Round 2 – Washington

Road trip round two is a very different road trip from round one. Round one was minimal supplies and low budget with no shopping and lots of walking. Round two is bringing way too much stuff, no car camping, lots of boutique shopping, and exploring by car. I can simply sum up the difference – mom versus dad.


I love my Mom, but low maintenance is not a good description for her. I take 30 mins to get ready in the morning and it takes her two hours. So there was not going to be much get up and go on round two. Just a leisurely drive across the Pacific Northwest. But honestly, I was super excited to get back on the road. After two months of exploring, I didn’t know what to do with myself when I made it to Utah. Plus, Rocky was coming along for the ride!


We had to wait a few days for my Dad to finish working on Mom’s car. (Yeah, always waiting on Dad to finish something to start these journeys!) Which took him so long that we then had to rush to beat a storm coming out of Alaska. We finally headed out on a very chilly 25 degree Wednesday. It was never going to make it above freezing, so we had to make it to Washington before that cold joined with a moisture mass. This made for a big push on that first day.


First stop was visiting my brother, Mike, and his family in Twin Falls just like on round one, but we only stayed for an early dinner. It is always great to see my brother and the kids. But extra special this time was my brother’s new boxer-mix puppy, Pogo. Talk about a cutie! He’s all black with a little white speck on his chin and his chest. Total heart stealer!


After dinner, we continued on for another 6 hours of driving so we could make it over the first pass of the Cascades before it started to snow. We pulled into Pendleton, Oregon and stayed the night at the Hampton Inn. Like I said, this journey was a lot more posh than round one. We didn’t make it there until 11 pm at night, and we needed to start early the next morning in hopes of beating the snow. It wasn’t supposed to snow until around 10 am.

We pulled out of the hotel by 7 am in freezing 12 degree temperatures and headed north towards the Snoqualmie Pass to Seattle. Before I left, I had been arguing with Dad over the best way to go to Washington to miss the storm. He kept telling me I needed to go through Portland and turn north. Thank goodness I didn’t listen to him. Just as my weather apps had predicted, Portland got slammed by snow and Seattle and Snoqualmie pass stayed clear. We made it over the second pass of the Cascades, and I could confirm it wasn’t going to snow so we pulled over in a small town for me to take a nap. Unlike Dad, I can’t drive long periods of time without getting tired. I’ve fallen asleep driving with my parents in the car before, so it’s better for me just to take that nap rather than push it.

After an hour power nap, Mom and I continued on over the final Cascade Pass at Snoqualmie. It was cold but sunny and dry. Unfortunately, that did not keep a big rig from flipping over on the pass and backing the traffic for miles. Why is it when stuck in bad traffic jams, that my bladder goes crazy? Thank goodness we made it to an exit before I had to go out there in the middle of traffic.

We made it to Tacoma in late afternoon on Thursday. We drove downtown to grab some soup for lunch. The street art in the area was incredible. Mom wanted a diet coke and wanted to go to the McDonalds that we had just passed. I told her I didn’t want to support McDonalds with any money, so I drove around for 15 minutes looking for another place for her to buy a drink. I totally lost this battle when we ended up back at McDonalds for her to get a drink. 😦 Finally, we headed down to the water front to enjoy our lunch. We sat in front of the marina and one of the Tacoma lift bridges. It was a fantastic place to stop for lunch.

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We then headed over to Gig Harbor where we were staying with my dear friends David and Jeremy. Gig Harbor is an adorable town on the Puget Sound with small boutique shops and restaurants all along the water. I drove Mom around town so she could see all the houses and the shops. We stopped for coffee at the Java & Clay Cafe to drink tea and warm ourselves by the fire while waiting for Jeremy and David to get home from work.

Finally, we headed over to Jeremy and David’s gorgeous log home where we would stay the next two days. This house is so relaxing. My mom got the guest room downstairs, and I stayed in the guest room upstairs. The upstairs guest room is typically a nest built in a loft, but I was too chicken to climb up the ladder to the loft. So they were really kind to move the futon mattress down to the floor for me where I was very comfortable. Mom also got to meet David and Jeremy’s super awesome dogs, Sam and Bailey.

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We then went to dinner at the Blazing Onion, which was awesome. I had the mac & cheese and chili which was super tasty! Mom, David, and Jeremy all enjoyed burgers. We headed back to the house, and everyone headed to sleep. I was worn out from a day of driving. David and Jeremy have to go to work well before the sun rises, so it was definitely not a late night.

The next day, Mom and I drove up to Port Townsend which is a gorgeous Victorian Town on the north side of Puget Sound. We went to Auntie Mays for lunch which is a fantastic soul food restaurant, and Mom had her first ever chicken and waffles. She loved it! So now that we were well fueled, we toured the boutique shops. All of round one, I had avoided shopping and buying anything but magnets and post cards. Round two, I allowed myself to shop. I bought a few thank you gifts for others, and a unicorn for myself. Mom also did some holiday shopping. Mom did fantastic exploring Port Townsend, we made it to all shops up and down the main street.

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After, shopping I drove mom around the Victorian houses in the town. We found deer grazing and running through the houses. Mom was really surprised to see so many deer in town. I was surprised that they were mule deer, which typically avoid town. We continued over to Fort Worden, where an “Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed to see the lighthouse. Fort Worden is now a state park with incredible beach access and walking trails. Even though we didn’t get out of the car to explore, it is one of my favorite sites in Washington.

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Finally, we returned South to meet David and Jeremy at the Clearwater Casino on the Suquamish Indian Reservation. Mom just like David and Jeremy has a bit of love for gambling, so I wanted to make sure she got her chance. I’m not a huge gambler and usually avoid it. However, since the money does support the reservation, I didn’t feel so bad about gambling. David and Jeremy walked away ahead, for the first time ever I broke even, and poor Mom lost. But it was a super fun night!


The next morning before Mom and I continued our journey, we went to brunch with David and his mom, Sandi. Unfortunately, Jeremy has to work on Saturdays and couldn’t join us. Breakfast was at Devoted Kiss Cafe which is right on the water. They make a mean breakfast burrito and the coffee is tasty. It was great to have a little extra time so Mom could meet Sandi as well. So we had good food and wonderful conversation.

After breakfast Mom and I continued on our journey driving south on I5 towards Portland. Mom had been very nervous about staying with people she didn’t know, but she loved David and Jeremy and she felt so comfortable at their house. This was great so we could stay with my friends and family the rest of the journey and didn’t need to stay at anymore hotels.