After waking up and taking a second shower (living in the lap of luxury now), we spent some time lazing about and sitting outside in the cute little park area at the motel under the trees, planning our next moves. We were only a few hours outside the Seattle area, and we were going to have a ‘city day’ and explore around there.
First we stopped in Snoqualmie Falls, which is one of Washington’s most visited landmarks apparently. It was really beautiful and the bathrooms in the main area are super nice. (You really start to notice these things when you’re living out of a car haha).
Seattle Area Has Good Food
Next we went to Bellevue which as it turns out has an amazing little plaza with a few Asian places including authentic Szechuan, decent Ramen, and a Wing Stop so I was in heaven since those are 3 of my favorite foods. We got a snack at the Szechuan place and then went to a cute farm stand where we got some pluots and peaches. Then we went for a walk in the park and ate our Szechaun while enjoying the wildlife including giant brown slugs. After that we explored the town some more and then headed over to Seattle’s waterfront.
We walked around there and then went up to Pike Place Market. We had dinner on the pier at Elliot’s Oyster House where we ordered some obscene tower of oysters, crab, and other fish which was really nice. It was fun to try some West Coast oysters, but even after all of that fancy schmancyness, we still preferred the taste of our good ol’ Blue Point oysters from back home. We also got some chowder (pretty good for New England clam this far from actual New England), and some salmon. My spoiled ass wanted to get the King salmon but they had just run out so we settled for Coho salmon, which was the only fresh one they had. Unfortunately the salmon was mediocre and somewhat of a disappointment.
A few things struck us in Seattle that I wanted to mention. First of all, the city was incredibly clean. I’m sorry to say this, but you can smell NYC from Jersey, that’s how much of an odor it has. In Seattle, the air was fresh, which really says something to me about the cleanliness of it. Also – we hit absolutely zero traffic. A local that we talked to later said this was because it was Labor Day, but even without that, the traffic compared to the NYC metro area is completely different. Finally – and this is not meant as an insult – the space needle is so small. I guess we’re used to the buildings in Manhattan so I didn’t expect it to be so short. We had to drive/walk around a considerable amount before we could see it!
In the evening we planned to camp at this somewhat rustic campground in the Northwest area of Mt. Rainier park, just outside the park. The drive was a little farther than expected, and after we left Seattle more rain started (seems as if we brought it with us from Montana). By the time we got there it was pitch black and I was just following the GPS. We had been driving with no lights on a backroad for a while and then the road turned to dirt.
At this point it began to start climbing up very steeply, and stretched on for what seemed like an eternity. The fact that I drive a tiny car not equipped to handle offroading didn’t help matters, and the icing on the cake was that on one side and often both there was a super steep dropoff, that I could only see because to the left and right of me the tops of tall pine trees were almost eye level with me. The visibility was low and the going slow, and as I crept up the mountain the trees seemed to grow strangely and close in on us. The ride got more and more bizzare, with no signs, and nothing to indicate that there was actually a camp there except for Google maps’ blue wiggly line. I decided to tough it out and nearly 40 minutes later we arrived at this totally hidden campground.
My stamina was rewarded, as we had the entire campground to ourselves, and it was an absolutely beautiful place. We were surrounded by pines and really out in the wilderness. The rain had really picked up so we didn’t bother exploring, and decided just to Yamp for the night. We wound up sleeping like babies, soothed by the sound of the rain and the isolation. The humidity did wonders for my breathing too, and by the morning any trace of a cold had long disappeared. <3 Washington