July 2019 – Back In The Lower 48

We made it back to the lower 48 through the Sumas WA border crossing just around the corner from First Truck Center in Abbotsford BC. This was a good crossing point as the line was only 10 minutes long. As has happened before, we only have a 70 mile drive but GPS is telling us close to 2 hours. No idea what was ahead and why it would take so long, then we saw the narrow winding roads as we headed to The North Cascades area and the town of Rockport WA. On the way we passed field after field of blueberries and lush green fields

Rockport is a small village, population 109, in fact there wasn’t much more than the State Park which was beautiful, very well kept and our site was private, clean, in a quiet area and very close to the North Cascade Park main gate.

There was a pub at the entrance which was empty when we arrived. The bartender asked where we came from, not surprisingly, as it wasn’t visible from the road nor was it advertised, We just landed there.

Rockport Pub right outside the campground

The park lies next to the Skagit River and popular with salmon fisherman, and river rafters who prefer the calmer water for their expeditions, the Sauk joins the Skagit river just past the bridge

The hosts of the park had used this dead tree to attach bird houses

Day 2 we drove along the Cascade Highway through Marblemount and Newhalen to the entrance of the park

The only bears we have seen in awhile were at the visitors center. Black bears are seen here but only in the backwoods and a grizzly hasn’t been seen since 1998. It’s still going to take more convincing for Chris to start walking in the woods again.

Beautiful scenery, glacial lakes, thick with pines and cascading waterfalls falling from the mountains

Gorge Lake Dam

This park really lives up to its name

We followed the Skagit river until we reached Diablo Lake. What a color!

Diablo Lake

On the way back we found a restaurant with an unusual menu. Camel?

The specials at the Buffalo Run Restaurant. Hmm Camel burger?

A lovely little outdoor patio, and the food was good too.

We were only an hour or so north of Seattle and headed down to Monroe WA just north and east, to “Casa Del Reed” to moochdock at Brian and Becky Reed’s. We met Brian last year in Quartzsite at OOBerfest, and he was kind enough to let us park in his driveway

Right next to his Newmar Mountain Aire

They took us out to dinner that evening to their favorite Korean restaurant and we had a feast, so delicious!

Great Korean dinner

And of course some desert just down the road

Then desert

We headed into Seattle courtesy of Brian and Becky, who were our tour guides for the day

This moochdocking has it’s perks, as they are both locals and took us to our first stop, the famous Pike Place Market, which extends with vendors for a few blocks outside the main building and overlooks the Seattle waterfront

Puget Sound

So much fruit, vegetables and seafood, a feast for the eyes. We bought salmon, shrimp, and the freshest fruit. The smell of flowers was overwhelming too, flower vendors stretching down one side of the market. We could easily have spent a fortune in here, oh wait, we did, and then went back to Brian and Becky’s to eat it, while being entertained that evening with tales of the time they spent living and working in the Philippines.

The wall of gum was an unfortunate surprise for Chris, and she didn’t linger. “I thought you said wall of guns”

Chris not liking the wall of gum down under Pike Place Market

Of course the first Starbucks opened in Seattle in 1971, and there is typically a line around the block

The Original Starbucks

We passed the Space Needle before we went into the Museum of Pop Culture just next door

An interesting design with different textures and colors representing the fluidity of music.

It was built in 2000 and was founded by Paul Allen co-owner of Microsoft.

Museum of Pop Culture

There are interactive activities on two floors, including Sound Lab and On Stage, where visitors can play with the instruments with instruction added and perform music before a virtual audience. They had sound-proof booths for bands and vocalists which were not only in use, but had a line of wanna be artists outside

Close to the entrance is a guitar sculpture consisting of 500 musical instruments.

Also the Sky Church which features one of the largest LED screens in the world and plays music videos from all genres. Makes you wish the old MTV was still around

There was large collections of artifacts from various artists and bands, the motorbike belonged to Prince from the Purple Rain movie

Collections from various local WA artists were also prominently displayed

Hendrix was also represented

The Seattle skyline

Next day we had to visit the Jimi Hendrix grave and memorial in nearby Renton to pay our respects. Notice all the lipstick marks on the etched pictures.

We went to the Boeing factory tour. No cameras were allowed once on the tour, so hence not many pictures from it.

The Dream Lifter is the largest cargo plane in the world. It was an interesting tour of the factory floor where planes were being built section by section. Steve thought it was pretty friggin’ boring.

Boeing’s test plan

Of course we ended our second day of touring eating and watching the ferry to Whitdbey island

A big thanks to Brian and Becky Reed for the warm hospitality and making our time in Seattle so memorable.

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