Heaven Not as Soggy as Advertised

It took me two attempts get up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, but it was worth it!

Finally, the weather, at least in the Midwest, has started to show some signs of kicking Old Man Winter in the sack. With the warmer weather comes shorts, flip-flops, and VACATIONS!

Getting There is Half the Fun
We’ve all seen the Vacation movies by now with Clark, Ellen, and Cousin Eddie. Thankfully, not all vacations end up with our families hauling an old aunt cross country in the family truckster or losing a sex tape in Paris. Most of our vacations are not that exciting, but fun nonetheless.

Funny how different vacation spots appeal to different people. My sister likes the typical beach vacation. Hot, sand, and alcohol. Others consider going to a cold, snowy area to ski or snowmobile a delight. For me, give me the outdoors, mountains, trees, and water.

If you remember from my earlier blog, I don’t like to fly, thus living in the Midwest presents it’s challenges to finding mountains, etc. without getting on a plane. Well, when vacation time rolls around, I visit my doctor to get my Xanax and the fun begins.

Heaven on Earth
My all-time favorite vacation destination in the U.S. is the Pacific Northwest. Like I really have a favorite spot outside the U.S. Well, actually, I do … Victoria, B.C. To me, the Pacific Northwest is Heaven on Earth. I have not seen a more beautiful area of the country than the Northwest. I will be visiting Denver soon to see a friend, who insists he is going to make me forget all about Washington and Oregon. Good luck with that.

We have been to Oregon and Washington. I want to retire out to the Northwest. Each state has it’s own draw for me. In Oregon, there is Portland, Mount Hood, and the ocean. The bad thing about Portland is that it is a ways away from the ocean. Being a sports fan, they do have the Blazers, but no baseball or football teams.

If you do make it to Portland, you have to visit the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Another must see is Multnomah Falls, which is just breathtaking. People ALWAYS talk about how much it rains in the northwest, which I’m sure it does at some point, but every time we have been out there, precipitation has been at a minimum.

The Emerald City
We also love Washington, including Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula. Washington and  Seattle are just beautiful. The Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, the Hoh Rain Forest, Hurricane Ridge and the ocean are just marvelous places to see.

Another bonus for Seattle is their sports teams. They do have MLB and NFL franchises. I would hope by the time I retire that they would, again, have an NBA franchise to replace the departed Sonics.  I must admit that whenever we have gone to Seattle, we have seen the most rain right around town, but when we get away from the city, the rain usually stops.

Say It …Out Loud

The first time I had ever circled the Olympic Peninsula, we encountered a little town called Forks. At the time, I knew nothing about the town being the fictional setting of the teen drama, Twilight, which is a vampire love story. Well, as we drove through town, they had all kinds of signs up talking about vampires being welcome, etc. My wife knew what it was about, but I was wondering what the hell we had stumbled upon. Well, the town did a good job of capitalizing on the movie’s success.

Another great spot on the peninsula, is Rialto Beach. Those of you, like my sister, that are looking for white sand, sun and heat, this place is not for you. Just to see the water, you are going to have to climb over the massive trees that have washed up on the beach over time. A simply amazing site to see. Once you make it to the water, just listen to the power of the Pacific. A great spot.

Little Gem North of the Border
We have not spent a whole lot of time in Seattle, other than the tourist spots, like the fish market. The last time we were out, we did get to take a trip on the big ferry, which dropped us off north of Seattle after our trip from Port Angeles to Victoria.  Victoria is a beautiful little bay side city. Sea planes and water taxis scurry around the inland waterway like water bugs. We were amazed to see how many people in Victoria rode bicycles as their form of transportation.

In Victoria, we stumbled across a sports bar downtown. We were hungry, thus just sat in the restaurant area. Well, halfway through our meal, we started hearing more and more noise from the bar area. What the hell was going on? It was hockey night.

After our trip on the ferry, we made our way up into the Northern Cascades in the town of Leavenworth, a quaint little mountain village that has adopted a Bavarian-type theme. If you want to eat good German sausage and pretzels or shop for Christmas items or nutcrackers, Leavenworth is your city!

I guess I should quit writing and start planning my trip to Denver. What are your favorite vacation spots? Any suggestions for me to see in Denver?

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