. So the next morning they went to the terminal at 6:00am to catch the ferry back. Nope, by then it was broke down. This was now 3:00 in the afternoon. But the worst part? They had left their dogs in the car back on Whidbey. They ended up to be OK, but I’m sure there was a nice mess in the car and if it had been sunny and warm, that could have been disastrous for the poor dogs.

So now I’m really nervous, worried another storm will kick up and we’ll be stranded on Whidbey Island. David said, “Stop worrying, it’ll be fun!” I said, “If  we get stuck over there I am going to be sleeping in the softest motel bed you can afford.”

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Submarine with escort ships

The time came to get on the ferry. We were able to just park our bikes at the front of the boat and head upstairs. It was a great, short 30-minute ride. It was a beautiful day, not too cold and we even got to see a nuclear submarine being escorted down to the Bremerton submarine base. It was interesting to watch several coast guard boats racing up to private boats and having them clear the way for the sub.

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Ready to get off the ferry

We landed at Whidbey and took off on our bikes up the hill to Ft. Casey. We spent about two hours bicycling around the fort, checking out it and touring the lighthouse. Since it was getting to be late in the afternoon we decided that we better head on back just in case the weather picked up again.

Waiting in line for the ferry we started talking to another gentleman on a bike. It turns out he was from San Diego, had flown up to Bellingham and was riding all the way back to San Diego. He was riding alone and said this was the first time he had ever done anything like this. One of the most interesting things we do is just talk to people. I love learning their stories.

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Bicycle Ramp

Back on the ferry, this time the staff said we had to take our bikes upstairs where there are bicycle racks. You can see on the picture that there is a ramp, which works  fine for some people but I wasn’t strong enough to take my bike up myself, Josh had to help.

Ferry Bicycle Rack

Another smooth, short ride back and we were done. We rode back to our car, loaded the bikes on and headed back to our RV and slept in our own bed that night, much to my relief.

Us on Ferry

Nancy and David

Ultimately, the ride was fun, I loved taking the bikes and easily getting on and off the ferry. Eventually we would like to do more of it with the following cautions: NEVER leave animals behind and always be prepared to get stuck on the other side. Then just relax and enjoy!

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Razor Clam Digging on the Washington Coast

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Razor Clams

If you ever get the chance to go clam digging, jump on it!

Razor clams are found on the coastline along the Pacific Ocean from California all the way up to Alaska. Each state sets their own requirements. In Washington State, the Department of Fish and Wildlife determines when the digs are and posts the dates, along with the time of the low tide. The best clamming is one to two hours before the low tide.

Then all you need to do is purchase your clamming license, a shovel or clam gun, and head to the beach! Licenses currently cost $8.60 for a three-days or $13.00 for an annual license. You can get a limit of 15 clams per day per person, just be sure you keep each limit in a separate container.

Several years ago I watched a friend dig for clams but didn’t participate so for me it wasn’t much more than going for a walk on the beach. This was my first time ever actually digging. I was in for a wonderful treat.

Josh Clam Digging

Josh loves getting his hands in the sand!

We drove about an hour and a half to Ocean Shores, Washington, to try our luck. We stopped at a little convenience store just outside of town and I bought my license. David and Josh already had theirs. I asked where to go and the clerk said just follow Hwy. 115 into Ocean Shores and it would take us right to the beach. So we did and boy, were we surprised by everyone else who was there! The cars were lined up on the beach for miles and so were the people! I was a little concerned there wouldn’t be any clams left, but I imagine that’s why there is a 15-clam-per-person limit. Still, it just looked like there were SO many people, it didn’t seem possible there would be enough clams.

The day was absolutely beautiful, which can be rare on the Washington coast. Sunny and clear, but with the usual brisk wind, we were prepared. We had layered clothing, coats, gloves, and hats. We also made use of the hip waders David had bought us all for Christmas last year. They kept our feet and legs completely dry while adding an extra layer of warmth.

David and Josh Clamming

David using the home-made clam gun, Josh waiting to stick his hand in the hole

We headed out to an area where we didn’t see too many people. Of course I worried that there was no one in that spot because there were no clams there. But we crossed a small current of water and came out on some higher ground and started looking for holes in the sand. Josh immediately spotted one and started digging with one of the clam guns that David and Josh had made from PVC pipe. He was very excited when he found one! Then another. Then another. He was VERY good at this! David and I were a bit slower but started finding them pretty quickly as well. I would dig with the gun and pull the sand out and if the clam wasn’t right there, David would stick his hand in the hole to get the clam. I just couldn’t do that part – it freaked me out to think about sticking my hand in a place where I couldn’t see what I was touching. Weird, I know.

Josh quickly reached his limit then helped us by running around looking for the holes and yelling, “Here’s another one! Shoot, Elizabeth, shoot!” (Yes, the boy watches a lot of Swamp People.)

It took us a little under two hours to reach our three limits. Then it was out to dinner and a late drive back home. But we had a very fun time and can’t wait to do it again. So I was very happy to wake up to a post online listing two more upcoming clamming dates. They’re on our calendar!

Categories: Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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